Start and Prawle Point

These two exposed headlands on the south Devon coast spend much of their time being battered by wind and waves, so are no-go to kayaks for long periods.

Our convoy of five, Dave, Simon, Richard, Martin and myself, chose our day carefully, and although we knew it would be almost windless all day we hadn’t expected 100% sunshine as well.

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Richard, Dave, Martin and Simon

We set off from the ghost village of Hallsands and were soon being zipped around the tip of Start Point by the ebbing tide, which was more like paddling in a river.

This is a great place for a kayaker and has a wild and remote feel about it. Because it is.

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Start Point

A handful of seals watched us paddle past and they gave the impression that they don’t come across many kayaks.

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Start Point Grey Seal

I was not surprised to see seals but I was taken aback when I saw three tiny newly-hatched Shelduck chicks bobbing about along the open coast just half-a-mile past the point. Tiny little balls of fluff in a BIG BIG place. Probably the most exposed spot in the whole of Devon….most Shelducks nest up a sheltered estuary which would seem like a more sensible place to me.

TheirĀ  parents were around but very spooky which is typical of all Shelduck. They are over-wary of people.

Shelduck chicks
Shelduck chicks

The section of coast along to Prawle is excellent, with some great cliffy bits interspersed with sandy beaches.

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Martin in his Nordkapp
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Rockhopping
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Dramatic stuff (including the skyscape)

Prawle Point is Devon’s most southerly bit of land and we could feel the binoculared eyeballs of the coastwatch volunteers in their little hut at the top of the cliff staring down at us. I hope they were impressed with our professional paddling style and olympic rate of progress, and not hovering their fingers over the speeddial button for the helicopter.

Prawle Point
Prawle Point

Macely Cove was the perfect place to stop for lunch. It was about as idyllic as it could possibly have been for the middle of May.

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We swung into the entrance of the Kingsbridge estuary just as the incoming tide was kicking in…perfect. We just HAD to stop for an icecream to celebrate. There were (quite) a few raised eyebrows as we slapped along the narrow streets in full kayaking gear, brushing past designer fashion and wafts of hairspray (or whatever the fancy smell was). It reinforced my plan to give my drysuit a bit of a rinse out anyway, which I have been meaning to do since Christmas.

Salcombe
Salcombe

It was a leisurely lope up the flat waters of the estuary to Kingsbridge. The Shags seemed used to a lot of boat traffic and didn’t bat an eyelid as we slipped past:

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Relaxed-looking Shag

Our arrival at the slipway at Kingsbridge after a fifteen mile paddle was likewise timed to perfection, just as the water was covering the shoe-slurping mud. Just a case of a taxi ride back to Hallsands to get the cars.

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Arrival in Kingsbridge