Saturday, 6 March 2010

Flat Holm Island 06/03/2010

With a mate's stag do later in the day I thought it wise to paddle today rather than leave it till tomorrow where I might be slightly the worse for wear!

Launching from the Sully YC slipway I paddled on a course to Steep Holm and let the last of the flood tide take me down to my intended target of Flat Holm which, at the moment, was obscured from view by Sully Island.

On reaching the Lavernock Spit South Cardinal Buoy I could see the tide was just starting to ebb. I would have to speed up a touch to get to Flat Holm before the tide flow became to strong against me.

Nearing Flat Holm I was passed by the MSC Lea, a 217 metre container ship on its way to Antwerp after leaving Avonmouth just up the Bristol Channel.

After ferry gliding across the last few hundred yards to the island, I could now have a breather in the calm water below the Farmhouse and Well Batteries 2 of the 4 disused gun emplacements built in the 1860s as part of the Palmerston Forts (Follies) to guard against the threat of invasion from the French.

They were known as Follies as they were never used in anger, well not against the French. The island was re-armed during World War 2.

Paddling under the lighthouse I catch a glimpse of some of the island's wildlife, as well as the countless Gulls constantly squawking and hovering overhead, I spot the island's goat which didn't look in the best condition. By the lighthouse there is another of Flat Holm's emplacements.

Due to numerous shipwrecks and after 60 soldiers drowned when their vessel sank in 1736 the first lighthouse was built and so there has been a light on Flat Holm since 1737.

Paddling up the east side of the island I encounter a bit of adverse tide, but passing the jetties the tide starts to run in my favour and is starting to flow at quite a rate through the small gap between Castle Rock and the island.

After a bit of a play in the fast flowing water I have a short break by the arch on the island next to Castle Rock before setting on my way back to the mainland. I set a course quite a way ahead of the Wolves North Cardinal Buoy and let the ever increasing tide flow do most of the work for me.

I am swept past the Wolves Buoy named after the Wolves rock and not the football team, even though the colours are the same. The rock which becomes exposed on low spring tides and has claimed quite a few ships over the years.

I take one last look at Flat Holm and the Wolves Buoy before starting on my easy paddle back to Sully Island.

I decided to paddle back through Sully Sound and the tide was just right to take some photos of the remains of the shipwreck on Sully Island.

It is only a short paddle back to the slipway where on landing I look back at Sully Island in the foreground with Flat Holm on the left and Steep Holm on the right.

A paddle of 9 nautical miles in yet again almost perfect conditions. A great way to start the day. Lets hope the rest of the day goes as well as I sample the delights of Cardiff City Centre after dark!


eurion said...
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eurion said...

I like the stationary bow in the video with the compass going around and the sound of the seagulls adds to it. What have you used to mount your camera on Richard?

Stuart said...

I'm hoping to make a trip out to Flat Holm this Saturday if the weather stays like this. Those seagulls might drive me mad though! I was going to ask the same question Eurion...

Richard said...

The camera is mounted on one of those bendy tripods bent around the elastics on my deck bag. Not sure what it is called but I have seen them in Up'n'Under. Its the first time I have used it and was pleasantly surprised with the results.

soundoftheseagull said...

A great paddle loads of respect for your solo stints must get down South Mum lives near Swansea so 2 good reasons

Richard said...

Thanks for your comment Dave, the vast majority of my paddling has been done on my own so I guess I don't know any different. If you are heading south, go west from Swansea you can't beat the coastline of Pembrokeshire, although I am slightly biassed!