Thursday, 26 June 2014

Paddle to Portchester

One of my favourite picnicking spots is Portchester Castle, built by the Romans, transformed into a modern fortress by the Normans, and used by English kings as the springboard for expeditions to bash the French, such as Edward III's venture to Crecy.
The huge square outer bailey is beautifully grassed, with a cricket square, and is a complete suntrap. Yesterday we rowed there in Solent galley Sallyport and Teifi skiff Millie, for strawberries and cake.
As a destination, however, it has drawbacks. The obvious one is the distance - eight miles - but the worst one is the need to through the narrow channel that separates Portsmouth from the mainland.
Port Creek is traversed by several very low bridges including a railway bridge with several very large and very alarming notices drawing your attention to the high voltage rails. Sallyport approached it with understandable care:
The creek only fills about three hours before HW, and spring tides come up to within inches of the rail bridge and the bridges under the Cosham roundabout. So timing is critical if you want to get through.
Unfortunately, we can only get the boats in or out of the water at Langstone about two and a half hours either side of high water, and it takes about two hours to get to Portchester, so you don't get much time to relax over the strawbs.
We got back with about 20 minutes to spare before the water disappeared.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Now that looks like fun! :o)

Chris Partridge said...

You are very welcome to join us any time, Steve!