21st of July, 2010 – Paddling out from Dunbar to Barns Ness

Nine of us paddled out of Dunbar harbour on a damp and grey evening with very low cloud; the tops of the nearby cement factory and power station were both hidden.

We set off in the direction of these two local industries (east) in gentle swell of perhaps a couple of feet height, which was providing interesting paddling where it was breaking on the shallow reefs that are a feature of this area.

Along the way I hugged the coast of a small bay whilst the others took a more direct path across it. At some point my inflatable paddle float (used for self-rescue) became dislodged from its position on the deck, slid back along the deck line it was attached to, out of reach, and filled up with water. For such a small thing, it provided an amazing amount of drag and I quickly fell behind. Thankfully someone spotted me just as I was thinking about heading for shore to sort myself out and came to my rescue. This is the only time this has happened despite always having been fastened the same way and in the same place but I’ll know for future to place it elsewhere.

Chatting away, we were surprised by the confidence of a local, male seal who seemed unconcerned by our approach and only when I was a metre or so away did he finally dive beneath the surface and with no hint of concern even then. Not something I’ve seen before, seals are generally a lot more skittish. He didn’t even make a splash on his departure.

At Barns Ness lighhouse, which I was surprised to find out is no longer a working lighthouse, we turned about and headed back along the coast to Dunbar with a drier feel in the air – nice to get it dry whilst changing and loading cars at the end of day.


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