I’m very sorry for the title of this post. I tried so hard to resist, I honestly did.
Glorious sunny weekend here in Dorset. I was out on the water on both days, and took the opportunity to try out a ridiculously long lens that I bankrupted myself buying a little while back; the lens was heavy enough to induce involuntary capsizing if used unaided, as Graham Bland’s picture above illustrates.
I haven’t quite figured out how to get the best out of the lens yet (shutter speeds used were too bloody slow) but I did enjoy the luscious green sheen to this chappie …
Not too far away on the Isle of Purbeck, Isle of Portland Canoe Club did their good deed for the weekend …
All the photos in this post but the last were all taken aroundabouts John O’Groats, Scotland’s NE extremity. It’s where I ended up at the end of last summer’s holiday. I was thinking about this today because my kayak has only just made it back to England, and should be reunited with me soonish. Huge thanks to Cailean Macleod, Richard Cree and Tim Lambert, all of whom have generously stored it and helped it along its way south.
Anyway, I was wondering what comes next. I have the summer clear again for 2009; I’m not available for the right dates during the big WW trip I wanted to join in Quebec, and I’ve decided not to join some chums on a WW trip to India’s wonderful Zanskar River gorges, having paddled these a couple of times already. My annual overseas WW fix will instead be a trip to California in a few weeks.
Long ago, I set myself the target of getting all the way around Britain before I turned 40. This horrible event occurs in May 2010, so basically I only have this summer to finish my round-Britain paddle. I reckon that I could do it too – 800 miles left, which is entirely reasonable in one 6 week school holiday (assuming better weather than the horror that was last summer, anyway).
I probably won’t, though – since hanging around at John O’Groats last August (during yet another bad weather delay) looking north across the Pentland Firth, I’ve become addicted to the idea of paddling up through the Orkney and Shetland islands to the very top of Britain at Muckle Flugga. I’ll get around Britain eventually, but I’ll just put off being 40 for a year or so.
A more immediate challenge is to convince my wife to join me this summer, squeezing the trip into her already crammed schedule … the final photo shows her rolling upright on Devon’s River Dart today.
This morning, we were rather surprised to see the above sight out of the bedroom window; I suppose that we should have listened to the forecast, really. The snow melted quickly across the region, however Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck seems to have possessed some form of microclimate as the snow kept on falling hereabouts.
Being subject to a mild Atlantic climate, snow is usually a rare and short-lived thing here on the English Channel. We haven’t seen anything like this much of the white stuff since we moved to the coast in 1994, so we were rather excited! As the sun sank into the west, we dashed up Swyre Head to catch a glimpse of the snow meeting the ocean.
And no, at no point did we even consider going paddling … too cold for wimps like us!
This photo was taken underground in one of the numerous bunkers on the isle of Flat Holm. The lighthouse guides shipping negotiating the turbulent waters of the Bristol Channel.
In the middle of the picture is my good friend Dr Liz, who has just cornered the market in blogs devoted to explaining geology from the perspective of a kayak. Her blog is here, enjoy!