Explorer and Independent Biologist

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Piel Triangle

The stretch of water between Walney Island and the Furness Peninsula of the Cumbria Mainland is subject to fast-flowing tidal currents as the huge volume of water from Morecambe Bay surges through it during the flood and ebb tides. There is one particular area at the mouth of the channel, known as the Piel Triangle, where the currents and tide rips can be particularly ferocious during the highest tides and is referred to by some locals as the Devil's Cauldron.

Morecambe bay and the Furness Peninsula showing the location of the 
Piel Triangle at the mouth of the Walney Channel

The dreaded Piel Triangle lies at the mouth of the Walney Channel 
and encloses the water between three islands. 

 Piel Island from Foulney Island. 
The channel looks benign enough at low tide. 
Piel Castle (at the left end) was built in 1212 when King John allowed 
the monks to store provisions there (including gunpowder, it is said).

Roa Island from Foulney Island. 
The lifeboat station is testimony to the 
reputation of the Piel Triangle. 
Coastguard cottages catch the afternoon winter sunlight. 

During a fine settled (though cold) period of weather I
was tempted to paddle out into the Piel Triangle in my FeelFree Nomad Kayak 
and pit my skills against whatever the dreaded Cauldron could throw at me.

Ready to launch from the slipway on Roa Island

Venturing out into the centre of the Piel Triangle, 
the sea seems calm enough during slack water at high tide.

Nudging closer to a channel marker buoy, 
with Piel Castle in the background, 
the ebb flow started almost without warning.
I found myself having to paddle vigorously to make small headway

Eventually I found refuge in the stiller backwater 
towards the old coastguard station 
and coastguard cottages on Roa island


  1. Just take care out in that sea, you daft old bugger!

  2. Well mate- thats quite an adventure! It was good to see the area again too and the maps gives me a better perspective!

  3. Nice photographs. The one of yourself must have been taken with a timer. I love the colors in that photo. Brilliant.
    You're quite an amazing bloke, if you don't mind me using that word.

  4. You are an amazing adventure. Just take care, as lorenzothellama said, we don't want a gust of wind or a wave to sweep you away.

  5. yea..he could end up in Australia!

  6. Hi, great post and beautiful photos, I just returned from Piel, and didnt know about the Piel Triangle!! Hope you dont mind if I use your map image in a recent post on my blog? http://sailaquila.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/the-piel-triangle/