Open crossing to Steep Holm completed

The weather was kind and the visibility OK and I managed to complete the open crossing to Steep Holm this morning. Got down to Lilstock beach just after dawn and after a safety chat to the Coastguard set off on a bearing towards Steep Holm. The island was just visible, but I set a compass bearing just in case the visibility deteriorated and it was a useful tool to observe how the tide pulled me off course!

Was later than planned leaving Lilstock after the lengthy chat to the CG (20 minutes!) and so pushed on to try and meet my target of High Water at Flat Holm (0910). There was a little swell and not much wind when I set off, but the wind built by the time I got out into the channel, picking up a 1-2 foot of chop. The island seemed to take for ever to get any closer, but finally I rounded the east side to find a stony beach in shelter. By this point it was 0905 and nearly high water and so I decided to stop at Steep Holm rather than push on to Flat Holm and possibly struggle against an outgoing tide half way there.

After a cuppa and a scotch egg I got back on, paddling out into a new tide race where the eddy once was and paddled round the island. By the time I got round the back the wind had picked up, to the point where it blew my hat off rounding the headland. On the way back the sea was a little rougher and going a bit slower, into the headwind. I was following a bearing for a while until Hinkey A-Station came into view. The tide dragged me off course a little, but I managed to paddle back up the coast in close to the shore. Once back to the shore the wind dropped right off and the sea looked mirror flat again.

Was met by Sarah, Alex and my Mum(!) on my return for a fresh brew and Welsh cakes cooked on an open fire, can’t be bad and managed a top speed of 10.4km/hr on the way out, see the GPS log


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