Easter Sunday 0930: Lake Pier car park. The sky didn’t
look as promising as forecast. Six of us were preparing to
be on the water at 10:00; two more, Barbara and Ian were
already on the water, paddling round from their overnight
camp, with their equipment stowed in their sea kayaks. We
were also pleased to be hosts to Emlyn. He was on holiday
from South Wales, and had sought us out through the
wonderful IOPCC website. He was joining us on our trip in
his Capella (his wife went shopping in Bournemouth with his
wallet - good effort!).
Clive West organised this trip meticulously, as he did not
want to be responsible for getting us stuck in the mud at
low tide! The sky brightened as we prepared to launch (this
included Ian and Hilary clearing my boat of wood lice - I
must use my boat more!). Clive handed out laminated OS maps
of the area which included our destination: Brownsea Island.
Also included were the tide directions and speeds taken from
tidal diamonds on the chart.
We set off on time, with the sun glittering on the water
now. Conditions were calm and clear. We paddled straight
across the end of Wareham Channel to the other side and
headed south skirting the Arne nature reserve. This was very
tranquil. Anchored ‘gin palaces’ were dotted here and there
and impressive properties peeped out from the shore. We
passed Long Island and the wooded Round Island and then
headed east towards Green Island and Furzey Island, passing
a colony of noisy gulls.
From Fitzworth Point we headed north-east, straight across
to the west side of Brownsea Island. This was as exposed as
it got with a mild head wind and some gentle bouncy water.
The approach to Brownsea was inspiring - peaceful sandy
beaches and pine woods. I was looking forward to my lunch
only to be told by Clive that we had to paddle all the way
round the island first!
Landing is forbidden on most of the north side and all of
the east side due to nesting birds, including
Oyster-catchers and Canadian geese of which we saw lots.
Brownsea Island has been a designated nature reserve since
1927, now managed by the National trust. It is also famous
for being the birthplace of scouting, with Baden Powell
taking his first group there. The view of Poole on our left
was not particularly attractive but the harbour was full of
activity with sailing boats, cruisers, wind-surfers and
As we passed Sandbanks and rounded the corner onto the
south side of Brownsea the calm and tranquillity returned.
With the island on our right hand side now and superb views
of green mainland including the Purbeck hills in the
distance. Despite my rumbling tummy the mood was relaxed and
the temperature warm. Along the beach people were enjoying
the holiday. Craig obviously still had some energy to dispel
before lunch, as he did some Eskimo rolls.
Brownsea Island is a peaceful place with woodland, wetland
and heath. It has a rich diversity of wildlife including
Sika deer and the endangered red squirrel. We saw neither of
these but were pleased to see wild violets during our trips
inland to the virtual toilet.
We ate lunch in the sun on warm mossy ground on the
southwest corner. The beach here is covered in old broken
clay pots. These are left over from The Branksea Clay and
Pottery Company which built a three storey pottery on the
south shore over 150 years ago, employing two hundred
people. The clay proved to be not good enough for fine
pottery and terracotta chimneys were not profitable enough.
The pottery closed down after five years.
Anxious not too leave things too late with the tide going
out, we headed in a straight line back to Lake Pier. Four
kilometres later we arrived back at 14:30, in plenty of
time, much to Clive's relief!
This was a really pleasant trip with great company and
helped along by good weather and delicious home baked cake
thanks to Hilary, Ian and Barbara.