Friday, 22 August 2008

Abereiddy - A Waterfall and a Watch Tower 22/08/08

With the south westerly flowing ebb tide just starting I rounded St David's Head with the intention of rounding the headland of Penllechwen, which is about 1.5 miles from St David's Head, before the tidal flow became too strong and flowing at it's fastest for my return paddle.

As usual the waters between St David's Head and Penllechwen were confused with quite a large swell but as yet not much adverse tide.

On reaching Penllechwen there were the usual overfalls but increasing my paddling speed and using the standing waves to aid my progress, I was soon through them and into the calmer waters beyond. It is amazing how within just a few hundred yards the sea conditions change with the water now calm and with little tidal flow except at a few of the protruding headlands.

From here there are impressive views along the cliffs of the North Pembrokeshire Coast all the way to Strumble Head in the distance with Carn Penberry towering dominantly above the coast.

The coastline is very rugged with high cliffs and very few places to land safely. When I reach the headland of Trwyn Ddualt which lies in the shadow of Carn Penberry 175m high, I see the change between the grey hard igneous rocks to the South West and the softer black shale/slate cliffs to the North East.

On reaching the small beach at Porth Tre-wen and round into Aberdinas the cliffs become even more weird and jagged with numerous small caves which can only be entered at or near to high tide.

Above these wild cliffs is the Iron Age Fort of Castell Coch.

It is then a straight paddle into Abereiddy passing a few waterfalls on the way which are flowing quite fast due to the recent heavy rain.

Abereiddy is a small beach with black sand and a cluster of small cottages behind the beach and to the north a row of crumbling quarrymen's cottages, all that remains of the once thriving community of the Abereiddy Slate Quarry.

The quarry was operational from about 1830 to 1904 with the slate originally being shipped out from the beach and later from the harbour at Porthgain via a 3 mile narrow gauge tramway.

At the beginning of the 20th century the quarry flooded creating the Blue Lagoon which wasn't quite accessible today as the tide was too low.

On the headland of Trwyncastell overlooking the Blue Lagoon is an 18th century stone tower which I am not sure whether it was built as a light tower or a harbour entrance marker.

It is now a leisurely paddle back to Porthsele with the south westerly ebb tide flowing nicely in my favour with some more impressive views back along the coastline to St David's Head.

This was a good way to start my week down West covering a distance of 12 nautical miles (approximately 13.75m or 22km) with a maximum speed of 7 knots coming back around St David's Head.

1 comment:

stoney said...

Hi Richard,
Your trips look like good fun.
I'm martyn, the paddler that was at Pencarnan at the end of August, we talked about the book you had written by the local guy, is it possible to post details of it, or send it to me or something?
I have a few pics of you launching and 1 or 2 of you around the west side of Ramsey when I was on a RIB trip!

Cheers & keep the post coming