KEYHAVEN TO LYMINGTON
DATE(S) OF TRIP: I make this trip regularly - all year.
WHERE?: Keyhaven to Lymington (or reverse) in the Solent. Map.
LAUNCH SPOTS: Keyhaven - you can launch and park at Keyhaven itself - you can get in here even at very low tide and flow the main channel toward the castle. You can park further to the west by Hurst Spit. From the middle of the tide on you can launch into the back of the salt marsh. You can carry over the spit and launch to the seaward side of the spit. This is only a good option on an incoming tide.
Lymington - the slipway near the yacht clubs is the easiest, with ample parking and toilets.
DISTANCE/ TIME: 1.5-3 hours - depending on route - about 4 miles paddled straight.
LOCAL TIDES: If you pass through Hurst there is a very strong tidal flow.
HAZARDS/ PROBLEMS: Large waves at Hurst are not uncommon especially with a SW blow on a falling tide. The eddy lines can be quite grabby. Passing close to the castle avoids most of the problems. The back eddies can be 2 or 3 Kts here.
As with any Solent paddle boat traffic in the channel can be heavy (and unskilled)
ROUTE TAKEN: Paddle this one in either direction depending on the tide. If not in the middle two hours of the tide it is easy to touch the island to land. Favourites are at Yarmouth or at fort Victoria.
EVENTS/ OBSERVATIONS: Hurst Castle is interesting with extensive salt mashes on the inside. Fort Albert and Victoria on the island are less impressive. Fort Victoria has a good cafe.
OTHER NOTES: A sheltered paddle possible in quite high winds. Taking time to explore the salt marshes is worth the effort.
Mark Rainsley: 'There are numerous channels through the salt marshes, good fun to explore in any weather'.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Richard Seaby.