At last the forecast is for an end to these nor'westerlies. Launched from the beach at St.Bees and paddled north past the imposing headland of, I guess, red sandstone, then set course 315 to ferry glide across the Solway Firth with the spring flood tide sweeping me up towards Carlisle at two knots.
The visibility was good and I could see the Scottish coast already but, as is often the case with long open crossings, the view did not seem to change much for the next six hours. Eventually buildings started to resolve themselves and the Kirkcudbright (pronounced ker-koo'-bree) firing range came in sight. I had already checked with the range control that there was no firing today - the range seems to specialise in experimental weapons, rail-guns and the like - but at about 1515 in the afternoon I'm sure I was briefly illuminated by a red laser from a white building on shore (laser speckle is very distinctive).
The wind, which had been steadily building all day, was now blowing F4-5, and as the ebb flow started, a nasty sea developed. By now, I had been paddling 7-8 hours continuously, so the extra effort was quite unwelcome. Eventually I rounded Gipsy Point and entered Kirkcudbright Bay and a landscape of low-lying craggy rocks and gently rolling pasture. After weeks at sea it was something of a novelty to paddle in estuarine conditions, and I enjoyed the last couple of miles in the evening sun, past mudflats ands buoys, into the town.
Camped on the municipal campsite, and met Nick Hand, who is cycling round the country. Tomorrow should be an easy day, which is just as well because I''ve developed some nasty tendonitis.
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