Saturday, 25 February 2012

Holm Holm Again . . . I like to be there when I can

Well it's nothing much to do with Pink Floyd, but we were certainly going to Breath in the Air on this trip. An absolute cracking day of paddling weather forecast was too much to miss out on so I jumped at the chance to get out on the water for a local paddle with Stuart, and from the wild west of Pembrokshire, Steve and Mike had ventured east for some muddy water paddling before having a go on the rapids at Cardiff white water centre.

Stuart with Penarth Pier behind

Looking out to Flat Holm  and Steep Holm

Steve with Monkstone Lighthouse in the background

Heading out over Cardiff Grounds sand bank
With the tides just off springs we head out directly over the sand bank at Cardiff Grounds to get over the top of Flat Holm, enabling us to drop down at a rate of 7 knots. Very easy to get duped into not paddling far enough to the east side of the island on this approach and then getting swept past the western side never to return.

Approach to the landing beach

A small stop off at Flat Holm for a bite to eat and a cup of hot soup
Although the island now boasts a pub, we confine ourselves to stay on the beach, thus saving our recession bitten wallets the hefty £6 landing fee.

Steve on Flat Holm for the first time, contemplating if the chocolate coloured waters up our way is safe. He's used to seeing his paddle blade through the water in the clear waters down west wales.

Brean Down on the Somerset coast provides the backdrop for Stuart as we ferry glide over to Steep Holm

Brean Down in the background  - ebb spring tides kicking up over the shallow spit off Steep Holm
Landing at Steep Holm
We land and take a wander up to the top of Steep Holm to wait for the tide to turn to take us home.

Looking back toward Flat Holm from Steep Holm

Remains of WWII gun emplacement

 Looking over to fort at Brean Down

 Remains of gun emplacement left behind as part of the threat of Napoleonic invasion of the late 1800s

Steve checking out the action of the Bofors 40mm canon, a WWII left over
The last time I visited back in 2008, there were what appeared to be live ammunition on the racks of this gun.

Last time I was here this posed a more deadly threat with live rounds still on the rack!

Tide about to turn we continue around the island - passing the low lying search lights that would have been used to silhouette enemy ships as they passed up the channel, to offer the gun battery on Brean Down a better target in the dark

Rudder Rock

Rudder Rock at the west end of Steepholm

Stuart as he heads off from Steepholm

Stuart is beginning to contemplate a pint at the Captains Wife

Mike enjoys the setting sun

Flat Holm to the left and Steep Holm to the right
Off the water after a great days paddling with good company, we head over to Sully Island for a few jars at the Captain's Wife.


Just under 5 hours of Bristol Channel paddling cross spring tide fun (14.2 Nm / 26km)


Lee said...

An activated Bofors! You don`t see that every day! Cool!

eurion said...

Hi Lee - the picture with the live rounds was taken last time I went for a wander on Steep Holm - I don't think the gun was in any fit state to fire then - and it looked even more worse for wear this time - still a stark reminder of dark times

Lee said...

Indeed! Any guns left here are filled with cement...and sure dont have the rounds left out! Very neat find!

My wifes grandma and grandpa from bridgeend down by barry has some pretty neat stories about the action down there during ww2/

eurion said...

Bizarrely I also used to live in Bridgend, now live closer to the coast. On both Flat Holm an Steep Holm there are remnants of older armaments, Victorian big guns to ward off the threat of Napoleonic invasion can be seen oddly discarded from their placements which are stone mason crafted pieces of work - to be replaced by the ugly concrete mounts for the modern weaponry that were installed during WWII.