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To the Lennox by James G

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To the Lennox by James G

With the festive period out the way, it was time to get back out and blow away some cobwebs. 

The Lennox Gas Platform lies just under 5 miles offshore of Ainsdale and is clearly visible on all but the worst days. I paddled out to it last year and a quick check of the forecast showed this weekend would be an ideal opportunity to return. 

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With light winds and neap tides Eamon, Gary and I met in the car park for 10am and after trollies were assembled…. well not for Gary he forgot his. We set off for the water. A quick safety chat and off we went. 

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There isn’t much to say about paddling 5 miles offshore then 5 miles back…as Tim has rightly said in previous articles its ‘Type 2’ fun. But there are a few discussion points around paddling to the platform if you wish to have a go yourself. The most important one is an act of law, The Petroleum Act 1987 states you must not go within 500m of an installation. One way of ensuring you do not infringe this is by GPS. The 500m boundary is marked on the charts so it is relatively straightforward to plan. Just ensure you are confident and competent at operating your GPS and off you go. If you are not sure then do not attempt it, same goes for the conditions, 5 miles out is a long way back and by definition is advanced water. 

As we paddled out a maintenance helicopter landed on the platform then departed again a short while later. We made our way out and then behind the Lennox. Once behind it is quite a sense of achievement looking back to land. Many people look out at it from the shore, but few get to see the back of it looking back.

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We initially looked to venture out towards the westerly cardinal marker off the coast of Southport but agreed we had done enough for the day so shaped a course for home. The return journey was into the sun, but a slight following sea provided the odd surf. 

Back on the beach after three hours on the water and three tired paddlers. I am a fan of Ainsdale for some local simple paddling, it isn’t the most scenic, but there are a few challenges to get your teeth into if you want a change from the docks…as ever, just pick your day. 

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