One year on from the launch of the 'South West Sea Kayaking' guidebook, Mark Rainsley began scheming a first anniversary celebration. It was to be much the same as last year's shindig based upon paddling, tall tales and other matters to be discussed around a table full of Devonshire ales.
A hefty hoard of over 60 paddlers descended upon the misty village of East Prawle and set up camp in the farmers field. I was part of a small elite force that headed for the 'Pig's Nose Inn' to see what could be done about the local beer glut. We huffed and puffed but only managed to blow bubbles! (photo - The Rainsley collection)
The mist was still down on Saturday morning but with just a light southerly breeze we split up into small groups and began to explore the local coastline. I had travelled from Runcorn with Tim Lambert from P&H Custom Sea Kayaks and a trailer load of demo boats and we set off from Hallsands with a small group around Start Point. Graeme Mackreth was amongst our number sporting his latest acquisition. I wondered if this classic skin-on-frame 'Baidarka' was merely a purchase of passion or perhaps a cunning investment in research for a future boat design.
In the evening we gathered in the Pig's Nose hall for a series of short talks. Chris Wheeler started with a world tour of places less paddled. Olly Sanders delivered tall stories a plenty including an account of how he managed to blow the roof off a hunting cabin on the Greenland coast. Mark Rainsley described his Scottish adventures then I extolled the virtues of grim northern shores. The important thing is that we finished up in the bar. We all wore strange hats and got luciously drunk accompanied by songs the 1970s and '80s. (photo - The Rainsley collection)
On Sunday the sun came out! (photo - The Rainsley collection)
Tim and I paddled with a group to Burgh Island where the hotel and pub were overwhelmed by thirsty visitors. With the pub out of bounds we got in amongst the swell to explore the rocky shores and towering cliffs before reluctantly winding up the weekend festivities at Thurlestone Beach.