Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Bishops and Clerks 10/04/2010

Paddling out of Porthsele and towards St David's Head my intended targets for today of North Bishop and South Bishop soon come into view.

Reaching the Head there is a small swell and the sea is a bit confused but as I begin my ferry glide across to North Bishop the sea begins to calm as I move away from the mainland.
After 45 minutes and a distance of 3 nautical miles I am dropping down onto North bishop with the Clerks and South Bishop in the background.

Paddling along the seaward (NW) side of the rocks that make up North Bishop, I encounter quite a fast tide race and a fair swell.

As I round the southern end of North Bishop and paddle back up the SE side of the rocks the conditions calm down considerably.

Each time I paddle across the gaps between the rocks I have to cross more confused water as the southerly ebbing tide is forced through.

I stop in the calm water behind the largest rock and watch a group of Puffins bobbing by and look southward at my next destination of Carreg Rhoson. I am sure the Puffins could find a bit more homely residence I bet it gets a bit grim out here in a gale!

I paddle back out into the southerly tide flow which takes me down towards the first of the Clerks, Carreg Rhoson.

I break out of the main flow behind the solitary rock of Maen Rhoson and paddle over to Carreg Rhoson and again stop for a rest at the southern end of the group of rocks.

Paddling back into the tide flow again I am swept southwards again and after thirty minutes I am fast approaching the solitary rock of South Bishop.

I reach the steep North facing cliffs after three hours on the water and having covered a distance of 8.5 nautical miles.

I paddle into the small landing jetty where there is a Gannet who has a damaged wing, it has probably hit the water at the wrong angle whilst diving. It didn't seem in any distress but I couldn't have done too much to help it anyway.

I have been out here before but have never paddled right around the small island and today the conditions were ideal althought I hit a bit of turbulence under the north cliffs.

The lighthouse was designed by James Walker and built in 1839, and converted to electric in 1959 with a helipad being built in 1971 and the light being fully automated in 1983.

The lighthouse was built in the path of migratory birds with the bright light drawing many of them to crash into the light and many being killed. Trinity House along with the RSPB building special perches on the lantern for the birds and as a result the bird deaths dropped considerably.

Taking a last look back at South Bishop I proceed on my paddle back across to Ramsey Island encountering more confused water, the wind is only force 3 or 4 today, I wouldn't like to be out here in force 5 or 6!

As I was in no rush to get back I didn't attempt to ferry glide across to Ramsey but just paddled straight at Ramsey and let the tide take me wherever.

It was a leisurely paddle back across and I was joined a few times by Porpoises but as usual as soon as I get my camera they disappear!

At the last the moment I decide to paddle around Ynys Bery rather than into Bay Dillyn. This part of Ramsey is usually missed out but there are impressive high cliffs to paddle under.

As I pass through the gap between Ynys Bery and Midland Isle I meet four kayakers paddling around Ramsey. Instead of joining them as they paddle up through Ramsey Sound I am a bit anti social and paddle up the west side of Ramsey.

I stop in the calm water by Ynys Gwelltog for a well deserved drink and a mars bar, I am joined by a few seals who watch me from a distance.

Feeling suitably refreshed I have a sedate paddle along the west coast of Ramsey aided by the recently turned north flowing flood tide.

Reaching Trwyn Drain-du at the NW of Ramsey I see the St David's Head peninsula which I left five hours ago but I am not finished yet and decide to carry on down to the Bitches and add almost a trip around Ramsey to the day's paddling.

As I paddle along the east side of Ramsey I spot a lamb and it's mother, I wonder if it's the same one I saw last Friday sheltering from the wind and rain, what a difference a week makes!

The sea nearing the Bitches is glassy flat, it doesn't get much better than this in the middle of summer lets hope it continues and we are not having our summer now!

The tide is just starting to run as I reach the Bitches and resting behind one of the rocks I watch the wave starting to build in an hour or so and with today's conditions it will be a cracking surfing wave.

I stop for a little longer just watching the tide increasing all the time I never fail to be in awe of the Bitches even on a calm day like today.

I have a leisurely paddle northward back up through Ramsey Sound aided by the flood tide and before I know it I am back at Porthsele after a fantastic paddle of 18.5 nautical miles (nearly 21.5 miles or 34kms) around some of Pembrokeshire's remotest islands what a great day, life is good.


Stuart said...

Nice one! That looked like a really good trip.

Richard said...

It sure was quite a challenging trip with some pretty fast tide races, only a trip for a calm day though. I wouldn't like to be out there on a rough day.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rich, great pics reminds me of the good times, take care, Guy