Swansea to Falmouth

Passing Mumbles Head
Visiting Dolphins
Doom Bar Outside Padstow

By Tim Pearson, PCC Publicity Officer

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about Bristol Channel tides it’s that trying to beat them at their own game is a fools errand. So, when you put together weather, available time and tide, you end up sailing at all sorts of strange times of the day and night! However, sailing at these times often provides sights that more than make up for it.

This year, my annual sojourn with friends Mark and Jo on their yacht Molia saw us set sail from Swansea early one morning bound for wherever we got to in the days I had available.

Our first leg was pretty much due south across the Bristol Channel and a northerly wind helped us on our way towards Ilfracombe before lining up on Hartland Point and it’s infamous tidal race – no great surprise when you consider the volume of water in Bideford Bay pouring out as the tide ebbs.

Off the North Devon coast we were joined by a pod of dolphins which is always a magical sight and the first time I’d seen any on ‘this side’ of the south west peninsula. Arriving into Padstow around 22h30, we gilled around off Stepper Point occasionally nudging Doom Bar to see if we had enough water, before heading up the River Camel and into Padstow Harbour at just after midnight.

Leaving Padstow at 03h40 we passed Trevose Head and settled in as the rest of the Cornish coast passed by. Passing Pendeen Lighthouse the tides became confused and continued until we cleared Cape Cornwall. More tidal fun and games as we rounded Lands End and then it was on past Mousehole to Newlyn before heading for a welcome pint and dinner in the Fisherman’s Arms pub.

After waiting for a front to pass through which gave us time for a walk to Mousehole, we set off across Mounts Bay. With St Michael’s Mount behind us a brisk wind provided a great sail as we ‘raced’ the other boats that left Newlyn with us. Rounding the Lizard the wind dropped but then filled in again as we enjoyed another great sail into Falmouth and up Carrick Roads. Mooring at Mylor just up the river from Falmouth is always special and made for this year’s journeys end for me.

Trevose Head – early!
Rounding Lands End
Journeys End; Mylor