Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sunrise to Sunset

Only in winter can you easily paddle from sunrise to sundown. Crisp frozen mornings, deserted beaches and quite seas, sun low in the sky highlighting imperfections in the cliffs, mist rising off the water. I love paddling in the winter.

No plan today just park up at Gileston beach head straight out and let the tide decide. I asked Taran if he wanted to join me, check out his new blog here. The sun peaked above a low band of cloud as we set off west with the ebbing tide.

The yellow Jurassic limestone cliffs glowed in the low morning sun. 199-145 million years ago this area would have resembled a desert landscape with warm seas like the Red Sea, far from that today. Force 2/3 was the forecast on the books for today, it doesn't get much better than this in December.

Before we knew it the spring currents had taken us as far as Nash Point.

We stopped off and scaled the over photographed cliff to check if the sand bar had surfaced. Just a lot of surf so we carried on to Southerndown.

From southerndown we aimed our boats directly out to Tusker Rock, which was only just visible on the horizon. It was now slack water, the tide was about to turn and we had another half hour paddle before we reached the rocks. The only ripple in the water now was caused by our boats.

We stopped off for some lunch and gazed out to the lighthouse far in the hazy distance realising how far we had to paddle back. With the turn of the tide the water now had a slight ripple and small following wavelets, which we used to our advantage together with the ever increasing flow of the spring tide. We aimed directly for the end of the headland at St Donats to make best use of the flow.

Without little effort we were hurtled toward the east Nash buoy almost colliding with it at an average of 7kts. A bit of excitement for the trip at least.

We rounded the headland and stopped for a stretch next to St Donats slipway.

A swell had picked up as we approached Llantwit Major further aiding our paddle.

The slog from Llantwit Major to Aberthaw seemed never ending as it always does. With a final push we landed on the sands at Gilestone, any earlier and we would be up to our necks in mud.

Well it was almost sunset, another half hour and it would be. Taran stuck around for the sunset pictures whilst I set off for home for a warm bath! A marathon 22.57 nautical mile round trip (41.8km/25.97miles), not bad for a cold winters day. Top speed recorded 9kts.

1 comment:

Taran Tyla said...

Bloody fab Pics Stuart & a fab day out. Get my new paddle tomorrow, hmmm, where to test it (LOL)...