January Kayak Sheep…

It is seldom that sea kayaks and sheep appear all wrapped up in the same story but that’s what happens I suppose when one ventures north of the border into Devon, which, if you’re from West Cornwall, really is like visiting a foreign country.. they talk funny and do cream teas… more »

Sunny morning surf

Just a couple of quick snaps from a fabulously mild and sunny morning kayak-surf session and catch up with friends one day last week… Self-employment is full of uncertainty, hard work and, at times, soul searching.. but there are pay-offs.. and it’s important for one’s sanity to escape from time to… more »

A Small Wave

Hmmm, a month since last being inspired to write anything at all. It was a weird month… bit off-colour such I couldn’t, still can’t, ride more than a few km, or paddle a kayak much.. and as you would expect I’m a bloody terrible patient so keep trying to do too… more »

Misty Trip East

I’ve been utterly uninspired to take pictures from my kayak since returning from Mingulay. Summer light on the ocean is rarely that interesting, I much prefer the drama of winter days afloat. Yesterday however I thought I could be bothered – but just my old GF2 + 28mm in its housing… more »

South to Mingulay and Beyond

Just an advance warning – this post contains a lot of pictures, including a number of grey seals that may make you just go “aww..”. It just means the page might be a little slow to load. So with that out of the way… Following from my post of a few… more »

Back on Barra

I’m back on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides for a bit, visiting friends and renewing my acquaintance with this rather wonderful corner of the world. Some folk may remember I spent a summer out here working as a sea kayak guide for local operator Clearwater Paddling (http://www.clearwaterpaddling.com)…. more »

Winter Sunday Surf

The last few days we’ve been watching the weather and surf forecast develop with anticipation as Storm Imogen developed in the Atlantic.. thinking “nah, it’s bound to change..” as the forecast predicted winds in the  Beaufort 11-12 range, gusting to 160km/hr..  and surf of up to 12m (40ft). The forecast… more »

Winter Skies West

if you’re a regular reader you’ll have noticed that I spend quite a lot of time amongst the granite of west Penwith. I feel very at home with the cliffs there. It is a magnificent place and even better to arrive amongst the towering spires by making a journey, even a… more »

Bleak mid-winter

A few low quality snaps from a beautifully bleak winter morning on the water. I really wasn’t much in the mood for taking pictures so just stuffed a waterproof compact (£80 on eBay, hurrah!) into my BA. Sometimes it’s just better to not bother with a camera. As it happened it… more »

Sunny metal-flake day

Time for a quick post of a sea kayak flavour while I ease myself into the new week with a large mug of coffee… After what feels like weeks of gale force winds and rain yesterday turned into a perfect winters day.. barely a breath of wind, cold, crisp and… more »

Whetman Equipment Contact Line

After an awful lot of cycling-heavy content… time to get back to that other fun thing to do.. sea kayaking… Now, I’ve learned over the years that there are particular topics in sea kayaking that are almost guaranteed to spark off a lively debate.. one is rudders (yawn).. the other… more »

Kayaks on Pentreath Beach

Pentreath

This is Pentreath beach on the Lizard. Access from the landward side requires a hike followed by a scramble down a steep, broken path cut into the cliff.. so even in peak summer holiday season it is always deserted.. or close to. It produces a steep, dumpy wave at anything other than low water… more »

Saltwater Snaps

A few recent (yesterday in fact) snaps of a kayaking flavour… I’ve been spending a lot of time recently trying to decide what my optimum on-water camera set-up should be. At the moment all I have is an old Lumix GF2 + 14mm lens inside a housing that lives on… more »

For a change…

2 1/2 weeks I’ve been laid up with a bad chest infection.. hence the lack of recent words… so having been somewhat restricted of late it was with relief this weekend that I felt ok to do normal weekend stuff like ride bikes and paddle kayaks. Now, I rarely paddle… more »

West Cornwall Sea Kayak Meet

This past weekend was the West Cornwall Sea Kayak meet.. an informal gathering of sea kayakers from all over the country. It was excellent. Something like 80 paddlers from  far flung corners of the UK showed up which was especially brilliant as we are out on a bit of a… more »

Just time for…

Some lovely spring sunshine, albeit with a cold northeasterly breeze, yesterday.. just time for a quick paddle up the coast for a bit of fun rockhopping the nooks and crannies around Prussia Cove before knuckling down to the business of packing up my ECR and camping gear for a flight… more »

a spot of Penwith

It is a magical bit of coastline that has inspired writers, artists and film makers for centuries but conditions yesterday from a photographic point of view were uninteresting – the north coast of the Penwith Peninsula is one of the most rugged, wild stretches of coastline in England.. but facing… more »

The Manacles

The name is derived from the Cornish words Maen Eglos, meaning Church Rocks… possibly a reference to the spire of St. Keverne church which is visible from the reef, it is quite likely however that it is an allusion to the numerous gravestones of drowned sailors and their would-be rescuers that can be… more »

A perfect mid-winter day

There was quite a thick layer of frost on the sand as I carried my kayak down the beach yesterday morning but with just a light northerly and not a cloud in the sky the sun soon sorted that out as it rose from behind the hills. It turned out… more »

Camp Stories

At times over the past few weeks I’ve been suffering something of a malaise which at times extends to finding it hard to get to grips with the banality of life in general. January is always a bit like that, with no firm expedition plans made yet, just ideas, and… more »

Not entirely disagreeable..

Well… the hoped for, and originally forecast, squally showers and fresh winds that would have made for some interesting conditions failed to materialise.. at least until much later in the day.. but what happened instead wasn’t entirely disagreeable, although significantly less interesting. Mustn’t grumble though eh, January so rarely looks… more »

Solstice sea kayaking

I don’t always take my camera with me paddling, as has been the case on recent paddling trips if the light looks flat and uninteresting I generally can’t be bothered. Other times, usually when the weather is bad, there is a great promise of interesting stuff happening.. so I do… more »

Sea Kayak Rack…

Something I’d been meaning to do for far too long was to replace the rather random, untidy mix of trestles and roof-mounted slings with a half-decent wall mounted rack for my sea kayaks. I was always too busy.. work, paddling, riding etc etc but having a month essentially away from my… more »

Epic Skies Afloat

I really hammered myself riding in Morocco, promptly picked up a cold on my return and have been feeling rather run down ever since, it always takes time to recover from a particularly hard expedition/ride so paddling with a couple of friends today was deliberately limited to around 16km in easy… more »

a late summer weekend

Now that racing has finished for me for the season making the most of what is left of summer to catch up on some paddling. We weren’t able to get on the water until after lunch on Saturday so stayed local with a quick 17 mile dash west in idyllic… more »

A New Beach

Last winter destruction was visited upon the coast of Cornwall by a series of storms of rare ferocity. The cockpit of a sea kayak is a perfect vantage point from which to appreciate the legacy of those storms.. whole sections of cliff tumbled into the ocean leaving fresh scars and giant boulders with jagged… more »

Darth Kayak rides again…

Dusted off my greenland boat, nicknamed by persons other than myself as Darth Kayak,  at the weekend for the first time in ages.. I’ve been paddling it less and less frequently the last couple of years – it’s ultralight construction means it’s not robust enough for the flavour of paddling that… more »

A very rare day indeed

It is a very rare day indeed when the ocean has not a ripple on the western side of the Lizard Peninsula. Fully exposed to the Atlantic there is usually at least some swell to play with as it surges around and through the various rocks and gullies that characterise… more »

a spot of Anglesey

Last Sunday I piled into a van with a couple of other friends for the long drive north to Anglesey for a spot of Welsh paddling… the idea being to enjoy the various tidal races that Anglesey is best known for in the paddling world. There are some good races… more »

a few swirly bits…

Some lovely light on the ocean yesterday evening. Cornwall was doing that thing where the north coast was dark and murky with fog patches while just 4 or 5 miles away the south coast was enjoying some hazy evening sun. Conditions were mill-pond calm but still with a few swirly bits to play… more »

Summer O’clock

It’s awesome when summer arrives, it always seems to arrive really suddenly… (and sometimes disappear again just as quickly). It is only a few days ago that the weather was still cold and windy. The last couple of days however have been a gift with sunny skies and some fantastic… more »

best laid plans and all that…

Typically just as I was getting some good form on my bike, and enjoying a new surf boat, injury has put a stop to all of it.. I spent last weekend doing my BCU 5-star sea kayak leader training with Roger Chandler of Coastal Spirit and Rich Uren of Paddlecrest… more »

a new Boost.. amongst other things

Back around Christmas time I ordered a new surf boat from Malcolm at Mega Kayaks. Same hull design as my then current boat – a Boost – but rather than the single-skin carbon kevlar construction of that boat I wanted Malcolm’s top end carbon/foam sandwich vacuum-bagged construction. Not so much for… more »

a bit of a round-up…

Before I start rambling off about the usual stuff I think I’d better say a word or two about a Boatbuilder’s Story for all those patient readers who have been waiting for so long. It’s really close now… it has taken a long time, fitting it in around everything else… more »

some mid-winter sun afloat.

as promised.. a couple of snaps to illustrate a day on the water that ‘wrapped around’ the instance of finding that little model sailing boat in my last post. The weather at the moment seems to be very much ‘all or nothing’.. from gale-force winds and heavy seas to no… more »

a rubbish boat

The sheer volume of rubbish (or rather ‘garbage’) for my transatlantic readership) floating around in the ocean is heartbreaking. As a sea kayaker especially exploring gullies, caves and so on it is impossible to escape the mountains of plastic, rubber and general accumulation of trash in even the otherwise most… more »

winter paddling, again

Yesterday paddled out of Pendower beach (+50° 12′ 19.70″, -4° 56′ 48.20″, going to start including some lat/longs as some folk apparently are interested in looking at the map/google earth…) heading east towards Dodman Point. Some satisfyingly bouncy conditions and a decent surf to play in at Porthluney/Caerhays (+50° 14′… more »