IOPCC Trip Report

Burton Bradstock to Charmouth and return
Sunday 16th October 2011

Paddlers: Cate Bargh, Jon Massey, Hugh de Iongh, John Christmas, Ian Hackworthy, Barbara Browning.

It needs to be calm to launch at Burton and we were lucky to have near perfect launching conditions and we were lucky. Jon Massey did find a big wave though and got very wet indeed.

The cliffs at Burton are constantly changing and there was a significant rock fall that had happened recently. We paddled along the cliffs under cloudy skies to West Bay. Beyond West Bay successive tall hills are interspersed with valleys plunging to sea level. The first valley is Eype’s Mouth divided by Thorncombe Beacon and Doghouse Hill from Seatown which is 3km further on. Golden Cap offered us some boulders extending from the cliffs and a few waves to play in. Golden Cap is the highest point on England’s south coast and dominates the skyline. The name describes the lighter Cretaceous sand on top of the Jurassic cliffs.

Between the valley of St. Gabriel’s Mouth and Charmouth the cliffs are visibly crumbling and there was much evidence of rock falls and bulging mud slides. This is the famous Blue Lias limestone laid down 195 million years ago on the bed of a warm shallow Jurassic sea. The sun came out and we basked in its rays on a smooth sea punctuated by the occasional surprisingly large wave. Hugh impressed us all by nailing his roll – a task he has set himself to do on every paddle. Well done Hugh! We eased our way onto Charmouth beach – pushed in by some very small surf.

Lunch – with coffee in real cups and delicious ice cream was leisurely as we basked in the unseasonal October sunshine. The weather and sea conditions were still benign as we set off on our return trip to Burton. However, we stopped to play in the surf waves and Cate was the first to get wet – though impressively managing to stay in her boat until John C. effected an Eskimo rescue. Shortly afterwards Jon M. got tipped in by a big one – but he successfully rolled. He did lose his hat and John went to rescue it and he then capsized – kept hold of his hat and sunglasses – but not his paddle – so he exited his boat.

So it was 45 minutes after leaving the beach at Charmouth for the first time that we actually got away from Charmouth. The paddle back to Burton was very pleasant in the afternoon sunshine. The landing was a bit tricky due to the tide being low but we all managed without too much drama.

Afternoon tea at a local residence in Beach Road followed to finish off an excellent day.


Jon M enjoying an early bath. New cliff fall between Burton and Freshwater
Audience at West Bay Gel coat trials at
Golden Cap
Golden Cap Cate after her dip
John during his! Sunny paddle back to Burton
Pre launch beauty parade

Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.


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Report: Barbara Browning
Pictures: Barbara Browning



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast