Friday, June 12, 2009

Try, try again

Peter and I had been planning to repeat our Morecambe Bay crossings since our awkwardly achieved efforts last year. This trip coincided with the second day of Eric Innes circumnavigation of the British mainland in aid of the ex-serviceman's charity 'Help For Heroes'.

We assembled on the beach at Fleetwood and got underway heading north allowing the flood to push us a little to the east. The conditions became choppy as the strong easterly wind opposed the tide.

Slack water occurred around 2/3rds of the way across and before long wind and tide combined to push us rapidly west. This gave us a challenging last half hour ferry gliding into the Piel channel. Once in the channel we said farewell to Eric as he continued on his way to Silecroft on the West Cumbria Coast. After 3 hours, 15 minutes on the choppy windswept waters we landed beneath the castle on Piel Island for a well earned break.

We spent over 2 hours munching snacks and sandwiches, lying in the sun and drinking tea. All too soon it was time to head back and by this time the tide had well and truly gone out. This left us with a long muddy walk to the water with our kayaks.

The plan for the return was to head south allowing the west going ebb tide to carry us out to sea until the new flood would fetch us back in towards King's Scar, Wyre Light and eventually Fleetwood. The easterly wind was relentless and it was our underestimating this that was to be our undoing. We missed King's Scar by around 4km. We were way too far out west and now a huge sandbank stood between us and our cars parked at Fleetwood.

We cautiously drew closer to each other in the lumpy seas to hatch a plan'B'. The stern of Peter's kayak poked me in the earhole. This is my excuse for my second swim in 3 years.

We headed for the beach at Rossall Point just north of Cleveleys. After 3 hours and 40 minutes of exhausting paddling we settled for landing in the wrong place leaving a 5 km walk for the cars.

If you get a chance have a look at Eric Innes blog page and consider making a donation.

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