The 2012 Olympics and Paralympics’ sailing competitions helped give Weymouth and Portland a massive boost in tourism. So it’ll come as no surprise that the area continues to attract watersports enthusiasts in huge numbers. Ocean kayaking – one of the UK’s most popular sporting activities – lays the Dorset coastal scenery out in front of you, and what a way to enjoy it.
Weymouth Watersports not only sells, but provides tandem and single sit-on kayaks for hire by the hour or half day. They also provide wetsuits and necessary extras. If you prefer safety in numbers try their guided kayak tours or kayak safaris. Among many of the region’s attractions, you’ll be shown the world-famous Jurassic Coast Heritage site, the Fleet Lagoon and enjoy a stop off at Chesil Bank with its tern colony. For prices and availability, give them a call on 07743-346-468.
Weymouth Beach – a typically “British seaside” – is an ideal starting point for beginners. The beach is sheltered, but be careful if venturing near the harbour; Weymouth is a ferry terminal for the Channel Islands and St. Malo, so the traffic can be heavy. Portland is great if you prefer kayaking on flat water, and the stretch between its southern tip and Chesil Beach is ideal for the more experienced.
A 30 minute trip from Weymouth brings you to Lulworth Cove, the base for Jurassic Coast Activities. Among their many offerings are guided kayak tours along this famous stretch of the Dorset coast. Combining recreation with education, you’ll encounter “Stair Hole” with its folded limestone strata, and “Durdle Door”, a spectacular natural limestone arch.
If you prefer something a little more extreme, Jurassic Coast Activities offer a Reef Ride. If the swell off Lulworth Cove gets a bit heavy, this is an ideal alternative for groups of four and upwards. As with all their activities, you’ll be in experienced hands. For more information, call 01305-835301.
Further east lies Old Harry Rocks near Swanage. The Rocks have been around for at least 10,000 years and they’re an impressive sight. Land and Wave Kayaks at Swanage Pier offer a three-hour trip to these impressive chalk formations for up to 16 people. They also offer less taxing basic tuition from Swanage beach for larger groups. For full details, call 01202-460-440.
The Portland and Weymouth coast was almost made for viewing by kayak. You’ll discover rock formations dating from the triassic period, caves, wading birds and wild geese. Weymouth, with its Georgian seafront, contrasts with the crashing waves and rugged landscape of Portland. Kayak launching points are many and as long as you’re aware of tides and water traffic, the experience is one you’ll not forget.