IOPCC Trip Report

Ringstead to Lulworth
Saturday 12th November 2011


Paddlers: Jim Lloyd, Jon Massey, Ian Hackworthy, Barbara Browning, Jill Franks, Diana Green, Hugh de Iongh, Tony Sandry, David Cotgrove, Toby Willcocks, Jackie Jones, Stew Burdis, Paul Losse, Michelle Losse, Jason Cole, Mark Bardsley, Jason Tolmie, John Harvey.

As Barbara and I arrived at Ringstead car park, our joy on finding that we didn’t have to pay was tempered slightly upon hearing the sound of heavy surf on the beach. This was not the normal benign Ringstead that we have paddled from so often. We were pretty early, but already there were already several paddlers  readying boats and exposing goose bumped flesh. The IOPCC stalwarts were joined for this paddle by various old friends and also some new acquaintances from Chiswick Pier Canoe Club who were invited along by Jackie. Nice people, despite being from London! More and more people arrived until we had a total of 18 people. Nice to see Diana Green back paddling after her accident.

18 people produced a large amount of faff, but even so we managed to begin launching at 10:45, a mere ¼ hour late. And so began a day of carnage…

There was a heavy break on the beach which, if your timing was off, provided an invigorating pre paddle shower. Various items of deck mounted paraphernalia were left bobbing by the shore as paddlers crashed their way out to deeper and safer waters. A few brave souls decided that a quick surf was a good idea and off they went. The beach rapidly filled with kayaks being emptied! On the way back out the surfers collected the floating bits of kit which were soon reunited with grateful owners.

Due to the number of paddlers and in accordance with IOPCC policy we had split into two groups. The first group was led by Jim, the second by Jackie.

The paddle through Ringstead Bay, past White Nothe and on to Bats Head was pretty uneventful, with time to chat and show off the coastline to our visitors. All the time there were large swells rolling through, with paddlers disappearing from view. Normally Bat’s Hole is one of the highlights of the trip and everyone paddles through. On this occasion, however, it was pretty uninviting, with large breaking waves guarding the entrance. Only a few paddlers picked their way in, paddled through and bounced their way out to join their group.
Shortly after Bat’s Head we came to the iconic Durdle Door. Both groups converged and sat and stared at the huge waves breaking through the Door. As usual the beach was packed with camera toting tourists. They were in for a treat!!

All the show-off paddlers grouped on the beach side of the Door and one by one…went for it. Some were luckier than others and made it through unscathed. But several were not so lucky. The tourists must have loved it. I’m sure that they must have been a little nonplussed as to why these people were being so stupid. We stayed at the Door for about ½ hour whilst we played, emptied boats on the beach and then played some more. When everyone had had enough we all grouped on the seaward side and prepared to carry on to Lulworth. At this point the ‘Red Mist’ descended on David Cotgrove who, having been sat watching the carnage, suddenly decided that he would have a go and set off to paddle through in the opposite direction to every one else! Head down with paddles flying he headed in. It didn’t end well! The biggest wave of the lot upended him and he shot through upside down. Oh, how we laughed!! With help from Jon M, David was soon upright again and headed out to meet us, taking the easy route avoiding the Door. Jon M then decided to have one more go and went for it. Ladies and gents…Mr ‘I never swim’ Massey took a proper, full blown, upside down, failed roll swim…Oh yes!!

It was a short paddle on to Lulworth, where after avoiding the gnarly little wave at the entrance we all pulled out for a well earned lunch stop.

A daunting launch at Ringstead Jon up and over the break
Big swells Stew helmeted and ready for action
Michelle in her pretty Rockpool Isel Bypassing Bats Head
Durdle Door Lulworth for lunch
Stew at Man 'o' War Menacing light over Portland
Jon at White Nothe Wave catching
Big group faff

Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.

As we left Lulworth for the return trip, well fuelled by Barbara's AGM cake, the weather was beginning to deteriorate, with clouds gathering and the wind starting to freshen. Everyone made it out of the bay safely, only Jackie getting a face full as she misjudged the break at the mouth of the cove, but she emerged grinning ruefully.

The trip back was a rather more serious affair, with the strengthening wind producing an unpleasant following sloppy sea which had us all fumbling for skegs and swilling around all over the place. However once we had rounded White Nothe it all settled down and the feared surf landing back at Ringstead turned into a damp squib. All that remained was to lug 18 boats up the Ringstead slip which had strangely become twice as steep and long as it had been when we carried the boats down just a few hours before!

A good day...a very good day.

Back to the Trip Report Index

Report: Ian Hackworthy
Pictures: Barbara Browning and Jason Tolmie



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