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National Windsurfing Championships 2018
Iona receiving her trophy from Guy Cribb having come first in her fleet (4.5m)

Windsurfing in the Lake District and Cumbria Solway coast

Started by Started by: cassek
hi there

does anyone know about the procedure for sailing in the lake district (not out of a marina)? in particular for bassenthwaite lake near keswick, ive seen windsurfers before parked by the side of the road. but can you just launch or do you need a permit?

also, does anyone know about sailing in the allonby/silloth coast of cumbria? i have seen loads of windsurfers out there before but i've heard it is not really for beginners given the tides in the solway firth.

any adivce or links much appreciated. i cannot seem to find much and will be going there soon!



Last updated: 23/02/09 21:38 By: cassek
Views: 6580

Added by Lawrence on 24/02/09

Hi Kim - I raced at Allonby in the late 90's, but this was part of the old BWA series, so I don't know if as an organisation they arranged anything special, but just on the outskirts of the town we 'set up camp' usually about 80-100 competitors. Most people slept in vans in a field & we just walked the short distance into town for food & drink. It was always on the August bank holiday, so it tended to be warm, sunny & light winds - you can see across the estuary to Scotland (but don't try & sail it, its further than it looks!). Beach was sandy & relatively quiet. On the one day that I was there & we had good wind there were a number of locals out on wave boards & sub 5m sails having fun.....mainly due I feel to laughing at us on our wide race boards with 50cm+ fins & smallest race sails (7.5m!) in such conditions!

I have not sailed on any lakes in the lake district, but as you probably know - the scenary is glorious! I've seen other water users up there, so I can't imagine its a problem.....not so long ago they let a guy rip up & down on one of their lakes trying to set a new water speed record in a boat called 'Blue bird'.....if they let a boat named that on the water, they are not going to worry about a windsurfer, but I'd still only go out in good planing conditions, that way, if someone does object, they are going to have trouble catching you ;)

Good luck & have fun!!

Added by castorway on 24/02/09

I would give the lakes a miss, scenery notwithstanding, wind will always be flukey unless running bang on the direction of the valley. Besides the coast offers much better sailing......Allenby's good as is walney Island but if your not so experienced I would recommend Roa Island just below Barrow in Furness. In a big tide you can sail 3 -4 hours either side of the high tide (a big tide is 10 m ) in almost every wind direction. Failing that anything with a lot of west in it is good at low tide as you can reach up the sand bar in completely flat water for about 2 miles. parking free on car park of the spit toilets and cafe at the end by lifeboat station. And the locals are friendly...ENJOY

Added by justa799 on 03/03/09

Hi, Allonby is my old stomping ground, very tidal but as the prevailing westerleys would bring you in its quite safe either way.
At low tide there is a walk and you can sometimes be in ankle deep water way out as it is shallow. just follow the locals, avoid high tide as there is a wicked shorebreak - no where near south coast standards but easily avoided by sitting on the beach till the tide turns so why risk it.
Park in the little car park bout 1k south of the village and rig on grass :)
Can't recommend a better spot for learning to sail in coastal waters as due to shallowness the waves never get too big or break on you, it gets so much wind, and in the summer a sea breeze can get you out when the rest of the country sun bathes.
There is a local club, used to be in it - the locals have a fierce accent but are really friendly and love their bump and jump sailing all year round.
Lakes - uswater will get you started - waterside campsite allows launch but as mentioned above - you should get to allonby asap! - I've taught complete beginners there.
Spring and autumn will give you the best wind and warmest water this side of the med - re Law's text, us locals never could work out why bfa chose august to go there - they visited one spring bank hol and had the three days best racing in 15 years of BFA racing! (yes I am biased - it is still my favorite spot ever). there is another spot - st Bee's for southerly winds also good....:)
Bassinwaith is just for NE's ok ish.

If you give me a shout when you are going I'm due a weekend up there - got some old buddies in the area overdue a visit - Bif Bacons local beach - half man half gorrilla and as friendly as you like. Some of the locals will be in cornwall at easter btw

Added by cassek on 06/03/09


Thanks for all for the information everyone. Especially Justa799. This is very detailed and I will use it! I'm particularly pleased that beginners can get out at Allonby.
Please come up if you can. I will be there from this weekend for two weeks until the 23rd. I have a house in Cockermouth (though don't know a sole!). Bring friends :)



Added by justa799 on 12/03/09

may come saturday as in newcastle fri - be in a black saab conviertible stuffed with kite surf kit - forcast says 20mph nw - 8 degrees, not perfect but may get us out

Added by justa799 on 13/03/09

hey, latest forecast 30mph and 7 degrees, as i cant get windsurfing kit in car and kite is too big for that (and its 7 degrees) I'm unfortunately not going to make it.
That condtions for experianced windsurfing only.

next time :-0