IOPCC Trip Report

Studland to Kimmeridge
Sunday 2nd October 2011

Paddlers: Cate Bargh, Jill Franks, Tony Sandry, John Miller, Jon Massey, Ian Hackworthy, Barbara Browning.

When planning the 2011 programme almost a year ago the weather for October 2nd was always going to be unpredictable. For once this year the weather smiled on us and we had the most perfect of days – in every way.
We set up a shuttle at Kimmeridge by leaving 2 cars there before meeting at Knoll Beach, Studland . There were 7 of us and we launched into a flat calm sea under a blue sky and clad in t shirts and shorts. Tony had his fair weather hat on – always a good sign.
We paddled out to the eroded chalk stacks and caves of Old Harry Rocks. The stacks point out from Handfast Point towards the Needles on The Isle of Wight, 28km across Bournemouth Bay. A tide race forms at the outer edge of the rocks but it was all quiet for us as there was no swell running. We remained inshore to appreciate the spectacular chalk spires and caves along this stretch before the cliffs fall away at Ballard as you enter Swanage Bay.
We stopped at Swanage for refreshment and a leg stretch as we knew there was unlikely to be another opportunity to land before Chapman’s Pool. We set off at 12.15 – paddling against the main flood but having faith in the promised inshore eddy which fortunately materialised and dragged us strongly through the tide race at Peveril Point.
Across Durlston Bay to the south, Durlston Head is recognisable by its overhanging cliffs and fake castle on top. The Durlston race was non-existent in this sea state and we progressed keeping very close to the cliffs to the Tilly Whim caves and the lighthouse of Anvil Point. As we turned the corner we had the view of the unbroken cliffs to St Aldhelm’s Head 7km away. As there was only a small swell we were able to paddle very close to the cliffs and were able to get in amongst the rocks. Jon and Tony were especially determined to add some excitement to their day.
We saw plenty of climbers on the cliffs. The cliffs form strange ledges overhangs and caves. Some of this is natural but it is also due to quarrying in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A series of long caves after Anvil Point, Long Hole and Blackers Hole being the most notable.
Further on we came to Dancing Ledge. There were hundreds of people down there enjoying the best day of the year. Dancing Ledge along with Seacombe and Whinspit are platforms which have been hewn out of the rock by quarrymen. Landing on them is difficult and even in the very calm conditions we had, landing wasn’t really an option.
After Whinspit where there were once again hundreds of people enjoying the sunshine and spectacular scenery, our next landmark was St Aldhelm’s Head. The headland is named after Saint Aldhgeim and has a twelfth-century chapel on top of the cliffs alongside the NCI lookout. There wasn’t very much tidal flow for us although on a rough day the roar of the race can be heard miles away with large waves stretching over 1km. With wind over tide the waves can be very steep and breaking.
From St Aldhelm’s Head we kept inshore and headed into Chapman’s Pool to have a leg stretch and a short break. Leaving Chapman’s Pool the cliffs change completely in character to the sombre greys and blacks of Kimmeridge shale. The sea was glassy calm for us and crystal clear. There were, however, some waves breaking on the Kimmeridge ledges and we were all able to have some fun on the benign surf waves. We completed our trip by landing in the slipway at Kimmeridge still in hot sunshine. We had just had one of the best ever paddles on the Jurassic coast.

Kimmeridge in the early morning mist John M in his lovely new boat
Peveril Point Tony in his 'fair weather' hat
The rock hopping was superb Ian and John
Coasteering at Whinspit Jon and Cate
John M surfing Lovely, benign waves at Kimmeridge
Journeys end at Kimmeridge

Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.


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Report: Barbara Browning
Pictures: Barbara Browning



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast