Saturday, 22 January 2011

Return To The Witches Cauldron 22-01-2011

Launching at the slipway by the Newport Boat Club I used the ebbing tide and the flow of the Afon Nyfer to take me out into Newport Bay.

Dinas Head was straight ahead but I paddled NE across Newport Bay to the small waterfall at the north of Newport Sands.

Paddling around Morfa Head the cliffs start to increase in height with the wavy layers of rock at all different angles.

Paddling in towards the cliffs to check out another small waterfall I come across a bull seal chilling out, who for once doesn't seem  to bothered to have me around.

Paddling along the high cliffs there are numerous pebbled beaches with hundreds of seals hauled out so I keep my distance not wanting to disturb them.

I notice a much larger waterfall so I paddle in for a closer look, the water flowing down was a touch cold though.

Paddling on the sun finally rises above the high cliffs and I am now paddling in bright sunshine is Spring finally on the way!

Getting nearer to the Witches Cauldron the cliffs form almost an ampitheatre around a small beach with a large arch on the headland. 

I paddle around the headland and the Iron Age fort at Castelltreruffydd and then into the well hidden entrance to the Witches Cauldron.

The entrance can easily be missed from the sea and paddling into the cave the tide is just at the right level.

Pwll y Wrach or the Witches Cauldron was once a cave but now with the roof collapsed it is now an enclosed tidal pool. In the one corner there is a small cave where a stream flows through the roof.
I land in the cave dodging the torrent of water pouring into the cave from the stream above.

Before paddling out of the Cauldron I paddle into another tidal pool through the small cave to my left.
Paddling past another cave I spot a speck of light through it, I paddle over to it, I might have found a short cut.

After a bit of intricate manoeuvering and adding a few more scratches to the hull of the Nordkapp I am able to get through the cave and out into Ceibwr Bay.

At Ceibwr Bay the layers of rock are again all over the place, I guess I should have listened a bit more in school I might know what causes it then.

I am now nearing Cemaes Head but time is getting on so I don't know how much further to paddle before starting on my return leg.
At the headland of Pen yr Afr I decide to paddle on a little further as Cemaes Head looks invitingly close. 

Paddling on there are again hundreds of seals hauled out on the beaches so not wanting to disturb their sunbathing I take a photo of the V shaped rock formation and turn round and begin my paddle back.

I decide to paddle straight back taking advantage of the last of the ebbing tide, pausing to look back at Cemaes Head across the glassy flat calm sea before I start paddling back toward Dinas Head in the distance.

Instead of paddling back into Newport I paddle across the bay into Cwm -yr -Eglwys with the ruins of St Brynach Church which was destroyed in the Royal Charter Storm in 1859.  I was hoping for a sunset but the clear sky clouded over as I paddled the short distance back to Newport.

A paddle of 19 nautical miles (nearly 22 miles or 35kms) in Spring like conditions hard to believe it is the middle of January.


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Very nice trip, good conditions too. Maybe we will have an early spring. Fantastic geology on that stretch. This web site is worth a read about the geology, it covers most of the areas around the welsh coast:

(forgot the link on the last one)

Will Herman said...

Some nice shots here - I have yet to paddle this stretch of coast although I've meant to do so on several occasions - inspired to do so once again...

Celtic Paddler said...

Great photos of a lovely piece of coast, the Witches Cauldron itself looks fabulous and well worth exploring. Thanks for posting!

soundoftheseagull said...

Fantastic coast line great caves and you bagged some good weather more ammo to make it a must for 2011

Richard said...

Thanks everyone for the comments and to Stuart for the link.
I haven't paddled that bit of coast for a few years and had forgotten what a great paddle it was, will be returning soon.

Rebecca said...

I suppose this is a bit of a long shot, but any help would be greatly appreciated!
I recently traveled to the Witches Cauldron to collect samples of amoebae for an undergraduate research project. I am now in the process of writing up my project however, I can not seem to find any information about the cauldron, such as how old it is, when it collapsed and the geology of the area.
As I say, this is probably a long shot, but any information would be useful!

It is a lovely place though, and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and time I spent here - it was very tranquil.

Ruben Volgers said...

This was a awesome read.. :D
Came here through google images.