There are advantages in having a night paddle in early
spring (or late winter – depending on how full or empty your
glass is) in that access to darkness is at a convenient
We were very lucky with the weather because although
inevitably it wasn’t warm, and the water in March is at its
coldest, there was only F3 –4 of wind with a slight sea.
Eight members of IOPCC met at Portland Castle at 18.30.
This is a very convenient place to park and launch and is
relatively safe from the antisocial youth of Weymouth.
Ken spoke to the Coastguard before we left and we
launched at 1900 and paddled off in the darkness towards the
Mulberrys and threaded our way between them. Keeping in
close proximity to each other we made our way across to the
South Ship Channel. We paddled out over the Hood and under
the wire and turned North to make our way along the outside
of the Outer Breakwater to the East Ship Channel.
It is quite a strange feeling paddling over waves that
you can’t really see but one that is adjusted to. It was
cloudy at this stage and very dark. We paddled towards the
red light of Fort Head where Chequered Fort is situated. We
rounded into the East Ship Channel and paddled into the
Fort. Landing is not allowed here but we stopped briefly for
a stretch and to partake of refreshments.
Heading North East but now on the inside of the
North–Eastern breakwater we paddled along to the North Ship
Channel and mustered to check all 8 were together. The sky
was clearing now and there were lots of stars but the moon
was still below the horizon.
From the North Ship Channel we paddled the four
kilometres back to Portland Castle together. There was a
headwind and a lively chop at times but we made good
progress and were ashore at 21.45.
An excellent trip. Thanks particularly to Ken for
scurrying though a heavy workload on Friday so he could be
there to look after us.