IOPCC Trip Report

Easter Overnighter
Saturday 16th - Sunday 17th April



With sunny conditions and a light wind forecast it seemed a shame not to make the most of it. ‘The Tweedles’ (Dum and Dee – aka Barbara and Ian) and myself planned a longer paddle from Lake Pier, rather than the shorter paddle over to Arne initially planned. Lake Pier was busy with others making the most of the weather and we packed out boats with all our kit with quite an audience.  As usual I struggled to get everything in and was the last to be ready.

We had a great swift paddle down past Brownsea Island and out through the entrance, across the training wall and landed for a short stretch at Shell Bay. A loo break for one tuned into a reccy for the ideal camping spot in the dunes and an opportunity to put on our cags – up until this point we only wore base layers, but with the wind picking up we soon began to feel chilly. It was a glorious paddle in sunny calm conditions out to Old Harry Rocks which seemed to take no time at all. We were in no particular rush so had plenty of time for exploring all the nooks and crannies along this part of the coast and pose for lots of pictures, with Barbara demonstrating her considerable prowess!

We carried on to Ballard and as we were having such a lovely time decided to continue on to Swanage. We had been accompanied by a number of sit on tops and the odd PWC but as we approached Swanage it became a bit like the M25. Even finding space to land proved a bit of a challenge but with the promise of an ice cream we soon managed and all landed safely.

At this point I should point out that the Tweedles were dressed in (almost matching) Reed gear. Coupled with my neoprene shorts we looked quite oddly dressed compared to the usual British holiday maker otherwise in evidence. Did we care – NO!  One coffee and ice cream later we were again ready for the off.

We paddled out to Peveril Point to have a look at the tide race here. It was still ebbing quite strongly so we decided to make our way back across towards Old Harry. This proved to be a bit more of a slog than on the way across with tide against. At one point I remarked that my boat seemed to be misbehaving but didn’t think too much more about it. Once we reached Old Harry Rocks we cut through and then went out for a little play in the tide race off this point. Nothing too exciting and we survived. We then set off back across to Shell Bay, with thoughts of pitching tents and dinner uppermost.

Trying to pull my boat up the beach after landing provided the answer to why my boat appeared to be misbehaving – the rear hatch was about half full of water. I later discovered dry bags are not necessarily dry bags when submersed! Luckily my sleeping bag was about the only thing not actually wet.

We pitched our tents amongst the sand dunes, enjoyed the lovely evening light and sunset. It was amazing how quiet the area was. Food was prepared, wine was consumed, banter was evident, all in all a great evening. I had been promised a visit by the Special Boat Services, but unfortunately that didn’t materialise! Still there’s always next time. 



We had posted on the forum the day before that we would arrange to meet the other Sunday paddlers at the top end of Brownsea, rather than paddling back to Lake Pier. We loaded our boats and set off, just about being able to cross the Training Wall without having to detour. We tried to raise Clive on the VHF to no avail so carried on back through the harbour entrance and across to Brownsea. This time we decided to go round anticlockwise. Eventually we made contact with Clive via mobile, to discover that we had been waited for and that the Sunday paddlers of Clive, Jim, Geoff and Stew had only just left. In the meantime we landed on the north west side and attempted to spot the other paddlers. Eventually we all met up, had a quick stop and then proceeded to circumnavigate Brownsea in an anticlockwise direction. The calm conditions made for easy paddling, a chance to catch up and have a good gossip.

The weather was still being kind to us and we stopped for an extended lunch at the Poole pottery part of Brownsea. As it was Easter Sunday Geoff kindly came prepared with a big bag of mini eggs (my favourites mmmm) so we all had a handful. We did appear to forget the Easter bonnets though.

We all decided it was too early to finish paddling for the day so a plan was hatched to venture off into the quieter part of Poole Harbour – you know the bit that doesn’t have a great deal of water and lots of mud. The plus is that the scenery and the peacefulness is beautiful, with lots of wild life to be seen.

We headed between Furzey Island and Green Island, past the oil wells and then past Round Island and then Long Island, up the Wych Channel. Channel what channel? The map lies. By this point I was bringing up the rear. Eventually I realised I was gaining on those in front only to discover that they had run out of water and were having to pull / push themselves through. I have to admit to a (slight) sense of humour failure at this point! I was hot, tired and thirsty!

Once all through and back into deeper water Jim and Stew decided to make a run for it and set off at a fast pace – to the extent that they were virtually off the water by the time the rest of us made it back to Lake Pier.  Impressive paddling!

All in all a great weekend, fantastic weather and as ever good company.  Thanks to Clive, our leader for the day. The mystery of the water in my boat has not completely been solved but appears to be a hatch cover not properly put on. Lesson learned the hard way!

Ian and Barbara
at Shell Bay
Barbara on the way to
Old Harry Rocks
Old Harry Rocks Old Harry Rocks
Ian and Barbara Barbara
Barbara's party piece The Tweedles
Barbara Camping at Shell Bay
Sunset Ian
Domestic Goddess Paddling back into
Poole Harbour
Stew Burdis Pottery Pier
Lunch Time Stew and Jim
Aground in
Poole Harbour
Stew heading homewards Back at Lake Pier
GPS trace of the paddle courtesy of Clive West.

Click the thumbnail to view a bigger image.

Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.


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Report: Jill Franks
Pictures: Jill Franks & Barbara Browning



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast