There can’t be a more scenic coastal paddle around SW England. You might even be pushed to find a better one in the whole of the UK.
I have said before that, for Boscastle to be enjoyable, the wind must be light and swell less than two foot. On the exposed North Cornwall coast this doesn’t happen very often so it is very special when it does, and even better when the sky is as cloudless and deep blue as it was today.
My plan for today was to paddle up the coast to the north, head offshore and catch a ride on the ebbing tide down to Tintagel, and then coast-hop back to Boscastle Harbour.
The wildlife watching got off to a good start with my first Purple Sandpiper of the autumn resting on the rocks, looking very plump. Excellent little birds…their niche is wave-pounded, barnacle-encrusted, coastal rocks.
I couldn’t resist investigation a few of the many caves, but felt very nervous as I was by myself and I am not at all comfortable in the dripping, dank, darkness. I have never been hot on speliology. Even so, it would have been unacceptable to pass by the enormous cavern of Seal’ Hole Cave.
Much more my style was the escort of seals that accompanied me for the next mile or so. I was careful not to disturb the seals hauled out on the small beaches, which included a few fat, white pups which resembled monster maggots, as well as one which looked newborn. (Photos taken with 10x lens at over 200 yards).
Diverting well offshore I was, as usual, hopeful of a dolphin/porpoise encounter but the open sea was completely quiet today. Virtually nothing. Just this Guillemot.
A couple of seals, however, were intent on ensuring I didn’t get bored. They followed me for the best part of an hour. I glimpsed a tag on the flipper of one which means it had been rescued by Gweek seal sanctuary further down in Cornwall.
In every direction here the scenery is BIG.
I stopped for lunch at a rocky beach in Bossiney Bay. My kind of place….not a hint of human existence (apart from the caravans you can just make out on the top of the hill on the right).
After rounding Long island, which was looking more precipitous and craggy than ever, I ran into the only other group of kayakers I have ever met along this section of coast, apart from my own paddling companions.
I was also surprised to catch a glimpse of a ghostly white Barrel Jellyfish floating past beneath me, the first I have seen for several months. They are mainly a Spring species.
Just before re-entering the haven of Boscastle Harbour I enjoyed watching a young Herring Gull whose persistence at hunting the low water mark had paid off in the shape of a starfish (even though it looked a bit knobbly, and chewy).
And appropriately, to finish of a day with a lot of seals, this slumbering pup did not so much as open an eye as I slipped silently past. It was the picture of relaxation.