With my regular kayaking buddy away in Canada, I decided I needed a paddle and ideally a "long paddle". I contacted the kayaking email group to see who was up for it. With it being Father's day on Sunday 21st June, Saturday was deemed to be the best day for those allowed out. So once again, setting off far too early on a Saturday morning from near Nottingham, I made my way up to Whitby for a 09:30 meet, 10:00 on the water. No sooner had I set off I managed to get myself into a traffic jam on the A1 due to the road being closed. I sat there for 20 minutes thinking I am not going to make it in time, when thankfully the traffic started moving. Unfortunately, it meant going, more or less, back the way I had come. Following the diversion in a huge queue of lorries meant that it was a whole hour before I found my way back on the A1. Thankfully, the rest of my journey to Whitby went well and I made it into the car park for 09:20. Not quite the leisurely journey I had planned. So much for a coffee break and comfort stop.
At 09:50 we were all ready and so set off on our way to Staithes. Originally it had been suggested going a little further to Skinningrove. But at 50km to Skinningrove and back, it was deemed to be a little too far, so Staithes it was.
Having been very selective in picking the best forecast (as you do) I had set expectations of a sunny day and lashings of suncream. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, with heavy cloud as we left Whitby. By the time we reached Runswick Bay it was raining.
With low water around 13:30 our plan was to reach Staithes about an hour before low water (13:30). But we made really good progress, with my GPS often showing us traveling at 5 knots. In the end we arrived at Staithes at 12:00, having averaged a little over 4 knots. This left us plenty of time to eat our lunch (in the rain), drink cups of tea from the cafe and eat cake.
It was my first ever visit to Staithes. I must say I thought it was really nice, even in the rain. I will be going back. In fact the rain had one bonus in that most people disappeared seeking shelter, leaving the place to us.
Setting off around 15 minutes after low water, we were all once again rather surprised at our progress. We seemed to be hurtling along. The guide book says the SE stream begins around 3 hours before High Water at South Shields (19:03 BST). Which means the stream wouldn't/shouldn't have been running until 16:00'ish. If anything the SE stream seemed to start not long after we left Staithes. This is backed up by our speed recorded by my GPS and by the bouys and fishing floats we passed; it was definitely flowing SE! I think the tidal stream tides in the guide book may be in error. I need to check this out further. I was told not so long ago that for this stretch of coast the tidal streams ebb to Edinburgh and flood to Flamborough. No wonder my tidal planning was out using the guide book!
Soon we were back in Whitby. There was not much in the way of wildlife to report, but it was an excellent paddle. In the end we covered 16.9nm (20 miles or 32km), so not a long paddle, but certainly one longer than usual.
Best Days Paddling ever!