Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Smalls - Now & Then

The Smalls has been on the 'list' for quite a while but I didn't expect to do it quite so soon.  When Mike suggested the trip last Friday we had a browse around for previous attempts.  Unable to find anything we put the question out on a number of social networking and kayak group pages.  No one came forward but there was a rumour that Nigel Foster had made the trip some 15 years or so ago.  I couldn't believe that no one had paddled here before but quietly hoped it might just have been a I had to find out, were we the first or had someone paddled here before us?
Our trip last Friday - photo by Mike
I managed to contact Nigel and he was kind enough to share his trip and photos with me.  Nigel, Sharon and Alun made the trip to The Smalls in 1984, from Whitesands Bay.  At that time the lighthouse was still manned.  They took the keepers fresh milk, newspapers and had a tour of the light house and a cup of tea before they left.  There was no record of anyone having paddled there prior to this and several known unsuccessful attempts were made in the years after.  Here are a couple of his slides....
Nigels' photo of the Smalls lighthouse 1984
I love old photographs.  Apart from the colour not much has changed.  The red and white stripes were sand blasted off in 1997 and the tower became automated in 1987 with the addition of solar panels.  The kayaking kit has changed a little though...
Scaling the tower - 1984 the light was still manned
There are not many places left unconquered these days, even circumnavigating Britain has become popular in recent years.  So were we only the second to reach The Smalls by kayak are were there more?  Please get in touch if you have made the trip it would be interesting to know.  For now I would like to think we were the second to paddle The Smalls.  Thanks Nigel for sharing.

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