After Abbotsbury, I paddled to the end of Chesil Beach and stopped at West Bay for food. I was able to just tie my kayak up to the floating pontoon, making for a quick stop.
As I passed Lyme Regis and on into Devon, the NW wind became NE and so was behind me and the Taran was flying along. I soon arrived at Branscome, one of my favourite beaches – I have lots of good memories of coming here as a child. It’s also where I first saw sea kayaks and hang gliders. Not a bad view this evening.
After the Lulworth range had finished firing for the day, I paddled the last five miles onto Lulworth cove. Now going against the tide, progress was slow. Visibility was very poor, and it was easy to drift off course if I didn’t keep an eye on the compass. By the time I arrived at Lulworth, it was so foggy I couldn’t see even see both sides of the entrance as I entered the cove. A helpful local (fisherman ?) showed me a patch of grass to pitch my tent, and told me I could get a signal on O2 if I walked to the top of the hill.
The mist soon cleared, and the cove looked beautiful in the moonlight. Exhausted, I fell asleep while planning the crossing for the next day.
I overslept a bit and was late leaving for Portland. I paused in a sheltered patch in the lee of the lighthouse for a drink and some food, which was good as it was pretty choppy on the other side. The strong headwind meant I was frequently getting drenched.
The (clear) range on chesil beach was firing, so I had to wait while the ranger warden stopped firing to let me pass. The headwind was relentless, and when the tide turned, my SOG dropped to under 1 knot, so I gave up trying to reach West Bay, and I landed on the beach as soon as I found a slightly less steep section. I’m now camped on the beach near Abbotsbury.
It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t had many opportunities to post an update.
On Monday, strong winds were forecast, so I paddled from Bembridge round the sheltered Solent. After Cowes, progress was very slow and exhausting into an F6 headwind, and I stopped to camp at a lovely spot near Newtown creek (fortunately, I had marked it on my GPS on a previous visit to the island).
On Tuesday, I only paddled a few miles to Keyhaven, then took the rest of the day off. I bumped into Martin, the only other sea kayaker I’ve seen on this trip so far – it was good to have chat and have some company for a mile or two. At Keyhaven, I met with my family (who had come all the way from from France and Devon), so that we could raise a glass or two to my father who would have been 80 this week. Definitely a highlight of the trip so far. Cheers, Dad!
On Wednesday, I continued west, timing my departure with the tide well thanks to the luxury of now being in the area covered my the excellent South West Sea Kayaking guidebook. The tide race at Hengistbury Head was pretty large and I was slapped in the face by a few steep waves. Just after Poole harbour, I had a chat with some nice chaps in a rib (SBS, I think), who minutes layer were whisked into the air by a Chinook.
I camped in the dunes at Studland heath, another stunning location.
This morning, visibility was very poor, but the sea was flat calm, so I paddled to Kimmerage. The fog only cleared a bit as I passed Old Harry rocks, but I couldn’t see much else of the coast. I’m now waiting for the Lulworth range to finish firing for the day, so I can continue to Lulworth Cove this evening. I’m currently eating delicious food in Clavell’s Café in Kimmerage village – well worth the walk from the bay.
There was a frost this morning, but it soon warned up. I paddled down to Selsey Bill, then crossed directly to Bembridge.
About half way across, the wind picked up a lot, which slowed me down and was pretty exhausting. It also made playing ‘dodge the tanker’ a bit trickier.
I was going to go along the prettier south coast tomorrow, but the afternoon looks even windier, so I’ll probably seek shelter in the Solent instead.
I left Newhaven this morning and made good progress initially with the wind and tide behind me.
Most days on the water so far, I’ve seen a single porpoise – it’s easy to imagine that it’s the same one following me round.
After passing Brighton and Worthing, the wind changed, the tide turned and I slowed down. I stopped near Littlehampton, feeling pretty tired and thirsty as I’d run out of water.
I spoke to a nice couple on the beach, and asked then if they knew where I could find a tap. A few minutes later, they returned with a bag full of water bottles and mars bars. Brilliant – thanks Sandra and Paul !
It’s great to finally have some warm weather, and I enjoyed cooking supper barefoot in the evening sunshine. While I was eating, I noticed a jet-ski in the distance, and I just as I was thinking they must have turned their engine off to appreciate the tranquillity, an RNLI rib arrived to give them a tow.
The wind dropped this afternoon, and I had a lovely paddle from Norman’s Bay to Newhaven. This meant paddling against the (neap) tide, giving me plenty of time to admire the cliffs and cumulus filled sky.
There was a bit of swell, so I landed behind the shelter of the Newhaven harbour wall. This is the steepest beach yet – with the bow of the Taran on the beach, I stepped out to find that I was still out off my depth. Oops.
Not my Taran !
On Monday, I left Dungeness early in the morning to pass the Lydd Range before it opened. Conditions were a bit choppier than expected, so I didn’t take any pictures, and I had a headwind the whole way, so I was pretty exhausted by the time I was off the water.
Salt caked, but happy to be having a shower.
I’m now at Norman’s Bay a little bit before Eastbourne. I couldn’t land where I had planned as surf dumping on the beach looked too ferocious, so carried on another mile down the coast, until I found a spot where a large groyne provided a little bit of shelter. As luck would have it, there was a campsite right where I landed, so I’ve been enjoying hot showers and clean laundry.
The wind is ferocious today, but the forecast looks good for the next few days, so I’m hoping to cover some more miles.
Early yesterday morning, the wind dropped for a bit, which fitted with the tide and allowed me to pass the Hythe range while it was closed.
I was on the water at about 5:30am and off again by about 9am. I stopped at Dungeness – before the Lydd range – not many miles, but I was glad to move a bit.
The light was amazing as the sun emerged from behind a cloud, but there was a headwind all the way (Easterlies – where are you now ?) Not long after I got back into my tent, heavy rain started, then strong wind returned and I was glad to be off the water.
I like Dungeness – a beautiful spot with a couple off porpoises near the beach when I arrived, friendly wardens and residents, and nice beach houses. Thanks to the mystery person who left me some chocolate biscuits by my tent !
I slept well despite finding out late at night that I had foolishly camped near the foghorn. Strong wind meant another rest day today, but the forecast for tomorrow looks more promising. It was quite clear today, and good to look back at the cliffs I’ve already passed to the East.
The weather seems a bit crazy at the moment … there has been fog, sunshine, strong winds, and heavy rain all in the last 24 hours. I suppose that means spring has arrived.
Looking at the map from xcweather, it looks like I’m in windiest part of the UK at the moment. I’m hoping to leave in a small weather window early tomorrow with the tide, (unless the forecast changes again). I won’t be able to paddle for long before the wind gets up again, but at least I should get past the Hythe range.
I’ve just had another two days of paddling, and am now onto the south coast. On Tuesday, I left Reculver around lunchtime, and made good progress with help from the tide. It’s good to be able to paddle close to the coast here, with lots to look at along the shoreline – many buildings seem to be teetering on cliff edges, with all sorts of sea walls and defences in various states of repair.
Passing Long Nose Spit just before North Foreland, there was a bit of a tide race, reminding me that the sea temperature is still scarily cold. I then passed Ramsgate harbour, and stopped before Deal, near Sandwich.
On Wednesday, I left quite early as much stronger winds were forecast for later in the day – this meant slow progress paddling against the tide until Dover. I felt tiny paddling under the white cliffs, with some large chunks of them crumbling into the sea like Caerphilly cheese.
By the time I arrived at Dover, visibility was pretty poor, with frequent ferries appearing suddenly out of the mist. I was quite glad when the harbour control insisted that I wait for the pilot boat to escort me across the harbour entrances.
Finally the tide was helping me, so it didn’t take long to pass Folkestone and on to Hythe. I was hoping to pass the Hythe range while it was closed, but it was late in the day, so I stopped before the range – a good decision as the strong winds arrived just after I got into my tent.
It’s windy today with very poor visibility, so I’m enjoying a day off the water to recover.