IOPCC Trip Report

Round Portland
21st March 2009

Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.


The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. After the usual moving of cars, we set off from Chesil beach right on time at 11:00. It was my first trip all the way round so I was looking forward to it. Barbara wanted to practice her VHF skills so signed in with the coastguard to let them know what we were planning. Little did we all know how much more she would be using the VHF set later. The plan was to leave 3 hours before high tide so that we would benefit from the tide being with us all the way round.

The sea down the west side of the island was like a sheet of glass. The visibility was near perfect, the occasional diver disturbing the surface. We all did a bit of rock hopping round the boulders. Clive managed to lighten his boat a bit by leaving some fibreglass on the rocks. As we moved to the south of the island and left the hoards of climbers behind, the scene was like something out of a David Attenborough’s documentary with cormorants diving into the water as we slid past.

About noon we rounded the bill, paddling through Pulpit Rock and past the lighthouse, relieved not to be with the crowds that were on land. We then started up the east side on route to our lunch stop, past large caves and huge wooden boat cranes that are used to lower boats down the cliff edge. I was looking forward to lunch as I had been told about the “baking” wars that go on between Hilary and Barbara.

At this point we were watching more climbers out enjoying the weather. I was wondering what to write in the trip report as this part of the island was starting to get less interesting when suddenly one of the climbers fell from the top of the cliff. We took the decision to alert the coastguard of the situation, as we weren’t sure whether any of the climbers was able to alert the emergency services. Barbara did a grand job of giving the coastguard all the information they needed. We then all rafted up to give “Whiskey Bravo” the local coastguard helicopter a better chance of seeing us. Once again, Clive wished he had packed his orange flares. We were relieved when we heard the roar of the helicopter coming down the coast toward us. The climber was eventually airlifted to the local hospital and only suffered a couple of broken bones and concussion (a lucky chap). We had a ringside view of the whole affair before moving off to complete the journey.

We got back to Portland Castle at 15:00 after paddling through the breakwater and port. When we contacted the coastguard to let them know we were back, they commended the way in which we handled the affair. If the climber had serious head injuries, those extra minutes saved could have made all the difference. Subsequent to the event, we had a nice write up in the Echo, photos supplied by Ian and Barbara. Hopefully it will raise the awareness of the club and what a professional bunch we are!! pretty is that? Clive on glassy calm seas
Clive, Ian and Andy Barbara
Andy at the Bill A little bit of rough after
the Bill
Whiskey Bravo flies in to pick up the injured climber A kayaker paddles on his stomach!
Winner of the baking wars...Hilary West!
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Report: and pictures: Barbara Browning



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast