2019-09-08 Flamborough Head

Keefy Green messaged me earlier in the week, asking me if I fancied going along on simon B's trip to Flamborough. I have to admit I wasn't at all sure. Simon B tends to paddle from South Landing to North Landing and back again. It always seems a long way to go for such a short paddle. In the end I decided to go along. The weather was going to be sunny and it wasn't as if I had had the opportunity of getting out much this year, so why not.

We all met up at the lighthouse cafe at 0930. As we arrived at the lighthouse cafe I had noticed the large swell coming in from the east and mentioned to Simon B it might get a bit surfy. Second breakfasts were consumed with gusto before setting off to South Landing.

Down at South Landing, the sky was blue and the sea pretty much flat. There was the odd little set of 6 inch surf waves every now and again, but basically it was looking like a big beautiful blue mirror. Ten of us set off and it wasn't long before we started encountering the swell. You could by now also see large breaking waves out by the head. The closer we got, the larger the waves became, until someone piped up that they weren't too happy with the conditions. We split into two groups of five. My group electing to carry on to North Landing. After all what was the worse that could happen!

It was exceedingly hard going paddling into the swell and tide. Now, I've paddled around Flamborough a few times and I've never really encountered much tidal resistance before. But we were certainly up against it. It wasn't until afterwards and back at home when I looked at the gps log I realised why. We were paddling a lot further away from the cliffs, mainly to avoid getting caught in the large breaking waves if we ventured too near.

Log of my GPS showing how much further out we were paddling to avoid the breaking waves compared to other GPS logs I have of Flamborough.

We were also making very slow progress averaging around 1.7 kts! on the way up to North Landing. At North Landing you could see the waves breaking and being rebounded off the cliffs, occasionally coming together in the middle of the bay in a huge pyramid of foaming white water. We all agreed, landing at North Landing would be rather messy and something best avoided. So we turned around and headed back. Again back home looking at the same section on the GPS log, we were averaging over 5 kts on the way back. With a maximum speed for me of 7 kts. We were flying. I tried to cut in earlier around the head to catch some of the waves to surf, but I bottled the first big one and settled for some smaller rides. High tide had more or less arrived and the swell was dropping off significantly.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures when the waves were really big - I was too busy staying upright!

Stopping for a leg stretch not far from the head, we had a bite to eat. Before setting off to South Landing. Don't forget your hat Chris...

Well that was not quite what I was expecting from the day. A thoroughly great hard paddle.

Thanks to Simon B for organising and Keefy Green for the message letting me know about the trip.

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