The IOPCC campers tumbled
out of their tents early morning after a disturbed nights
sleep in blustery conditions. Today’s planned paddle on the
exposed north Cornish coast between Daymer Bay and the
picturesque village of Port Isaac (of Doc Martin fame) was
looking increasingly doubtful.
Barbara soon confirmed that the forecast was for Force
6-7 Northerly winds , although we would be spared any
accompanying showers. Time for Plan B to swing into action
(always rely on Barbara and Ian for a Plan B). We would put
in near the old bridge in Wadebridge at high tide and paddle
upstream as far as we could navigate in this sheltered
wooded valley – welcome respite from wind in our faces –
this time it was pushing us upstream – between the arches of
the old stone bridge and under the
new ‘Anneka Rice’ bridge, and through Wadebridge Park
and on towards the upper reaches of the river.
When we reached the weir which is the tidal limit we had
a short break and were taken by surprise when 4 sit on top
kayakers appeared form upstream. We headed back downstream
with the falling tide to Wadebridge and then onwards into
the expanding estuary. Wadebridge gave way to rolling green
hills of farmland on the North shore fronted by cliffs of
disused quarries and the course of the popular Camel Trail
cycle track on the south bank.
The IOPCC group was exposed to the ravages of the wind
sweeping across the wide estuary. However we made good
progress with the tidal assistance. We stopped for a leg
stretch and a snack before continuing down towards Rock into
the freshening wind. We stopped at Rock to asses the
situation and decided to continue down the estuary towards
Daymer. The wind became too strong to paddle against before
we reached Daymer so we landed on the beach to make a plan.
We decided to cross the estuary to Padstow. Time for a
briefing from Barbara and explanation with accompanying
drawings in the sand about the principles of ferry gliding
Operation ferry glide was successfully completed with no
swimmers. We had a a couple of hours to kill while the tide
turned and gained sufficient momentum to carry us back up to
Wadebridge. Most people went into Padstow in search of
coffee, pasties, ice cream, custard tarts etc. Most people
had on their paddling gear but John M was particularly scary
in his Reed rubber wear.
The return trip from Padstow to Wadebridge was wind
assisted and we had the sun on our backs. However there were
times when we had trouble finding the course of the river in
amongst the extensive sandbanks which appear at low tide.
Most of the group chose to paddle, although Dicky and myself
(Geoff R) decided it was a good idea to re-enact the opening
scene from Lawrence of Arabia whilst dragging our kayaks
behind us. We decided that kayakers were really designed to
be used in at least 6 inches of water and managed to
complete the last stretch without any further ‘yomps’. (even
though I’m sure it is really good training for those in Navy
mechanical support, Dicky).
Thanks to Barbara, Ian and IOPCC for a fun and incident
packed day on the water (and sand) and a very enjoyable