Coastal Kayaking – Dorset

Developing our summer kayaking theme, we wanted to consolidate our 2* star skills training and intermittent flurries of paddling on the river Nene, and get some kayaking experience more akin to sea conditions of our much anticipated Greenland kayaking trip.

We negotiated an early escape from our respective workplaces on the Friday afternoon, and headed down to Dorset in Benny for a weekend of kayaking, fresh air and general outside activity.

We’d booked a one day sea tour of ‘Old Harry Rocks’ which are a combination of stacks and stumps along Dorset’s Jurassic coast. Having swum through the arch of Durdle Door previously, we thought kayaking around Old Harry Rocks just a bit further along that stretch of coast would be fun, and we certainly weren’t disappointed.

Dorset Kayaking (1)

Ironically, given we wanted some sea kayaking experience, we were met by a completely flat sea. With blue skies and sunshine though, we weren’t prepared to wish those away. Our small group of 5 made progress along the coast with just the tranquil splash of easy paddle strokes, a truly beautiful contrast to the inside and stressful office environment of 24 hours earlier.

Dorset Kayaking (2)

Dorset Kayaking (3)

From land the stacks and stumps are lovely to see, but I was amazed at the extensive and more intricate view you get from the sea, being able to see the full depth and breadth of the stacks/stumps/caves/arches, many of which can’t be seen from land. We spent plenty of time exploring the Harry Rocks area specifically, and then were treated to more variations of the same again in parts along the coast heading towards Swanage.   We landed on a beach just short of Swanage to have our packed lunch and after another liberal spreading of sunscreen to protect from the lovely sunshine reflecting off the water, we then headed towards Swanage and across the town’s bay, then looped back around and home the way we’d come. A fabulous day of paddling, totalling 10 miles.

Dorset Kayaking (4)

Dorset Kayaking (5)

After a relaxing evening with Benny, on Sunday morning we headed to Poole Harbour Canoe Club’s base in Hamworthy, Poole. Having connected with them through their facebook page we were lucky enough to have been invited to join them on their Sunday club kayak trip. This was across Poole harbour, and up the River Frome to Wareham and back again. Although the start was in the harbour, there was a reasonable wind and swell with waves on the sea, so we got some good experience paddling into the wind to get to the river, then a gentle paddle up to Wareham town where we enjoyed our packed lunch before the return journey.

Dorset Kayaking (6)

The gentle meandering river stretch was in contrast to the blustery stretch back across the harbour. With the wind behind us we were sea kayak surfing in parts which was quite exhilarating, especially for our relative inexperience. The Poole Canoe Club were a lovely group of people, easily sharing their knowledge and experience with us, with a friendly open invite to guest again if we wanted. Another fabulous day of outside activity, totalling 13 miles. A lovely weekend all round which we reflected upon as we drove back to Northampton in Benny.

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