11 eager paddlers arrived at Tregunwith Farm, Mylor at various times from Friday afternoon, to early Saturday morning. This weekend was the start of the school summer holidays, but no one experienced any problems with holiday traffic.
We had glorious sunshine for our weekend and set off early on Saturday morning from Mylor Yacht Harbour paddling down Carrick Road with Falmouth Docks clearly visible to our right and passing a number of small creeks on our left. As we rounded the Roseland by St Mawes Castle we could see lots of activity with boats, paddleboarders and sit on tops, and we paddled into the centre of the St Mawes Boatshow. As we landed on a beach below The Idle Rocks we were approached and asked if one of us would “volunteer” to capsize and be rescued by the RNLI, as part of their demonstration. We immediately “volunteered” Ian who was happy to get wet and join in with the activities. GALLERY
After all the excitement at St Mawes Pier, we paddled gently back down Carrick Roads and landed on a secluded beach for some lunch and a welcome swim. A cooling swim has become a welcome addition to this year’s paddles, and a few of us have packed snorkelling gear too. Someone creative had made a rope hammock strung up between two trees, surrounded by shell “wind chimes”, so we took full advantage of it. As we relaxed, a boat approached the shore, lowered a set of four wheels and drove up onto the beach, reminding us all of a James Bond movie!
The Saturday ended with everyone walking from the campsite to the Pandora Inn, which is set on the edge of Restronguet Creek. Parts of the Inn date back to the 13th Century with its flagstone floors, low-beamed ceilings and thatched roof. We enjoyed good food and excellent company as the sun set over the Creek. The day ended as we happily made our way back to the camp site, with head torches lighting the way.
Dawn Freeman joined the weekend with her 19 year old son, Dan:
“I joined the Clevedon Canoe Club because I wanted my twin sons to get out on the water. Eventually, I ended up doing more trips than they did, thanks to the encouragement from the Hollands and other CCC members. But it’s wonderful when you are joined again by your adult son on a paddle. The club really is for everyone. Thanks a million Dawn”
Dan Freeman’s opinion on the weekend:
“It was pretty decent.”
Maenporth to Helford River - 22nd Jul
Arrived at car park at 09:30, already nearly full. The beach stretched out with just a few other early morning kayakers and dog walkers in the sunshine. There were rumours of a dolphin pod south of Maenporth but sadly for us no sight of dolphins. Our group of around 12 kayakers headed south hugging the coast, exploring caves and rock hopping.
Paddling into Helford River, it seemed very tranquil, no sign of Daphne du Maurier's pirate. We found a beach about a kilometre from Durgan and cooled off with a swim. Back in the boats, we kept our eyes open for porcelain crabs, sea squirts and other wildlife – the river has Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
We crossed the mouth of river as group. Heading towards Porthallow looking for beach for lunch, even the beaches inaccessible by land looked full but eventually we stopped at Nelly's Cove for a picnic. Refreshed , we paddled back to Maenporth with slightly windier river crossing this time. The beach was bursting with sunbathers and swimmers on our arrival at 3pm. We picked our way up the beach dodging kids with ices, wind-breakers and surf-boards and wound up at the cafe. A relaxing end to our 10 miles or so in the kayaks.
Rob Maziarz and Sheila Cheatle
Rescued by the RNLI
This sounds more dramatic that it actually was. I was lucky enough to be able to take part in a rescue display at the St Mawes boat show, which we stumbled across when paddling in Falmouth.
Following a safety briefing with the team, it was evident that health and safety was at the forefront of everyone’s intentions. We were not allowed to use our own flares (we were hoping to ‘dispose’ of out of date flares) and was requested to wear sunglasses when discharging the flare, in case I got smoke in my eyes – probably my last concern when being rescued.
Following the onshore commentary, I capsized in the harbour and proceeded to wave both arms over my head. Once I saw the RNLI rescue craft, I activated the orange smoke flare and awaited rescue. Upon arrival of the craft, I was asked about my condition and who else was with me. Once it was determined that I was on my own and uninjured, the 3rd team member on the boat climbed in and swam over to me. She then took me in tow and we swam away from the upturned kayak, towards the rescue craft. The engines were cut, and the 2 crew members on the boat assisted/dragged me into the boat using my buoyancy aid as hold points.
Top tip: Better to keep your arms down instead of trying to climb in yourself as this prevents the buoyancy aid from riding up when being lifted.
I was then given a quick once over, before loading the kayak and returning me back to the paddling group.
It was a great thrill to be involved with the rescue especially as, whenever the opportunity has presented itself with Coastguard training and Portishead RNLI, health and safety kicked in and the RNLI reverted to using one of their own team members.