Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Scarborough to Filey - 26th March 2011

We launched from Scarborough south beach, parking by the lifeboat station (expensive! £6 for 24 hours) with the intention of paddling to Filey and back again.

We were under way at 10am, and I paddled as part of a group of 6 who set off before the rest of the NWSK party who were still getting ready on the beach.

On the way south there was a fairly big swell coming in from the east giving breaking surf on the beaches and the reefs. About an hour into the paddle the coastguard gave a weather update over the VHF radio and the forecast had worsened to a F5 from the 3-4 that we were originally expecting.

The wind increased steadily from that point and the wind was coming from the S/SE and was against us. This slowed progress and also meant it felt a lot colder. Past Cayton Bay the sea state started to change as the surf was no longer dissipating its power on the reefs and beach, but was now hitting the cliffs and reflecting back out to where we were paddling (about 300-500m out from the shore). Combining this with the increasing wind blown waves from the south created confused conditions. Not too tricky, but starting to get frustrating to paddle through.

We ploughed on and eventually reached the end of the cliffs and prepared to round Filey Brigg. Filey Brigg is a reef/peninsular of rock that juts 1km out into Filey bay as an extension of the line of cliffs from the north.

By this time the tide was running against us, luckily only neaps, but there was still sufficient flow to generate a race on the E side of the Brigg. So... we now had the main swell coming from the east (and refracting around the Brigg), wind blown local wave action from the S/SE and then a tide race running from the SW. Not surprisingly, the passage around the Brigg was lively and exciting at times. It was slow progress because we were paddling against the current through the race.

We also had a relatively inexperienced paddler with us which meant we took a lot longer to get through the confused water than I liked. I also kept thinking of where they would end up if they swam... the paddler would be carried with the current NE back where we came from and their boat would most likely have been blown by the wind into the surf/impact zone on the reef. Good job they didn't fall in!

After rounding the Brigg and surfing into Filey beach we were greeted by Andy and Annie on the beach who had abandoned their paddle with the other group and come looking for people. This gave us the chance to get a lift back to Scarborough which we jumped at since we didn't fancy the return trip.

We were on the water for about 3 hours and paddled 15km.

The other group set off perhaps 30-45 minutes after us and when they reached the Brigg decided they didn't like the look of it and promptly turned back!

I wasn't feeling too good with a cold so I didn't paddle sunday, some of the others did launch from North Landing near Flamborough and went to see the Gannets on Crab Rocks.

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