IOPCC Trip Report

Portland Harbour Night Paddle
13th March 2009

Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.


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 time.

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.


Sorry that the pictures are not up to Barbara's usual high standard...but it was dark, you know!
Ken launching from
Portland Castle
Hilary and Clive crossing the harbour
Clive Joyner crossing the
Sign? What sign? Gathered at
Chequered Fort
Quite a gathering for a
night paddle.
Ken and Dave demolishing
the fig rolls.
Steady Ken! Dave on the homeward leg.
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Report: and pictures: Barbara Browning



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