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Weymouth paddlers? Portland Bill?

Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 8:08 pm
by Mark R
I have done the trip around the Isle of Portland before now, but never starting and finishing from the same point.

Anybody know the Chesil Beach Centre? It's between Weymouth and Portland - judging by the map it looks possible to access the harbour, the sea infront of Chesil beach and the Fleet from that spot - is this true? Any other possible launch points?


-----------Mark Rainsley

Re: Weymouth paddlers? Portland Bill?

Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 9:00 pm
by David P
No idea - though it sounds feasible - but you'd only want to be going west to east, carrying a kayak back UP Chesil beach would be tedious! Steep and shifting shingle... Not fun!
David P.

Portland beach

Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 10:05 pm
by Chris S
I've paddled from there up the Fleet. You might be able to put directly into the Fleet but its very shallow there, plus you'd probably be crashing rather blatantly through a sensitive nature reserve disturbing rare terns etc. What I did was to portage across Portland Beach Road (bit like Frogger) and put in on the beach where the wind surfers go, which is in the harbour. We then entered the Fleet through the bridge at Small Mouth/Ferrybridge. The tide can run fairly fast there (up to 5 knots on spring ebb)and there is also quite a bit of flow past the RE bridging camp further up.

I liked the Fleet, which is a unique environment. But its not to everyone's taste, some people find it rather boring.

The seaward side of the Chesil Beach could be accessed from the Chesil Beach Centre car park but I've always understood that it is very dangerous to launch from or land on. Ask local paddlers or Portland Coast Guard what they think before attempting it. I personally regard the Chesil as a no-landing zone, and would rather go on to West Bay.

Re: Portland beach

Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 10:14 pm
by Mark R

I've landed on Chesil Beach several probs if the sea isn't kicking up.

-----------Mark Rainsley

Re: Portland beach

Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 10:24 pm
by David P
Chris rightly points out the "dumping" nature of Chesil beach - launching would be easier than landing I guess. But my reservation was rather, the toiling back up the beach with the boat afterwards!
David P.

Portland Castle Slip

Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 1:31 pm
by Bertie

you could consider launching from the slip near Portland Castle, actually on the island in the harbour.

I've regularly used this as either a start or finish for trips to/round Portland Bill with no problems.

Alternatively, park and launch behind the Ferrybridge Inn at Small Mouth (watch the tide as Chris has pointed out, then paddle out into the harbour or up the fleet - less popular with windsurfers/kitesurfers but okay for kayakers.

Or, add an hour each way to the trip and launch from Weymouth harbour/beach area

Finally, if you have plastic sea kayaks, there are some interesting spots to launch/land along the eastern side of Portland from the Bill heading north for a couple of k or so.

Hope that helps,


Re: Portland Castle Slip

Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:22 am
by James F
mailed already

I would do as bertie suggests, launch at portland castle in the harbour. the trip past the old navy base is usually quite interesting.

Exit breakwater over the wreck of the Hood.

Stop on the shingle beach at Church 'Ope cove to make any last minute adjustments to kit etc, as landing anywhere else on the rocky coastline can be tricky, especially if there is a swell.

If there is no swell, its worth taking out on the East side of Portland Bill to have a look about and an ice cream/coffee.

The west side of Portland has some impressive cliffs and more sea birds to look at, landing is occasionally possible but tricky.

The trip ends at Chesil Cove (if you go further it gets pretty dull - 30 miles of shingle bank). It will take the shuttle driver 5-10 minutes to walk the gap and collect the car.

Note: The tides are v strong. I think I'm right in saying its best to start at high tide. It took us 4.5 hours with loads of ice cream time. If you were to get the tides wrong, or just wanted to give up for some reason, you could send the driver on one of the regular buses from Portland Bill to pick up the car.

Re: Portland Castle Slip

Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:28 am
by Mark R
JF - 'it gets pretty dull - 30 miles of shingle bank'

Heather and I paddled Chesil Beach over two days. In fog.

-----------Mark Rainsley

Round Portland

Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:43 am
by DaveM
Don't go without checking the tide flow charts in your almanac, it saves struggling against a foul tide, and I agree, clockwise works best, but not done it in rough conditions.

I've got an east coast paddle planned, but if the weather doesn't work out or I just can't face the drive, I might join you on Sunday if that's OK.


Re: Round Portland

Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:54 am
by Mark R
'Don't go without checking the tide flow charts'

Er...cheers Dave.

You're welcome to join us - Sunday is a Purbeck Coast paddle, prob Swanage to KBay.

Looks like we'll have a biggish group of WW loafer's my mission to convert them all to mellow sea paddling.

-----------Mark Rainsley

Re: Round Portland

Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 11:11 am
by James F
its funny, but now-a-days this song pops into my head whenever I inspect hard white water...

"Bravely bold Sir Robin rode forth from Camelot.
He was not afraid to die, O brave Sir Robin.
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways,
Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin!

He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp,
Or to have his eyes gouged out and his elbows broken,
To have his kneecaps split and his body burned away
And his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin!

His head smashed in and his heart cut out
And his liver removed and his bowels unplugged
And his nostrils raped and his bottom burned off
And his pen--"

...and it seems I may have scored one of those Dagger placcy sea boat when they arrive.

Sorry, banter.

Re: Round Portland

Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 11:41 am
by Mark R
Brave Sir Robin ran away,
Bravely ran away, away.
When danger reared its ugly head,
he bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly, he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat,
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin.

He is packing it in and packing it up
And sneaking away and buggering up
And chickening out and pissing off home,
Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge.

-----------Mark Rainsley

Re: Round Portland

Posted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 8:21 pm
by Mark R
James, we did it your way - starting from Chesil Cove and finishing in the harbour though - and it worked well, thanks.

The trip around is more interesting than I recall...lots of cliffs and a few caves on the west side, lots of caves and oddly quarried coves on the east side. The harbour was pretty dull, apart from the infamous 'prison ship' (I've never seen it before) and Chris asking what an oddly looking ship was for (it had something like 'HMS Cable Layer' written on it in big letters).

-----------Mark Rainsley