Lee Bay paddle – June 24th

This was advertised as beginners sea paddle along the north Devon coast from Lee Bay to Combe Martin.

There was a lot of interest and a total of 13 paddlers attended ranging from 1*/paddlepower to 4*.

We were blessed with a beautiful warm sunny day and a light easterly breeze when we descended on the seaside hamlet of Lee Bay and took over the village car park.
Everyone had arrived in plenty of time and soon all the  boats and equipment had been carried down to just above the low tide mark ready for what promised to be a wonderful paddle.

After the briefing and checking everyone had plenty of sunscreen on we set off at a gentle pace heading east under the stunning cliffs of the Exmoor coast.

Outside of the bay there were a few small waves which ensured everyone switched on, and with the low tide exposing many small skerries we enjoyed ourselves as we weaved around these often submerged outcrops, assisted by the gentle east flowing flood tide.

In what seemed no time at all lunch was due so we hauled up on one of the Tunnels beaches, only to be very bluntly told we were not welcome as the restaurant overlooking the beach was hosting a wedding and the “private beach” was closed. Obviously we didn’t want to spoil anyone’s wedding photos and agreed to move but also pointed out they did not own the “Foreshore” – that part of the beach between mean high and low water, as it was owned by the Crown. The manageress stomped off to google it and we moved 20 yards away!

After lunch we soon passed Ilfracombe with it’s busy harbour, but gave it a miss as the harbour itself was still dry at this time and carried on towards Hele Bay spotting a pair of peregrine falcons and some fulmars on the way.
Hele Bay meant another stop, this time for ice creams and the more observant also spotted a seal. We had an extended stop and agreed this would be our turn around point.

It was hard to believe we were paddling along the same stretch of coastline as all those rocks we had skirted were now underwater and we really could have been somewhere else.
With the now outgoing westerly flowing tide pushing us along we were back at Lee Bay all too quickly and what had truly been a great day was nearly over. A pint of cold cider or a cream tea was the icing on the cake.

The day wouldn’t have been nearly as good without the enthusiastic participation of all involved. The star of the day was young Josh paddling, 16km in a day is no mean feat for anyone but is awesome for an 11 year old.

Ian and Pam Downing, Alan Jackson, Chris Stuckey and Selma, Annette Colbourn, Kate Uzzell, Dawn Freeman, Alexis Hunter-Craig, Sean Susan and Josh Warren-Cox.