Monday, 29 August 2011

Menai Straits - 28th August 2011

Met up with Arnaud, Andrea and Jim from the NWSK for a paddle up/down the Menai Straits. Had originally planned to go from Moelfre, but it was perhaps a bit too windy for Andrea (NW F4-5 maybe 6 at times was the forecast) so along with quite a few other groups we opted for the more sheltered location.

Launched from Gallows Point near high tide and set off SW down the straits towards Menai. We took it fairly leisurely hugging the Anglesey side, admiring some of the fantastic houses and guessing which of the many small beaches would make good bivvy spots.

Once near the first bridge, the Menai Bridge, we picked up the main flow of the ebbing tide and started to play the various eddies and spouts under the arches of the bridge and the rocks. This trip is much more like paddling a big river than my normal sea outings with a lot of opportunity to practice river skills rather than those required on the open sea.

We had lunch on the island of Ynys Gored Goch. This is a little island in the middle of the straits with a couple of cottages on it and surrounded by fish traps (or the remains thereof). Initially we thought no-one was "in", but while sitting down to our packed lunches a long haired labrador appeared, shortly followed by a couple and some kids. A quick check that they didn't mind us landing meant that we continued to eat and admire the situation, surrounded by fast flowing water and a good view of the second bridge, the Britannia. Jim told how the bridge was converted from its original box girder design into a two tiered metal arch version.

After lunch we paddled around the middle pier of the Britannia and by this time the flow was decreasing. We chatted with some of the other groups that were in the vicinity and headed back towards Beaumaris with a gentle flow to assist us now and the wind on our backs.

It didn't take too long to get back, but to our dismay when we reached Gallows Point the tide was very low (it was near springs) and the small shingle beach we had launched from was now 200-300 metres away, protected by a muddy beach covered in shellfish. We tried to take a direct approach of walking up the beach, but it was very gloopy and frequently you were going up to your shins or more. So we retreated to a spot with much less mud to cross before terra firma could be reached. Andrea, Arnaud and I made it across, but poor Jim had a nasty experience of sinking up to his thighs and getting stuck, so he extracted himself back into his boat and made his way back to the Gazelle hotel where we picked him up later and where we had a quick pint followed by excellent fish and chips in Beaumaris.

17.9km paddled.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Macclesfield Canal - 26th August 2011

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina Out in 52:27, back in 52:07. Back to some reasonable form after two trips to the US. Oban race next weekend, so now time to rest.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Macclesfield Canal - 22nd August 2011

Another 1 hour session while Gavin was with the Macc CC. Took it fairly easy, doing approx 4 miles.

Macclesfield Canal - 21st August 2011

Clarke Lane <=> Higher Poynton Marina Out in 56:18, back in 59:30. Lots of boat delays as the canal was very busy. Feeling a bit more lively, but after coming back from LA, I was out in Orlando 3 days later on business and returned yesterday.

Macclesfield Canal - 15th August 2011

Just over an hour long session while Gavin had a paddle with the Macc CC. Didn't feel very energetic since I'd only come back from Los Angelese the day before.