Friday, February 09, 2007

Fog Blog (part 1) - The Wyre Estuary

Several of us NWSKers went up to meet Peter, the old man of the sea, on the beach beside the leisure centre at Fleetwood. He had kindly offered to take us all out for a paddle on his local stretch, The Wyre estuary. The Fleetwood coast and the Wyre estuary set the scene for two vaguely significant events in recent sea kayaking history.

Photographer and round Anglesey record holder, John Willacy chased the English Channel record holder, Ian Tordoff to his victory here in the 2005 Seaquest race. A little a little earlier, the writer and historian, Mark Rainsley was stormbound upon these shores for almost a week. That particular episode was the inspiration for his article ‘Ennui’ which was very much on my mind as I paddled out into the cool gloom of a foggy winters morning.

The first task was to paddle on a bearing across the mouth of the estuary as quickly as possible in order to find refuge from any boat and shipping traffic that may have been entering or leaving the mouth of the estuary.

In the shallows of the upper reaches of the estuary the sandbanks were crowded with flocks of Oystercatcher and Lapwing. Once away from the sandbanks we got a feeling of paddling in a whiteout. The visibility was much reduced and there was no indication of where the horizon was. There seemed little point in paddling much further so we stopped for a short beak at the Wyre Estuary Country Park at Stanah for refreshments.

On the way back, local paddler Peter Roscoe told us stories from the estuary’s long history of salt extraction. The local maps show a great number of Brine Wells on the eastern side of the estuary.

Due to the continuing foggy conditions, we sneaked past the Stenna Ro-Ro ferry before she was anywhere near fully loaded before heading back to the beach beside the leisure centre.