Sunday, 21 November 2010

A Local Paddle 21-11-2010

With the wind picking up through the night I decided to stay local before driving back to Cardiff later today.
Leaving Porthsele I paddled across Whitesands Bay and to the Ram's Nose where the tide was low enough to get into the cave that runs through the rocky promontory.

Leaving the cave I paddle into Porth Lleuog and check out the other end of the cave.

Paddling along the St Davids Head peninsula I am sheltered from the wind and paddle into some of the caves on route.

Paddling across a deserted Porth Melgan I pass a small spring flowing into the entrance of a small cave.

Reaching St Davids Head as is often the case the conditions liven up as I lose the shelter from the wind.

I paddle for a while against the tide and wind before turning round and let nature do most of the work as I head SW toward Ramsey Island.

The further I paddle away from St Davids Head the more the sea calms but on reaching Gwahan the conditions liven up again.
My speed picks up as I paddle into the Southerly flowing tide race into Ramsey Sound.

I am swept pastTrwyn Ogof Hen at the NE corner of Ramsey Island and through the middle of Ramsey Sound.
I paddle out of the tide race nearing Horse Rock and paddle into a sheltered and very quiet St Justinian before heading back to Porthsele.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Cardigan Bay And The Afon Teifi 20/11/2010

After an hours drive I arrived at St Dogmaels on the banks of the Afon Teifi which is where the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path starts or finishes depending on which way you are headed.
I paddle up the Teifi against the flow and the ebbing tide toward the town of Cardigan through glassy calm water.
I have to put in a bit of a spurt as I paddle under the arched road bridge as the flow is surprisingly fast but it soon eases as I paddle out of the town.
I am able to paddle for about another mile before the Teifi gets shallower and the flow increases, this is as far as I will be able to get upstream.
It is an easy paddle downstream passing plenty of birdlife with a White Egret and a Cormorant drying out being the highlights.
Before I know it I am passing back through Cardigan and being swept back under the road bridge.
I pass a group of Swans and a solitary Canada Goose as I carry on down the Teifi back toward St Dogmaels.
As I am paddling it almost seems a shame to disturb the mirror like water but it certainly presents some good photo opportunities.
I even manage to get reasonably close to a Grey Heron patiently waiting for any unsuspecting passing fish.
The Teifi widens the closer I get to the sea but I also have to watch I don't run aground on the numerous sandbanks exposed by the rapidly ebbing tide.
I stay in the centre of the river and paddle past the white hotel at Gwbert and then out into Cardigan Bay.
I paddle the short distance to the small uninhabited Cardigan Island which used to have a Puffin and Manx Shearwater colony until it was wiped out by rats from a shipwreck in 1934.
Paddling clockwise around the small island it is surprisingly windy on the seaward side, looking Eastward the high cliffs of Mwnt look invitingly close but today I am paddling the other way across Cardigan Bay to Cemaes Head.

I stop half way across Cardigan Bay to take a photo looking back at Cardigan Island before continuing to paddle over to the impressive rock formations of Cemaes Head.
I paddle around Cemaes Head for a few hundred yards but the secluded bays are crammed with seals and hence 5 or 6 Bulls are not to pleased by my presence so I turn around and make my way back toward Cardigan Bay.
The Bulls leave me as I paddle out of their manor back into Cardigan Bay and I stay close into the spectacular coloured cliffs.  

I stop for a quick brew in the shelter of an old jetty with a good view across Cardigan Bay before paddling along Poppit Sands and back up the Afon Teifi.
The Teifi is still as calm as when I left it earlier in the day and I just float for a while enjoying the quiet and the last throws of the November sun.
It is an easy paddle back to the slipway at St Dogmaels aided by the incoming tide as the sun slips down behind the side of the valley.

A great days paddling of just over 14 nautical miles (approx 16 miles or 26km) with the moon putting in an appearance, though it looks like it may be a cold night.