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Pembrokshire, Sea Exped 11 – 20th September.

This probably was the main expedition of the year 2020 due to Covid 19 stopping play. The following has been lifted and edited from my personal paddling record. The 9 paddlers were Barry I (@lollistixpaddles), Andy E, James W’f, John H, Mark B, Alan J,Chris P (Colchester and Braintree CC), Estelle K (EACSK ), and Dave P (EACSK). All experienced/intermediate paddlers apart from Chris who is a White Water paddler, now converted! All distances are estimates.

Sat 12 Sept paddle Milford Haven Estuary. F2/3 increasing.HW 14:11 sunny 19c on at 11:35 off 17:00 10 miles (15k) Group of 9. Launch West Angle Bay paddled  SW to Rat Island, Sheep Island (Chris capsized rounding the point) crossed the estuary north West via RAT Buoy channel marker to Blockhouse. East to Watwick Bay ( Lunch beautiful secluded beach, with a couple of yachts anchored in the bay), NE to Watwick Point, Castle Beach Bay, Dale  Point,  Watch House Point, Gt Castle Head. Crossed to  south side of Estuary to West Pitt then West through Thorn Island  (2m swell) and back to West Angle Bay.

Sunday 13 Milford Haven Estuary. F4/5 W HW 16.00? Overcast on 11:00? Off 17:55 10.24 miles Group of 9. West Angle bay to Pembroke River. Out of West Angle Bay and east through the gap at Thorne Island hugging  the southern shore line to Angle Bay (where our campsite was) where we had a convenience  stop.  Then out to East Angle Buoy  (Barry called Port authorities to say 9 kayaks were coming through and to check shipping). Continued  past the tankers (seal spotted) to a beach for lunch. Then east to another bay/inlet Pembroke River just short of Pembroke Dock, before  heading back west, doing a bit of rock hoping on the way. Once back at Thorne Island we went round the northern side into a 1+m swell, quite a rugged coastline and then back into West Angle bay. Turned into a small lagoon and practiced rolling, and rescues.(This lagoon was where the  guests staying on Thorne Is. used to be picked up from. It is the site of  a former Lime kiln) Headed back to the beach and played in the small surf waves. Another excellent day.

Monday 14 Freshwater Bay surfing. Sea boat and WW Mamba.F4/5 1m swell,sunny and very hot 28c. Group of 9. Some surfed sea boats, some WW boats some surfed Surf boats ( Dave P excellent bit of surfing, could’ve watched you all day – and I did), and me in my Mamba WW boat surfed ok, got some good waves. The Swimming trophy was passed from hand to hand on this beach as various people (some of whom vehemently denied swimming – camera never lies) went for a swim. Good surf beach. It was such a hot sunny day with glorious scenery you could have been abroad (Wales doesn’t count as being abroad, or does it?).

Tuesday 15 West Angle Bay to Westdale Bay to Sheep Island. NW? F1/2 overcast 18c 15 miles Group of 9. Timing for this trip was critical. On the water 0950 off 1800. From W Angle  Bay followed  the cardinal buoys to north side of Milford Haven Estuary to West Blockhouse, then hugging the coast west to St Ann’s Head, then north into thick fog. Rounding the headland was a little bumpy, but there were safe zones to lay up in, otherwise this was a committed paddle with no get outs until Westdale bay. The rock gardens around  Long Point where very eerie especially in the fog.  You couldn’t see Westdale Bay but you hear it -a surf beach. Came across a Sup surfer who appeared out of the fog and asked him  about landing conditions,then surfed in. This was the  get out point had anyone not wanted to continue. Nice small secluded beach. This was our lunch stop. (1200). Launching into the surf we headed back. The fog had lifted at times. There were some big surf waves 1m+. Following the coastline south. At Iron Point several people followed  each other into a rock garden only to get caught out in a hole  a very large set of surf waves came in(unnerving situation as they  didn’t have enough  room to manoeuvre and got bashed around. (This shook several of them up and was a learning curve- check the surf yourself and don’t go in blind). Once round St Ann’s Head we stopped off at Watwick Bay. We then followed the channel Markers in very thick fog following a compass  heading (West Chapel buoy, East Chapel and RAT Buoy) to the south east side of MH Estuary to Rat island. Cutting south to Sheep Island taking the gap through the mainland (confused water which sucked you through the gap into a sheltered bay. We continued onto West Packard  Bay.  From here we headed back north to W Angle Bay going round the west side of Sheep Island.

Wednesday 16 Freshwater East to Stack pole NE F1/2 ebb tide 20c group of 7. Mark and Chris went walking and exploring on foot. Easy parking at Freshwater East £5 all day.  Easy launch turned east and rock hopped all the way to Stack Pole.  Gained permission from Range Safety  to continue round to Saint Govans Head. Quite a spectacular coast line. The Archway at Stack Pole had a huge swell. I watched Estelle getting picked up on a large wave and propelled forward, quite impressive.The rest of the group were disappearing behind the large swell and then appearing a couple of seconds later on top of the wave. Really nice coast line with so much to explore. On the way back the group split up with 3 of us, Dave P, James W and myself staying out in the the deep water and headed straight back to Freshwater East bay. The others didn’t get off the water for another couple of hours, playing in the new found rocks and caves now the the tide had come in. This is a stretch of coastline which needs to be revisited.

Thursday 17 Solva to Port Clais, Pembrokeshire. E F4 sunny 18c. Exceptional Spring Tide. 8 miles. Group of 9. Solva was a pretty village but the tide was out! We had a bit of a walk to the water along the inle bay following the beached fishing boats and sail boats. Once out of the bay we turned right and headed west cave and rock hopping all the way along a spectacular coast line. As this was an exceptionally low tide we saw a lot more of what lay hidden beneath the water line, several ship wrecks and new gullies opened up for us. Port Clais was a pretty  little harbour but very smelly! (Fish  and diesel).  Coming out of Port Clais we made a bee line east to Black Rock (45 minute steady paddle), circumnavigated  it and then headed into Solva, due north from Black Rock. Looking at the coastline you could not see the harbour entrance. A small white pole stuck on top of the cliff was the give away  and as you got closer the houses came into view. There was a woman screaming from the top of the cliff – she had lost her dog. We could this large labrador quite happily barking at us wagging his tail half way down the cliff. and in absolutely no danger. We relayed this to the relieved woamn. As the tide  had come in we could paddle all the way to the slip way. Really nice day on the water.

Friday 18 E F5/6 18 c West  Angle Bay to Black Cave Group of 9, 6 miles.

This was plan  B after taking a look at the wind conditions in the Estuary (Plan a was a repeat run of Tuesday St Annes Head but going a little further and hopefully not in the fog). Nice slow paddle in the lee of the cliffs. High light was Alan stealing an eel off of a surprised seal. Best catch of the day. We never did find black cave but saw something higher up the cliff which could’ve been it. The beach at Freshwater East (Mondays paddle) looked very inviting, but we were running out of time.

Saturday 19th. Group of 3. The plan was to do the whole of the Gunnery ranges (part of Wednesdays paddle) but the winds just weren’t in our favour. Most of the group were planning on going home, but Barry, Andy and Estelle set off from the campsite at Angle Bay for a localised paddle. The exceptional tide had kept the rest of us marooned on the campsite as the bridge and road was flooded. Once the three “die hards” had set off the rest of us waited for the tide before heading home. An excellent week away. There are many photos taken which have been shared on FB, messenger and Whatsapp. A big thank you to Barry I ( BCC)(lollystix paddles) for suggesting, arranging and organising this trip – 8 happy paddlers and to all the cooks and chefs for the week – it was better than Michellin 5 star!

submitted by John H 280920

Friday 3rd July 2020 Evening 4 Star Training

The following blog has been lifted from the Forum General chat page.

About 18.00 Barry I (Lollystix Paddles) Mark B, Andy E, Clive M (MCC), Mike D and others went out for a play from Bradwell – believe they all had fun too and included swimming. No names will be mentioned but clearly a “Swimmer of the Moment” Trophy winner. Mark, have you seen the trophy?

Johns words

Marks story – On this evenings sea paddle four of us where out supporting “Lollystix paddles” = Barry.
On the evening of this sea trip the wind was gusting up to force F5/6. As Barry had a client, the four of us where there in support, and to practice our skills in these challenging conditions.
So with a good briefing by Barry on wind tide, weather, conditions and looking at the kit we all carried, such as first aid kit, boat repair & all the rest this was to help to put Barrys client at ease.
So we could all very subtly discover his customers skill level we paddled out of Bradwell Harbour entrance aiming for the two yellow marker buoys & then back into the safety of the Harbour. As we left the safety of the entrance the tide & wind came apparent with the wind from the WSW. High water was at the same time we set off, which gave us wind over tide, so challenging conditions.
We were all comfortable in these conditions so as one group of six, but splitting up a bit to gave us all room to move, I stayed close to Barry & his customer for the evening. On the second trip out we decided to head for Ross’s Revenge which was into the wind. This was about a one hour run there.
We all sheltered in the lea of the ship from the wind & then started back to Bradwell. This was going to be wind over tide with some very impressive ways to surf. Surfing is not my strong point; there hasn’t been much opportunity for me to practice sea kayak surfing. So, with some good encouragement from Andy E, Barry and Clive M, I decided to give it my all & with my successful roll the week before in F5/6, I was quite relaxed.
So off I went into the unknown, leaning forwards & backwards when required & seeing the whole of the nose of the kayak disappear & pick up the next surf wave (some of the time), I was flying.

All the time I was thinking, the Greenland paddle that I had made two months before was doing well, but in these conditions it would of, or might of, helped if the paddle had been a bit more stronger with all the force in the conditions.

I had just heard Andy E on the VHF marine radio say slow down when I spun out to my right & flipped over with a wave crashing down on top of the sea kayak. A little voice in the back of my head said, “Ok, take a deep breath psychologically, & where do we go from here?”
I knew that there would be five kayakers bearing down on me some time soon. Unbeknown to me, Andy E & Clive M where on their way. So I took my time & set up for the roll, & when I was happy, & all around me felt right, I started the roll which seemed to be working. Yes, I came up well, but the water smashed down on my right shoulder and started to push me back under the waves.
So under I go. Ok, I am back here again. I do remember that the water was lovely & warm plus so clear. If I did not need air, it would have been nice to see what I could see, but this was not the time to daydream. So, back into the roll & yes, oh yes, I made it, but the water smashed me on the right shoulder again and under I went.
Sitting here writing this, I was thinking maybe I should have tried a third roll; food for thought.
When I popped out of the sea kayak, I was quite surprised at how rough & big the waves were. So, holding on well to the paddle & the cockpit of the sea kayak; it must have been a good minute before a wave lifted me up with the Kayak & I could see Andy on the left & Clive going for it on the right. Sitting in the trough of the wave I did think I hope that they put the brakes on before getting to me. – Would just like to say “thanks boys”.
So with Andy on my left, he told me to grab the front of his sea kayak. This was all well & good, but at that moment I dropped a mile or he rose a mile. Andy said swim for it, but with a paddle in my right hand & my sea kayak looking as though it was going to hit me from the left & Andy’s kayak smashing back down, I decided to stay where I was & make my way to the front of Clive’s kayak. It is very surprising how calm & collective you are with all the training we have had over the years with Bramston CC.
So with Clive M going into automatic mode & grabbing the nose of my sea kayak & flipping it like a pancake, I gave him my paddle. I then waited for the right wave, in the right place to help me tumble with my head facing the back of the sea kayak. Patience waits for the wave to pass. You know by the motion of the sea through your body when to rotate into the seat of the sea kayak. Then it is time to put on your spray deck and at the same time pump out the remaining sea water. Andy E was standing off just in case he was needed to support the rescue, he wasn’t but he did make a rescue on Clive’s silver flask which had been knocked off his kayak in all the commotion.

A note to self – stow my camera back in the sea kayak not under my buoyancy aid next time I am trying to surf.

submitted by Mark B 110720

22nd JUNE – OB trip Stratford St Mary to Langham

Stratford St Mary to Langham Flumes & back.

Anna had sorted out a paddle to Langham Flumes from Stratfood St Mary In the end there was 4 OB on the river trip.
There was Liz, Anna me & John with his daughter Claire, so 5 of us over 4 OB’s. We set off about 10am to the Flumes in some amazing summer Sun 23c stopping there for some lunch. Anna had a fun play in the Flumes but there was not much water so, I had a look & spun into the eddy with no room to move so just let the OB drift downstream.

We met a gentleman with a yellow sea kayak on the river it looked like he was exploring the UK he said that tomorrow he would be out on the tide estuary.

All of this time we had been keeping our distances because of covid-19

Submitted by Mark B 270620

Medway OB Trip Friday 26th June 2020

On Friday 26th June three of us spent the day in glorious weather exploring part of the Medway River from Yalding ME18 6HG in open boats. Upstream towards Tonbridge, there was 4 locks we had to portage around.
With stopping for a well-deserved rest putting the world to right over lunch. On the way back we mett swimmers, families enjoying the sun & so on.
The bonus was we did not need to portage the OB’s on the way back.
So with Mike showing the way it is done he shot the slide at the first lock, the second slide me & Chris took the lead in my OB with Chris at the front.
When we reached the lock next to the “The War & Peace Revival” centre me & Chris as the water deflector we made it down the slide with about 2″ of water flooding my OB.BUT the one time I did not get out my camera to film Mike on the slide, we wished I had.Mike shot the slide like a ballerina would do a graceful move but as he hit the bottom his OB just rolled over with Mike going down with his ship.

Submitted by Mark B 260620

Cheeky Friday 19th April

A few pictures from Friday 19th April evening paddle Hoe Mill to Beeleigh Link. Lots of pictures of Liz’s new boat!

Woolacoombe Surf Weekend May 2019

The Boys (and Girls) are back in town – Woolacombe Surf weekend May bank Holiday 2019.


Woolacombe Surfing was a very well attended event, with soloist’s and family groups all camping, drinking, eating, sight seeing and of course surfin’ including a lone board surfer! The weather was really kind to us, shorts and T shirt for the very brave, and for the water babies, wet suits and cheesy grins all round. The waves were averaging 3 – 4 foot with the odd big ‘un (well they looked big to me – I will call these paddle faster waves.) Pictures of the weekend will be on the Blog page in due course. Many of club members have already booked for next year. Saturday night saw us all BBQing and smoking out the Andies tent (Andy and Andie were camping next to one another and as I type this, it really reads wrong! Anyway here’s a group shot of the happy campers
Yes 3 photos because some of us weren’t paying attention – eyes shut, looking the wrong way, camera shy? or just mucking around! A really enjoyable weekend was had by all. So next year, rather than stay at home digging your roses for the bank holiday, try surfing instead!

Friday 12th April Evening paddle

Some pictures of Fridays evening paddle. After a bit of a debate of whether to go up stream or down stream, we decided on the Jungle Run,.

Kevin and John tandem slide.
James, Mathew and Ian, jungle run
Ian, Anna and Dan, jungle run
Kevin and one landlocked kayaker Mathew, jungle run
John, tree climbing, jungle run.

Submitted by John H 130419

Northey Island Open Boating Saturday 20 October 2018

The plan was to take open boats out onto the tidal Estuary from Beeleigh Link and paddle through Northey Island and back again off the water by 16:00, 17:00 at the latest. That was the plan! After an initial muddy start Kevin and I headed off on a lazy paddle along the tidal Estuary, with the Ebb tide doing most of the work. There were some big fish tracking our progress, every now and then they’d make a huge splash and you would see a very fast V shaped wake appear in front of you, along with plenty of bird life. Maldon came and went, with large mud flats forming either side of us and the ships all high and dry. Passing Brian, better known as Byrhtnoth Statue at the end of Maldon promenade put us into the main Estuary of the Blackwater.

Northey Island was now high and dry . so we decided to circumnavigate it. With the distinct lack of water Northey Island became huge, we eventually got into Southey Creek and tracked it almost to the causeway at the western end stopping on a mud bank for a cup of tea.The mud was deep and sticky but the water was clear, so we sat in our boats enjoying the solitude. We then rafted up and drifted across to Osea Island landing on the mud banks about 100 metres short of the solid beach. Mud banks everywhere. We had about half an hour before low tide (16:30) so made a slow easy paddle towards Maldon with nothing but the sound of the birds to keep us company. Absolutely beautiful, with the tall ships making haunting silhouettes against the blue sky. 

However, a distinct lack of water and the supposed tidal flow made hard going from Hilly Pool buoy. From here on in, this started to become an endurance test.


We were paddling in 2 inches of water, the mud too thick to get out and push so it was punting, pushing with paddles and grunting off the sticky soft mud. Every now and then a bit of relief came as we passed over slightly deeper water. Brian was a welcome sight, but the sun was starting to go down and the tide was still draining out! We had some water going through the Hythe passing Maldon, but soon had to get out and pull the boats through the mud, luckily there were some hard spots to stand on, but get it wrong and you went deep. So it was paddle,punt push all the way to Beeliegh. The estuary with no water and low light looked fantastic. Pulling the boats out at Beeliegh finished me off and I had to sit down, absolutely knackered. Brilliant paddle, great being out on the sea in an open boat, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but wish the tide had helped us get home. Thanks to Kevin, my paddling partner and to Maldon Golf Course grounds manager for coming back to let us out (The car park was closed). 19:00 off the water, it was dark, he wasn’t very happy, but we were very grateful to him.

Submitted by John H 211018

test post – under construction

Under construction not to be used

test post_1 could aHill coaches try and edit this page please by adding their name and date – webmaster


John 18/07/18


Hi John, Kevin 18/7/18

Cheryl 23/07/18

Barry 24/07/18

Anna 24/07/18

Andie 24/07/18

Jill 29/7/18

2 Star Open Boat Training R. Stour Sunday 25th March 2018

The River Stour was the venue for the open boat training, with everyone meeting at 10 ish at at the put in point, Nayland. With boats unloaded, recce of the area done, pre brief completed it was time to take to the water. A short trip up the river to a suitable area for one to one training and some serious practice.

Then the trip started in earnest through the tunnel going under the Horkesely Road A134 to our first obstacle a fallen tree blocking the whole river. The sensible ones portaged via the river bank and some decided to go tree climbing.

On wards and forwards to the box weir where again a portage was necessary.

Jill ran the weir, and the rest of us cheered her on. It was then a bit more practice in the faster flowing water at the bottom of the weir before heading up a small creek leading us to our get out point. The creek was good fun and for those who had punting poles the going was easy.

Really good day on the water, everyone learnt something, and we all went home with big happy smiles on our faces.

Submitted by John Vice Chairman 260318