IOPCC Trip Report

May Bank Holiday Sea Kayak Camping Trip to Cornwall
Day 3 Sunday 2nd May 2010


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 from Clive.

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 ‘Plan B’.

Launching at Wadebridge Paddling up the
River Camel
Ian on the River Camel Hilary, Jill and Clive
in line astern
On the Camel estuary On the Camel estuary
The boats at Padstow Back to Wadebridge
The group on the Camel estuary
GPS trace of the Camel estuary paddle courtesy of Clive West.

Click the thumbnail to view a bigger image.
Back to the Trip Report Index

Report: Geoff Ridler | Pictures: Barbara Browning



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast