South Coast Reflections

The South Coast came and went, there had been some interesting paddling, some pleasant and some less so. But when I thought about it all, I realised I wasn’t too upset to be heading north.

Landmarks: Land’s End, Lizard and Beachy Head had gone by relatively easily – less so for Portland Bill, Start Point and Dungeness. C’est la vie.

Weather: The south coast was hoped to give an easy early-stage lead-in with a hoped for combination of an easterly flood and westerly winds. This had manifested as winds from pretty much everywhere – the relentless easterlies of the south east corner were especially frustrating and unpleasant against the flow. Swell free days were few.

Mileage Downer: A 25 mile overall (including weather days) daily average would give a finish around the 75 day mark, 23 nm would give 80 days – the aim. By the time we reached North Foreland our average was a low-point of 20 nm and the projected finish was 92 days. It was depressing.

Van:  ‘Van-life’ was good; though a little slow to get a routine going initially (‘Where the 8888 is my 88888888 cag then? - Why can’t I ever find anything? – Well who put it there then?’) It was better than dragging a loaded boat around while looking for waterside spots to pitch a tent along the built-up coastline.

Wildlife:  In 2012 less wildlife was seen here compared to the rest of the country. 2015 didn’t seem any better, rather disappointing.

Coincidence: Weather bound in the same places and fighting the same stretches of coastline as 3 years earlier going in the opposite direction - coincidence or geography? A bit of both I guess, but even so it seemed slightly weird at times.

Disneyland: From the water the scenery had some very pleasant moments, but the Team Manager’s diary sometimes reflected a different perspective - “Some parts are certainly beautiful, some towns are lovely and some run-down. However nowhere is wild. Nature seems to be managed as a resource, a facility to make money or to entertain, organised as somewhere for the population to relax – nowhere is wild.”