Saturday, 13 December 2008

Porthgain, A Harbour, Ruins, Quarry & A Guinness 13/12/2008

After a good drive back down West I was pleasantly surprised by the conditions of the sea especially after last night's very high winds.

I decided to launch from Porthgain, a small harbour situated on the North Pembrokeshire coast, approximately half way between St David's Head and Strumble Head.

Leaving Porthgain I turn right towards Strumble Head staying quite close to the cliffs. There is still quite a large swell causing quite confused water around the entrance to Porthgain and the surrounding cliffs as well as quite a strong NW wind.

As I paddle round the coast I come into the bay before the massive detached stack of Ynys- Fach which has a cave running straight through it that can be paddled through nearer to high tide.

Paddling around Ynys-Fach there are numerous small coves and inlets with high cliffs. It is then only a short paddle to the rocky beach of Aber Draw with the village of Trefin a further half mile inland.

Here the swell picked up with the occasional larger wave coming through which nearly caught me off guard whilst taking photos of the arch and waterfall. I decided to turn around here and head back to Porthgain and maybe paddle on towards Abereiddy.

On reaching the large headland of Penclegyr there were large standing waves and with the tide now flowing SW I decided not to proceed any further as the tide would be against me on my return journey as well as the large standing waves.

Paddling into Porth Ffynnon a small pebbled beach with a cave at the back with the granite quarry above. It is not far back to Porthgain with a little surf into the harbour between the two walls.

A short paddle of 4.25 nautical miles (4.75 miles or just over 7.5km) but not too bad considering the heavy wind last night.

There is still an hour or so of daylight so after changing I decide to take a walk past the giant brick hoppers along the quay which used to store difference grades of crushed granite and up onto the headland looking down over the harbour.

From 1837 to 1931 Porthgain was a very busy harbour exporting slate from Abereiddy, roadstone, granite and bricks. On the top of the headland towards Penclegyr there are numerous remains of this busy period.

Returning to Porthgain it is now dark and an ideal opportunity to sample a pint of Guinness and have a warm in the Sloop Inn dating back from 1743. An ideal sea kayaking pub I am sure Douglas would appreciate this one!

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