Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Scarborough to Filey - 26th March 2011

We launched from Scarborough south beach, parking by the lifeboat station (expensive! £6 for 24 hours) with the intention of paddling to Filey and back again.

We were under way at 10am, and I paddled as part of a group of 6 who set off before the rest of the NWSK party who were still getting ready on the beach.

On the way south there was a fairly big swell coming in from the east giving breaking surf on the beaches and the reefs. About an hour into the paddle the coastguard gave a weather update over the VHF radio and the forecast had worsened to a F5 from the 3-4 that we were originally expecting.

The wind increased steadily from that point and the wind was coming from the S/SE and was against us. This slowed progress and also meant it felt a lot colder. Past Cayton Bay the sea state started to change as the surf was no longer dissipating its power on the reefs and beach, but was now hitting the cliffs and reflecting back out to where we were paddling (about 300-500m out from the shore). Combining this with the increasing wind blown waves from the south created confused conditions. Not too tricky, but starting to get frustrating to paddle through.

We ploughed on and eventually reached the end of the cliffs and prepared to round Filey Brigg. Filey Brigg is a reef/peninsular of rock that juts 1km out into Filey bay as an extension of the line of cliffs from the north.

By this time the tide was running against us, luckily only neaps, but there was still sufficient flow to generate a race on the E side of the Brigg. So... we now had the main swell coming from the east (and refracting around the Brigg), wind blown local wave action from the S/SE and then a tide race running from the SW. Not surprisingly, the passage around the Brigg was lively and exciting at times. It was slow progress because we were paddling against the current through the race.

We also had a relatively inexperienced paddler with us which meant we took a lot longer to get through the confused water than I liked. I also kept thinking of where they would end up if they swam... the paddler would be carried with the current NE back where we came from and their boat would most likely have been blown by the wind into the surf/impact zone on the reef. Good job they didn't fall in!

After rounding the Brigg and surfing into Filey beach we were greeted by Andy and Annie on the beach who had abandoned their paddle with the other group and come looking for people. This gave us the chance to get a lift back to Scarborough which we jumped at since we didn't fancy the return trip.

We were on the water for about 3 hours and paddled 15km.

The other group set off perhaps 30-45 minutes after us and when they reached the Brigg decided they didn't like the look of it and promptly turned back!

I wasn't feeling too good with a cold so I didn't paddle sunday, some of the others did launch from North Landing near Flamborough and went to see the Gannets on Crab Rocks.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Macclesfield Canal - 20th March 2011

Another session in the Aleut wih Allen. Paddled south this timecx through Macclesfield.

Cold wind curtailed going further, but we still did 10.9km in 1:36.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Macclesfield Canal - 17th March 2011

Usual venue, but this time I was paddling a double sea kayak with Allen. We're planning to do the Ravenglass Seaquest in it and this was our first practice run. Actually paddling the boat is the easy part - being over 22 feet long and being very heavy, moving the boat around and getting it on and off the roofrack is a big challenge. Luckily we managed and with the help of my kayak trolley we got the boat back and forth between the canal and the car.

On the water the boat handled fine with me in the rear seat that also has the rudder control.

We paddled 11.9km in 1 hour 59 with a short stop at Lyme Green marina. Obviously Allen can't keep up race pace for a few hours, but I should be able to keep it moving myself.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Macclesfield Canal - 13th March 2011

Clarke Lane <=> Higher Poynton Marina.

Back on the canal for a bit of "training". Not been out on the canal much over winter - it has either been frozen or I've had back problems.

Paddled the Xplore S, out in 58.33, then paddled back at a reasonable pace for the first half and then took it easy as I was getting tired and didn't want to over do it. Returned in 68 mins.

Lovely sunny day!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Bardsey - Day Two - 6th March 2011

Day two of the Barsey trip.

Overnight the wind had got up, but the grey skies had also cleared and we awoke to a lovely sunny day. Before breakfast we walked up the island's hill - Mynydd Enlli - to survey the island and inspect our route home.

We packed up and said our goodbyes to Stephen, his family, and his sheepdogs. Richard again taking our bags down to the slipway for us.

We set off in slightly lumpy conditions, with confused waves going up the E side of the island. We then headed across the sound on a slight ferry glide as the ebb was starting to flow.

We reached the mainland just N of Carreg Ddu, and passed through the channel between it and the mainland. We were swept through, bouncing over some reasonable sized waves and headed out past Pen Y Cil on a wide sweep of Aberdaron bay. The bay contains a large eddy on the ebb, so we continued around to pass between Ynys Gwylan Fawr and Ynys Gwylan Fach and to a lunch stop at Porth Ysgo. After a brief stop we then returned to Aberdaron to finish.

The day's paddle proved to be fairly difficult for me because my boat was taking on a lot of water. By time we had crossed from Bardsey back to the mainland the cockpit had about 2 inches of water in it and this was making the boat difficult to handle. I didn't diagnose the problem on the day, but when sorting my gear out on monday, I found my spraydeck had 3 significant holes in. They seem to have been created by rubbing from my waist tow belt (that I wear with the buckle at the back, and the rope at the front). Combining this with the fact that my bouyancy aid is fairly long, it pushes the tow belt down and it may also have been pushing the spray deck against the fairly stiff back rest pad of the boat.

16.7km paddled. We left Bardsey around 11am, arriving back at Aberdaron about 3pm.

Bardsey - Day One - 5th March 2011

First day of a weekend trip to Bardsey Island.

We launched from Porth Oer on the N Lleyn coast and set off into the increasing ebb tide that was draining out of Liverpool bay. The tide took us west towards Bardsey, but once near Bardsey sound we had to paddle in a W'ly direction to avoid being swept through the sound and into Cardigan bay. We should have left the mainland a bit earlier and headed out more into the flow as we only just made it across. Near spring tides were about 4 knots through the sound.

Once we made landfall on Bardsey we paddled around the W coast for a quick "comfort break" and food stop on the beach on the W side of the "waist" of Bardsey.

We then paddled around the S end of the island passing many seals, some of which came out to see what we were up to. We landed at the slipway on the E side to be greeted by Richard one of the island's wardens. He used the small truck to take our bags up to the cottage we were to stay in while we walked.

We stayed in one of the cottages on the island - 7 of us, but we also invited Stephen the farmer and his family plus Richard and his girlfriend to have dinner with us.

About 14km paddled. Launched from Porth Oer at 11:50, arrived at the slipway about 3pm.