Thornwick Bay lies on the North Yorkshire coast just to the north of Flamborough. Made up of stunning white chalk cliffs, caves and gullies, it’s an unforgiving area. The name derives from ‘Thor’ the God of War. Its easy to understand why as you listen to the roar of the waves. Crashing and breaking onto the cliffs.
The North Yorkshire coast is an area of outstanding natural beauty and one paddled frequently by many experienced sea kayakers. Favourite spots include Flamborough and Bempton Cliffs situated south of Thornwick Bay. With RSPB Bempton home to many native birds including Puffins, Gannets and Guillemots. To the north lies Filey and the natural breakwater at Filey Brigg.
So a group of about 15 of us met at the top of the cliffs near to Thornwick Bay Café. The weather was calm though overcast with a heavy grey sky threatening us with a good drenching. The path down to the bay is steep and narrow. Though with all of us in tourers and river boats this day it wasn’t much of a problem. At least going down! The bay is very rocky but secluded, offering a sheltered ingress for those less experienced at launching on the sea.
The North Yorkshire coast
To the right of the bay we head straight for the large cave. Paddling straight through with ease on the calm water
Paddling north round the bays at Thornwick Nab gave us the chance to practice our boat handling. Timing the surf to go rock hopping round through the gullies and rocks. Little Thornwick provides shelter if needed with Chatterthrow Bay just beyond. With lovely cliff top walks on the coastal path above us, we have plenty of spectators as we enjoy some surfing. I am mesmerised by the Kelp unravelling as it stands up between the waves.
Paddling back to the cliffs, a conversation strikes up amongst the guys, most of which I am oblivious to until Mark asks if I will be a safety paddler, ‘erm yeah, why what are you doing? I didn’t need much more of an explanation as they all started dumping their boats on the rocks.
The flying Ninja’s
What is it with some guys that when one starts doing something the testosterone kicks in and everything becomes a competition in how macho they are; So bring on the coasteering competition, how high can you go?
As they climbed higher and higher, with me depth testing and holding my breath for them, it soon started to escalate. With Mark, James, Dean and Josh throwing themselves off ever increasing heights.
It’s like being surrounded my neoprene clad flying Ninja Warriors, with their spray decks slapping them in the face on the way down
With their ego’s and bodies thoroughly soaked it is finely time to get out. I can’t say I was looking forward to carrying my boat all the way back up the path but the thought of a cuppa at the Café at the top kept me going
With boats back on roofs and zapped of any remaining energy by the hike up, we all crashed on the café lawn for cake and tea. A day with more jumping than paddling but exploring the caves and cliffs is always an opportunity I shall never miss.