Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Tudwals - 28th January 2012

First day of the NWSK "Neeps and Tatties" weekend celebrating Burn's Night.

Royanne heads out from Machroes
Eighteen of us set of from Machroes (southern end of Abersoch beach) on a wonderfully calm and sunny morning to head out around the St Tudwal islands and on to Hell's mouth. Snowdonia was wearing a white overcoat from the previous night's snow and provided a spectacular backdrop.


We paddled around St Tudwal's East first, playing dare in the caves, with just a bit too much swell to let us get through the complete passages that go right through the island.

The fleet at rest by St Tudwal's East
We continued around St Tudwal's West and crossed back to the mainland and stopped for lunch on Porth Ceiriad.

Lunch stop on Porth Ceiriad
After lunch we headed around towards Hell's Mouth, playing in the more sizeable swell and going through some interesting gaps that provided some entertainment. With the sun going in and conditions getting more sporty we decided to turn round just short of Hell's Mouth and headed back the direct route.

On the water for just over 4 hours, 20km paddled. The evening meal was a very filling haggis with mashed potatoes and swede followed by whiskey ice cream!

Arnaud passing through a gap

Monday, 23 January 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 22nd January 2012

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
GPS packed in, so no accurate timing. Out in about 57 mins, back in just over 58. Blustery!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Cemaes Bay to Amlwch and back - 15th January 2012

I'd been hunting around for a paddling partner during the week and was planning to go out by myself, then on saturday Julian posted on the NWSK forum that he was up for a trip, so a few hurried pms and we were on for Anglesey. The weather was forecast to be sunny but cold, however more worrying was the inshore wind forecast of 5-6 from the SE. We were hoping to paddle out from Porth Dafarch and head round to the Stacks, but on arrival at the beach the conditions didn't look too user friendly, so we replanned for a trip on the more sheltered N coast.
With high tide Liverpool mid afternoon we had a couple hours of the flood remaining with the tide turning just after 1pm. So we decided to launch from Cemaes Bay heading east on the flood.
Leaving Cemaes Bay
As it turned out I'd never paddled this stretch of the island before, so it was nice to paddle some new territory.
Excellent rock hopping ensued - on a warmer day perhaps we would have been more adventurous in the channels we attempted!
Rock Hopping
The rocky headlands and beaches were interspersed with industrial complexes - a nuclear power plant, brickworks, china clay and some dubious looking outfalls by Amlwch add industrial interest but do detract from the natural beauty of the north shore.
Brickworks in Porth Wen
A pleasant lunch stop in Bull Bay was followed by a paddle to out turning point at Amlwch. With the tide in it was possible to paddle all the way up the long harbour.
Bull Bay
Gulls in Bull Bay
The return trip was done at a reasonable pace, keeping out in the now ebbing tide to give us a helping hand.
About 22km paddled, approx 4 hours on the water. Conditions varied from flat calm to choppy on the headlands with some small tide action. Good route choice to keep out of the wind - it looked a lot rougher further out to sea to the N.

Amlwch Harbour

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 8th January 2012

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in about 57:00, back in 57:18. A number of fishermen were unhappy with me disturbing their contest...miserable bu@&;?s.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Menai Straits - 31st December 2011

Final paddle of 2011 was a "social" event on the Menai Straits organised by John Willacy. Fancy dress was requested - John turned up in a penguin suit, Pete Baars wore a chicken suit and I made a token effort with a monkey mask, but this ended up being rather too hot to wear so it didn't last long.

John Willacy
Me in my monkey mask - photo by Jim Krawiecki

We paddled the menai straits "challenge" course - including the loop between the two bridges, so although it wasn't paddled competitively, we did register a time for the challenge, so we can be entered in the prize draw for those that have completed it during the year. We covered the 21km in 2hrs 20min.

Sweetie Time!
It was useful to chat to John and Aled Williams about the best route between the bridges, so I'd be better prepared to have a go myself in 2012 and put a competitive time in.

After the paddle we retired to the pub for a well earned pint!

En route to Bangor Pier