Grade A Paddle, North Queensferry – Sunday 7 May
The Club’s Grade A paddle for May was coordinated by Rod D and he was accompanied by Jane, Catherine, Frances, Michael, Neil, Alice and Fraser. The group set off from the pier almost under the rail bridge at North Queensferry on Sunday at 10.50am in cool, sunny conditions and only a light breeze. Probably due to the limited parking, half the group slid off the pier itself on a rising tide and the remainder launched from the small sandy beach. No real problem with this except that Rod had to do his trip briefing twice.
We turned west once clear of the harbour and were quickly under first the old road bridge then the new. The underside of the new bridge looks as elegant as the top with its clear modern lines.
The sun was strong and absent much wind everyone was paddling briskly though overheating somewhat in full gear. We soon passed Rosyth Naval Base and had a close view of one nearly completed new aircraft carrier and the early stages of another in construction. We continued on past Limekilns as the cooling easterly wind picked up and pushed us on to Charlestown where we entered the enclosed harbour and pulled up on a small section of beach for lunch.
We stopped 20 minutes or so ahead of high tide and over lunch enjoyed some chat as to whether old disused limekilns as in Charlestown, the gasometers in Newhaven or the chimneys at Cockenzie should be/have been protected or just knocked down. From our sheltered sunny lunch spot, the white horses we could see out in the mainstream told us what to expect on our return back to the bridges. We pulled out the harbour and turned straight into the force 3/4 easterly. It was hard work at times bouncing through the waves but everyone was up for it. We were happy to pause for a rest a couple of times on the way back at Rod’s suggestion. Everyone was paddling well and we eventually reached the bridges and back into North Queensferry at 16.30 still in bright sunshine.
Everyone had enjoyed the day even if it was a bit more challenging than the forecast had suggested. Stats courtesy of Rod were 17.4k covered in total. Average speed ex stops was c. 6k/hour to Charlestown and c. 4k/hour back.
Thanks to Rod for coordinating the trip and guiding on the day.