Paddles with an Anas acuta...... unashamedly biased toward the sea kayak of that name (actually the voyages of two boats, one 'traffic over gold', one 'quill')

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Gale 8 gusting 9

Luckily we were on dry land.

Some of you might recognise this corner of the Lakes; so accessible, yet so well hidden.

The wind whipping the spindrift off the ridge. Walking today was like paddling; tough going head-down into the gale, difficult to maintain the transit across the wind and then being pushed only too fast over the snow on the downwind leg, a low brace would have been handy on occasions.

The most fun that you can have on dry land?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Lunching with limpets (bernique!) at the Needles

Monday 6 February, it was cold, calm and misty as we paddled from Keyhaven to the Needles.

Only a gentle swell disturbing the water.

The calm was deceptive, landing at Scratchell's was out of the question due to the swell,

but the flint lines in the cliffs were as spectacular as ever.

We shared our lunch spot between the Needles and Freshwater with the limpets.

You could see where they had been grazing the algae at HW, some seemed content to have stayed very close to home.

Whilst others had made long treks to distant lands and back. The tide meant that we had to wait until 16.00 for our trip back. It was a gloomy dusk and we headed straight from the lighthouse to the beckoning light of Hurst Castle lighthouse, making satisfyingly fast progress directly downtide, and then gliding close to winter waders as we threaded our way back to Keyhaven. We had had the water to ourselves apart from a fisherman checking his crabpots, the birds, and a passing porpoise.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Winter Weather on the Thames

The briefing by the trip leader prior to our paddle from Putney to Wapping and back. Be careful what you wish for. . . . just a week ago I was lamenting the lack of Winter, and here it was, cold hands, cold feet.

Down the Thames under a wintry sky.

Darkness came very early under that leaden sky,

as we pushed onward down the Thames with the last of the tide.

On the beach at Wapping waiting for the tide to turn, luckily the Prospect Of Whitby had its access steps to the river open and we could retire into the warmth, hot chocolate was much more popular than a cold pint.

Once the tide was running nicely with us we set off upstream. Snow started,

flurries at first,

heavier and heavier,

finally settling on the boats. On the stretches into the wind, the flakes stung the eyes, we couldn't see much, but once clear of the Clippers in the Pool of London, we had the river to ourselves.

Eventually, we arrived back at Putney.

So, so cold loading the boats and slipping out of the drysuits. Mid winter madness? or was that what was afflicting everyone except us, watching Celebrity Whatever and missing out on the snow and the river. Now there was just the drive home!