Fiona Whitehead started on Good Friday April 9th, 2004 in Portsmouth on her expedition around the UK and Ireland. From the 12th until the 24th of April she shared a part of this grand adventure with me. Unfavourable weather (strong headwinds) made for 'frustrating' slow progress at times during that period. I found Fiona very focussed and determined. From West Bay to St. Ives along the beautiful and challenging Atlantic coast of Devon and Cornwall. Lizard Point and Land's End stick out, and will do so in my mind forever.
Monday 12 April 2004 (Holyhead - West Bay)
A long drive from Holyhead. Not knowing exactly where Fiona would come ashore at the end of this day, I bought a road map of Devon/Cornwall. Text messaging directed me to the small town of West Bay near Bridport; on the very edge on my map. High from the cliffs a view of flat calm seas. A small dot approaches from the distance. Fiona is on her way...
Tuesday 13 April (West Bay - Dawlish)
BBC 05:35: W/NW-2/3; early mist.
Wednesday 14 April (Dawlish - Dartmouth)
BBC 05:35: Variable 2 becoming S-3/4 locally 5/6 in west later.
Thursday 15 April (Dartmouth - Hallsands)
BBC 05:35: S-3/4 but 5/6 in west easing 2/4 everywhere.
Friday 16 April (Hallsands - Wembury)
BBC 05:35: Variable 2/3 veering NW 2/4.
Saturday 17 April (Wembury)
BBC 05:35: NW-3/4 backing S-6/7 veering NW-5/6 later.
Sunday 18 April (Wembury)
BBC 05:35: NW-3/4 increasing 5/7 locally 8 at Lizard Point
BBC 12:00: W/NW-5/7 occasionally 8 in Plymouth.
Monday 19 April (Wembury - Polperro)
BBC 05:35: W-4/5 but 6/7 at first in west later decreasing SW-3/4.
Tuesday 20 April (Polperro - Mevagassi Bay)
CG 24hr: S-3/4 increasing 6/7 then veering SW and decreasing 5/6 locally 7; sea state: moderate/rough building rough/very rough.
Wednesday 21 April (Mevagassi Bay - Portscatho)
CG 24hr: S-4/5 gradually veering NW-3/4; sea state: very rough becoming rough.
Thursday 22 April (Porthscatho - Cadgwith)
CG 24hr: W/NW-3/4 backing SW-3/4.
Friday 23 April (Cadgwith - Sennen Cove)
BBC 05:35: SW/W-2/4.
Saturday 24 April (Sennen Cove - St. Ives - West Bay)
BBC 05:35: S locally variable 2/3; risk fog patches.
I say goodbye to Fiona around 15:30. My sea kayak is tucked at the side of a boat slip under the boulevard in the middle of this very busy holiday resort. I hop on the 17:10 train. I step out of Axminster train station at 23:30. The very friendly staff of the Tesco gas station take over with logistics and make some phone calls. Having to choose between a 35 pounds B&B and a Sunday morning bus, or a 22 pounds taxi to West Bay, I opt for the latter and arrive 00:30 back at my car. The 'nightmare' of having to pick-up my sea kayak out of a very busy town centre on mid-Sunday makes me drive all night back to St. Ives, cat-napping in drive-by's along the way. I am on a mission.
Sunday 25 April (St. Ives - Portreath - Holyhead)
At around 07:00 I strap the sea kayak, a Greenlander Pro kindly lend to me by the Anglesey Sea & Surf Centre, onto the roof rack. I cannot resist driving to Portreath for a quick surprise hello to Fiona. Now it is back to Anglesey. Around 17:00 I meet up with three Dutch friends that came over to paddle the famous Anglesey tidal races and attend the upcoming Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium.
© A.M. Schoevers