IOPCC Trip Report

Sandbanks to Old Harry Rocks and beyond
Sunday 29th January 2012

This paddle is becoming a fixture in the Club’s January events. We have successfully completed the paddle for the last 3 years now. We were expecting a group of 10 or 11 paddlers but several dropped out right at the last minute so it was just 6 stalwarts who met on a very cold dull morning at Sandbanks – supported by Sharon, our shore contact.

There was very little wind and the sea was calm so there were no real issues on launching. Well David did manage to fill his boat with water but that was the only wave of the day and he managed to find it!

We paddled at a good speed throughout the day in order to keep warm as it was bitterly cold. Handfast point and Old Harry Rocks never fails to impress no matter how many time you have been there. The stacks and pinnacles are magnificent and as it was so calm we were able to explore them thoroughly. The stacks point out from Handfast Point towards the Needles on the Isle of Wight 28kn across Bournemouth Bay. ‘Old Harry’ is an archaic name for Satan, and is generally used to describe the stack at the seaward end. In the nineteenth century Harry had a wife but she collapsed into the sea along with another stack.

There was no tidal activity off the stacks. We remained inshore and paddled close to the spectacular chalk spires and caves that follow. The cliffs get progressively higher and then fall away in Swanage Bay. As it was so cold we didn’t paddle all the way across to Swanage but instead paddled down to the closest beach and stopped for half an hour of lunch and very bad jokes. (Ask Hugh!)

Back on the water we kept up the brisk speed to bring the feeling back into chilled hands. Paddling once more between the spires and stack we rounded Old Harry Rocks without incident and headed at speed for the National Trust cafe – hot chocolate and fudge cake were well deserved by this point.

Once refreshed we completed the last stretch back to Sandbanks. There was hardly any other craft on the water so crossing the shipping Channel wasn’t a problem and we were greeted at Sandbanks by Sharon at 3pm.

David and his own personal tsunami Barbara, bit firmly between teeth!
Jon and Dicky Hugh at Old Harry
A nice shot by Dicky Barbara
Dicky heading back towards Old Harry The group nearly back to Sandbanks. Very Chilly
GPS Trace courtesy of Dicky Bird

Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page


Back to the Trip Report Index

Report: Barbara Browning
Pics: Barbara Browning, Dicky Bird,
Sharon Frampton



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast