Great Orme trip

Sunday 7th July 2013

Perfect day

Julian had been eagre to do this trip from 'the book' for a while now, and today was going to be the day. Suitable tides were at a sensible hour, meaning I 'only' had to be up at 5am!
After collecting Julian (and no doubt awakening his neighbours at daft o'clock, we set off and were chatting away in the van on the way there, I missed a slip onto the M56 and almost went to liverpool or somewhere in that direction.
We arrived in sunny North Wales with plenty of time, so went in search of good coffee.
We launched from the middle slip at Ross-on-sea at about 1015.
If you look just off the breakwater, there are two local kayakers who left just ahead of us.
Just perfect conditions, I love the sea like this, so relaxing.

No wind, no cags no worries.
Heading toward Little Orme. I have only been here (on land) once in the past, I'm already hooked, and will definately be back with the family
Little Orme, its smaller than Great Orme!
Still immpressive cliffs though, and for once, no swell, means I take loads of photos
First full view of Great Orme & Llandudno. The other two kayakers were just ahead here, and as we paddled in close to the beach, they carried on straight across for a while, and then returned back across.
A first for me. I've not paddled under a pier before, and this is a pretty impressive one to boot. There was a group of jet skis circling around close by, and a couple of pleasure-trip speed boats going around the bay regulary, other than this, it was pretty peaceful.
A rare thing! I don't very often get pictures of me, no handerkerchief on my head here either (Mike). I was trying to 'blend' in my white forehead :)
Loved these slab rocks, I sat here holding them up for a while, I reckon there must have been all of 2 inches of swell!
This large cave looked like somewhere ripe for exploration, until we got closer and found its entrance to be 2 metres above the water.
Cat Cave??
Having passed around Great Orme, we found loads of oppertunities for rock-hopping, and then a little bit of a slog, and what I think was a bit of moving water spilling out of the Conwy?
The book said: 'if you can padle between these rocks there won't be much of a walk/carry up the beach'. We couldn't quite get through, width good, depth bad.
We landed here on this beach, and had lunch. I ate all but one sandwich, and felt content. Then Julian suggested (as the weather was so good) that we might paddle back.
I only posted this picture as I think it is funny, look how small my boat looks! Its 16ft, and Julians 18ft. 
Heading back around Great Orme we had about 15KM ahead of us. 
I had seen these climbers on our way out. This guy was trying repeatedly to solve a particular problem 
Looking across at Little Orme, we decided to paddle straight across this time, its only about 4KM. Both myself and Julian had some strange handling with our boats here, I never got to the bottom of why, but I felt as though it was weather-cocking constantly. 
Still can't get over the glassy smooth sea, and the now sticky-hot weather. I had to put on the wide brimmed hat now to avoid burning the forehead.

As the tide had receeded somewhat since we had left Ross this morning, the return route was a fair bit longer especially around the heads, and the beach was a lot longer!
Trolleys were the order of the day, and I really was glad of it.
The van was right at the top of the slip, and after loading up, we had an all day breakfast down the road before joing the long line of vehicles heading East along the A55.
A brilliant day, and made all the more enjoyable by the awesome weather.

Lleyn Peninsula

Saturday 4th May

A 10 minute paddle, and a lot of sight-seeing

Picking up Julian from Macclesfield, and heading West early on Saturday morning, we headed away from Angelesy as it was the symposium and would be busy busy.

I've never been on the Llyn before, and really wanted to paddle here and explore a bit for the future.
We headed to the town of Llanbedrog with the plan to paddle on to St Tudwals Islands

It was the 1st trip for my new van aswell. We arrived at Llanbedrog National Trust car park, it would be a carry down some steep steps, and then on down to the beach down the slip-road. Not before we had the worlds most expensive sandwich in the cafe though.

Idylic! Flat sea, hardly any wind and lovely crystal clear water.
Leaving the beach was a 'gorrilla knuckles' job!
The idea was to paddle around Trwyn Llanbedrog, and head straight to Penrhyn Du about 4 Km
After getting around the head, it was a very different world! The wind was horrific, you know the sort, relentless, a head-wind. The sea wasn't too bad, but 4 kilometres of this would drive me nuts. Then as we started to get toward Abersoch, it started, a constant stream of bloody jet-skis, all way too close for my liking, and some not looking where they were going either. In fact as I write this, we have just had an incedent there involving a kayak and a jet-ski.
We landed on the steep pebbly beach to weigh up the situation. we decided to call it a day, an head back. No point risking life and limb in a head wind.
We had a little play in some small over-falls off the point. Having not been in my boat since Scotland, it felt good to do some skills practice.
Julian produced a tiny fishing rod, and sat a while, with nothing biting, we eventually headed back to the beach

Julian had been here not long ago with his family, and this campsite was a beauty, flat, short grass, and mint condition facilities. Even had Wifi, and I got reception on my phone. We soon lowered the tone though with a makeshift washing line!
We headed to the pub down the road, and had a meal and a few beers.
Julian had slept in his tent, and I had decided to try the back of the van -awesome nights sleep. We awoke to a disapointing wind though. So after a fry-up on the stove, and a few coffes. We did some sight-seeing, looking for future paddles. Had to go and check out the Ty Coch Inn which was extremely busy.
Bit of a disapointment paddling wise, but a good weekend away, and with some good launch sites marked, we will return soon.
Solid red line is our short trip, the pink dashes show the intended route out. Maybe next time?

Carsaig to Tayvallich

A bit of an under estimate

Friday 5th April 2013

Todays paddle was a bit longer than the others, and potentially longer.
I got adele and the kids to drop me off at Carsiag beach where they intended to dig.

Leaving the beach, I turned South and went down the sound of Jura

I was heading into what I imagined would be an amazing, but desolate place.

looking across the Sound to the Paps of Jura

The view over my shoulder, looking North. I had deliberatly choosen this route to get the open and exposed part done at the begining, I was also going into the wind 1st

Now right down at my most Southerly point, I'm about to turn East around and into loch Sween.
A last look West at the Paps. 
I turned North, and started to paddle on. I wasn't tight on time, but knew I couldn't hang around. It was sunny, and I was hot in the cag, but it was also a very cold day air temp-wise.
I was struggling with the boat weather cocking all the way up here. I had the following wind, but without realising, I also had an adjoing Loch emptying out as the tide fell. It was ( I think) making the Western edge of Loch Sween act like a river bed, and I was effectively heading 'upstream'
After realising I had been fighting the elements, I finally reached this patch of still water. I was able to gluid silently for long periods. 
This section was only about 18" deep, but the Loch-bed was littered with (impossible to photograph) Urchins!

Arms getting tired, I could see About 5 kilometers into the distance, I was only halfway up the Loch, and this being my 3rd paddle since October I was getting tired.
I pushed on, and spotted what could have been an early get out in a car park with a beach.

As the sun began to dip low in the sky, I became aware of 2 things: It was getting really cold, and Adele and the kids must be wondering where I am! 
The one thing about this trip that really struck me, was how 'on my own' I was through out, I saw a handfull of seals, and maybe one person all the way around, oh and a boat passed down the Sound of Jura abot a mile away from me. I had the VHF on 16 the whole way around, and never heard a whisper!
I finally turn into the Harbour at Tayvallich, and pick out Adele in the distance. I had made it back with 10mins to the cut off time, I had set Aele before she should start to worry about my whereabouts!
I always leave her with a plan, rough times, and a plan of action to follow before calling 999! This time I had said, she should talk to a local boat person, maybe someone who had recently come in from the Loch, and ask if they'd seen me.
A cracking trip, sort of wished I had a sail to assist me up the Loch though. Bit off a bit more than I could chew there I think!
A long and lonely trip!

An Eas(y)dale paddle today

Thursday 4th April 2013

A broken camera :(

After spending the morning exploring Carnassarie Castle with the family, we headed North to Atlantic Bridge. On the way up, after Braking hard in the car, my jacket fell off the rear parcel shelf and down the back of the rear seat. unknown to me, my jacket contained my waterproof camera which had somehow wedged its self between the seat and boot floor. You can guess the rest, it was pretty squashed and battered by the time we got to our destination.
I thought I'd take the risk with the camera, and carried on with the plan, just pointing it at things and hoping it would work......
So after a breif stop at Atlantic Bridge, we headed on to Easdale Island. I decided to paddle around it, whilst the family took the 3min ferry trip across.
this picture shows the crossing, a maximum of 300 metres I reckon.

The harbour at the other side - Easdale island

I set off around the Island in an a clockwise direction.

Looking South East

Bit of a rock-garden on the Southern side of the island

Looking West, I must say, in that up here, the paddling is unique, in that everywhere I looked I could see land, islands, mountains etc.

Looking North through the Sound of Insh

And finally after a bit of a breezy, choppy section around the Westerly point, I was back into Easdale Sound.

I landed in the Harbour, and went in search of Adele & the Kids.
41metres to the pub! Brilliant signage on the island, I drank coffee, and the kids discovered Iron Bru!

Giving the camera to Connor, and asking him to take lots of pictures of me, I set of back around the Island again.
Slipping into one of the former quarries, I let the kayak glide across the still water, there was no sound except the trickle of water dripping from my paddle blades - oh and Cerys shouting me from the shore ;)

Me! From the ferry, I don't get so many pictures of my self, thanks Connor

A very short paddle - in fact probably the shortest I've done, but a great place to explore - Oh, and as you can see, the camera still takes pictures, screen is cracked beyond repair, and the focus is not perfect. Looks like I'll need another now :(