The Early May Bank Holiday North
Cornwall club meet has become a fixture on the IoPCC
calendar for several years. Our preferred campsite at
Trewiston Farm gives us reasonable facilities and easy
access to some superb paddling with some exposed
stretches if the weather permits and some sheltered
trips if the weather is less kind. The Polzeath/Rock
area has always been dear to me and I love returning
here every year.
It is quite odd how wide an area IoPCC
draws its membership from and we had paddlers arriving
from locations from Amesbury to Aberdeen.
This year we were only planning to
paddle on the three days from Saturday to Monday. Tony,
Michael and Sally arrived a little earlier than the rest
of us and managed to squeeze in an extra paddle on the
Friday. They went from Port Quin to Port Isaac and back,
not a particularly long paddle, but the wind made it
Whilst they were out, most of the
remaining paddlers appeared, only Jane deciding to wait
until Saturday morning to make her entrance.
When all tents had been erected,
sleeping bags unstuffed and, importantly, cool boxes
located it was definitely Gin ‘o’ clock and we all
gathered to watch Jill work her magic producing cold
tonic, lemons and even ice.
By this time Tony, Sally and
Michael had returned and were more than happy to join
in. Once the sun had dropped, we decided that it was a
bit chilly to eat from our tents so we all wandered down
to the Pityme Inn for supper and refreshments.
Saturday morning was pretty windy and
there had been some overnight rain. I suspected that the
conditions would be a bit rough for most of us so I
drove over to Polzeath to check it out. Sure enough the
conditions were pretty gnarly.
Back at the campsite we
had a chat and decided to split into two groups. The
majority would put in at Wadebridge and paddle down the
estuary, whilst the hardier souls (Jane, Jeff and Tim)
would put in at Port Quin and paddle to Port Isaac and
back. Tony and I had to make a trip into Truro so were
unable to paddle.
The estuary paddlers although not having
to deal with big water were paddling into a steady F5
wind which made it into a bit of a slog. This is a very
picturesque trip as the River Camel winds down past Rock
and Padstow, ending the day at Daymer Bay which always
provides an easy surf free landing.
Jane, Jeff and Tim had an altogether
different experience as the pictures show. Jane found it
quite an experience paddling with two people who are
seemingly intent on getting within touching distance of
every possible rock! Tim later described Jeff as being a
head-case…he’s a fine one to talk!! Take a look at
Jeff’s YouTube clip and see what you think.
Later back at the site Jill again showed us her catering
prowess by providing the necessary ingredients for an
exceptionally fine BBQ. Mackerel, burgers and assorted
nibbles ensured that we were all kept happy and well
Sunday was promised to be a better day
and sure enough the wind had dropped overnight meaning
that we were all able to contemplate a bigger paddle.
Jeff and Lynda were away competing in the
Hartland Hartbreaker so would not be joining us. Instead we were
joined by Steve and Becky, two paddlers from the Exeter
Canoe Club who just happened to be using the same campsite.
We decided to put in at Daymer Bay and
paddle to Port Quin and then on to Port Isaac if we
fancied it, always bearing in mind that we had to come
back again! The launch from Daymer caused no problems
and we were soon crossing Polzeath Bay keeping well away
from the surf line. Pentire Head was a bit bumpy but
everyone negotiated it without incident. The stretch
from Pentire past the Rumps to Port Quin is always
lovely with plenty of interest. Today we were able to
paddle out and go around the island offshore from the
We stopped for lunch at Port Quin, where
Tina let Paul have her boat and relieved him of Nathan,
so that Paul was able to enjoy the rest of the day
paddling. Sally decided to call it a day at Port Quin,
but the rest of us set off to paddle the few km to Port
Isaac. Upon reaching Port Isaac we had a bit of time to
kill before we had a favourable tide for the return
trip. So we lay on the slipway and soaked up the sun.
Having dawdled on the outward trip,
checking out every cave, nook and cranny, we decided to
take a more direct route back and took a straight-line
course back to the Rumps. Here we took a 10 minute break
before facing whatever Pentire Head had in store for us.
Our worries were unfounded and we rounded the headland
in relatively smooth water.
It was then just a case of paddling back
to Daymer and that was it…a cracking paddle.
Several people had suggested that one of
the paddles that they would like to do at some point
over the weekend was Crackington Haven to Boscastle and
back. This was coincidentally the one that I wanted to
do, so that was that…Monday’s trip sorted.
It made sense to head home from
Crackington at the end of the day so we all took our
tents down before setting off on the 45 minute drive to
Crackington. Our first sight of Crackington Haven beach
was not encouraging…a long carry to a pretty chunky
looking surf launch…Oh Dear!
Close up the launch looked no better, so
we steeled ourselves for a wet start to the day. We all
made it out OK with varying degrees of success with
nothing vital being washed off our decks and dentures
still in place.
Passing the remarkable rock formations
of Cam Beak as we turned the corner towards Boscastle we
were surprised at the size of the swell…it was huge.
Certainly no chance of getting in close to the wonderful
caves and stacks that make up this bit of coast. We
paddled on keeping a wary eye out for any waves that
might suddenly rear up and cause us problems. As we got
nearer to Boscastle the swells seemed to diminish so we
finally were able to get in closer and make the best of
the features that we found and managed to meet a few of
the local seals who came over to check us out. Rounding
the corner into Boscastle was pretty bouncy but we all
carefully made our way safely into the pretty harbour.
After a lunch break Sally and Jill
decided to call it a day and carried their boats up to
Jill’s car which we had left here earlier with just this
possibility in mind. They assured us that they would be
at Crackington ready to help us all land.
The return trip was a much calmer
affair. The tide was higher than on our outward journey
and the increased depth of water meant that the swell
had dropped off. We pushed on pretty quickly and were
soon back at Crackington. Jeff who had led us back,
called us all over and warned us that the surf that we
had launched through in the morning had not abated and
due to the shape of the beach had become a nasty dumping
surf onto the rocky bit of the beach. Hmmm!!
So we set it up so that we had some
people on the beach to help people out of their boats
and Jeff would wave paddlers in one at a time. Let the
Carnage it was! One by one we awaited
our chosen time grim faced. Sitting out back, you could
hear the cheers from the beach as paddlers successfully
landed and groans when they swam. I’m not going to name
names…apart from one!!
Tony was being a real saint and was accompanying another
paddler in to the melee. All was going well until one
bigger wave came along and picked him and the other
paddler up and surfed them in hard and fast. Tony’s boat
nose-dived and buried its nose into the shingle and
front looped. It looked dreadful from where I was sat,
still waiting out back. However I saw him get fished out
apparently none the worse for wear. His boat however
faired less well as you will see from the gallery
pictures and this YouTube clip that Steve has put up. I
particularly like Tim's 'hands on head' reaction and
David's athletic wave leap!!
So that was it. Another brilliant IOPCC long weekend. A
bit bruised and battered, a bit sunburnt but everyone
was still smiling and a beer in the sun at the end of it
all made everything just perfect.
Thanks to everyone for coming, but
special thanks to Jill for the BBQ and for providing ice
for the G&T’s, Jeff for sorting out the Crackington
landing and Tony for being the only responsible person
Oh, and I make no apologies…Jane and
Jeff, I have nicked all your pictures and videos for the
gallery and this report!!