Monday, 12 August 2013
We get to west wittering at 5 and we have a long walk, this would not be to hard if we did not have puncher. After lugging everything up the beach my auntie Di is waiting for us and the helpful folks of West Wittering Windsurf club let us store our boats in there compound over night (Thanks). Then we Head of to Di's for the night.
We are treated to a great BBQ and lots of drink and the surprise of the night is a birthday cake for me (its my birthday on Thursday). A realy good night, if only I did not have to get up in the morning.
Thankyou to everyone who's sponsored us and gave us drive on the tough days. If you would like to sponsor us follow the link on the website.
Will be posting here with a few more bits and photos but until then i will be mostly chilling
Sunday, 11 August 2013
Well that's almost it - soo looking forward to seeing everyone. See you at 5 ish!!!!!!
Friday, 9 August 2013
Phew - today was hard. 6 hours of paddling into a force 4/5 headwind. Scenery was lovely though and we are as close as we can be to paddle round Portland tomorrow. It is very easy, however, to forget the hard day now Imo Sat here having just eaten and looking over a windless and calm Portland harbour.
Really hoping that the wind isn't too strong tomorrow so we can get as near to Brixham as possible. We will prob put our SPOT device on tomorrow and Sunday so you can track our progress by following a link on our website.
Robs birthday, so the day started well with a trip to the cafe and a nice late start after all the socialising we've been doing recently. A good paddle, although quite a strong headwind. Finished in a lovely bay, with no sand, no long kit carry and a sunset.
With some apprehension today we left the beach ready to take on the solent. Weather couldn't be better - good visibility and a slight tail wind. A few days ago we heard that it was Cowes week so we were expecting busy and it defiantly was. We spent the morning making our way around the shipping lane, ferries, motor boats and nipping in behind a few hundred racing yachts. We were on super alert mode and constantly predicting where everyone was planning on going next. As we went past Cowes we had 2knots of tide with us and weaved in and out of moored boats to avoid more ferries and motor boats. After Cowes we had one more ferry route to cross, one more yacht race to negotiate and some lovely scenery and then we were through to meet Bryony, a friend who kindly took us out for a pub dinner and a catch up. So many friends and family have come out to meet us this last week it's been amazing and has made what could have been a tough week a lot of fun.
Monday, 5 August 2013
What a lovely day. Weather was rubbish, so another day off the water, but some friends paid us a surprise visit all the way from somerset. So had a great pub meal and catch up. Thanks Dave and Katrina for a lovely day. Rob has gone for streamlining tactics for our last week on the water. He went to the barbers today and i now barely recognise him after cutting off 3 months worth of beard. Im feeling quite excited after spending this evening planning the next few days of our trip. We Will hopefully put ourselves in good positions to go round Portland on Fri or Sat and get to Brixham on Sunday - fingers crossed for good weather.
What a difference- the sea looks alot more welcoming today. A fairly short paddle due to tides, winds and finding a nice place to camp. A windy Sunday and by far the busiest day on the water we've seen. Yachts, tourist boats and jet skis everywhere. I guess with the solent not far off it's a taste of things to come. A 2pm finish and helped out with a great place to camp by a friendly local.
Saturday, 3 August 2013
Glad to be tucked up in my sleeping bag rather than paddling in a horrible looking sea this morning. So instead;
Although initially walking around a busy town was a bit of a shock to the system, a lovely day visiting Brighton and the pub. Thanks very much Muggie
Kinda non eventful paddle today. The coast did however start getting pretty again at beachy head. And our camping spot and surrounding area is nice.
Big old head winds tomorrow so we're staying put for a day which nicely coincides with my mate Muggie visiting.
Thursday, 1 August 2013
Good to get going again.
Generally, apart from the occasional kayak fisherman, we don't tend to meet many boats on the water. However on the last three paddling days we've had a Coastguard boat and a fishery patrol boat come over to check we are ok. As we paddled past Dover the police popped over (not really sure if they we checking up on us, but they seemed chatty and went off happy) and then today it was the military. As we were paddling past a firing range they zoomed (at a worringly high speed when you're in a small kayak) over to us to check we were going far enough out. They did offer us a lift, which of course we declined, so instead they stayed 500m behind us for about two hours until we were well past the range.
You'll be pleased to know everyones been very friendly, and although it felt a bit bizarre being followed today it did break up an otherwise quite dull day crossing two bays. Early night ready for a 4:30am get up tomorrow. Aaarrrggghhh
Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Still a full on headwind. Looking good for tomorrow though. The last few days have felt bizarre. Visited a few cafes and wandered around shops, we're staying on a well equipped campsite - currently don't really feel like im on a kayaking trip. Can't wait to get going again and tick off the final few miles.
Tuesday, 30 July 2013
Aftert spending the night in one of our least glamorous camping spots we are keen to move on. It was worth waiting a day to cross Thames as the weather today is almost perfect.
At the start of the day we have to paddle though a wind farm. These wind mills are massive and there are hundreds of them. As we are getting to the far side of the wind farm a boat comes over to check we are not kids. Aperantly there were some kids who had paddled out here on stand up paddle boards onetime.
We countuined paddling across, there was not as much shipping to contented with as we had expected so it was all pretty much routine.
10 miles offshore from Margate another boat this time a fisheries patrol boat comes to see if we are ok. We are so we carry on. We get to Margate at 7pm wear we spend the night on the beach.
Monday, 29 July 2013
Frustrating that now we've turned the corner to head west the sw wind has picked up. We feel we're so close to home now we just want to get going. However, although windy the sun is still shining most of the time and I've found some nice places in Folkestone to wander around. Also, weds onwards looks like the weather is alright so we'll be able to get going soon.
An early start, a chat with the very friendly night shift at Dover coastguard, and a requirement to keep our average speed above 4 knots to get to Folkestone before the tide changes. This, however, shouldn't be too difficult as long as we don't have too many breaks, as the tide flows fast around Dover. With fog, and thunder rumbling in the distance we make our way down to Dover. As we approach the harbour 4 massive ferries leave and we radio the very busy and calm port control to ask when is best to cross. Not only is Dover the busiest harbour we've crossed but we have no visibility into the harbour as we paddle along the eastern wall. So when we get the go ahead we shoot across both harbour entrances and paddle towards folkestone. We are pretty chuffed to find a campsite (with laundry) in walking distance from the beach. Wild camping has been getting more difficult everyday now so it's good to find a campsite where we are probably going to stay for a few days and sit out the headwinds forecast.
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Today might be in the running for winning shortest paddle of the trip. We paddled around the Naze and a very long pier which unfortunately at the end, had a very grumpy fisherman who i think just wanted to shout at someone, we then paddled past the largest amount of beach huts i have ever seen. They had tiers and even had them on stilts when they ran out of land. We landed between Frinton and Clacton where i am currently bivied next to a cycle track (its not my best wild camp of the trip!) We don't want to go any further as it will just make our paddle out of the Thames longer and can't cross the Thames today as the headwind is too strong. So, spent a lovely afternoon walking around Frinton and planning our paddle tomorrow.
Morning paddle to Felixstowe where we met Mike and Rohan (the dog) on the beach. We had met them previously a couple of months back on the west coast of Scotland, and Mike had kindly offered his support when we arrived at his home town. So on treating us to lunch, and my radio debut on BBC Suffolk (pretty scary) we relaxed on the beach for a few hours. After realising we weren't going to be able to paddle across the Thames tomorrow with the headwind forecast we did a short paddle across the Felixstowe shopping lane (with the biggest container ships I've ever seen) to a lovely beach recommended by Mike.
Thanks Mike and great to see you again.
Somedays are very frustrating with good weather not matching up with tides and everything taking longer than expected. Today was not one of this days. We got on the water at 6:30am and paddled to a beach past lowestoft on a very still morning and almost spring tide which gave us at least 1.5 knots of tide. About 5 mins after i returned from filling our water bottles after we landed and Rob finishing putting up the tent a thunder storm went over with heavy rain. After a few hours kip and with only a light breeze and blue skies we emerged from the tent to paddle another few miles on the evening tide. A very satisfying day and ready for another early start tomorrow.
Monday, 22 July 2013
The day started slow with thick fog but after lunch we caught the second tide. We had a slight headwind but were bombing along with a strong tide. Just before the sun set we landed on a beach with quite a few people on- these turned out to be RSPB volunteers. We had landed next to a nature reserve so after a chat with the friendly wardens and learning about little terns and ringed plovers we found a beautiful spot to camp.
Sunday, 21 July 2013
We woke up at 5:20 after a friendly! wake up call from a beach warden. Although can't really complain this is the first person to tell us to go away in almost 2000 miles. Made the most of the late tide and stocked up with food, and made use of the miniature railway to take us back to the beach. We've been properly spoiled the last two weeks so paddling today was a bit of a shock. Force 4 headwind, overcast, choppy sea and potentially a dumpy surf landing. Paddled for about 16NM wishing I had taken some sea sickness tablets (3 months and still getting sea sickness - very annoying). We paddled past Sheringham until we found somewhere which wasn't backed by cliffs and looked like it wasn't going to be too much of an awkward landing. We landed through a bit of surf for a drizzly but sheltered evening and had a good nights sleep with no wardens or drunk people.
Saturday, 20 July 2013
We set off towards the largest wind farm we have seen yet and prob the most dullest paddles of the trip. on arriving at the wind farm the mist came in and for 5 hours we paddled into a head wind with only mist and sea in our view, although after about two hours one fulmar flew past! Things got more interesting on sight of land with people spookily appearing to walk in air. We locked up our boats and walked into town for a meal and a few drinks on a restaurant boat with live music. Come night we finally found somewhere quiet to camp on what must be the most wardened beach in Britain.
Thursday, 18 July 2013
What a day! I've not been looking forward to paddling across the humber due to the amount of traffic. You have to allow enough tide the other side to get to Maplethorpe, otherwise you set yourself up for long carries over sand, there is also a military training range the other side. So in the morning we paddled to Kilnsea to get as close as poss and having notified the coast guard, VTS Humber, and phoned the military range we set off with good visibility. On arrival at the main shipping lane we waited half an hour for a convoy of ferries to pass then after contact with VTS Humber we shot across and carried on paddling on a beautiful night. At 1am we landed on a beach for a quick dinner and sleep. A very satisfying day. We now have less than quarter of our journey so are both pretty excited about getting home and making good use of this amazing weather.
An early start to paddle around the head and what an amazing morning. I've never seen the sea so flat. We arrived at Hornsea to sit out the ebb tide, collect water and of course ice cream. Frustratingly a head wind picked up in the evening so we couldn't get far enough to get into a position to cross the humber the next morning, but we paddled another 10 miles to camp on another sandy beach.
After a very welcoming stay with some of Robs family we set off into town to stock up on Cheese oat cakes (the fuel of choice for this trip) and replace our stove which really annoyingly sprung a leak in quite a dramatic way setting on fire part of our shelter. Although its patched up now.
With boats stocked up but considerably lighter after sending a load of colder weather kit and books home we set off on the evening tide to a small bay and watched an awesome sunset.
Monday, 15 July 2013
3AM and we are up after 4 hours sleep and we are on the water by 4.30. Its cold and foggy we have 22Nm to do until we get to Scarborough and the tide turns against us at 10.30 so we crack on and set a good pace.
We arrive at Scarborough at 10.30 and after I get some abuse from a sea angerler we are greeted by the harbour master who directs us were we can store our boats.
After some sorting we meet Julie, lily and Owen and head to their house where we are staying the night. Julie cooked us a lovely dinner and Adam got the ciders out and we had a nice relaxing sunday.
Day 90 still windy today so another day on the beach.
Its a nice sunny day and we are looking forward to moving on.
First challenge is launching with out getting out feet wet as there is a raw sewage outlet and it stinks. That done we paddle in a straight line towards bass rock. 32 Nm later we get to bass rock which has a large gannet colony. Im always surprised how we manage to pass these large bird colonies with out getting mucked on. 2 more Nm and we get to our beach for the night.
Friday, 5 July 2013
An early start and very tempted to wait a few hours as the surf was big. However, with the invaluable help of Bobby holding my boat while waiting for a lull in the waves we made it out to be very quickly greeted by dolphins. Thanks so much Bobby hope you didn't get too wet!
After a fairly easy paddle, accompanied with lots of yawning we came into Auchmithie setting ourselves up to kayak across to Fife Ness on our next paddle.
A strong headwind means we're staying put for a while but the weather from Sunday looks amazing so it will be great to get properly going again without all this stopping and starting. We're using our time to do the usual exploring, resting, kit maintenance, litter picking and foraging. Verdict from Rob is good who says that Frosted Orache is actually aright and doesn't just taste of leaves like some of my other finds.
After a day off yesterday due to winds we decided to make the most of the day knowing tomorrow would prob be another windy day. So up at 2:30, for a 4am start, a bit of a headwind but fairly easily paddling. Paddled past dolphins and alot of ships queing up (the ships not the dolphins) to enter Aberdeen - reminds us of how careful we will have to be around the Thames and Humber. We were glad to reach Cove bay for a few hours sleep and a chat with some of the local fishermen and residents. When the tide turned again in our favour we had a lovely paddle past thousands of sea birds to Inverbervie - in total paddling 40NM making it our furthest day yet. We were greeted by many fishermen and caravaners including Bobby and Gwen with a cup of tea for us both. We then stayed at the campsite for a windy wet day and were treated to tea with Gwen, Bobby, Brook and Ian. Meeting locals and holiday makers and the amount of help we receive has been one of the most enjoyable and appreciated parts of the trip and never fails to raise spirits on hard days.
Thursday, 4 July 2013
It was good to sleep inside last night, and really good to meet Dan who generously let us stay the night and cooked us tea.
However Im not in the best mood my neck seal has ripped and it is wet and windy today. I've fixed it up with gaffa tape but its not pretty. Seems like most of my kit is being held together with gaffa tape now.
Its windy and the sea is getting rougher. We only do a short paddle to rosharty Where there is a camp site right on the beach or so the map says. When we arrive a guy tells us it has not been a campsite for a long time but we can camp here if we like. It is just a park now, its not a bad spot, flat grass and right by the sea. We head to the pup for tea before setting up camp for the night.
Got a shock this morning as i unrolled the top of the breakfast dry bag in my tent and loads of earwigs dropped out and scattered across my tent. I spent ages trying to get them all out.
Its a good day today and we paddle past fraserburge And Peter head and end up on a beach near port erroll We find a good spot to camp up off the sand on some grass, it is on the edge of a golf course but Im sure it will be fine. Its late and we have tea at about 2330.
Friday, 28 June 2013
Now i don't want to give you all the impression that this is all turned into a jolly and that we're now after a bit too much luxury. Its just been a coincidence that we stayed in a house last night, paddled a whole 5 miles and then staying in a cottage tonight. We'll get back to our roughing it ways very soon. We've been getting a bit too relaxed about the surf recently-as we've had none. so we got a bit of a shock this morning getting our through the 4 ft surf and with the forecast saying its building we decided that it may be a bit tricky getting into our intended destination. Hence our 5 mile paddle to a lovely little village where we met Dan, a great guy, who said we were welcome to stay with him. Thanks.
And thanks very much katrina for my parcel- its changed my whole paddling day!
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Average length day with a bit of wind behind us. Good to get away from the noisy jets. We had a lovely evening in Banff with Matt, Leanne and Fergal. Thanks so much guys for food, laundry, showers, phone charge and great company. Are boats were kindly looked after by banff links caravan site - thanks
Fairly average crossing apart from the pretty noisy fighter jets flying over head for most of the day - err could you keep it down please we're trying to have a discussion down here. Found a place to camp on the beach and had a bit of a wander around lossiemouth. Now, are there really lots of dolphins in the Moray firth? because i was looking out for them all day and didn't see one.
Sunday, 23 June 2013
A dull day but Im not complaining there a light wind to keep the miges away and its not raining.
After dealing with a very slippy slipway we get going about 1230 the tide is against us so we keep in close and enjoy the coast line. We met some local kayakers yesterday and they told us about some good caves to explore along the way.
We stop at Sarclet head for a long lunch while we wait for the tide to turn in our favour. The sun pops out and i feel like a lizard warming up on the rocks.
Back on the water and we make good time to Dunbeath where we find a perfect camping spot.
Friday, 21 June 2013
We decided a while ago that we would stop in Wick and replenish supplies. The day started well when i was kindly invited into a local ladies house for tea, cake and a wee dram of local whisky. We then spent the rest of the day either in a cafe or shopping for food. In the last 3 or 4 weeks we have now had 3 days off the water. The problem that we're finding however, is that these days are taken up with washing and sorting kit and walking to and from shops and very little of it has been us actually resting. In the last few days we have really felt it and although they have been slightly shorter days we have been feeling pretty lethargic. The other problem (if you can call it that) is that its pretty much light all the time at the mo so it can be quite difficult to get a good nights sleep in a tent. However, it looks like sun and Mon aren't looking that good weather wise so will be a perfect time to stop and have two good days rest.
Thursday, 20 June 2013
We can't quite believe our luck. Going around Cape Wrath and through Pentland firth have been on my mind for a while and we assumed that we would probably have to wait a few days for good conditions to get around the north of Scotland. But here we are on our third day since Cape Wrath with perfect conditions for going through P. Firth. Today there is a 1ft swell from the north and tomorrow there is forecast 7ft swell arriving from the west so just enough time. As we go around Dunnet head (mainlands most northerly point) the swell still feels pretty big and as we go around the Men of Mey the sea was choppy. We then go through the firth at 8knots on flat water with a keen eye out for ferrys, until just before duncansby head where we get a few waves in our faces but continue to zoom around the corner until we are eventually heading south. Woohoo. Then its about 15NM with a knot of tide all the way to a little bay in Staxigoe just north of wick.
After an excellent few days where we have rounded cape Wrath, Duncansby head and passed the half way mark (not sure exactly where it was as it depends on our route from here) we thought we should have a celebratory meal. After a long walk into wick - which prob burnt half the precious calories consumed in the meal, we had a great meal before deciding we should walk back before we fall asleep in the pub.
We find a great camping spot on grass at the back of the beach and get a good nights sleep before tackling pentland tomorrow.
Sunday, 16 June 2013
Its a gray day low clouds and mist. As we get past sandwood bay the tide starts pushing us along and we make good time.
I'm thinking we must be nearly at the cape and I'm gearing myself up for the big seas when i glance at my compass to see we are paddling east? And then realise we have past it. We carry on along the north coast with its big cliffs disappearing into the clouds and puffins everywhere until we get to Durness where we stop for the night.
Will add some photos later if i can.
Another windy day but its back on our noises. We set of to Scourie for some supplys. The wind is blowing offshore but seems to get stronger the closer we get to the shore at some points it felt like we were going backwards. Finely about ten meters from shore we get some shelter for five min until we turn into Scourie bay, then back into the wind for another half mile. Lunch and shopping in Scourie then back in to the wind.
We don't get as far as we wanted as the head wind slows us down to less than two knots. Rach picks out a great little bay were we camp for the night.
It's windy this morning but its on our backs for a change so much so i do the first half mile with out paddling and still manage to do about two and a half knots. When we do start paddling its great fun surfing the swell and letting the sea do some of the hard work for a change. We get to the point of stoer just as the tide turns so we pull in to Culkein bay and sleep in our bivi bags on the slip way.