IOPCC Trip Report


What the ****? you might ask…all will be revealed in due course.

10, (or 9 according to Clive’s counting) keen paddlers met in the Devon village of Aveton Gifford on a sunny Saturday morning and prepared their boats for a weekends paddle and overnight wild camp celebrating Clive’s "25th" birthday. Barbara and Ian, smelling less than sweet having been kayaking for 3 days earlier, already on the water in time to laugh at the antics on land as we tried to get all of our essential kit (mainly wine and food) and camping kit into stupidly small things called hatches. At the mention of needing to leave the malt behind Andy kindly offered, taking the bottle of malt so all was well.

Julie and Geoff were like anxious new parents having recently purchased new kayaks, a Nordkapp and Aquanaut respectively making sure that the rest of us kept a healthy distance from them.

We left shortly after midday. The paddle down the river was lovely, not much wind, hot and sunny and gorgeous scenery on all sides. The group managed to make good progress down to the mouth of the river where a pre-arranged stop for lunch had been suggested in advance of tackling the surf at the river mouth.

The landing proved interesting with a steeply shelving channel making landing tricky. All managed successfully, except for John Miller, who managed the first swim of the day, to cheers all round and Barbara at the ready with her camera. After a short lunch stop we re-launched, with getting off the beach proving as challenging as before.

The plan was to paddle down towards Hope Cove where ice creams all round were promised. It was a lovely paddle down towards Hope Cove, with enough swell to make it interesting and to keep attention focussed on paddling. We abandoned plans to land at the first beach due to the size of the surf and paddled round to the more sheltered harbour where all landed successfully. The 10 kayaks on the beach looked splendid and attracted a great deal of interest, particularly Andy’s wooden kayak.

After ice creams at Hope Cove we rock hopped our way to Bolt Tail for a gratuitous bounce before retuning to Beacon Point Beach where all managed the landing through surf to set up camp for the night.

All safely ashore, survival of the fittest instincts kicked in. John Miller opted for a tried and trusted cave option in true Neanderthal style at one end of the beach. John Christmas had opted for an (untried) tarp shelter. I’m pleased to report that both made it through the night unscathed.

We all congregated for a lively evening around a camp fire which was pretty impressive given the scarcity of wood and helped along (the evening that is, not the fire) by refreshing wine and tasty food (in that order!) with Hilary’s baking providing the dessert. Most people had opted for disposable BBQ’s and these were soon alight to provide tasty fare. An evening of intellectual discussion was swiftly curtailed by a “You’ve got a lovely pair of tent pegs!” directed towards Julie, after which the conversation went down hill rapidly. With high water at 12.30am we felt obliged to stay up to make sure that we weren’t going to be swept away. Retiring close to HW, it then turned out that we had forgotten to add the hour for BST. John M reported the waves lapping fairly close to his cave. The moral to the tale is don’t do this trip at Springs.

We launched on Sunday morning at 09.30 in bright sunshine. There was still a considerable swell but conditions allowed some to paddle through the arch at Thurlstone Rock. There was some rock hopping to be had on the way to Burgh Island but it was a bit marginal due to the sea state. Rounding the Island was interesting but all made it to the sanctuary of the surfers café where we had a splendid brunch stop while waiting for the tide to flood over the causeway. A few launched early finding the small surf waves irresistible.

After this the fun began. With heavy surf at the entrance of Bantham Bay, Jill was the first to swim. Luckily there are no photos! With all her gear, a boat filled with water and the waves it proved difficult to perform a rescue, so the group all headed to the beach. In landing Andy managed to find a rock which resulted in a large scratch on the bottom. Sorry Andy! Meanwhile the second group had caught up and all paddled together towards the river at which point John M took his second swim of the weekend. So much excitement!

After all that activity a gentle paddle back to our start point up the River Avon saw us complete a fantastic two day trip, with just enough water at the top of the river not to have to walk our boats.

All in all a great trip, great paddling, great fun and great company. Thanks to Clive for organising and everyone else for the banter.


Pictures of the weekend are on the
Galleries Page.

Julie's new boat Geoff's new boat
Heading down the River Avon Heading down the River Avon
Clive and John at Bantham Barbara at Bantham
Barbara at Bantham John launching from Bantham beach
Big swells at Bantham Ice cream stop at
Hope Cove
John M rockhopping A bit choppy off Bolt Tail
Clive at Bolt Tail Camping at
Beacon Point Beach
Andy surfing at
Burgh Island
Jill at Burgh Island
The group back at Aveton Gifford
GPS trace of the paddle courtesy of Clive West.

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

Report: Jill Franks
Pictures: Barbara Browning, Hilary West, Julie Wood



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