Having relocated to Devon in October, I made it my mission to try out activities in the area that I had never had the opportunity to really try before. I’ve never lived by the sea before moving down from Yorkshire and with that comes a whole new exciting list of things to do and new places to experience.
I booked myself on a 2 day beginners kayaking course this bank holiday and thoroughly enjoyed my time on the water. There were 6 of us in the group, 4 individuals and a couple all looking to experience the South Hams through a different lens. As a child I went on a few caravan holidays to Wales and had my first outing on a kayaking there – these memories flooded back to me as I started paddling along the river Dart.
On the 1st day, our kayaking tour started at the higher ferry, where we glided into the water and gained confidence with our kayaks and the different paddling strokes. After a few minutes of getting used to the kayak (and trying not to bump into one another!), we slowly made our way round to the open sea. My kayaking instructor, who was also a very knowledgeable tour guide, provided us with pockets of information on what we could see as we glided through the different yachts and ferries. There were caves we could kayak through – there was a point when I was in total darkness… all adding to the excitement of being in the wilderness!
Looking up at the coastline and cliffs, you experience a different view to when you’re on land. You see wildlife free and in its natural habitat, enjoying being by the water and in its peaceful surroundings. The entire group was transfixed when we met a sea lion pup basking on a rock, just after we were greeted with the open sea. The mum kept coming back to check on its baby, making sure it was safe and well fed. She popped up right next to me, which gave me quite a scare as they are very big close up! We then kayaked through some caves around the coves and ended up at Scabbacombe Sands, where we decided it was time to eat lunch.
After lunch, we headed back to Dartmouth. The weather was perfect for kayaking - it was sunny, mostly clear and not too hot and not too cold. There were times when it felt like it was just me and the sea.
Kayaking is a great core exercise and you do get worn out very quickly… especially if the conditions are tough. My tip to you is to bring plenty of snacks and an energy drink with you to give you a boost! We kayaked 16 miles that day!
The 2nd day, we headed up the river Dart towards Totnes. Kayaking up, we saw Agatha Christie’s house, Greenway, and its stunning grounds from the river. Shortly after, we saw a Herrin trying to catch his lunch in the water and a few other enthusiastic kayakers who were taking on the river Dart.
Lunch quickly came round and we decided to stop off at the Fish Shack in Stoke Gabriel for a cup of tea and sandwiches. Stoke Gabriel is a beautiful little village has a peaceful atmosphere and is away from any main roads. After lunching, we kayaked leisurely back and stopped off at the Ferry boat inn in Dittsham for a drink and to watch a band perform brit classics. It was a great way to end a wonderful weekend on the water.