Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Spurn Head

I managed to get a paddle in on Saturday before the weather broke in such dramatic style on Sunday. I went to the east coast to paddle around the iconic headland and nature reserve of Spurn Head. I met up with Richard, Sabina, Ron and Kate at the Spurn Heritage Coast Visitor Centre at Kilnsea Beach.

Spurn Head is a fragile spit of land made up of sand and pebbles bound together with marram grass and sea buckthorn. In places this 6 kilometre long spit is less than 50 metres wide. Spurn protects the Humber like a huge breakwater keeping the stormy nature of the North Sea at bay.

The coastal erosion here means that the shore is receeding at around 2 metres each year and the way down to the beach can be a little awkward.

Once out through the surf we enjoyed the assistance of the south-going tidal stream as we passed numerous anglers on our way to the point.

We stopped for a play in the overfalls where there is a sand bank and an area of shallows called 'Stony Binks' close to the end of the headland. From here we could see the old Bull Sand Fort which stands in the middle of the mouth of the Humber. The fort was built in WW1 as part of the coastal defence network.

Once round the end of Spurn we were in smooth waters paddling past the pilot station and jetty, 2 disused lighthouses and the only lifeboat station manned by full-time residential staff. I was spotted by the coxwain, Dave who I had met earlier in the year when 4 of us finished the Kayak Coast 2 Coast trip here raising over £2000 for the RNLI. We had just a brief chat before moving on to paddle up the inner shore of Spurn.

Birds were swarming all around us as the sinking sun lit the inner shore with a golden autumnal glow. The water was strangely smooth yet we could hear the boom of surf dumping on the outer beach, just accross the road on the other side of the spit.

Finally, we reached the shore next to the Crown and Anchor pub and after 14 kilometres of paddling we only had 700 metres to walk to our cars.