We left Howght and slowly started to make our way up the east coast. The first few kilometres until Skerries seemed to be the land of Martello Towers. Unfortunately they finished before any picture could have been taken.
The first days were pleasantly uneventful, we spent most time on the water working out how to paddle together, and most time at landings and launching how to join our efforts to get boats on and off as easily as possible.
There and now Zoe and Lindsey still tried to go or at least to have an idea what it would look like if we went clockwise, but it was more and more obvious that land on the left is just fine.
Eventually we came to a place called Kilkeel. It was time for lunch and we picked out a landing place at the end of the bay. As we were coming closer to land a man, later known as Mike, came to shore asking us whether we wanted tea. Lindsey had not had a proper tea since the ferry, and her eyes just lit up. Soon we were sitting on chairs in front of his friend Adrian’s house, having coffee, biscuits and lunch.
Our next target was Newcastle. We didn’t get there the same day, but the following one after a night on a very bouldery patch of beach squeezed between high tide mark and fence. I have a feeling there would be more of that later.
In Newcastle we planned to do a quick refill of some lunch stuff, maybe get the first coffee of this trip for me, and Lindsey had her eyes set on chips. Little did we know how exciting the stop in Newcastle would be. First we stopped on the beach on the left side of town, at incoming tide, it wasn’t the best, so Zoe stayed by the kayaks while we went to quickly fulfil our tasks. Sadly this part of town had no chips and no food stores, just cafes. We returned to kayaks and decided to paddle to the right side of the town to get closer to the less touristy and more locals’ part of it. This time we decided to approach the high street by landing in the river and again leaving Zoe on shore. Again it proved to be not so easy, as the supermarket was even more out on the edge of town, but we shopped in the first very posh butcher, then bakery. Lindsey got the chips, so all was good. However the tide was coming in quite fast by then. And so Zoe became the poster girl of Peak UK eating her chips while holding her kayak on the tow line to stop it disappearing to the sea.
After Newcastle the big Dundrum Bay awaited us. We had headwind in the morning, and were dreading the long crawl along it. However we were in luck, while we were being entertained by Newcastle the wind died down, and eventually turned in our favour. It carried us all the way to St John’s point.
What an exciting place that is. The lighthouse shone at us the previous night, and during the crossing changed its colours from red and white, green and yellow to black and yellow. What’s more the stop we had to have had some local occupants on, who became very curious of us, yet made it very clear that we shall not step a foot further.
Lindsey even got in the water holding her paddle in her newly acquired wide grip shouting that she was a strong swimmer. Luckily we were allowed to do what we needed to do and proceeded further along the coast towards Gun Island. Tonight we are sleeping on a ismuth, and I am very fond of ismuths.