Kayak Cornwall contains information about short and medium range sea kayak trips exploring the coast of Cornwall with Paul Bennett and Kevin Gaston. Occasionally joined by other friends and always planned and paddled with care.

If you are interested in sea kayaking in Cornwall you might find this site of use to you. We are pleased to hear feedback from our readers and encourage you to add additional information about any of the areas listed using the comment link. You can post anonymously if you are shy!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Sennen Cove to Porthgwarra Cove via Lands End

This is my 6th trip around Lands End and it never fails to impress. It is a special place with towering cliffs, reefs, caves and tidal races. We left Sennen Cove in a small swell and a choppy sea but after we were under the cliffs protection, only had to deal with the swell and clapotis (backwash from the cliffs and rocks). The tide was still ebbing and there was a fair tidal stream to paddle against but the sun was shining and the scenery epic. We did not get a chance to go into the caves as it was too dangerous and had to avoid some short-cuts through the rocks but the simple pleasure of being there was enough. At the half way mark we saw and spoke to four other kayakers travelling to Sennen.

At the entrance to Porthgwarra Cove there is a large rock lying just offshore, I have noticed in previous trips that the water can get very turbulent in that area when the tide is on full ebb or flow probably accelerated by the Runnel Stone reef not far away. On entering the gap, I spun around followed by a wet exit. Kevin, who had sensibly held back came to the rescue and had me back in my boat within minutes. A good example of why we should all practice rescue and recovery on a regular basis.

The final 500mtrs were the most difficult with the tide running very fast on the outside of the aforementioned rock. Paddling at maximum speed we were only just inching ahead and riding down the swell was the only real way of making forward progress. As we were eating lunch at Porthgwarra, Richard Uren and friend paddled into the cove as a warm up to a five star leader coaching course they were running over the weekend.

This is one of my favorite paddles in Cornwall, but it can be unpredictable and downright dangerous in anything but a small swell.

Wildlife Observed: Fulmar (lots), Guillemot (lots), Razorbill (lots), Kestrel (1), Oystercatcher, Grey seal (3) Lion’s mane jellyfish (1)

Look For:
Sennen Lifeboat Station
Cowloe Rocks
Longships Reef and Lighthouse
Wolf Rock Lighthouse
Old Coastguard Lookout
60m Cliffs
Rock Climbers
The Wreck of the Mulheim
The First and Last House
The Armed Knight Rock
Mill Bay / Nanjizel
Pendower Coves
Folly Cove
Porth Loe
Gwennap Head
The Runnel Stone
Porthgwarra Cove

Avoid paddling here in strong winds or anything more than small swell
Many rock reefs and ledges
Not many get-out points unless sea is smooth
Many rocks and boulders on this coast
Strong tidal currents (get your tides right for this trip)

Paddle No: 26
Date: 18/4/2014
Wind: Force 2- 4 NE
Temperature: 11 degrees
Weather: Sun with some cloud
Distance Covered: 10.3 miles
Duration: 4.5 hrs
Access: Easy launch from Sennen Cove Slip
Sea state: Smooth to Chop - Small Swell
Kayaks: Nigel Dennis Romany, P&H Scorpio

   Sennen Cove to
   Porthgwarra Cove
   via Lands End

Click map to enlarge


  1. It sounds pretty terrifying. I am a cornish ex-pat and I only paddle on lakes and grade 2/3 WW. The only sea kayaking I have done recently was around Par beach in St Austell bay and it was pretty sobering. Well done! Mark

    1. Hi Mark and thank you for your comment. I like to think of it more as fun than terrifying, but it is a wild place. It is comforting to know that a bit of training and a good paddle buddy can go a long way.

  2. Hi, great page this. I have just moved to Sennen area and got a kayak (a fatyak, more for surf fun and some fishing) but would love to try some adventure and distance kayaking. any idea how i can get in touch?

  3. Hi. We use sea kayaks for most of our trips.I think the Fatyak would be too slow to stay with the group on longer journeys. That said I have been around Lands End more than a few times on a sit-on. A good place to arrange trips and meet local kayakers is Kayak Kernow.