Having promised my wife some time away and accommodation in a B&B, and a lighthouse Hotel, we headed off for a cycle adventure for 4 days in August. Little did she know that Joe Stalker was organising and leading a sea kayak weekend off the Galloway Coast of the Rhins.
Welcome by Joe, due to the expanding numbers and predicted Caribbean weather, I was dumped outside New England camp site, Friday lunch time, with offers of lifts home on the Sunday.
The Rhins was a brand new coast line for me, with x3 lighthouses in place on the west side of the Peninsular and some great village harbours - Port Logan, Port Patrick, Port William etc - to start and finish trips.
Most of the quiet cycle roads did not enable access to the hidden coast line or were in and down, returning the same way. So an element of adventure and fresh coastline to explore was on my list.
As the weather predicted low winds and wall to wall sunshine, we were spoilt for choice, so ran with Joe and Marks decision to start and finish at Port Patrick - exploring the coast North on Saturday and on Sunday Port Logan South, returning back to the same Port, avoiding any shuttles.
The group was large, so we split into 3 small groups, with a couple of experienced and qualified leaders in each group, ensuring safety and personal attention for the participants.
On both days the coast line did not disappoint, with plenty of rock hopping to be done, caves and arches to explore and a small tidal race to play in, around one of the many mini headlands we explored.
The groups were relaxed, well covered up with sun hats and sun protection and the atmosphere was that of fine holiday weather.
During both lunch stops, swimming was the essential theme, to ensure everyone could cool down - quite unique for most of the Scottish sea kayak trips over the last 10years!
On the Sunday we hit upon a sandy surf beach, where a number of paddlers shared their surfing techniques and moves, to the pleasure of the onlookers, eating their sandwiches and tasting some single malt whisky. It was idealic, relaxing and fun.
However - as predicted - after lunch we were expecting the winds to pick up and the temperature to cool down, which it did to order. For many this took the relaxed edge of the weekend, as the leaders kicked in swiftly with group management, positive encouragement and alternative routes back to Port Logan. Thankfully, the squall like weather soon settled down and we all completed another great days sea kayaking with no incidents and happy smilie faces.
What a superb coastline, offering potential for a 2/3 day wild camping trip, ports to shelter in and lighthouse to explore, not to mention the natural scenery to explore from our kayaks.
Thanks Joe for introducing us all to the Rhins of Galloway - a coastline to return to for sure and so close to Cumbria.
As Chairman of Cumbria Canoeists, a big THANK YOU to all - participants, organisers and leaders - and I am looking forward to next seasons sea kayak programme.
PS: The Rhins are located to the East of Stranrar - just over 2hrs drive from Carlisle
Pictures from some of our adventures