IOPCC Trip Report

Aveton Gifford to Thurlestone
30th-31st May 2009

The weekend 30th-31st May was the highlight of IOPCC’s month. Ken Baillie carefully planned the Club trip to Thurlestone in the South Hams of Devon. This was such a great weekend enjoyed by 11 members. Ken had got it all organised and the whole trip went perfectly. Even the weather was great.

Most people met at Dorchester Tesco’s and travelled down in convoy to the Car Park at Aveton Gifford where we were due to launch at 14.00. This was at about half tide and we had to walk with our boats floating along for the first few hundred meters or so before there was enough water to paddle. The sheltered estuary was very beautiful with lots of birds and an ebbing tide to float down on. At Bantham the pace of the tide quickened as we wound our way past the thatched boat house and between the moored boats. As we reached the mouth of the river we came out of the shelter and felt the Force 5 easterly wind. The waves were substantial in the entrance and we were in the company of kite surfers who were often spectacularly airborne. As usual there were a couple of larger waves which some people got trashed by – but everyone stayed upright.

Once out onto the ocean we headed inshore to appreciate the spectacular coastline and to try to get out of the full force of the wind, which was gusting up to 25 knots. It was a hot sunny day out of the wind and the beaches were very busy with holidaymakers. We had hoped to camp on a beach at Thurlestone but we carried on to Hope Cove where we stopped for an ice cream. Cate decided she was a little warm and had a swim on the way in. Hugh valiantly went to her rescue.

Ken had a chat with the Harbour Master at Hope Cove and agreed that it was OK for us to camp around the corner from the main beach. It was just a 5-minute paddle away but very secluded as it could only be reached by boat. We set up camp there and enjoyed food, drink, a fire and good company in a beautiful location with perfect weather. It was Clive’s 60th birthday so we all enjoyed the cake Hilary had made for the occasion. Even a half moon and the stars came out to join us.

An uneventful night led to a perfect morning. Our leader had said the plan was OTW 9am sharp. Such was the enthusiasm and organisation of the group that we were ready to go at 08.15 – so we did. The wind had dropped and it was a perfect blue day. As the tide was flooding we were able to paddle through Thurlestone Rock which is an arch . After this the group split as 4 paddlers stayed inshore to rock hop whilst the rest of the group carried on out to go around Burgh Island. Ken had arranged VHF communication channels in advance so there were no worries and we all met up at Challaborough for a leisurely brunch.

Once again Kens planning was perfect and we were able to paddle across the bar, which links Burgh Island to Bigbury at high water. It was good fun to paddle our boats across with people paddling across.

There was some waves and surf to be enjoyed on our way back into the Avon estuary. The tide was weakly flooding up the estuary and we had a leisurely paddle back up to Aveton Gifford accompanied by jumping fish, egrets, herons and swans. This was an excellent club trip, carefully and meticulously organised by Ken and enjoyed by us all.


Pictures of the weekend are on the
Galleries Page.

Leaving Aveton Gifford Thatched boathouse at Bantham
Paddling out avoiding the kite-surfers Camping near Hope Cove
Barbecue and beer on the beach Hilary's latent pyromania finds an outlet.
First Stella of the day
7.52am! Brave man!
Thurlestone Rock. Crossing the sand bar at Burgh Island
Most of the group at Thurlestone Rock.
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Report and pictures: Barbara Browning



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast