Five to try; Kayaking spots with beautiful views
Surrounded by the sea on three sides and with almost 300 miles of coastline, you are never far from that narrow boundary between the land and the water in Cornwall. Many visitors to the county enjoy the beautiful coast from land, unaware that some of the most stunning views of the Cornish coast can be had looking back at it from a sit-on top sea kayak.
Port Isaac Bay
The rugged North Cornish coast is truly majestic, particularly around the small and picturesque fishing villages of Port Gaverne, Port Isaac and Port Quin. Here the Atlantic ocean meets high cliffs topped by green fields, with plenty of small coves to explore and lots of wildlife to spot. The exposed nature of this part of the coast means that it’s definitely advised to kayak as part of a guided trip with a qualified instructor.
Isles of Scilly
Consisting of around 145 low-lying islands and islets (only 5 of which are inhabited) with many of them separated by shallow inter-island waters, the Scillies is an incredibly beautiful environment to paddle through. There are plenty of shallow, sheltered bays to explore and the entire archipelago is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty rich in marine life and often frequented by rare birds.
The South Coast of Cornwall is much calmer than the North Coast, being sheltered from the county’s predominant south-westerly winds. The sea is often flat and tranquil here which makes for crystal clear water and perfect paddling conditions, and the unspoiled countryside and coastline of the Roseland Peninsula offers the perfect opportunity to get away from the crowds and find a deserted beach to enjoy all to yourself.
The Helford River provides a wonderfully sheltered location for kayaking, with low rolling countryside and pebbly beaches on either bank near the mouth of the estuary, and old growth woodland overhanging the water like giant moss further upstream. You can paddle up Frenchman’s Creek (the setting for the Daphne Du Maurier novel of the same name) and keep an eye out for the darting iridescent blue of kingfishers, or stop for a break at Trebah Gardens or Glendurgan to explore the valley gardens.
The beautiful seaside town of St Ives has long been a favourite of artists, and the view looking back from the water to the buildings surrounding the harbour is picture perfect. The sandy bay faces north (looking up the coast along the long stretch of beach towards the lighthouse at Godrevy) and is protected from the prevailing wind and waves, so is perfect for a paddle along Porthminster Beach and on towards Carbis Bay.
Sea and weather conditions can change rapidly, and it’s always best to kayak as part of an organised group with a qualified and knowledgeable guide leading you.
Stay safe whilst sea kayaking by following this advice from the RNLI
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