Irish Sea Tour 2005

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

http://www.enation.co.uk/welcome.htm

I'm actually thinking of overwintering here, the place grows on you.
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Post by Mark Gawler »

A colleague of mine who went to school in Fleetwood is surprised they have web access. He did not know any of the three intresting facts on the Fleetwood Web page. Apparently you can get excellent fish and chip in Fleetwood and the best thing to come out of Fleetwood is the bus to Morecambe.

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Post by Mark R »

I've joined the Lancashire library service, hence the free internet access.

I've now spent the best part of a week watching grey-brown breaking waves being blown across the gap between Fleetwood and Barrow from a flapping tent.

Odd thing is, it's not actually as unpleasant as you might imagine, now I've accepted that my 'dash-and-clock-up-miles' trip is effectively over and just chilled out. But it would be nice to get out of here, some time.
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Chris W
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The whereabouts of Mr Rainsley

Post by Chris W »

Texts from Mark at the weekend- he survived a 'terrifying' crossing to Barrow and then got stuck again due to F7 winds...

Chris W.

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Post by Jim »

There is no way Barrow can possibly be better than Fleetwood. I mourn for Marks sanity.

JIM

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Destination Solway?

Post by Douglas Wilcox »

Hello Mark, glad to hear you have made a break for the north! I have no idea what your plans are or where you will get to but anything sounds possible after what you have done.

Alison and I will be at Cardoness Caravan Park on N side of Fleet bay, Solway staying this Friday and Sat night.

Land at NX559525, my mobile number is Oh773236395Oh or Oh779Oh551471
It’s a tidal bay but you can paddle to our beach 3 hours on either side HW:

Friday 2/9 0900 till 1500
Sat 3/9 0940 till 1540
Sun 4/91010 till 1610

You would be most welcome to stay the night, have a shower, meal, why I may even have some beer!

I hope Chris might text you with the gist of this.

Good luck wherever you get to

Douglas :o)

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

guidebook wrote:Best case scenario...is that I'll be crossing St Bees Head to Abbey Head, about four days from now.
Talk about delivering the Kiss of Death! Well, I never even made it to Scotland and I'm home now in Dorset. Many thanks to all who offered support through my trip, I hope to make it up to and through the Scottish Borders next year...

The last few days of my trip...

After five days peering out of a flapping tent at the crossing from Fleetwood to Barrow, I woke up one morning to mere Force 4 winds and milder seas. Yippee, I was on the water within an hour.

The crossing was horrible, at least the first half anyway. The seas were still lumpy, and I had to wait out three big ships coming out of Morecambe Bay at the edge of the 'Lune Deep', the shipping channel. As I watched the last boat - a big container ship - go, I wondered how come waves were sweeping all the way up its prow...

...I shortly found out how. The current ebbing out of Morecambe Bay in the channel was flowing against the wind and swell...result was, I found myself among three metre waves - often breaking - for an hour or so. Easily the biggest seas I've sea kayaked in. After retching with fear, I considered turning back, but decided that these conditions would probably end once I was clear of the channel. Thankfully they did, and the rest of the crossing was fine.

I was wasted when I touched land at Walney Island. I'm just glad I held back and didn't try the crossing earlier through the week, when the wind was usually much stronger and seas rougher.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the day paddling up the Walney Channel (for shelter from the wind) and then crossing through the surf of the Duddon estuary to Haverigg. I was impressed by the large colony of sunbathing seals on Walney Island, but less impressed when a random teenage (or pre-teen?) citizen of Barrow offered to fight me in the street.

Next day...yup, another bloody storm, so windy that I didn't even leave my tent until the evening.

Following morning...Heather was driving up to meet me, so I had to get to a road...I paddled two miles to Silecroft, which took a whole hour in headwind and swell. However, at sunset the wind had dropped away and swell had gone, I couldn't ignore this...I launched again and had a last couple of hours on the water up to the Esk estuary. There was plenty of comedy offshore when I realised I couldn't find my landing point as it was completely dark, and my map, compass, watch etc. were packed away. Ho hum.

So...I didn't make it even to the Scottish Borders! After going around Wales, I felt like I was only just beginning to find my pace and confidence. I was sure that I could at least make it past the Mull of Galloway, even perhaps the Mull of Kintyre. But since leaving Llandudno 11 days ago, I've only had one day where the wind was below Force 4-5, and several where the wind hit 7 or above. Very frustrating, especially when I was stuck at Fleetwood waiting to cross Morecambe Bay. If I'm honest, the weather broke my will and spirit a bit! Ah well, I have enjoyed my time alone (sad man, I know...) and been to some marvellous places, met some nice people along the way and read some long books.

I still have until I'm forty to get around Britain...
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Helen M
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Post by Helen M »

Umm ... HAND UP ... question! Do you have to do this pre 40 mid life crisis challenge in any order? Would it not have been better to go with the weather windows? Have been a bit of a weather anorak over the past few months and it seems to me that the south has it all! If the paddling in Scotland wasn't so world class I'd have considered moving! Just a randon thought - I have them ever so often!

Having said that glad you survived the epic adventures Mark. Umm ... I did pray for good weather but it appears that the good Lord looks favourably on the .. ummm ... Good! We were definately favoured ... but there were moments! Just a few!

Hopefully catch up with you next year!

Luv H - x

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

Helen M wrote:Do you have to do this pre 40 mid life crisis challenge in any order? Would it not have been better to go with the weather windows?
Dear oh dear, you just don't get it, do you? Helen, there is a huge and unassailable gulf between 'having paddled around Britain' and merely 'having paddled around all of the coast'. Erm, to me, anyway. It has to be done in order, where possible.

Well, I've now made it from my (old) front door in Boscombe all the way to the Lake District. A long way to go still, but how else do you eat an elephant?
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Chris W
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round Britain

Post by Chris W »

No, fair question Helen. 9-10 days in a tent due to semantics is quite 'hardcore'. An ideal thing to do DURING a 40 mid life crisis, but PRE 40 mid life crisis....

Chris W.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

CCL wrote:How's the new tent holding up in 'all weathers' ? Would a gear review help pass the time?
I'll update my comments about the tent in another thread...stand by...
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

I took less than 30 photos on my trip up the Irish Sea coast. No idea why, but probably because there isn't a great deal of photographic interest when you're alone.

Anyway, here are a few. How many places can you identify? Clue: each shot has to be somewhere between South Pembrokeshire and West Cumbria.

Image

Image

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Image
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Zoe Newsam
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Post by Zoe Newsam »

Mersey Estuary- the new arty statues.
Puffin Sound
Menai Bridge
Somewhere near Bangor

Don't know the rest...

Zoe

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Post by Mark R »

zoenewsam wrote:Mersey Estuary- the new arty statues.
There are 200 of the arty statues (apparently folk keep seeing them and calling '999') but they aren't in Morecambe Bay
zoenewsam wrote:Puffin Sound
Yup - second pic is lighthouse beside Puffin Island.
zoenewsam wrote:Menai Bridge
Yup!
zoenewsam wrote:Somewhere near Bangor
Nope - fourth pic is the north coast of the Lleyn Peninsula, mountains literally dropping into the sea.

Any more takers? In almost all pics the places can be identified.
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Thames

Post by Andy_L »

I reckon the 10th photo is near Tilbury on the river Thames. The water is the right colour (murky brown), there are cranes in the distance and you can see the North Downs on the horizon.

Andy

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Post by Owen »

The statues are at Formby, I think.
Is the 10th photo is Duddon Sands looking north from Walney Island.

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Some wild guesses....

Post by MarkB »

Boat on the beach - Great Orme ?

Sunset pic - somewhere East of Llandudno, looking toward the Orme?

'Two islands' - Hilbre from the South ?

The cranes and rough sea - Barrow across Morecambe Bay?

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Re: Thames

Post by Mark R »

Andy_L wrote:I reckon the 10th photo is near Tilbury on the river Thames.
Is this a rare bit of humour from you, Andy?
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Post by Mark R »

Owen wrote:The statues are at Formby, I think.
Is the 10th photo is Duddon Sands looking north from Walney Island.
Right about the statues (made by the same guy who did the Angel of the North apparently), but the islands are elsewhere.
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Re: Some wild guesses....

Post by Mark R »

MarkB wrote:Boat on the beach - Great Orme ?
The bedrock ledges in that pic are just south of Aberystwyth.
MarkB wrote:Sunset pic - somewhere East of Llandudno, looking toward the Orme?
No, it's another distinctively shaped Welsh headland.
MarkB wrote:'Two islands' - Hilbre from the South ?
Hilbre Island is far less impressive, a low sandstone lump surrounded most of the time by sand.
MarkB wrote:The cranes and rough sea - Barrow across Morecambe Bay?
Yes! That's exactly how it looked for the full five days I was stuck there...at least when I could see anything for the weather...

So...a recap...

Image

1] Between Formby Point and Crosby (Merseyside)


Image

2] Puffin Island (Anglesey)


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3] Menai Strait


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4] Lleyn Peninsula, north coast.


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5] ????


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6] Just south of Aberystwyth.


Image

7] ???


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8] ???


Image

9] ???


Image

10] A view of Barrow in Furness from Fleetwood


Image

11] ???


Not hard to tell when I'm in Work Avoidance mode, is it?
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Re: Thames

Post by Andy_L »

guidebook wrote: Is this a rare bit of humour from you, Andy?
Sure is.

I've been paddling the length of the Thames this summer.

Highlights:
Afternoon tea at Mapledurham lock
A float down St Patrick's backwater
A run through Westminster on a spring tide


Andy

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Post by ep_1956 »

No 8 is Strumble Head lighthouse in North Pembs ( I think)

Emyr

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Post by Mark R »

ep_1956 wrote:No 8 is Strumble Head lighthouse in North Pembs
Yup!
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Chris W
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Thames

Post by Chris W »

Inland sea kayaking, splendid.

Andy, I'm also aiming to paddle the entire length of the Thames now that we've got the boats for the task. What with James F and me, you are not alone! Not all at once, no hurry, and in any order.

J and I paddled from Shepperton to Twickenham on Sunday. Your home patch. Last minute spur of the moment thing. A pleasant 11 miles. We stopped for a picnic opposite Hampton Court. I got a taxi back to pick up the car.

We've already paddled pretty much everything from Reading to Datchet. That leaves the 11 or so miles from Datchet to Shepperton and....

The Thames Tideway beckons- which weekends would you recommend, looking ahead over the next couple of months? A Saturday 'Spring' tide would be good- allowing a day to recover! I know the London Bridge tide times, but it's not quite as simple as that is it?

Chris W.

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Post by Pelagic »

but they aren't in Morecambe Bay
I think you owe Zowie an apology for that one, last time I looked they were in the Mersey, off Crosby. Maybe the title of the piece "another place" is apt!

Phil

As Emyr seems to have Strumble,
Ill go for
5/ Tudwals?
9/ Bishops?
The last picture is throwing me a bit but looks like Cumbria, Haverigg?

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Post by Mark R »

Zoe changed her post - I swear it said Morecambe Bay at first! That's not cricket.


Tudwals is wrong but close.
Bishops...dead right!!!!!!!!! Not an easy one.
Haverigg...no.

BTW I camped just outside Haverigg Prison. I subsequently learned on BBC Radio Cumbria that a dangerous and violent prisoner escaped whilst I was camped there!
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Post by Pelagic »

Tudwals is wrong but close.
In that case Ill go for Bardsey from the east end of the sound, that would make the rocks in the foreground Carreg Ddu?


By the way congratulations on your trip Mark, good effort. We Lancashire locals have been following your progress with interest, next year you will have the delights of Whitehaven, Aspatria, Cleetamoor and other outposts of the Land that time forgot to look forward to! The Solway is a genuine hidden delight to make up for it though.

a dangerous and violent prisoner escaped
They are always doing that, they blend right in in Barrow!

Phil

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Post by Jimski89 »

5 is Carreg Ddu in the foreground, With Bardsey in the background.

Jim

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Post by Mark R »

5 is indeed Bardsey. Despite perfect conditions, I passed up the opportunity to take a closer look. That happened to be my longest day of the trip (38 miles), Hell's Mouth to near the Menai Straits. The weather was good, tide was with me and when I'd done my daily time allocation I just carried on paddling as I was enjoying it so much. Didn't seem like hard work at all as it was so nice, I really liked the Lleyn. Must get back there soonish and do Bardsey/ Tudwals properly.
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No 7

Post by Chris Bolton »

No 7 is Dinas Head, probably from the beach at Newport.

Chris

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