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Circumnavigation of Walney Island by JG

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Walney Island by JG

After Fi and Dave’s trip to Puffin Island on Saturday my week of sea kayaking with breaks in-between was well and truly set up. The first stop was Walney Island on Monday, then to Holy Island on Thursday.

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Walney Island. HW Liverpool 0926 @ 8.39m

We opted to depart from Roa Island at 0840 an hour before local HW to give us the last of the flooding tide. Walney is best done as an anti-clockwise circumnavigation due to the flow mostly ebbing out to the north. We moved through Jubilee Bridge approximately 50 minutes after our start. Passing through Barrow you get an insight as to the scale of presence BAE have in the area, the Astute class submarines are built here and apparently can be seen from the road although not from the water. Arriving at ‘the meetings’ HW Liverpool is an ideal time as it dries out completely and ensures there is a suitable passage into the Scarth Channel, we arrived at the entrance to the channel at 1hr 30 after the start and decided to take the first coffee break of the day. Onwards and into the channel can develop some confused water as the wind meets the outgoing tide, so the choice of the day is key. The water can be shallow so moving into the deeper channel is key.

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Once onto the west side of the island, you pass Earnse Point which is an ideal start point if HW Liverpool is later in the day, giving you tidal assistance for the majority of the trip. We lunched at Bent Haw Scar and then took out the southern tip of the island. From here Blackpool and Fleetwood come into view. As you round the corner the channel markers start for the commercial vessels so keeping alertness to those is key, each one slowed for us reducing the wake. There is a resident seal population of in excess of 300 at the southern tip of the island, they appeared quite used to passing kayaks and boats! Finally passing Piel Island and back to Roa for a well-deserved break.

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20.5 miles of paddling in 5:30 and plenty of coffee, a long day out but achievable and plenty of rest stops along the way if required.