Friday 15 June 2012

As we've been meeting up with paddlers and other interested people along our trip, we've been promising links to much of the stuff we've been talking about.

 Well, here they are:

Our club is the Swaledale Outdoor Club in Richmond, North Yorkshire. It is a multi-activity club, as you'll see from the website. We have about 20 active paddlers, who play on both the sea and whitewater. Whilst we've been in Ireland, a group has been sampling the whitewater delights of the Soca in Slovenia.

Our boats are North Shore sea kayaks. Claire and Pete paddle Polars (now called Polar LV) and Wendy paddles an Atlantic (now the Atlantic HV). They are all fitted with deck mounted towing rigs and compasses. All of us have bulkhead footrests, maximising the space available in the front hatch, and all have keel strips to help with the wear of landings. We all carried split paddles as spares. Claire's main paddle is a Nimbus two piece, Pete and Wendy both use Lendal carbon 4 piece padlock paddles. Wendy has a straight shaft with Kinetic Touring S blades, Pete has Nordkapp blades on a modified crank shaft. None of us had any wrist problems, probably as we have all used these paddles for several years now.

We all carried safety kit: Marine VHF radio, McMurdo Fastfind PLB and flares. We had a comprehensive array of first aid kit between us, and a fibreglass repair kit (needed for the repair of some transport damage on two of the boats)

All of us had the gear arranged so that we were totally self sufficient, with shelter, food, drink and cooking facilities. This is done in case we get split up, and saves the problem of being stranded away from the rest of the group without food and shelter.

Our maps were bought from Dash4it who kindly supplied them at wholesale rate. On these. tidal and other navigation information was added. This information was gleaned from a variety of sources. Mainly it came from the two editions of Sailing Directions produced by the Irish Cruising Club, which cover the whole coast of Ireland, and the marine charts. A lot of additional information came from Oileain, written by David Walsh. This is a mine of useful information. Our information came from the book, but it is available on-line The composite maps were then laser copied onto A4 sheets of waterproof paper.(Rite in the Rain It was all a bit messy and complicated to sort out, but it worked well in the end. The paper stood up to repeated wettings, and then being screwed up and stuffed away after use. The maps will be OK for our next attempt!

We relied on good old fashioned map and compass for navigation, and used GPS only as a distance logger, except for a couple of occasions when we used it to check actual positions. We used a Magellan waterproof version primarily, but this died when taken out of its waterproof bag, then we resorted to a Geko (in a waterproof bag), but the small display made it difficult to see at a glance.

Fresh water was a constant issue. We only carried enough for a couple of days, so we needed to make sure we kept topped up. Many people helped us with this (and whenever Wendy and Claire did the asking, they usually ended up with tea and cakes as well) The generousity and hospitalty of people was amazing. We would probably carry a bit more (next time) but that's got to be balanced against the added weight.

We took a kayak trolley. We weren't sure if it would actually be worth the trouble, but in the end, it was invaluable. I don't know the make, but it was bought a few years ago from Knoydart Sea Kayaks It's a fairly simple bit of kit, with detachable wheels. The frame was carried on the deck of Wendy's boat, and the wheels in the cockpit. It proved to be efficient on sand (providing it wasn't very soft), and shingle and pebbly beaches, as well as slipways and tarmac. It allowed three of us to move a fully loaded boat with 'relative' ease.

Monday 4 June 2012

We left Claire at Ring and had set off towards Galley Head. The sea state built so we returned to Ring.  After a lot of heartsearching, we both accepted that safety must come first, so we have very reluctantly abandoned our attempt on the circumnavigation, as we felt that with only the two of us paddling, we were reducing safety margins to an unacceptable level, given the conditions that we have been experiencing.
Although we are hugely disappointed at not completing the trip, we have had a fantastic adventure. We have travelled 400kms, met some amazing and truly inspirational people and seen some fantastic scenery. The welcome we have received from everyone we have met has only increased our love of the country.
Our Northshore kayaks have been absolutely fantastic and have looked after us well.
We will be updating the blog over the next few days with more photos etc, and notes,so keep following us!
See you on the water, sometime!!

Friday 1 June 2012

Finally got away from the carpark/campsite at Coolmain, which has been Pete's sick bay for three days.  He's had a particularly unpleasant stomach bug, but is now on the mend.  

We visited Cortmacsherry Harbour RNLI station and picked up some local info on the next portion of the coast, and were given a guided tour round their Trent Class lifeboat.  Many thanks to Sean, the Coxwain, and Stuart, the mechanic for their time and advice.  

On this leg round Seven Heads, we were joined by Nick and Kath, and a reasonably smooth sea and light winds made for a brilliant afternoon of 25km.  We are now at Ring Point in Clonakilty Bay, where we will leave Nick & Kath in the morning, heading for Galley Head and the bottom left hand corner.

Sadly, Claire will be leaving us.  She has injured herself and moving the boats on land each day is aggravating her problem.  It will be a really different trip without her, and we will have to be a bit more conservative in our objectives.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Tuesday 29th May 2012

Many thanks to Jim and Jamie for their brilliant hospitality last night, especially the sourdough bread from Deva's in Ballinspittle and the drum rendition from Jamie. Good luck Jim, with the swimming and adventure racing. Good luck Jamie with the band!
Today Claire and Wendy did "ladies wot lunch" by sea-kayak, leaving Pete to recover, alone!
Hoping for a good day paddling tomorrow.

Monday 28 May 2012

Left the foggy site in a clean state (Wendy and Claire took up the kind offer of a shower from one of the neighbouring houses - Pete declined as he felt it would make him soft), an d crossed Cork Harbour entrance in clear visibility, but a big swell.  30+km day took us to Blackstone Point point for the night, where we met up with Nick and Kath who came bearing apple pie, unfortunately, when they looked away, the three of us gobbled it in short order!

The following day was "interesting".  An early start with the intention of going through the hole which passes through the Old Head of Kinsale.  As we approached Hole Open Bay East, the swell built and the conditions became less than favourable or enjoyable, so we 'got the hell out of there', back to our campsite, where we admired the photos that Nick had taken from a headland.

we are in there somewhere!

That ended with another day off the water on Saturday, very sunny, but very windy.  

Another attempt at the Head on Sunday, in much better conditions, but the holes through the head appeared to have breaking water in them, so we opted to run the tide race off the head itself, which gave a tremendous paddle. 

The Old Head of Kinsale

Met Brian and Noel, local paddlers, as they went for a day out (in their Northshore Atlantics!). Crossed to Courtmacsherry, then camped at Coolmain. Pete feeling a little crock, so spent the day here, where Noel dropped in for a really pleasant chat.  Hopefully, he'll be joining us over the weekend.
Sorry about the absence for the last week, but t'internet has been a bit fickle.  This is a post we wrote a few days ago, but can only upload today -

Trundle with the boats (so glad we brought a trolley!) down to the out-going water.  Quick chat with some ladies who had been swimming and also Mr Casey, the owner of the campsite, who had been very generous to us. Lovely paddling day, straight across the bay to Helvick Head, round Mine Head and into Ardmore, to an amazing reception! Met Dave, who has been following us on Facebook, and Ronan, from Ardmore Adventures. Claire went to thank some fishermen for moving our boats and they gave her fresh fish for all of us. 

Mine Head

Goat Island Camp

Breakfast!  Dermott the star
Ronan and Dermott paddled round with us to Goat Island, where we camped on the beach, disturbed only at 5.30am by two youngsters with a bat and ball! Ready to get on the water at 9am, when we heard “Breakfast!”, and Dermott ran down the beach with a flask of coffee and bread, jam, cheese and oranges. Fantastic! We have had amazing support from Irish paddlers. We are really grateful for all the information, phone numbers and tea.
Paddled straight across the bay to Knockadoon, then round to Ballycotton, where we were treated to tea and biscuits at the RNLI station. Few more kilometres brought us to a campsite (OK – carpark!) where we have had an unscheduled stop, due to fog!  It’s given us a chance to catch up on a couple of boat repairs.  The two polars had suffered a bit of damage in one of the moves, so a bit of time allowed us to stop the damage getting worse.  Pete’s paddling pants have now started delaminating as well as the problems with the seams fraying.  A very poor do for any kit, let alone an expensive bit that’s only been used for less than three weeks.  Level Six gear doesn’t seem to be as robust as one might have been led to expect!  Luckily, friends are bringing old bit of kit out as replacement, as at this rate they’ll be in shreds in a couple more weeks

Saturday 19 May 2012

Absolutely fabulous day today.  Not only was it the first time we've managed to string four consecutive days of paddling together, but we left Tramore this morning with the help and escort of the RNLI inshore crew and lifeboat, including being waved off from the quayside.  Many thanks to Dave and Tommy and the rest of the crew.
Terrific day's paddling along the "Copper Coast" - over 30Km of cliffs, stacks, rocks and caves.  Just enough swell and clapotis to keep it interesting without being scary!.
Met up with three local paddlers who had come out to wish us good fortune  - Dermot (circumnavigated Ireland in 33 days with lots of good weather), Fitch  (who started all our connections in Tramore), and Fletch.  Ended up at the Clonea Strand campsite, which, as we are raising money for charity, we were given free.
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