The Micro Adventures Series
Land & Wave loves adventure in all forms; whether it’s week-long expeditions or an afternoon in the woods.
We’re big fans of Alastair Humphreys’ Micro Adventures. He’s inspired many after-work adventures, where we’ve skipped the pub in favour of jumping on our bikes, paddle boards, kayaks for a journey along the Jurassic Coast.
As Alastair puts it – ‘A micro adventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding’.
To kick off our Micro Adventure series, Lead Instructor, Jack Campion, shares his micro adventure from Swanage to Kimmeridge featuring kayaking and wild camping.
Swanage to Kimmeridge Kayaking
We’re extremely privileged to live in this glorious part of the world. Swanage is fortunate in its location allowing for superb sea kayaking in both directions from the soaring cliffs and vivacious tidal races to the peacefully laid back islands and mudflats of Poole harbour.
Realising I had a few days off I rung around some of my friends and colleagues at Land & Wave and within the hour I had a plan and two buddies ready for an adventure.
I met George and Katie at Land & Wave HQ mid morning and loaded up my van with the sea kayaks. In no time we were packed and ready for an adventure! After a quick check of the tides and the forecast we launched our kayaks and were straight into the action!
Strong Easterlies had brought an unusually large swell into Swanage bay. We charged out through the oncoming surf, until we were out beyond where the surging rollers turned into crashing peaks of froth. I looked over my shoulder to see the beaming smiles of Katie and George ready for the next challenge the beckoning sea would throw at us.
As we made our way out of the bay and around the pier we could see the vast horizon to the west being disturbed by the angry and chaotic movement of Peveril point. Peveril is a south westerly moving tide race that works on the ebb tide, it has a notoriously dangerous reputation. However with proper knowledge, preparation and respect it can be safely navigated without incident. As we pulled around the headland we entered the tidal race; the wave height and noise increased two fold as we felt the pull to the southwest. We kept our boats straight and charged towards Durlston bay as fast as we could, we were soon paddling past the last ledge. It was like someone had turned the wave machine off and we had made it past the gauntlet. There was no turning back now!
From then on it was plain sailing. We had the wind and tide behind us, meaning we could take it easy and really explore the dramatic Jurassic coastline of the Isle of Purbeck. I felt extremely privileged to be seeing the cliffs from this perspective. We all felt a little sorry for all the walkers on top of the cliffs, whilst they had spectacular views, they were missing the intriguing hidden caves, secret pinnacles and ledges. Not to mention all the vibrant sea birds that were roosting right under their noses.
Making our way past Tilly Whim, the first part of Swanage’s extensive quarrying history became apparent. Purbeck stone from these quarries has been used all over the UK and even made it way up to the big smoke, London, including St. Paul’s Cathederal. These dormant quarries have now become playgrounds for the adventurous souls in Dorset, especially us at Land & Wave. We waved at our fellow colleagues coasteering along Dancing Ledge before we charged on west towards our overnight destination.
As Windspit disappeared behind us, we were at the crucial point of our journey. I was apprehensive, had I planned the tides properly? Would it be slack when we rounded St. Aldhelm’s head?
If not, it would be extremely hard paddling against the tide with the wind ramping the waves into a roller coaster ride, far from ideal in a fully-loaded sea kayak. I closed my eyes in anticipation as we rounded the corner, when I opened them I was greeted with large but tranquil rolling waves that indicated little tidal movement, we had got it spot on!
Arriving in Chapman’s Pool, we were greeted with a still bay, afternoon Autumn sunshine and crumbly cliffs stretching from the West. The slipway, with an odd assortment of fishing huts and flat grassy patches to the East, provided the perfect camping spot.
We set up with a picture-perfect campfire looking out to sea, accompanied with a hearty meal of pasta Carbonara. We then made our way up to The Square and Compass – our favourite Dorset pub. The only mistake we really made on our micro adventure was not bringing a big enough tent. It was a cosy night to say the least with barely enough room to swing a kitten let alone a cat!
We arose at a leisurely time and cooked bacon and made tea on the campfire. Soon we’d packed up camp and launched back into the Bay; the weather was chilly and overcast but the wind was gentle and forgiving. We arrived back in Swanage Bay in no time after a pleasantly easy journey back along the coast. After a quick stop into the office to regale our tales, we all returned home very much in need of shower but extremely pleased with ourselves and already excited for where the next micro adventure will take us.
The Next Micro Adventure –
Stay tuned for the next instalment of the Micro Adventure Series.
We love this beautiful corner of the world we call home and are constantly surprised by what Dorset has to offer. If you’ve got any suggestions where we should go on our next journey then we’d love to hear from you.
Follow the adventure
There’s always something happening at Land & Wave – Check out our Facebook and Instagram for all the latest goings-on. Whilst you’re at it, head on over to Jack’s Instagram for more stories of his escapades too.