The tidal flows at Lands End are complex and can run very fast. The Longships Lighthouse sits 1 mile offshore of Lands End and is surrounded by shallow reefs. Deep water is forced up over these reefs on the flooding and ebbing tides, causing fast flows and overfalls. This can make for challenging and potentially dangerous paddling and fishing conditions, even on a calm day and small tide. This footage was taken during the flood on a small neap tide on a calm day. The tide was still flowing at over 3 knots and is at the limit at what most kayaks can paddle against!
Paddling at Lands End
During the Penzance Kayak Fishing Meet we had no wind and no swell... perfect flat calm glassy conditions, however several of us felt the wrath of the Lands End tidal flows whilst fishing at Longships Lighthouse, located 1 mile offshore of Lands End. We had a strenuous return back to the safety of Sennen, not impossible but difficult. Had conditions been anything other than flat calm things could have been very different!
I took some footage showing the tidal flow at Longships Lighthouse earlier in the year, when we fished there during a small neap tide. Even on a small tide the flood brought flows of 3+ knots - the limits of what some people could make a some headway against, others maybe not. Shorter kayaks would be useless here and even paddling a 14ft+ hull was just possible where headway could just be made. Adam and myself on our Hobie Revolution 16 could push well against the flow but the efficiency of the Mirage Drive can easily lead you into a false sense of security and the hard work soon becomes tiring!
The video shows a short piece of footage of Andrew paddling his Viking Profish Reload against the tide at the back of the lighthouse, just making headway against the flow. We had great fun 'playing' in the tide that day but we know our limits and soon had to return closer to shore. Careful planning with the tide and conditions is needed to fish here. Lands End.... not a place for the feint-hearted, unexperienced nor ill-prepared kayaker!