IOPCC Trip Report

Bowleaze to Lulworth Cove (and back)
Sunday 24th February 2013

Hugh de Iongh
Andy Oughton

I was keen to do this trip. Firstly, because after paddling for a few years I had never done this stretch of water and secondly, my sea kayak was starting to get covered in far too much dust for my liking.

I watched the forum (and the weather forecast) with interest in the days leading up. I thought the weather could go either way but I knew Hugh, who was organising this trip would make the right decision.

In the end we decided to go as on Sunday the sea state was predicted good if not a bit nippy in the air.

ďA bit nippy in the airĒ turned out to be a bit of an understatement as snowflakes were falling as I put the kayak on the roof of the car. Encouraged by this I went back inside and picked up my paddling gloves, extra fleece and hand warmers.

We launched at Bowleaze at around 10am. The skies were grey but the wind had dropped and the sea was calm. Whilst waiting for my fingers to come to I noticed that Hugh was trying his hardest to stay upright in his boat. Luckily he didnít go in as it was very cold. It turns out he had put his paddles together in the dark and ended up with the wrong ends on them. Once Hugh switched to his spare set we were up and running again.

In the initial section between Bowleaze and Ringstead, it was interesting to see the recent land slips the biggest of which were around the closed sections of the coast path. Before too long, we could hear the breaking waves of Ringstead. We didnít go in near them as we were heading directly for White Nothe point. This looks even more magnificent close up than it does from a distance. Around this point, the cliffs change from the brown and land slipped Oxford & Kimmeridge Clays to the towering chalk cliffs that the Jurassic Coast is famous for. Again a few white lines down the cliffs marked recent cliff falls. The sea also changed from a light grey/green to an almost milky white, as the debris from the cliff falls were being ground down under the water. This was most noticeable as we paddled back through a line in the water back to the grey green water as we neared Bats Hole.

We paddled through Bats Hole without event; the usual wave on the exit side did not appear to catch us out. It was then a short hop over to Durdle Door where the cliffs changed again to the harder Portland and Purbeck limestone. More care was taken in paddling through Durdle Door. Partially due to the swell that raised us up and spat us out the other side as it reflected off the beach, but more importantly due to the number of tourists watching us! We did this with style of course!

We finally arrived at Lulworth Cove at 12:30 and made use of the hand warmers so we could get into our lunch boxes and flasks.

We were back on the water at 13:10 and pretty much took a straight path back making use of the small tide in our favour. We arrived back at Bowleaze at 15:30 totally exhausted (well I was) and finally feeling the chill. So bad so we had to enlist the help of a local dog walker to help us with the straps on the roof racks, whilst a few more flakes of snow fell from the sky.

On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed the day and it was a good trip for me to start the year. Thanks to Hugh for organising the trip. Looking forward to doing some more. pictures in this report. Just too cold for any camera work!


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Report: Andy Oughton



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast