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A week in Corfu

Below are a couple of photographs from a lovely week in Corfu. The effect of the economic turmoil was certainly very visible – there was a large number of half finished buildings, uncollected rubbish and political graffiti everywhere, especially in Corfu Town which was looking really scruffy. Despite this, it was a wonderful relaxing break with great weather for the time of year.

A Heated Issue: The Walkie Talkie Building Heat Spot

At lunchtime I popped over London Bridge to see for myself the heat spot that is created along Eastcheap by the reflection from the curved face of the new skyscraper which is affectionately known as the “Walkie Talkie” building. I arrived to witness a farcical scene – there were hundreds of people and a dozen film crews who had also come to witness the phenomenon which was focused just outside of Maplin when I arrived. The police were also there directing people and traffic with a  number of parking bays having been put out of use after someone’s care was melted. Scaffolding had been erected around several affected small businesses who I felt very sorry for, especially after stepping into the heat spot – it really was uncomfortably hot. The city of London is a bit of a focus for architectural designs that suffer from schoolboy errors – who could forget the millennium bridge.  Apparently the phenomena will only last a few more weeks this year, but if you do get a chance it’s definitely worth popping down to view.

Eastcheap Heat Spot

Eastcheap Heat Spot

Walkie Talkie Reflection

Walkie Talkie Reflection

A temporary fix for the walkie talkie building

A temporary fix for the Walkie Talkie building


A visit to the Historic Dockyards at Chatham

This weekend I headed down to Chatham in Kent to look around the historic dockyards. I picked a glorious day for my visit.

The main attractions are:

  • RNLI historic boat collection
  • HMS Gannet
  • HMS Ocelot (A cold war-era submarine)
  • HMS Cavalier (1944)

Your ticket is valid for 12 months.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding – Kingston to Hampton Court

Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard

My Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard

This was my first use of my new inflatable stand up paddle board which arrived a couple of weeks ago. On Saturday morning I took an early train to Surbiton before walking down to Kingston where I promptly set about inflating my paddle board. Inflating the board seemed to take ages but after 25 minutes the board was inflated to the correct PSI and I was ready to go. I chose this stretch of the river for a first run as it is non-tidal and is used by human powered craft.


Folding Kayak Adventures: Penzance to Charmouth Photographs

Photographs from my 11 day adventure from Penzance to Charmouth in a Wayland folding kayak.

Penzance | Mullion Harbour | (Rounded the Lizard) | Coverack | Gorran Haven | Porlerro | Cawsands | Hope Cove | (Rounded Start Point) | Torcross | Teignmouth* | Budleigh Salterton | Beer* | Charmouth

For details of each individual leg of the trip please see the blog posts below. For information on resources used, please see my Penzance to Charmouth kayak trip page.

Folding Kayak Adventures: Budeligh Salterton to Charmouth

Day 11: With the sound of my alarm which I had set for 4am still ringing in my ears, I quickly packed up and headed off into the breaking dawn of what was to become a very hot and still day. The paddle along the coast to Beer Head seemed to take forever – once the sun was up it was hard going as there was no wind nor wave. I stopped briefly at Beer for a drink and ice cream. I had forgotten how steep the beach at Beer was, although this was not a problem under the day’s conditions. A sizeable flotilla of sail boats were out from Seaton; all had their sails up but the craft were all stationary due to the absence of wind to fill their sails. In the previous two weeks I had seen more sailboats “motoring” rather than sailing.

Continuing on past Seaton I was now on home territory as I made my way along the Undercliff. Boaters were out in numbers at Lyme Regis from where I headed on to Charmouth where I was met by my parents and Nephews who helped me pack up the boat into the boot of the car.

From Charmouth we headed inland to Fishpond Bottom where I spent several hours cleaning and washing out the sea salt from all parts of the kayak’s frame and skin. After ensuring everything had thoroughly dried, the craft was finally packed away ready for the next adventure.

Folding Kayak Adventures: Torcross to Budeligh Salterton

Day 10:

Finding myself a awake at least an hour before sunrise I was pleased to observe that the wind had dropped off completely and the waves were no longer dumping on the beach. So I packed up quickly and made a quick exit from the beach, paddling into a breaking dawn. Sunrise approached as I reached the mouth of the Dart and I was treated to a beautiful head on sunrise. The wind soon picked up, although it dropped off again after a few hours.

After paddling across the mouth of the Dart I made my way around the headlands surrounding Brixham before reaching Berry Head from where I set a Northerly course across Tor Bay for Hope’s Nose on the other side at Torquay. A large vessel looked rather out of place anchored up in the bay. On reaching Hope’s Nose I followed the coast to Teignmouth, arriving at the turn of the tide. I had to put a bit of effort into paddling up into Teignmouth as the tide was just starting to ebb. I landed on the inner side of the point from where I headed off on foot in search of breakfast. For some reason the harbour was completely covered in a diesel-like substance. After a couple of hours I decided to head out on the full flowing ebb tide so I made a reconnaissance trip to view the conditions on Teignmouth Bar. The tide was running out at a rate of around 5Kn into a turbulent area of water on the bar. I decided my best bet was to enter the flow and then break out into the slack water on the starboard side, paddle out to sea and then cross the bar beyond the most turbulent area. I completed this set of manoeuvres flawlessly and was soon on my way on a course for the small coastal town of Budleigh Salterton. I deliberately kept away from the coast to ensure that I would avoid any waves breaking on the bar at Exmouth.

On arrival at Budleigh Salterton I paddled to the mouth of the River Otter where the beach is less steep and better protected from any Easterly swell. I then headed into town to purchase some provisions. In total I paddled around 32NM for the day which I was pleased with given the conditions.

Folding Kayak Adventures: Stuck on the beach at Torcross

Day 9: Awaking early to the sound of a strong breeze and waves dumping on the beach I soon realised that unless the wind and waves dropped off then there would be little chance of getting my wooden framed, canvas skinned craft off the steep pebble beach at Torcross without risking damage to the vessel. The waves were dumping at exactly 90 degrees on to the beach. After watching a local man take three attempts to get through the wave on a surfboard to take additional buoyancy to a small boat anchored off the beach I decided it was not worth the risk, so decided walk barefoot back along the coast to look at the lost village at Hallsands and the lighthouse at Start Point.

From Torcross I headed up on to the cliff path before coming down into Beesands where I stopped for a coffee and ice cream in the Britannia Beach Cafe. Just before the Cafe I came face to face with several large Conger Eels which had been hung out to dry on a rack waiting to be cut up and used as bait in the pots. Continuing West, the path went back up on to the Cliff before returning to the beachfront in Hallsands. Back on the cliff there was a lookout platform where you could view what is left of the old lost village which disappeared over the last century due to the removal of gravel by dredging in the area at around the turn of the last century. A further 1NM brought me to start Point Lighthouse where I was able to watch the race under wind against tide conditions.  On my return leg I stopped for lunch at the pub in Beesands before spending the rest of the day on Torcross beach eagerly awaiting a change in the conditions.



Folding Kayak Adventures: Hope Cove to Torcross

Day 8: Heading down to the kayak in the morning, I quickly got underway and around Bolt Tail before making my way along the coast towards Bolt Head. The 2NM between Bolt Tail and Bolt Head were windward although I was in awe of the cliffs. On rounding Bolt Head I encountered some interesting currents which I worked my way through before heading a little way into Kingsbridge Estuary, stopping at South Sands for breakfast. The ebb tide was kicking in so I decided to make my way out of the mouth of the estuary and head further East before tucking into the cove behind Gammon Head and await a favourable tide to round Prawle and Start Points. The beach at Elender Cove is truly spectacular and was an enjoyable place to wait for the tide. I did manage to drag myself away from the beach and up to the lookout station where I checked for weather updates and  a good view of the sea state off Prawle Point. It was certainly windy up at the lookout station!

After 5 hours of sitting tight, I headed out towards Prawle Point. Just before reaching the point I took a look at the remains of two recent shipwrecks which were rusting away on the rocks, one of which was “The Demetrios” which wrecked here in 1992. I kept close to the shore, just far enough off to avoid the reefs as I passed through Lannacombe Bay before taking a leeward course past Great Sleadon Rock. Heading towards Start Point I could see the Race working around the Point. On arrival at Start Point I briefly joined the race, surfing my way down the flue waves that the race generates before breaking out to head around the corner towards Hallsands. The expected back eddy appeared and pulled me around to Hallsands, as it did so I passed the “Lost Village”. From Hallsands, it was a further 1NM NNE to Torcross where I landed through a small dumping wave onto the steep shingle beach.

After pulling the kayak up the beach I headed along the seafront in search of a feed.

Folding Kayak Adventures: Cawsand to Hope Cove

Day 7: After a night of interruptions I headed back to the beach and got myself ready for the dash across Plymouth Sound. The original plan was to head directly out across to Plymouth Breakwater. HMS Diamond and a challenging head wind now stood in my way, so I opted to creep along the shoreline to Hooe Lake Point before dashing across to the Western end of the breakwater. Several military ships were operating on the leeside of the breakwater and it was only a few minutes before a submarine got underway – thankfully this time was nothing like my 2010 submarine encounter off Pladda Island in Scotland (During my Lands End – Inverness trip I had come within 50 meters of being run down by a nuclear powered submarine travelling at speed on the surface whilst paddling between Ailsa Craig and Arran).

I paddled along the Southern side of the breakwater to the eastern end where I waited patiently as HMS Portland was underway – I wasn’t too sure if the Royal Navy would appreciate seeing my Jolly Roger ensign flying over Plymouth Sound. I then sprinted across the channel to Bovisand pier before setting a new course, passing inside the Great Mew Stone. Because of the headwind I decided to hug the coastline where possible, thereby taking advantage of the limited shelter provided by the cliffs. The journey around Bigbury Bay was extremely enjoyable – the coastline is very attractive, as is the mouth or the river Erme. I passed on the outside of Burgh Island (famous for its hotel), before going close inshore at Thurlestone sands to inspect the natural arch in the bay. On arrival at Hope cove I pulled my kayak on to the beautiful beach at Outer Hope.

After enjoying some food and a beer at the Hope and Anchor pub I spent some time exploring the area and writing a few postcards. The highlight of the evening was watching a spectacular sunset from the beach – a wonderful finale to an awesome day.

Jonathan Tolhurst

About Jonathan Tolhurst

Based in London, my interests include photography, kayaking, paddle boarding, electric unicycling, teepees, robotics, programming, databases, informatics and pharmacy.

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Jonathan Tolhurst