Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Folkestone (still!) days 114 &115

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

Day 110 Clacton on sea to Margate

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


Oops. Seem to have lost ten days. Change last post to day 112 & 113

Day 102 &103 Folkestone

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.

Margaret to Folkestone - Day 111

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

Walton on the naze to Frinton on sea -Day 109

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.

Thorpeness to Walton on the Naze. Day 108

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.

Winterton on sea to Thorpeness Day 107

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

West Runton to Winterton on Sea - day 106

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

Chilling near West Runton

Day 105 - West Runton

With wind, tiredness and fog this pm, we're staying put today and switching to (very early) morning tides tomorrow.

Wells next the sea to West Runton - Day 104

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

Skegness to Wells-next-the-sea day 103

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

Maplethorpe to Skegness - day 102

Short day today, so we are able to cross the Wash tomorrow. It has allowed us to catch up on sleep though and sample the delicacies of Skegness!

Maplethorpe to Skegness - day 102

Short day today, so we are able to cross the Wash tomorrow. It has allowed us to catch up on sleep though and sample the delicacies of Skegness!

Withernsea to Maplethorpe - day 101

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.

Calm seas Berwick upon tweed

A long way from the sea nr Goswick

St Abbs head

Flamborough head

Seals at Peter head

Bass Rock


Flamborough head to Withernsea - Day 100

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.

Scarborough to Flamborough head - Day 99

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

Day 97 Hawthorn Hive to Runswick bay

Well, last night, we were invited by a friendly guy to join them around the fire for some food, which would have been great if he hadn't been drunk and therefore failed to notice/or care that we were both fast asleep. Same drunk guy obviously thought that he had been friendly all night so at about midnight had a huge argument with a friend! saying he had "been f*!?@*g nice all evening". I understood this from the other end of the beach but he thought the message wasn't getting through so repeated again and again for about half an hour. Anyway, when our alarms went off about 2, after about 2 hours sleep, Rob and I decided we weren't up for a big day and instead left at about 10. After a couple of hours we stopped at Hartlepool for lunch and to sit out the worst of the tide against us. After lunch we had to cross the harbour entrance, which was pretty horrible and had to be on constant look out for boats. At least the shipping channel was pretty obvious so after waiting for one tanker to pass we sped on by. After a couple of hours the coast started to look a bit more welcoming again and not so built up. We landed on a pretty bay in Runswick bay ready for an early start. 

Day 98 Scarborough

Got woke up at god knows what time by a couple having a domestic about five meters from me. Not happy about it as I've got to get up at 3am.
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 - Achmithie

Hawthorn hive - Day 96

Tynemouth to Hawthorn Hive

A late start due to tide had a pretty relaxed paddle to an out of the way beach where we planned a very early start the next day to do a long paddle to Scarborough. So in bivis at 8pm ready for a 2.30 wake up. All good until about 8.30, when about 20 people descended on the beach with tents and crates of beer - oh.


Day 95 Sugar sands to Tynemouth

A pretty uneventful paddling day until meeting Martin on the water who paddled back to Long sands with us. Martin paddled around Britain last year and had kindly said we could stay with him, being a paddler himself knew exactly what we needed and was good to hear his stories from his trip. We had a great evening and curry with Martin and Jen before setting off the next day recharged. 
Thanks Martin and Jen


Day 90 & 91 Auchmithie To nr bass rock

Day 90 still windy today so another day on the beach.

Day 91
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.

Day 94 Holy Island to Sugar Sands

We shot around Holy Island (Next time we will have to stop - looked like a nice place) and on to sea houses for a short break. Met some friendly sea kayakers who told us of their travels over the years and then paddled on to camp on a beach with more fresh Mackerel for tea.


Day 93 - St Abbs head to beach before Holy Island

We left before the tide had turned so we could stop at Eyemouth to collect water and Ice cream. So paddled a few miles at a grand speed of 2 knots. Ate ice cream and after one failed attempt(first of the trip - we were told we couldn't fill our bottles!??) Rob managed to collect water for a couple of days. We generally try to carry 2-3 days water with us, so we are not as limited on where we have to land. We may have got a bit too relaxed on the sunny beach, so when we arrived at Holy island later that day we had run out of tide so had to cut our planned distance short and land on a very, very long sandy beach which involved a very, very long carry. However, for tea we ate freshly caught mackerel - so the carry was quickly forgotten.


Near Bass Rock to St Abbs head - Day 92

After a sandy camp (grrrr - I will never get used having to deal with sand all over kit) we set off in lovely weather, past lots of lovely seals and a not so lovely power station. We were making good progress on what had planned to be a big day, however, come the afternoon a big old headwind picked up and after trudging on for a few hours we landed early on an old disused jetty on St. Abbs head and camped on some grass(hurray). St Abbs head was a good place - went for a walk to the lighthouse to see the views - you get very used to seeing the world from 2 ft above sea level and watched the sunset- beautiful. 


Friday, 5 July 2013

Day 87, 88 & 89 Inverbervie to Auchmithie

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.

Day 85 & 86 Port Erroll to Inverbervie

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

Day 84 Port erroll

I'm woken up with a start as a golf ball hits my tent. Im so glad i did not sleep in my bivi. We are staying put today as its really windy. I spend the day reading and sleeping.

Day 82 crovie to rosehearty

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.

Day 83 Rosehearty To Port Erroll

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.