Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Storm Gathering Saturday & Sunday

Friday's strong winds gradually died away overnight leaving the sea smooth with enough swell to keep things entertaining. We launched from the sandy beach next to Beadnell Harbour. Once we paddled round the point we followed the coast heading north for the Farne Islands. Most of the thousands of breeding sea birds have now left the island leaving cormorants, shags, eider ducks and a few migrating wading birds.
(photo Mark Tozer)
We made our way from the Inner Farnes out across Staple Sound where the swell was greater and picked up breaking heavily in some of the narrow Channels.  Landing briefly on Longstone the group headed back along the south side of the archipelago. The Pinnacles of Staple Island were being bombarded with walls of water foaming and surging creating spectacular waterspouts.

Journeys' end was at St Aidan's Beach just outside Seahouses. The beach was sheltered from the most powerful swell leaving some delightfully clean 2-3ft waves. Even though the light was fading, it was difficult to leave the water and the waves behind but Ollie reminded us that we had a bus to catch!

The nearby Chainbridge Honey Farm had provided their 50 year old 'Routemaster' London bus to take us from the 'Pot-a-Doodle-Doo' wigwam village to the 'Barn at Beal' education centre. Upon arrival we were all treated to samples of Lindisfarne Mead, locally made cheese and steaming bowlfuls of hot stew. The traditional slideshow showcased the local coastline and kept quite lively with alcoholic prizes served up between occasional scenes of nudity!

Back at the wigwams fun, frolics and alcoholics carried on late into the night (photo Mark Tozer).

Sunday's paddling was based along the coastal cliffs between Berwick-upon-Tweed and the Scottish town of Eyemouth. To start with there was more surf to play in but the swell was obviously dying away. This meant that we could embark upon a myriad of rockhopping challenges and various kayak caving adventures.

Our lunch stop was Marshall Meadows Bay which is a huge sandstone amphitheatre. Part way up one of the cliffs there is an inclined tunnel that leads to the caravan site that overlooks the area with panoramic views along the coast.

Further on up the coast, we made our way between, behind and sometimes beneath rocks all the way to Eyemouth. All too soon the gathering was over. Many were saying their goodbyes here whilst packing up kit in the descending evening cool before heading off home.

Many thanks to Ollie Jay and Active4Seasons for hosting and organizing the gathering and all of the associated fun and games. A whole bunch of like minded people now have a whole bunch of new friends.

There are more photos of the event on the facebook gallery here...