Back home now in Exeter after the Scilly Expedition. Two loads of highly ‘scented’ washing done; tent, inflatable mat and sleeping back drying and airing; Trangia washed in hot water to remove the smell of not so fresh mackerel; wetsuit, jacket and flotation aid washed and dripping and electrical devices and gizmos charging – nearly there. Time to fire up my NutriBullet to make a smoothie to replace my diet of burgers, bacon and beer. I have managed to get the trip traces off my Garmin and they give a good indication of what we got up to last week.
Here is part of the route we took on Wednesday (here is my blog from that day – here). It only shows the second half as our departure from St Mary’s in the morning was a little stressful. We were about to leave on our first proper ‘crossing’ to Samson when a squall blew up and turned the glassy still harbour into a nasty chop – we aborted but the squall disappeared as quickly as it had come and the order was given to go. Everyone was still reeling from there chop and it became a white knuckle paddle to Samson (that might just have been me) – as a result I forgot to turn on the GPS. We did make it across to Samson (at least its exposed sandbanks) and then we headed up the east coast of Bryher to land and lunch near Anna Quay.
We then set off to look at Cromwell’s Castle (when I remembered to turn the Garmin on) and then up to Shipman Head and then back down to Appletree Bay by Carn Near. By this point the weather was approaching a Force 4-5 and we cancelled the proposed crossing back to Mary’s and got a lift back on the speedboat Endeavour.
Next morning we were Endeavoured back out to Carn Near and set off to St Martin’s – we stopped on a beach at low tide near Old Grimsby (the hook on the trace) and then crossed the channel to St Martins. (Blog from Thursday is here)
We stopped near Lower Town for lunch and went for various walks including a trip to the Seven Stones before heading back to St Mary’s. You can see a kink to the south east half way across the Roads – this is when we saw the Scillonian heading our way ….
Friday saw us visiting the Eastern Isles – our first stop was a Bar Point where some of us went for a walk up to see the Bronze Burial Chamber at Innisidgen – then around the Eastern Isles and lunch on the sandbar south west of Nornour called Ganilly Bar. (Friday’s Eastern Isles blog here)
Saw the Scillonian again on the way back but this time it headed west.
On our final day we went around St Mary’s (anti-clockwise). (Saturday’s blog here). Passing the point on the south side of the Garrison saw some really ugly water which was a challenge to paddle through – we all made it and then stopped at Old Town Bay – walked up the beach to the Old Town Cafe for a tea but it was closed (on a Saturday in the high season – really?) – instead some of us then popped into the Old Town cemetery to look at Harold Wilson’s grave (again the trace clearly shows this). Onwards and around the south and eastern sides of the Island before stopping for lunch near at Little Porth, finally back around to the harbour.
What a brilliant week – one of my best ever. You can see a selection of my photos from the holiday here on my Flickr account .
Huge thanks go to our leader Shaun from Sea Kayaking Cornwall along with his oft repeated quote “sea kayaking is an assumed danger activity”.
So has this inspired you to go sea kayaking? If it hasn’t I don’t think anything will! Sea Kayaking Cornwall offer courses and Expeditions for all levels of ability from Beginner through to Advanced. I went on their Intromediate Expedition – see here. I have paddled a bit on the Dart, the Exeter Canal, the Exe, on Windermere, off the Norfolk coast, the Northumberland coast, around Stockpole, Scilly and Exmouth and I have done my 1* and 2* courses with the Exeter Canoe Club but I haven’t done a huge around and before this expedition I had always been pretty timid. After an infamous expedition down the Dart a few years ago I coined the expression “Someone’s going to die” after a series of capsizes which three totally inexperienced kayakers attempted (successfully) to rescue another topple prone paddler. I now feel so much more qualified and confident to explore. I will also be going on other Sea Kayaking Cornwall courses and expeditions in due course – can’t recommend them enough.
Find your level and give it a go.