Crossing to Scillies

I am organised, very organised. I have been working in a school for eleven years now, so my year starts every September and finishes every July. My holiday dates have been pre-planned for me for years in advance.  On the rare occasion, when I may not know, when they are, all I need to do, is to check the airline ticket prices, their double or triple hike is a clear give-away. To cope I learnt to plan and book early, in the end, it would be irresponsible to waste twelve weeks of holidays.
This has been true until the seventh of April of this year. The following two weeks were my Easter holidays, yet somehow I haven’t made plans, or only vague ones of skiing, or going to spa or something. Various reason made them to fall through, and I almost started to think that I have indeed allowed for two weeks of holidays to go to waste.
High pressure that settled over Britain in the first two weeks of April this year, proved me wrong. And I was reminded that sometimes not having firm plans and go with the flow and weather is the best. We took it on board and made the most of it. I broke another of my rules and routines of only doing long crossings as part of a multi day journey, when one is fit and mentally prepared.
But really, we could not not do it. As we woke up at home on Saturday morning post my last day of work, and checked the weather, it appeared: the thought. On Sunday, while continuing with checking the  weather, the thought slowly changed into a firm idea. On Monday midday it started to become a reality, we were packing, and leaving London towards South West.
On arrival to Cornwall we had two important tasks to do: have dinner and plot the crossing. The plan was simple. The starting hour friendly. The weather pleasant.
We left Sennen Cove at eight in the morning, passed the Longship Lighthouse rather quickly, and settled down into the  rhythm of stroke after stroke, which would eventually bring us to our target, the Isles of Scilly. DSCF2296DSCF2300
The day was clear and sunny, the swell was playful and we made it to St Mary’s one hour faster than we thought. And even if that meant that we were slightly more south than we could have been, it was fine. Landing at Bryher in the afternoon felt good, and the smell of wild garlick quickly cleared our lungs of any city smog. We made it, and felt happy and content.

In this mode we spent the rest of the five days on the islands. Deciding that we will only cross St Marry’s Road if we have to go back on the Scillonian we spent most days paddling on the west or  north side of the islands exploring Bryher, Tean, Tresco and only paddling as south as Samson. The lazy mood stayed and we spent a considerable amount of time on the land exploring the islands rather than just paddle and paddle from one to the next. DSCF2323
And although to go back, we had to take the Scillonian, sometimes changing ones believes is good.

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THCC Seakayaking trip to Cornwall May 2014

The first May Bank Holiday we organised a trip to Cornwall for our club members. In the end there were 13 people going with skills ranging from intromediate to advanced; some of us being sea kayakers and some only white water paddlers.

We booked one coach, Richard Uren from Paddlecrest and 7 kayaks. Not everyone in London has a car. We stayed in a campsite close to Praa sands.

The paddling was great. We managed to paddle at the most southerly point of Britain, just west of Lizzard, and around Land’s End. The advanced group had some incident management training, and the intromediate one an introduction to surfing in Sennen. On Monday we all paddled together in the Fal Estuary. It was a great weekend.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/94703469]

TEN YEARS ON

Easter is time for celebration for almost everyone and everywhere. People celebrate for various reasons: religious, arrival of Spring, or simply the extended weekend.

For me it is also a time of the year which brings some special memories. Ten years ago shortly after we came to Britain, we went to Cornwall for one of our first climbing trips. I was really amazed by Sennen granite and really took to climbing it. Slowly I tried to push for harder and nicer lines.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA In the end of the second day I made a number of small tiny mistakes which resulted in a helicopter trip to Truro hospital.  Sadly, it was only Natalie who got to see the amazing Cornish coast, as I was laying on a stretcher.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have to say that I have been quite lucky. I’m still in awe how NHS dealt with the incident. It may have been due to them trying to safe beds for more seriously hurt patients, or simply to raise their quota in successfully treated patients. My injuries were deemed insignificant, despite the landing on hard granite 10 metres bellow. I was chucked out of the hospital two hours later,  barefoot and wearing some random pieces of clothes, no scans or thoughts about internal injuries.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The waiting list for the plaster for my wrist was two weeks. Fortunately my friend was not only a skilled carpenter and decorator, he was able to make a good plaster, too.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I went back to Cornwall six weeks later, same place, same people to climb with. This time it wasn’t me who flew away, and our experience of what to do when needed proved helpful. Only the people from the ambulance who got first to the scene were in shock first seeing us again.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Easter 2004