There are two areas to paddle in Fleetwood depending on your ability and confidence levels.
Fleetwood’s tidal marine lake is where you’ll find the OAG who meet on Friday nights between 6.15pm – 8.30pm. The OAG is a proactive youth services group that was set up to encourage new participants into the sport and organise everything from fun kayaking get togethers to BCU training sessions.
The marine lake is a sheltered stretch of water which is great for getting to grips with the basics and progressing through to the intermediate stages of kayaking. For those paddlers with advanced skills then the open sea may beckon.
Worth noting is the powerful tidal current in and out of the bay. A 1.5 mile walk wouldn’t be uncommon at low tide and if you get the timing wrong then you’re likely to be sucked out with the ebbing flow. A shipping channel also lies just offshore and paddlers should be wary of marine traffic that can include some rather large scale container vessels coming in to dock.
For open water paddling there are plenty of opportunities but due to the tidal cycle there may have to be alternative arrangements made when exiting the sea. For those who are big and bold enough, and who have access to adequate support, then the Isle of Man lies a relatively short distance across the Irish Sea. Close enough to taste but not a journey to be made without prior planning and preparation…
If swanning off on marathon sojourns isn’t your cup of tea then hanging around the shore, two hours either side of high tide is usually best. With a bit of a blow Fleetwood’s wave action will increase although the shore break can also ramp up meaning launching and landing could become tricky.
How to get there:
Head to Preston and then follow signs to Blackpool. Fleetwood is then sign posted.
The local kitesurf shop is located adjacent to the beach where some spares may be found although due to the differences in disciplines this might not be the case.
A lifeguard service runs through the summer months and toilet facilities a close by. The town itself has plenty of restaurants, eateries and drinking holes for après paddling.
Tides, harsh weather during certain times of year, large shipping traffic, shore break waves and groynes mean the open sea side of Fleetwood isn’t applicable for all paddlers. The marine lake, however, is fine for all skills.
Ins and Outs:
You can put in at the marine lake along the side and exit points will be the same. Accessing the sea will require a little bit of a walk, at high tide, or a massive trek at low!
Fleetwood’s marine lake has been closed recently (as of 5th July 2013). Much needed maintenance work has had to be carried out by the local council resulting in the temporary closure of the lake. This should be resolved soon and normal service resumed.
Fleetwood is a Lancashire paddling hot spot found within the Wyre District.
Interesting fact; Fisherman’s Friend lozenge sweets are made here which hints at the town’s fishing history. Lying to the south is the quintessential seaside town of Blackpool and picturesque Morecombe Bay to the north.
In days gone by Fleetwood was a deep sea fishing port but during the 70s the industry waned and the city plunged into economic difficulties although in 2013 visitor numbers are relatively healthy.
Offering a respite from the hedonistic lights and pizazz of Blackpool, Fleetwood is a peaceful neck of the woods for paddling. The OAG (Outdoor Adventure Group) operates from Fleetwood Marine Lake and encourages kayakers of all abilities to take to the water.