Wednesday 6 July 2011

Medway - day 1 - Nor Marsh and Darnet Island

Wheeling the canoe down for launching at Riverside Country Park

First stop on Nor Marsh
Dave attaches a solargraph can at Nor Marsh
Approaching Darnet Fort
Base camp on Darnet island
Not exactly the normal camp fare from Dave

A speedy 2hr 15min drive to Riverside Country Park, Kent — look out over Medway's big vista, big sky, and big industry — Dave arrives with a giant canoe strapped to his car's roof — T and I struggle with the single task of getting our backpacks into a drybag — after some brief instruction, we set sail from Horrid Hill — aggrieved to hear that I'm 'the engine', while Dave steers and T's the ballast — murky green water laps at the edge of Nor Marsh, our first stop — thick with gulls and sea purslane — taste the samphire: refreshing and intensely salty at the same time — paddle past the ruined jetty to stop number two — discovered treasure: an Adidas Jubliani world cup football — a solargraph can is attached to a rusting post — Dave mentions these islands might be lost to the sea within 50 years — the strong wind and big waves make paddling tough — slip in behind three sunk, concrete barges to a sheltered landing on Darnet — we explore the island, while Dave sets up camp — the 19th century fort dominates, ringed by a deep moat and brambles — a bee, overladen with pollen, heaves itself about the flowering sea lavender — vodka and tonic with a lemon slice! — an upturned milk crate provides a seat next to the driftwood fire — salad, homemade bread, creamy pasta, red wine: this is not how I remember camping — travel stories over baked apples — the lights of Gillingham and Kingsnorth Power Station glow — a restless night, despite the unbeatable comfort of a sea purslane mattress and the calming calls of oyster catchers

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