2008 Cornwall seakayaking expedition

Click the day headers below to see photos of the 5 day seakayaking expeditions Chris Payne, Paul Farmer, and I booked with Seakayak Cornwall (SKC) based near Falmouth. I hope you're inspired to have a go after seeing the photos, go for it!

Sunday

Set off for Maenporth. Chris had build his own kayak trailer. Number plate fell off after a couple of miles down M5. Later wheel guard fell off. Made the rest of the journey without incident. Reached Falmouth and found bunk house, very nice accommodation on a campsite near Maenporth Beach. Went to nearby pub in Falmouth and had a Sunday roast to stock up on the calories, plus a few beers. Went to bed happy.

Monday

Left bunkhouse for Maenporth beach, meeting place. Unfortunately no breakfast and café on beach shut. Found John (4th person booked on the course, came from ?? club) sleeping in car on beach, he had driven down overnight. Simon for SKC arrived, briefed us, showed us how to pack kayaks and left us to it. After fitting everything in and checking kayaks were balanced, we set off down the coast. Eventually arrived at St Mawes. Found quite creek and did some training, low brace moves on the move forwards and backwards, turns, bow & stern rudders. Heavens opened and chucked hail at us. Set off up River Fal to find a camping spot. Pitched then went out to practise a bit more before cooking. Changed into dry kit, laid out kit to dry, cooked and ate nosh then lit fire to keep warm. John had everything in his kayak. He produced a folding saw and Paul went into the woods and returned with half the forest. Lesson learnt: never leave matched lying around for Paul to find. Raining started, sorted out the fire and we crept to our tents and tried laying out kit inside to dry.

Tuesday

Woke early to hear rain, put on damp kit, cooked breakfast, packed tents into kayaks and headed off. Weather was looking windy so decided to avoid sea, keep in estuary and paddle up to Truro. Chris wasn’t feeling too good. Arrived at Truro and I decided to buy a new camping stove at the convenient outdoor store where we exited. Chris feeling worse, decided to find a café and have proper fried breakfast. Chris only managed Carrot cake but felt better. Set off down the Fal. Weather improved, sun came out and we paddled around the headland and further up the coast. Found a quite beach just round the headland and decided to camp there overnight. Pulled kayaks up beach near Bohortha, pitched tents and laid kit out to dry in the sun. Cooked and ate grub and lit a fire to keep warm. Jeff Allen (famous seakayaker and owner of Seakayak Cornwall) paddled up with a birthday cake for Chris. We sang happy birthday and Chris went to get some bottles of beer he had packed before leaving home, only to return with a bag of glass. Lesson learnt: packed beer bottles in something soft.

Wednesday

Woke early (0500) to feel tent being battered by wind and rain; sunny weather of yesterday clear departed. Looked out of tent to see a Buddha, discovered it was Chris, whose tent had collapsed at 4:00ish and had got up and huddled in lee of cave to sit out the weather until rest of us got up. Mine collapsed soon after so Chris and I got into Pauls. Sat out the weather for a couple of hours until wind abated then set off. Seas were pretty rough so we took our time, paddled around the bay before venturing around the headland at Dodman Point about 1200 when the tidal race was slackening. Good opportunity to do some towing practise. Paul had the easy task of supporting the “casualty”, Chris and John did the hard work and I recorded the proceedings. Stopped at Gorran Haven along the way. Headed for Portloe, where we did some rescue practise. Paul was cheered by the crowd on the pub balcony overlooking the slipway, when on his forth self-rescue attempt he finally managed to clamber aboard. Brewed up on the slipway to warm up. Paul and Chris not keen about pitching on sand again, so decided to find somewhere in Portloe. Found a kind publican who let us use his beer garden. We paid him by eating and drinking to replace lost calories (who said expeditions were about roughing it). Returned to tents in a happy, warm haze.

Thursday & Friday

Woke to warm sunshine, cooked breakfast, washed in outside toilet publican left open for us, returned to our kayaks and set off. Did some rock hopping on the approach to Mevagissey, then went into the harbour for a rest and ice cream. Headed out of harbour, practicing edging and turning by using buoys and boats as a slalom course. Headed further up the coast looking for a place to camp overnight. Found a little cove with a derelict building. Pulled kayaks up beyond high water mark and wandered around finding best places to pitch tent. Simon opted for far hillside due to Paul and John’s snoring. Cooked up then went hunting driftwood to make a fire. Not much to find so fire didn’t last long. Went to bed early. Woke to a beautiful sunny day. Packed kit and tents and dragged kayaks across beach, down to shoreline. Did a bit of surfing on the waves, good fun but a bit more difficult in a long seakayak then a short boat. Headed back towards Mevagissey. Found a cove to do 3star assessment of Paul, Chris and I, John opted out. Did all the usual, forward/backwards paddling, turning, high/low brace, rescues and rolls. Headed on down coast and into Mevagissey for a rest and pastie. Chatted about the week and watched the harbour activity before setting off on final paddle to pickup point. Landed, unpacked kit, stowed kayaks on minibus and returned to cars for journey home and first wash in five days!