St Bees – 12/05/2018

 

A lovely day as the early mist burnt off to leave a beautiful day, not a breath of wind but some swell left from the previous few days of wind.

Five of us launched our sea kayaks off the beach, Robin, Sten, Harry, Jenny and myself. Robin provided a watching eye and described how the tide splits around the head, with one stream setting North and the other setting South.

Off we went at high tide and kayaked under really impressive, high sandstone cliffs with nesting birds crowding on ledges, think I may have spotted a Black Guillemot, and I think St Bees is the furthest south they breed.

Conditions were a little choppy right under the cliffs but the sun was shining and from a lunch spot we could just make out Burrow Head over in Galloway- maybe another day? 

Returning to the beach in St Bees proved more eventful, some quite nice surfing for some but a bit of a learning experience for others and well it wouldn’t be a day’s kayaking if I did not have to roll at some point.

We were talking in the car about a good day out should have more kayaking than driving, it is quite a short trip but it was good to get out feel the sunshine and boat moving around in the water, a chance to meet up with old friends and meet some new ones.

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Walney island circumnavigation

It is always a gamble when you plan a trip weeks in advance. The Sunday evening Country File week ahead forecast, depicted a large area of low pressure and strong winds for the end of the week. Not really what we needed for a paddle around Walney on Saturday. Thankfully by midweek all the usual weather resources agreed that the winds would be manageable and by Friday they all were all predicting light winds and little or no precipitation. The trip was on.

Robin, Ian, Angela and Sten met as planned and set off from Roe Island bang on time. Breaking into the flow we hopped on to the conveyor and for little or no effort were carried North up Walney Channel, passing the open dock gates and steering to avoid buoys, posts, and moored boats as we were pushed along.

Jubilee Bridge and the meetings were soon passed by, breaking out into a eddy at North End Haws we stopped in the sunshine for a brew and early first lunch. Divorce was a threatened when Angela realised Sten had not packed any fuel for his stove. Thankfully their marriage was saved by Ian who provided hot water using his stove complete with gas canister.DSCF0553

Once around the North End of the Island we were confronted with a westerly head wind, but this soon veered around to the North assisting our passage down the West coast. A glance over the shoulder revealed some dramatic storm clouds to the North.

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After a stop for another brew (courtesy of Ian’s stove) and second lunch on a breezy beach near the car park at Biggar, we continued to make good wind assisted progress around to SE point. Around here we split with Robin (who was on a dead line) pressing on at a pace with Ian, leaving Sten and Angela to continue at a more relaxed speed.

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Once around the point the force of the Northerly breeze was somewhat less helpful.  Though the 14km of wind assistance far outweighed the 3km of hindrance.

All around the South End we had the company of varying numbers of seals, and we kept our distance passing the colony hauled out on the beach near the NE point.

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A good trip with assistance from tide and wind nearly all the way and not a drop of rain.