They already seem a long time ago.
Toasting sun, T-shirt ‘n shorts, light winds, relaxed paddling, smiles all round, lounging about on the beach.
The only downside is that the heat melts chocolate-based snacks. My Double-Decker Duos turn to gloop.
Here’s a trio of superb day trips along the south coasts of Devon and Cornwall , which never got as far as thelonekayaker blog because they were sideswiped into drafts by the mega marine wildlife bonanza that occurred during late summer this year.
First up is a section of Mount’s Bay from Marazion to Prussia Cove. There’s not many islets more scenic than St.Michael’s Mount:
Lots of seals loaf along this bit of coast, providing regular wildlife entertainment.
And there are some great little hidden sun-soaked beaches for a spot of lunch.
On this particular day the most interesting wildlife were the scattering of waders chilling out on the rocks around Marazion. Curlew, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Ringed Pover, Dunlin, Redshank, Oystercatcher and the odd Common Sandpiper. Although some of these would have been non-breeders, some would have been migrants, heading south after their breeding season was over.
Maybe a bit of a surprise, as this was the middle of July. In fact I usually see the first returning waders in June, before mid-summer’s day!
This little chap is definitely a migrant, because it was only born a month or two ago, on a boggy moorland……possibly even Dartmoor. It’s a juvenile Dunlin.
2 Ladram Bay
The second trip was the super-scenic, and very understated, coastal paddle beneath brick red cliffs between Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth. With Dave and Simon.
Launching from the steep shingle bank at Budleigh can be tricky if there is any sort of groundswell around, but on this particular day it was flat.
Heading east the red sandstone cliffs provide a very scenic backcloth for two or three miles.
And today were enhanced by the snickering of a fledgling Peregrine, echoing down from a mini amphitheatre in the cliff.
Its father was watching from a bit higher up the cliff. Absolutely nothing escapes the eye of the Peregrine. You can sense the scrutiny as you paddle past.
Ladram Bay is extraordinarily scenic. The cliffs disintegrate into a number of sandstone stacks, which can be admired from a conveniently located shingle beach, Ideal position, and ideal timing, for the first coffee break of the day.
We continued on to Sidmouth but avoided the temptation of an ice cream amongst the throng, and retraced our swirls to a deserted sandy beach just east of the Ladram stacks.
TOP TIP: make sure it is high tide when you arrive by boat so you can enjoy the stacks to their full potential.
And watch out for the tourist boats.
3 Thurlestone Bay
Stunning day trip number three was in the South Hams, Hope Cove to Burgh Island. On one of the hottest days of the summer so minimal clothing was necessary. Although James opted to wear a shirt more suitable for a day in the office.
The highlight has got to be the extraordinary Thurlestone rock. Hard to believe it is a natural feature and not a polystyrene model provided by Thurlestone Fun Park Inc., because it is so perfectly positioned right in the middle of the bay to provide entertainment for a horde of kayakers, paddleboarders and swimmers from the adjacent beach who have to queue up to get through.
Fortunately we were early enough to avoid the jam.
There’s some good rockhopping en route to Bantham beach, which is always busy. It is the best surfing beach in south Devon and catches any swell that is around. Today the swell was small but provided a little bit of entertainment and generated a few whoops of excitement.
Surfing a kayak is a good way to make yourself very unpopular with board surfers so we kept well out of the way. Maybe they’ve got a point…an out of control kayak bouncing sideways down a wave can wreak a fourteen foot swathe of destruction. I’ve seen it happen, up close. (oops).
We took a slingshot around Burgh Island after dragging the boats across the sand bar which had just been exposed by the receding tide. Lots of rocks to sneak behind around the exposed side of the island, and a lot of fellow kayakers and paddleboarders.
The trip back to Hope Cove was leisurely and included an exceptionally warm and pleasant lunch stop. Good beach, good company, Eccles cakes (good choice James, resistant to melting), lots of chuckles….
I was wondering why everyone on the beach gave us a wide berth….until I saw this pic…
A fantastic day.
As the days darken, the wind roars, and the rain lashes, these dreamy summery trips are already ancient history.