Day 1 – First Day Faff

  Day1 - Broad Haven to Lundy -- 21st May -- 29.9 nm

The plan had been for a flexible start point. We wanted a start that gave us the most’ bang for the buck’, somewhere that would help us tick off one of the ‘crux -points’ of the trip. Of course there are many such points, but a long crossing on Day One is a nice thing to tick off. One fewer feature to worry about later. The downside is that it can be a bit of a baptism of fire – long miles before you get your eye in, before exped fitness eases into place.

There had been a number of start points in mind during the planning and the weather would make the final choice.  The wind and swell had chosen Pembrokeshire.

Nerves had kept me awake much of the night, after all it was the start of something reasonably big I ‘spose.  It had been a while since I set out on such a big trip, it usually is.

We found ourselves on the sunny early morning, leaving footprints on the beach at Broad Haven, near Stackpole Head.  Day One was going to entail a 28 nm crossing of the Bristol Channel to the Isle of Lundy, no point messing about I guess.

Rather clumsily we wrestled the boat down the steep, sandy slope onto the pristine beach. Soon the beach was cluttered with assorted dry-bags and paddling kit as I basked in a monster day one faff.  I packed the boat rustily, while a rather hirsute older gentleman wandered down the beach. He smoothly stepped behind a rock and then re-appeared naked, shuffled down to the water where he dangled his dingle in the water and then shuffled back behind the rock. An unusual send off for a paddling trip I thought. Good old Great Britain.

From the cliffs Lundy was hidden in the haze, from the water it was hidden by the horizon.  Time to rely on those great sea kayaking tools: Blind Faith and a Compass.

Out on a bearing, playing the game, going by the book, aiming off for the tide and wind - until the ‘can’t be arsed with this’ gremlins set in and I aimed straight for the rocky lump, paying for my  impatience with the inevitable ferry glide at the end.  After all what could possibly go wrong if I missed it...
I was welcomed to Lundy by eddy line Porpoises and a comedy of Puffins. After leaving my trusty Taran in the ‘boat cave’, I headed up to the Tavern.  A lone kayaker arriving seemed to confuse things a little, but beer and food were soon placed in front of me, though my stomach wasn’t really playing the game after those Day One paddling miles. Admire the view and then a tent for the night, trying not to think too much of all that lay ahead.
Only 79 more (or so) to go...