Saturday, 9 July 2011

South West Sea Kayaking Meet 2011 - Day 1

The informal South West Sea Kayaking Meet (SWSKM) that spawned from the original launch of Mark Rainsley’s South West Sea Kayaking Guide Book back in 2008 has become a very good annual excuse to come and meet like minded paddlers and explore some of the great coastline that the south west coastline has to offer.

It has been held, up 'till now, over in Dorset, at it’s southern most tip at Prawle Point. Evening entertainment in the form of talks by kayakers has been hosted in The Pigs Nose fueled allegedly by jars of ale. It's always been a great weekend.

This year it’s been centered at Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck. A bit misleading to call it an island, as it is surrounded  by water only on three sides. You get the impression though, when you get down here, that it may as well be completely cut off as it is so wonderfully unspoilt. A real hidden gem.

Mark’s book has been hugely successful (now in it’s second edition) and no doubt has inspired many a trip to the sticky out bit of the southern west of the British Isles. Flicking through the latest version I realise that bit by bit over the last few years I seem to have covered quite a portion of it by now. The Purbeck coastline has some of the finest, dramatic, day paddling coastline with the opportunity to put in a few wild camps, making it a fine long weekend destination for the discerning paddler

Richard and I arrive on a Friday evening and set up camp early with the intention of finding a flat cow pat free area before going out for an early evening paddle. 

Looking out from the Purbeck Hills down on to Saint Alben's Head overfalls
  With the winds blowing fairly high the paddling option open to us is probably the same paddle on the agenda for tomorrow with the promise of less wind, so we unanimously decided to visit the Greyhound Public House situated by the historic walls of Corfe Castle, to test it’s suitability as a venue for our weekend’s patronage. Hard decision I know.

After a few swift pints of Doom Bar on tap, we decided it would only be fair to venture into another hostelry for comparison. The Fox – a nice cwtchy kind of place, similar to front-room shebeens found in Wales that sprung up after the Sunday Closing (Wales) Act 1881 was passed, that banned the sale of alcohol in Welsh pubs on the Sabbath. These shebeens were literally someone’s front room where one could purchase a tankard of illicit ale.

My good friend Addlestones Cider was here, but I have to admit, it seems to taste much better closer to its origin on the north coast. My conclusion is, that like real Guinness, it doesn’t travel well.

We returned to the Greyhound to chase more Doom Bar.

Setting the scene

Saturday morning dawned and, under the shadow of the 1000 year old castle, we awake to a field of congregated kayakers.

Good Morning Campers - get up it's briefing time
After a short briefing we head on down to Studland Bay with the intention of paddling out towards Handfast Point to see Old Harry, and The Pinnacles.

On the beach at Studland looking accross to Handfast Point
Approaching Old Harry
Old Harry and his wife
 With the tide low, we paddle right out and around the point, and come face to face with the magnificent view of The Pinnacles. Made even more striking with the sun shining down on them.

Stunning bit of coastline! 

Sticking our noses around Ballard Point, the wind is a bit stiff, we turn tail and head back to Studland, stopping for lunch on one of the white chalk stoned beaches.

A few of the group call it a day and stop off for ice cream, tea and a lounge in the sunshine, while the rest of us head out towards a windy Poole harbor.

The chain ferry that is pulled across the harbor mouth using 2 sets of chains

Turning tail here, we go full steam back to Studland. 

The evening is topped off with a BBQ on the beach followed by a retreat to the Greyhound for "cold squash and ginger beer", not!

Richard took some cracking picks of the trip, you can see them on his blog

The days trip, short but very sweet

1 comment:

Taran Tyla said...

Awesome Scenery & that overfall looked pretty tasty!