When winter alights on calm waters

Winter kayaking in Brancaster Harbour

Cool air, tides neaped and the wind but the gentlest of murmurs. It is then that the harbour may become a pool of liquid cloud. To kayak upon it one might think the white sky had been lowered and rolled flat over the water’s surface.

Winter kayaking on a flat calm blue sea in Brancaster Harbour

It feels in substance and sensation quite different from the sea on any other day. It requires winter light and would not occur if the wind stirred in the slightest. But there it was on that Thursday and it will likely not come again this winter. Perhaps not even for another year or two.

Mooring buoy mirrored in flat calm blue water

I paddled the boat out to the harbour entrance, drinking in the effect of this rare day on familiar landmarks. Old, weed-covered mooring balls were made beautiful by the perfection of their mirrored image. The ugly brick of the distant golf club diffused by shimmering cold.

Sunset and channel buoy in Brancaster Harbour

With the gold of the falling sun the breeze awoke. By the time I was paddling back to the quay, a different evening was emerging. The water rippled again and the world – which had seemed paused for a moment – resumed in flights of geese and the movement of the ebb tide.

Sunset kayaking in Brancaster Harbour


Video: the crashing waves of the North Sea in November


As I kayaked across the still waters of Blakeney Harbour, I could hear the roar of the waves crashing on the other side of the Point. Every so often a plume of white spray rose behind the Watch House and sea bank.

Pulling the kayak up high away from the tide, I walked across the narrow spit of land and down to where the North Sea was churning the beach shingle in a fierce, winter temper. The waves were mesmerising in the pale, early sun.


Railway to the sea

The path ambles alongside the waters of Chichester Harbour, passing close to the grand houses with their lawns and terraces. There’s a place, past Itchenor and through the trees twisted by an age of sea wind, where metal rails disappear into the tidal mud. An approach by water would reveal a different perspective, of the boat house they serve on the harbour’s edge, with its own little branch line for launching into the shallow water. 

From our Instagram, @North.Sea.Living.