Monday, 14 July 2008

Porthgain to Strumble Head 14/07/2008

Today was a much different day to yesterday with a sea mist threatening to envelope everything as I drove up to the small harbour of Porthgain.

I paddled out of Porthgain and headed north east. I decided to paddle straight across the bays to get to Strumble head at slack water and leave the exploring until the paddle back.

The coastline to Strumble head is very rugged with high sea cliffs and numerous inlets. Today a lot of the high cliffs were shrouded in the sea mist which the sun was trying to burn off.

Garn Fawr shrouded in mist

The paddle was quite an easy one even heading against the tide which is only relatively strong at the headlands. Strumble Head came into view with its light cutting through the mist.

On approaching, the mist lifted and my timing was perfect as there was no tide flow, it can sometimes get very rough here.

I rounded Ynys Meicel and the tide was just high enough to pass through the gap underneath the access bridge to the lighthouse where numerous jellyfish had gathered in the relatively sheltered water.

On leaving Strumble Head the mist again began to fight back against the sun and looking back the lighthouse disappeared into it.

Rounding the headland of Pen Brush I entered Pwll Deri, a bay in the shadow of Garn Fawr, which rises 700ft (213m) to its summit, but today it is still shrouded in mist along with the cliffs on the south side of Pwll Deri towards Penbwchdy which are over 450ft high, quite impressive when you can see them!

Cliffs at Penbwchdy

Pwll Deri with Garn Fawr still shrouded in mist

Passing through the small overfalls at the headland of Penbwchdy I was starting to feel a bit peckish so I stopped on the small beach of Pwllcrochan, yet another plus of sea kayaking, being able to access these inaccessible places.

On leaving Pwllcrochan I have good view of the headland of Penmorfa and the island of Ynys Denllyn. On my left are the beaches of Aber Bach and Aber Mawr. Of Aber Bach there is a legend that a fisherman caught a mermaid here and took her to his cottage where she escaped and cursed the cottage that no child would be born in the house which was not broken till 1960!

Paddling on further I reached the small harbour of Abercastle.

Passing through the gap between Ynys Deullyn and the mainland I notice an arch going through Pen Castle Coch. After paddling through and looking back there were actually 2 arches going through the headland.

Further along the coast towards Porthgain I came across another long cave through the headland of Trwyn Llwyd. There were rocks in the middle but timing the swell I was able to pass right through the headland only adding a few more scratches to the hull of my Nordkapp LV.

On my outward paddle I noticed another cave going through Ynys-fach but this I could only get half was through as the tide was still not high enough.

Ynys-fach was still joined to the mainland so there was no shortcut.

It was only a short paddle from here back to the harbour of Porthgain. Yet another brilliant paddle covering a distance of 17 nautical miles (approx 19.5 miles or 31.5 km).

After getting changed and strapping the Nordkapp to the roof of the Land Rover it seemed rude to drive past the Sloop Inn, whose roots can be traced back to 1743, without stopping for a cool well deserved Guinness.

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