Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Stacks - 20th July 2016

With an excellent weather forecast I made plans for a mid-week trip to Anglesey. Warm sunshine and negligible winds coupled with neap tides meant I headed for Holy Island with a target of paddling around North and South Stack headlands.

I wanted to make the trip a reasonable distance, but I struggled to find a parking place and ended up parking and launching from a pebble beach just north of Trearddur Bay - which later to prove a mistake.

Great launch site.... but at high tide only!
It was just after high tide when I set off, and it was so nice just to be paddling in a tee-shirt and beach shorts. Such a change from the restrictions of a dry-suit.

Paddling solo I could take as much time as I wanted, and with flat seas I explored all the possible inlets, caves and arches of this wonderful piece of coast.

I was paying so much attention to my exploring that I didn't recognise passing Porth Dafarch and continued round to Penrhyn Mawr. With no appreciable flow, I was pre-occupied exploring and again didn't really register where I was. I rounded the headland and South Stack lighthouse came into view and to my surprise I realised my location.

I was in need of a comfort break, so I stopped off on the rocky/pebble beach of Porth Y Gwyddel and had a quick chat with Roger Chandler who was leading a group that had also stopped there.

I set off again and made my way over towards South Stack. It was getting near the end of the nesting season, but there were still quite a few birds on the cliffs, so I didn't go in too close. I sneaked through the channel between South Stack island and the mainland and entered the magnificent Gogarth Bay.

I headed for the cliffs and large arch of Wen Zawn and watched a party of climbers on Dream of White Horses. I must have surprised them, because one member of the team was relieving himself from his hanging belay... not the best view!

Wen Zawn cliffs
I stuck my nose around North Stack and had a look at the flow created by the ebbing tide. Some small waves were being kicked up, but nothing serious and I crossed the flow a couple of time before starting to make my way back.

I paddled back a bit more directly, and returned to my launch spot. Only problem was that the nice pebble beach at high tide had been replaced by a very rocky shoreline at low tide. It took a number of attempts to find a spot where I could get out, and I had to carry my boat quite a way back to my car. This didn't detract from a fantastic paddle.

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