Saturday, 18 October 2008

Surfing across the Solway

Our return paddle from Southerness to Silloth was direct but entertaining:
Before we could paddle, Jim had to find the energy to overcome feeling ill and pack his kit into his boat:There was a long trek over the sands:We were lucky enough to find a creek that allowed us to float the boats for some of the way:The first part of the paddle was OK but we started to go over the sandbanks after a few km:There were some gaps between the sandbanks but these seemed to just make the seas more confused:
Photos weren't really an option in the confused seas. There was a big tide coming in over relatively shallow waters - we might have been better off waiting until there was a bit more water over the sand banks - and it kicked up some fairly substantial waves.

The combination of tide, wind and waves gave us quite an impetus. The GPS hit a maximum speed of just over 20kph as I surfed one of the more helpful waves.

We were relieved to make it to the beach to the south-west of the harbour at Silloth:The waves breaking were on the concrete along the Silloth sea front where we launched for the outward trip. This would not have made a good spot to land:We were pleased to see that a tug working on the new windfarm also managed to make the conditions look quite challenging:I would like to go back and visit this area again. Another time we would make sure that there was a bit more daylight and would take a more direct route:
I am now confident that my boat will handle adequately when loaded for a week; I still had food for about four days when we unpacked to drive home.

A final note of thanks is owed to Mark Rainsley of UKRGB for his notes about the tides in the Solway Firth and to Douglas Wilcox for his inspiring account of paddling around Hestan Island, which we will reach next time. Weather and illness made us achieve far less on this trip than we had hoped but it was still a rewarding paddle and a good introduction to this area.


Douglas Wilcox said...

Greetings Sean, thanks for the mention.

You did very well! I was out on Friday and Saturday further west on the Solway, it was a bit breezy at times!

It is just as well you were not crossing back on Sunday, it was gusting up to 55 knots. I went windsurfing instead.

The Solway sand bars do throw up some very interesting waves. I wonder if you have seen this story on my blog?


PS I have put a link to you on my blog.

SeanJ said...

Our original plan had been to paddle down to Hestan Island for our first night's camp. We would then have spent Saturday exploring that area and then paddled back to Silloth on the Sunday. Our plans were forced to change by the weather forecast and I'm glad that we took the sensible option!