Sea Kayaking South West
|Jackie Jones (assistant coach)
As a late replacement for Hugh de Iongh who had to drop
out, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, except a
probability of a cold weekend. It certainly turned out cold
and wet and windy at various times but everyone enjoyed it,
I think, and took something away from the weekend's
paddling. The trip was made a lot more comfortable by the
use of a farmhouse adjoining Rob's residence and with
central heating and all mod cons.
We arrived in fits and starts on Friday evening from all
points of the compass, Jill claiming the prize for longest
trip having driven from Aberdeen via Marlow, John Miller
from Reading and the rest of us more local. Most of us went
off to the pub for food, I can recommend the
Kings Arms in Georgeham, good food and even live music.
Saturday arrived cold as expected and we set off for an
early start to launch at Watermouth with an easy carry to
the beach. We practiced some edging and turning, watched the
wildlife and had a variety of weather- wet and windy, wet
and cold and sometimes just a bit wet. Good test for gloves
and pogies. Rob was very good at sizing up peoples abilities
and giving clear instructions on what to do. We rounded off
with a bit of mild surfing and some useful practice at
launching and landing. Apparently the usual technique of
waiting with camera ready for the inevitable swim is not the
only way! Some of us rounded off the day with a return visit
to the pub while others opted for a quiet night in although
unfortunately too late to catch the rugby.
Sunday was probably colder but after a heavy squall with
hail and sleet the day improved greatly and the sun shone.
John M forgot his BA which forced him to go and rest up with
a coffee for the morning, maybe not a bad idea. Rob took us
to a tide race just out of Combe Martin which was good
practice at breaking in and out and doing 360's in the rough
water. Everyone overestimated the speed of the tide, it was
only 2 knots apparently but was enough to get the adrenalin
going. John joined us after lunch and some rock-hopping with
towing and rescue practice rounded off the session followed
by some more landing and launching practice and a final bit
of proper wet rescue practice. We had time to stretch our
legs in Ilfracombe and take in the
Damien Hirst artwork-a bit weird as expected.
We had two pretty full days on the water on a part of the
coast we don't often paddle but I think we will return. The
site was good, coaching from Rob assisted by Jackie was
excellent and the company impeccable as usual. Thanks to all
for a great weekend.