Weather Window

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
andreadawn
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Weather Window

Postby andreadawn » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:11 am

I'm fed up; it's another really miserable day here in Cumbria today. Yesterday there was the slimmest of weather windows. The various wind forecast websites promised virtually no wind at all, so I drove the hour to St Bees for what I hoped would be a gentle paddle along the base of the cliffs. It didn't turn out to be as gentle as I hoped. There was a lot of surf at St Bees which was dumping nastily on the shingle beach, so I drove on to Whitehaven, where the water in the harbour was like a millpond.
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With the surf at St Bees, I thought there might also be a problem getting ashore at Fleswick Bay, my intended lunch spot. Any surf here tends to dump badly. I sat offshore dithering for ages before thoughts of food overcame worries about a trashing. Fortunately there were some good lulls between the bigger sets.
Image

The cliffs around north head were very atmospheric with the low cloud but are eerily quiet at this time of year. There were just a few winter plumaged guillemots and razorbills about. In a few months time every ledge will be crowded with auks and kittiwakes.
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Anybody else (other than Douglas who obviously has some sort of private arrangement with the weather gods) finding any weather windows at the moment?

Andrea.

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soundoftheseagull
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Postby soundoftheseagull » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:32 am

Andrea
Well done you were lucky to get out.
I’m getting cabin fever, looked at the forecast and the only possible window is tomorrow but unfortunately constraints don’t allow us to get out.
It’s getting to be a bit of a ritual,
• Check weather,
• See a Gap,
• Day before winds go up
Love the colours within the rock face.
Happy paddling.
Dave

Rockpool GT

Cameron
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Postby Cameron » Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:14 pm

Well done Andrea.

The weather forecasts recently have been very changeable with windows opening up and then vanishing. Last time I was out was on Ullswater, which is very high, last Wednesday. I considered the Solway over the weekend but the tides were wrong. Briefly considered St Bees then decided to go mountain biking instead, which explains why my body is hurting today.

Cameron

Owen
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Postby Owen » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:35 pm

The forcast for our local waters, Rattray Head to Berwick, was saying force 7 & 8's for Sunday with rain and rough seas.

So, we were very pleased to find a gentle chop and winds only force 4 at the most, it was dry but cold. Aberdour to North Queensferry via Inchcolm, 3 hours up 1 down.

Nice photo's Andrea.

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Cornholio
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Postby Cornholio » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:07 pm

8 of us got out from Broughty Ferry up river to beyond the Tay Rail Bridge (fascinating getting a close up of the remains of the collapsed one!), about 6 miles into a steadily increasing wind. After lunch the tide had turned (not even springs til Wed/Thu!) and with a tail wind clocked 11mph at some bits downstream of the road bridge. Trying to hold to a transit line when we crossed back from the south side was ridiculously difficult, and I'm not sure how many of you have paddled a place like this but the skyline of Broughty Ferry with an almost 2D facade at the front and a moving backdrop, plus clouds moving even faster was a bit nauseating!! Cracking day out for the first paddle of the year!
"God tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he's pretty sure you're f****d..."

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Douglas Wilcox
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Postby Douglas Wilcox » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:10 pm

Hello Andrea,

you made the best of that day, fantastic photos, thank you!
Yes we got out in a weather "skylight" on Sunday too. We did the "4 castles route"23km of the Ayrshire coast taking in Turnberry, Culzean, Dunure and Greenan castles. The fulmars on the cliffs at Culzean were already pairing up.

Like Owen we had a force 4 SW wind but it was very cold. Also like Owen, we did not have to drive very far. (Owen, that's a great route to paddle on the Forth (I used to live in Crammond).) We even organised a relief Latvian driver to shuttle us, so we only drove/paddled one way!

There was still a surprisingly rough sea on the lower Firth of Clyde, from the storm that blew on Friday.

We also stopped at Dunure to visit the pub (I know we shouldn't but we do). All in all we consider ourselves lucky to have got out!

Douglas

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Robert Craig
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Postby Robert Craig » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:56 pm

Surprisingly enough, got a weather window on Monday evening, between Monday day-time gale and Tuesday's horrible.
Had a moonlit paddle round the islands of Lock lomond, wind never above F2. Stars out as well ....

Brought back to reality by a very bumpy flight to Gatwick and Grenoble on Tuesday - but which was real, paddling or flying?

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Jim
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Postby Jim » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:17 pm

I found a great window on Saturday, dry, 20mph wind onshore, low tide at Stevenston about 14:30, beach hard (wet) and smooth. We were tearing up down averaging over 30mph, no idea what our top speeds were, both forgot our GPS's.

Part of finding a weather window is having other sports that need different windows....

:-)

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Mark R
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Re: Weather Window

Postby Mark R » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:20 pm

andreadawn wrote:The cliffs around north head were very atmospheric with the low cloud but are eerily quiet at this time of year. There were just a few winter plumaged guillemots and razorbills about. In a few months time every ledge will be crowded with auks and kittiwakes.
Image


Great stuff Andrea - again! Your threads are always a great antidote to the 'which GPS/sealant/sprocket?' stuff around here. I'm really looking forward to paddling past St Bees Head this summer.
Mark Rainsley
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Sgian Dubh
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Postby Sgian Dubh » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:42 pm

Excellent stuff Andrea. Good to see that tottering hieght of crumbly sandstone smeg again. As an aside, there is an excellent wee kayak friendly beach for a wild camp toward the North end of the main cliffs. Landed on it a fair few times & there always seems to be a plentiful stock of driftwood onshore for a good blaze. Add hip flask of dram to finish.

:o)
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mikeybaby
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Postby mikeybaby » Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:03 am

After Living in Whitehaven and St Bees for the last 5 years its and moving away this summer its nice to see pictures of the place again.

Andrea, don't you think its weird that along the rocks under the cliffs there is no seaweed at all???

I was sure that all the waste kicked out by the soap factory in whitehaven has kill the sea life. However since the place was shut down a few years ago life seems to be back, I paddled with a dolphin not so long ago on a trip from St Bees into Whitehaven.

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Postby rockhopper » Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:15 am

Not exactly a days paddling but something that made my friend an I smile (through gritted teeth) yesterday when we did try to paddle:
Drove from Essex up to Nottingham yesterday as my friend wanted to have a try of one of Valley's Q boats. Took my Alaw Bach along as well so he could do a comparison paddle. Picked up the Q Boat (very pretty) and where told that the best place to paddle was at the National Watersports Centre Regatta lake at Holme Pierrepoint (we decided against having a go on the Trent as it was charging through like an express train). Drove there and looked at the lake and, whilst it was a bit breezy the waves were about 3 inches high at the most. We went into reception just to check it was okay and were told that we couldn't paddle on the lake because...... there was too much water in it !!!!! Even with grovely pleading and talking to one of the managers saying that we would paddle next to the shore and only needed half an hour to just get the feel for the boats they were adamant. Apparently they had also shut the white water course.... Whilst (as an insurance broker) I understand about liability cover and all that, we did find it amusing that the National Watersports Centre could not let people on the lake because of 'too much water...'
Incidentally, finally managed to sneak a paddle in the Marina off the Trent and my mate decided that the Alaw Bach was much nicer to paddle... wise man !!

Rog.

andreadawn
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Postby andreadawn » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:18 pm

Well, I'm certainly glad I took an extra day off on Sunday. I'm off work today and tomorrow and it's windy today, and will be again tomorrow.

Mountain biking Cameron? No thank you. My bike has a mind of its own and insists on making the personal acquaintance of every single boulder I pass. In any case it's 17 years old and the mountain bike police would probably drum me off the hill.

Robert's moonlit winter paddle sounds a really mad idea, and one which I've filed away for future reference.

Mark, the 'which sprocket' threads are very helpful for those of us who are somewhat technically challenged, but I'd agree that you really can't beat talking about places.

Sgian Dubh, are we talking about the same beach? I can't recall ever seeing anything else that would qualify as a 'beach' between St Bees and Whitehaven. Or have I been paddling with my eyes closed? If there is another one, you can tell me about it here; I won't tell anyone else!

Interesting point about the seaweed Mike. I've never really thought about it. Saltom Bay is definitely better without the slick. The last three years I've seen porpoises fairly regularly at South Head, but had never seen any before that.

Andrea.

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Sgian Dubh
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Postby Sgian Dubh » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:51 pm

Aye, that's the very beach Andrea! In the 5th photo down where the walkers are climbing the path, I camped where the 2nd fellas head is pretty much. The waves were nearly at the tent door that night. There will be prehistoric charcoal remains from our blaze under the shingle.
Paddling up from the South, there was a greasy spoon on the main South beach & I was loaded up with bacon butties & tea you could stand a knife in, by old ladies in flower pinnies & hairnets. Great trip. :o)
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MikeD
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WW......??

Postby MikeD » Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:41 am

We got out a couple of weeks ago in a "lull" between the gale force winds that were battering Denmark at the time...... we started in 8-10 m/s which should have continued the rest of the day, but Danish weatherforcasts are just as reliable as british ones...... we ended the day with winds of 12-14 gusting to 18 m/s.....
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Øresund is quite narrow between Denmark & Sweden so the waves are very rarely over 2m, but the wind just blasts cold spray everwhere with the water temp. around 2c not the cosiest afternoon :-)

Mike

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MikeD
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K1

Postby MikeD » Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:53 am

Andrea,
it just occured to me that you would be the person to ask...... Can the K1 be edged to carve turns, and how is it in the surf during launches & landings ??
I am trying to decide between a K1 & the Khatsalano, the K1 for its load bearing ability, the Khats. for its livlier performance...

Thanks
Mike

andreadawn
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Postby andreadawn » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:07 pm

Hi Mike,

The K1 can certainly be edged to carve a turn. The secondary stability feels a bit different to a hardshell boat since you are sort of leaning on the sponson which is trying to resist being submerged. It responds very nicely though to a bit of edging or leaning and quickly becomes very manoeuverable.

I haven't had any problems launching and landing, or playing, in modest surf, like this say.......
Image
......but I don't do big surf!

One thing I would say is that you do try and get to paddle the boats if you possibly can. Folding boats feel very different on the water to hardshells. Not better or worse, just different. Some people just don't like them. I do!

Andrea.


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