Bob Baird is a retired police officer turned all-type-of-water paddler extraordinaire. He teaches, instructs and tests all levels of fresh or sea water canoeists and kayakers of all ages. When he has some rare free time he even goes paddling for the fun of it! Borders canoe club (BCC) is extremely fortunate to have Bob as its official trainer, which for the price of the fiver for a year’s subscription, is an unbelievable bargain!
In this post, Bob describes a trip he organised and participated in, on Tuesday 22 December, the shortest day of the year! Bob and I paddled in the North sea from Berwick upon Tweed in England to Eyemouth in Scotland (total distance approximately 9 nautical miles). Bob describes the journey as ‘Halcyon days’!
River Tweed from the RNLI station at Berwick upon Tweed
‘Demetrius who had launched himself onto the Tweed from his back door, wended his way through the thin ice sheets that were also making their way down the cold freshwater. In a few minutes he was down at Carr Rock by the RNLI station, where the mighty Tweed pours into the North sea. There I was waiting, already in my own kayak and we immediately went off into the brilliant sunshine and beautiful blue, blue warm sea.
Both wearing sunglasses we made good time to Burnmouth (in Scotland) 6 miles north, helped along by the tidal stream and light wind on our backs. Fulmar Petrels swooped and circled close to our faces. Seals were forever popping up to pose for a photo and against the cliffs birds were catching the thermals circling upwards anti-clockwise on the rising warm air. This was like a Summers day in the middle of Winter and it was great to be alive and not to be at work.
Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), by arne.list
It’s quite sad really but lots of harbours charge you to land/launch a kayak (!) and Burnmouth is no exception. It now sports a sign demanding £7 for the privilege. St. Abbs wants a tenner and Berwick just doesn’t want you at all! The only local harbour which positively encourages and welcomes you with friendliness is good old Eyemouth.
The most enjoyable part of the trip was yet to come as we headed for Eyemouth close to the towering cliffs and several huge sea caves. Although there were Guillemotts, Curlews and Great blackbacked gulls, the thing that gave it away that this was indeed Winter was the abscence of the thousands of breeding birds and their incessant calls. Which also makes this particular trip amazing in Spring for totally different reasons!
Demetrius in the North Sea
There has been a nasty land slide at Smugglers Haven which is one of the several easy landing sites along this trip. A massive hole has appeared in the side of the cliff creating potential for the overhanging ceiling to follow suit. So be careful if you plan to visit this beautiful cove anytime soon. This overhanging mass has the footpath at its top, so, walkers on the seaside path should also be aware!
We hit the beach at Eyemouth about 2.30 p.m. squinting into the sunlight at the end of a super trip.”
If you or your group want to get in touch with Bob he can be emailed at: BBNLL.AT.sea49.wanadoo.co.uk (.AT. stands for @ to avoid spam-bots!)