Proposed Canoe Trail - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

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carpyken
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Proposed Canoe Trail - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by carpyken » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:33 pm

Hi all, for my sins I volunteered as the Yorkshire regional Coastal Advisor for British Canoeing.

I have recently been invited to a meeting by Richard Atkinson who is the British Canoeing Waterways and Environmental Manager. The meeting is for the proposal of a National Canoe Trial between Flamborough and the Filey Brigg area on the Yorkshire Coast.

The area is quite sensitive with huge populations of breeding birds and those involved in discussions include English Nature, the RSPB and those representing the Flamborough Head European Marine Site (SAC)

http://www.flamboroughheadsac.org.uk/

A few details for you and I am putting this out there to obtain your thoughts please.

Now, as far as I am aware, there are no coastal canoe trials in England although many exist in Scotland.

Richard Atkinson who is not a paddler is very pro for this trial to go ahead.

The RSPB, English Nature and Flamborough SAC have no interest in canoeing.

The initial proposals made so far include telling paddlers where to paddle in proximity to cliffs, features, caves, stacks etc and of course where not to launch and land.

This is a piece of coastline that local paddlers journey along quite frequently - most if not all are respectful of the sensitive nature of the environment and choose their course accordingly. We all want to enjoy the natural marine environment in a sustainable and enjoyable way.

I would really like your thoughts on the above matter....

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Ken_T » Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:45 pm

Hi,
In my experience most if not all paddlers are concerned about the environment & will avoid damage if they know what the potential problems are & how to mitigate them, so I would see information about specific local issues to be the key.
Ken

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by MikeB » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:14 pm

While canoe trails go against the very reason I go paddling, they do seem popular and do seem to have a place. As a means of letting people know about routes, where to get on and off the water, and what to see they have benefit. If they also serve as a vehicle to help educate people in environmental matters (various) then that is also a good thing.

I know the various trails in Scotland are getting good use, and I believe there is at least one in N.Ireland as well although I've no idea what usage it's getting.

So yes, go for it.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Big Fish » Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:04 pm

No brainer. Excellent opportunity to promote interesting coastline. Unlikely to lead to any problems for the environment, in Northern Ireland there hasn't been a huge increase in useage, rather an awareness among established paddlers of where, when and how on unfamiliar (to some) territory. Possibly added safety considerations if information includes details of safe launching sites and difficult coastline features. Further opportunity through information distribution to promote responsible paddling.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by twopigs » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:48 am

So long as there is no suggestion that the proposed trail is only route through the area then it is a no brainer..... Words like "suggested" or "recommended" may need to be inserted in any literature to ensure that!
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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by PSK » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:57 am

Can it start/finish in Withernsea?

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by wildbadger » Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:57 pm

What's the canoe allegedly guilty of?

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by MikeB » Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:06 pm

wildbadger wrote:What's the canoe allegedly guilty of?
I've just lost my bet with myself - -

Very good though!

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Mark R » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:59 pm

carpyken wrote:The initial proposals made so far include telling paddlers where to paddle in proximity to cliffs, features, caves, stacks etc and of course where not to launch and land.
Nothing against the concept of canoe trails.

This sounds suspiciously like a set of restrictions, not a canoe trail.
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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by nickcrowhurst » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:47 pm

As in rock-climbing, I would be in favour of publishing which areas to avoid at certain times of the year when birds and mammals are breeding. Beyond that, this sounds like the thin end of an insidious wedge.
If there's a "British Canoeing and RSPB approved trail", then anyone off the trail may be subject to unwelcome attention.
Even without such a trail, I've had obtrusive high-powered telescopes on Gwennap Head following my every move when I've been playing in the race off Hella Point, Porthgwarra. When I was unloading my kayak, a local called out "they'll be watching you!". I later found out what he meant.
Don't let's encourage this sort of behaviour.
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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Mark R » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:57 pm

nickcrowhurst wrote:I've had obtrusive high-powered telescopes on Gwennap Head following my every move when I've been playing in the race off Hella Point, Porthgwarra. When I was unloading my kayak, a local called out "they'll be watching you!". I later found out what he meant.
That is likely these folk, who monitor right through the summer - http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/

Not sure what you'd have to fear from them.


I think of a trail as a rather longer affair (allowing for self-guiding and flexibility) than a mile or two around a specific feature.
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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by nickcrowhurst » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:10 pm

Mark R wrote:Not sure what you'd have to fear from them.
Nothing, but being tracked persistently and obviously by a large telescope, without cause, is, to me, obtrusive, unpleasant and just bad manners.
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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Jim » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:02 pm

Canoe trails are usually a good way to get access points and facilities built along the way, enabling extra access rather than restricting it, seems to be at odds with what the other stakeholders want.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by MikeB » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:12 pm

Concur with Jim's comment. I am reliably informed that efforts were made to get car parking at Arduaine provided by the council. That met a brick wall of "no funds / no budget", but of course as soon as the Oban - Helensburgh trail concept became a reality, funding was included for the parking. That car park now means that it is again practical to launch out of Arduaine for the Gulf, Garvellachs and the islands.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by carpyken » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:53 pm

Many thanks for your thoughts and views guys, I hope you don't mind me quoting them at the next meeting. I would still love to hear from more paddlers, especially those local to the area. I have my own opinion but to keep the discussion un-biased I will refrain from commenting.

John (PSK) I have contacts for a cheap sea view caravan at Withernsea if you fancy an indulgence :-D

Kindest Regards Ken

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Dawny124 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:07 am

Hi I'm from this area and it seems to me like these are just going to be more restrictions on where we can launch from. Sounds like more bureaucracy to me. Canoes are not suitable for this stretch of sea anyway as the sea conditions can change very rapidly, but all kayakers I have seen are respectful of the wildlife, it's the locals and tourists you need to worry about.
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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by spawneydave » Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:26 pm

I cant understand this, and believe there are forces at work with a hidden agenda to control the activities in this area, logically this is not an environment for a canoe trail whatever that means, any one who does not know the area it is route 30 in Jim Krawsiecki's book "Northern England and IOM" graded C and an exposed coastline outside 4 Star remit due to lack of access places and a tide race, I spend a lot of time there both kayaking and fishing and fear this is nothing less than a back door attempt to exclude us from the area.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by spawneydave » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:40 pm

Just had some confirmation, 3 of us paddled up from Filey Bay to Bempton this morning, conditions were moderate so we were about500m from cliff Bottom lots of birds coming and going from cliffs as normal, we rafted up for 10 minutes to get a drink and snack before heading back, one of our groups wifes was on the cliff and said a warden was going ape claiming our bright orange boats were scaring the birds, it all looked pretty normal to me but never doubt an expert Image

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Dew » Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:12 pm

In my opinion this is a ridiculous idea. As a local, originally from Filey but now spending more time at both Flamborough and Bempton, I have paddled and walked most of this stretch of coast. I have also had to call the coastguard to rescue members of the public from dangers.

By creating a canoe trail around Flamborough you are putting the idea into the public's head that this piece of coast is safe for anyone. It is NOT. This coastline should not be attempted by any but experienced canoeists, as once you have gone so far there is no turning back and no way to egress. Tides and winds can change and paddling conditions alter dramatically in a short space of time.

I am aware of the sensitive nature of the biodiversity and ecosystem around the headland and I have taught about these from both the beaches and cliff tops. As a canoeist, I do everything in my power not to damage these whilst enjoying them, but the same cannot be said of the jet skiers who, during the summer months, can be seen racing along the coast.

This part of the coast is not suitable for the vast majority of club paddlers, let alone those who hire/borrow boats for their holiday time here. By making a trail, you would be implying otherwise.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Rjo103 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:59 pm

This is an absolute classic route, and the sea birds are part of the attraction. They certainly are not disturbed by our presence, diving and playing right amongst the kayaks.

The caves are beautiful and while bats are present in one of them, bats are also present in plenty of railway tunnels. They sleep straight through your visits.

The large motor boats and powered vessels are another matter, but it would seem difficult to restrict access to open sea even if certain vessels were demonstrated to affect the wildlife.


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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Phil Dodds » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:32 am

Absolutely stupid idea.This smacks of a minor group wanting to exert control.

How dare anyone propose a canoe trail in this area.
There are hundreds of kayak anglers fish all along under Bempton , many of them local.

The local wildlife and birds do not seem even remotely worried about our presence even to the extent I have had sea birds sat on my yak for a rest.

This would also lead to the next step of pleasure boaters and charter boat owners being prevented from the using the area and you can image the fall out from that.

Stick to fresh water and leave the sea alone.

99.9% of can not even measure 500m.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Grayskull » Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:10 pm

I can't help but feel our countryside is being turned into one big theme park. Signposted & packaged or our enjoyment. Do we need a canoe trail? No! The Flamborough to Filey trail is already well documented in various publications and information online. If you want to protect the birds and wildlife, don't encourage hoards of people to paddle in their habitat. This area has a sustainable amount of kayakers and small motorised craft at the moment. I understand that local councils and tourism organisations see this as an opportunity to increase footfall and spend in the regional economy. But, I feel this is very dangerous territory, that WILL lead to legislation and restrictions for all water users, especially if you have 50+ kayakers at a time launching from North or South Landing on a busy bank holiday weekend.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by GrahamC » Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:47 pm

Its an exposed and committing route with significant tidal flow and most people contemplating it at the moment will be experienced and already know where to go to get the information and will be used to doing the planning and assessing conditions - and 95% of them will be very respectful of sensitive wildlife. So for experienced kayakers it makes no difference whether there is a trail there or not.

Creating a canoe trail, even with caveats about tides and commitment is effectively advertising it as a "recommended route" which suggests that someone has "passed" it as "safe." This is likely to attract more novice paddlers and holiday makers. As mentioned above, judging 500m (or 1km) is not an easy thing, and novices may not feel comfortable 500m or 1km offshore, so the likelihood is that they will be MUCH closer than more experienced paddlers are now.

Beyond asking ALL boaters to be respectful of the wildlife (which most experienced sea kayakers are anyway) this sounds like it could be counterproductive for everyone involved. Experienced paddlers on the trail may wish to check they have an effective towing system in place.
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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by carpyken » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:48 am

Do please email Richard Atkinson to express your views and concerns, the more feedback he receives from paddlers the better!!

richard.atkinson@britishcanoeing.org.uk

Regards Ken

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Jon_Pearce » Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:47 pm

Trails like the Argyll Sea Kayak trail are intended to draw new visitors to an area. There are no particularly sensitive wildlife populations within that area. The Flamborough Head situation seems to be more like the situation in Pembrokeshire, where there are large (and sensitive) wildlife populations, extensive use of the area by a number of different watersports groups and land-based sports groups (climbers). A Code of Conduct was drawn up for all users of the area to adhere to, which is published as the Pembrokeshire Marine Code. http://www.pembrokeshiremarinecode.org.uk/. All of the service providers in the area have signed up to adhere to this, including all the climbing and sea kayak clubs. Most individuals who regularly paddle in the area are familiar with (and adhere to) the code.
I've sent this direct to Richard.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by bertie916 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:01 pm

I kayak and fish around Flamborough Head quite often in summer as do many others, the concept of banning the use of kayak within 500m is ridiculous the kayaks do not for one minute effect the bird life as they go about their business as usual in our presence some times getting a free meal in the process.
I agree with the restrictions on fishing danes dyke along sewerby as the puffins fly all the way from bempton past us to catch sand eels in the shallows and again they fly past me as if I'm the only patch of airspace out there so clearly their not fussed. We kayakers also pick up the trash and bin it that others discard in the sea and on the beaches as we care for areas that we use.

The sea around the headland is a very dangerous place and to push people further out on a route is asking for trouble this area can not be taken lightly.

Personally I feel any disturbance on this coastline is caused on land on the cliff tops by bird watchers getting to close or people on the local beaches so I feel a ban in the area would be my starting place and not kayakers.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Phil Dodds » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:40 pm

Not only would this restrict kayakers but would also affect all the many boaters and commercial potters who use the area. The restrict kayakers is wholly un necessary. Perhaps Richard would like to meet some of the locals who make a living from this area.

The idea of a code of conduct is one to avoid. It would prevent access by yakker from May to July..but of course leave it free for all other water users.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by heybaz » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:19 pm

Vested interest declaration - I am a volunteer Waterways Adviser for British Canoeing, across in Cumbria.

I have no knowledge of what might or might not be proposed - so apologies if I'm missing something - in this proposed trail and would be surprised and disappointed if it included "musts" and "must nots" as opposed to recommendations and suggestions. Jon's post above is useful, pointing to the Pembrokeshire Marine Code and I would hope that any new trail would include similar guidance and advice - or is this code seen as being restrictive?

We already have plenty of very useful guides, some covering extensive areas, others with more local focus which serve to introduce paddlers to and inform them about new (to them) areas. Typically these include useful advice on access and landing points, possible hazards, wildlife to look out for (and, as appropriate, to avoid). I've never seen a any great reaction, other than positive, to such publications and this very site also includes lots of helpful information which may well attract paddlers to try new places. Is it because this is proposal is being called a "trail" (and I'm not at all sure about "canoe") as opposed to, for example, "The Western Isles" or "Keyhaven to Lymington" that it is causing some of the less than supportive responses seen above? Or is it because it's coming from British Canoeing rather a publisher or website? Or something else which I'm missing entirely?

Hopefully, once we know what it actually contains we (all paddlers) can feedback accordingly and then see where we stand?

Happy paddling

Barry

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by Phil Dodds » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:59 am

The issue is that there are hundreds of kayak anglers who would see their sport damaged due to restrictions of a minimum 500m from the cliff and if the Pembrokeshire model was adopted a total ban on any activity for 3 or 4 months.

This proposal has angered many many kayak anglers and a lot of them are local. I believe some of the flamborough lads are now joining forces with the local charter skippers and potters to take action against this ridiculous idea.

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Re: Proposed Canoe Trial - Flamborough Head, Yorkshire - Your Thoughts Please

Post by BC Waterways Env » Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:53 pm

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts with Ken on this proposed trail and partnership with Natural England, the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England.

We recognise significant concerns being raised in this discussion. We trust we already had most of the concerns “in hand” but have already reviewed the comments through a recent project meeting with our partners and would like to take the chance to consult further on the intent of the trail and our work with Natural England and partners including Flamborough Head European Marine Site Management Scheme.

As many of you have noted, sea kayaking is recognised as carrying both a low risk to wildlife. We know that most experienced sea kayakers are very environmentally aware already, and already make responsible decisions to limit adverse impact on wildlife and the marine environment. It is also is a great way for experienced individuals and groups to enjoy and learn more about the marine environment.

As you may or may not be aware, the coastline around Flamborough Head is an important internationally protected site for breeding birds (Special Protected Area (SPA). Our partnership in the Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs area is about getting specific, “good practice” guidance to those looking to make informed decisions in support of the management of this area. In addition, we hope to raise awareness of accepted “good practice” among the minority of sea kayakers (and other water users) who may not recognise the potential impact of what they like to do.

Following our most recent meeting, we will be working to ensure our good practice guidance is evidence based and has the full support of the sea kayaking community. We will be looking to sea kayakers to help us build our evidence base for when and where approaching the base of the cliffs (to the caves and arches) has minimal impact.

When offering “canoe trail” guidance to help individuals make informed decisions, we will not be prescriptive or set ‘rules’ as we can only make information available to people and advise. In addition to general advice about landing on the rocks under the cliffs during critical months, we will be working with our partners to see if our guidance can relate to specific sections of the cliffs rather than to the entire SPA.

We see what we are working on at Flamborough and Bempton as an extension of the partnership which last year saw the release of our “You, Your Canoe and the Marine Environment” booklet which can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/1Yrbj0k and we will be consulting fully with sea kayakers to ensure that what is produced through our new partnership has the widest possible support.

We would welcome any additional feedback, and will be setting up a system to gather evidence from sea kayakers in the very near future.

Our experience of working with RSPB - through developing the marine canoeing booklet, to projects at Langstone Harbour, in the Broads and is this project at Flamborough - is of a positive partner, committed to working with, and encouraging, recreational (and other) water users.

Thanks -

Richard Atkinson, Head of Waterways & Environment - richard.atkinson@britishcanoeing.org.uk

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