With excitement and anticipation our fore adventurers arrive at our Dorset hutquarters door ready to start their kayak, fish, forage & feast wild food adventure, minutes later wetsuits donned and helmets on we head down to Studland beach taking every opportunity to spot wild edibles as we go. Rigging our fishing lines to give us the best chance of that catch of the day our team compare their previous kayak fishing prowess, some none, some some and those experienced folk with a tale of the one that got away.
In our trusty sea kayaks we set a course to steer to the majestic Old Harry Rocks, the weather gods could have given us a kinder start but what's a few grey clouds between new friends? We paddle forwards gently jigging on the lines for signs of a fishy fight all the time taking in the incredible sights of the cliff face and the impending arches and caves that await us in the distance.
We almost forget that we are here to hunt and gather, the pace of the paddle is so relaxed but just as we do we hear 'FISH' as one of our wild food adventurers reels in her first sea bass off the kayak. This little beauty wasn't big enough to take back for supper and as sea bass stocks have faced a decline in recent years there are strict guidelines for recreational fishermen to protect the fish, between 1st January to 30th June bass are on catch and release only and from the 1st July to 31st December you can only catch 1 per fishermen per day in line with the government size limits. So with size and catch limits in mind this tiddler was our one that got away that day.
After releasing our catch we arrive at Old Harry Rocks where we land and explore on foot the rocky shoreline before taking to our sea kayaks to navigate further through the caves and around the stacks, pausing along the way to identify and forage for edible plants and seaweeds to go with our back up fish back at our base.
Paddling back to Studland the sun breaks through the clouds and we enjoy feeling the warmth on our backs as we bob back to shore, at the beach we wash and change and head on down to our secluded spot by the beach where the feast prep is well under way. The table has been beautifully laid and wild flowers and a harvest of seasonal ingredients await us to craft our very own banquet with.
Dan shows us how to bone the fish and fill the parcels with wild edibles from our forage, adding lemon and parsley before we wrap the fish in seaweed to protect it from the fire. All the guests are involved in the preparation and get involved in cooking on the fire before sitting down to enjoy their meal together with the backdrop of the sea and the soundtrack of the waves.
The day is almost over and the adventurers are leaving us with satisfied bellies and happy smiles that only a day in the great outdoors can deliver but not so fast, there's one last thing to do and that's eat pud and what a pud worth waiting for.
If this sounds like an experience that's not to be missed then don't miss it! Join one of our wild food adventures we run the old Harry Rocks adventure every month.. We can't stress enough how much fun and how special these events are and luckily our guests agree, here's an email from one who joined us this time;
"Just a note to thank you for a fantastic afternoon and evening last Saturday. We all had a brilliant and fun time on your kayaking, fishing, foraging and feasting outing. I count myself a real beginner on the kayaking front but it all comes quite naturally when you are on the water and you simply forget about everything except this fantastic journey to Old Harry Rocks learning about edible seaweed and plants on the way. The feast in the evening was delicious and also educational, even though our luck on the fishing front meant we didn't catch our supper! A truly great day." Kevin