North Coast on the flood, 27 Jan 2018

When a wet, windy foul weather day, turns out to be a great day!
Forecast for Coastal Waters around Anglesey on Saturday suggested rain, winds (WSW/W, F6). They weren’t wrong. The drive onto Anglesey was miserable…. And Paul’s wipers had a temporary ‘moment’, deciding to stop working! Holyhead Truckstop was the usual oasis and we bumped into Jim Krawiecki and his group who were heading off to Trearddur Bay to do some rescue practice. We felt wet enough already.
The coffee and humour had worked it’s wonderful ways as we headed to Porth Llechog ( Bull Bay). And enthusiasm was back to normal as we got on the water, hiding (too hot) in dry suits and working our way under the rocks and cliffs of the most Northerly mainland of Wales. Great paddling and with low tide, stunning environment and Geology.
Lunch was at Porth Wen, commonly known as ‘The Brickworks’. In Victorian times they made bricks here. Rather special bricks using local quartzite. These bricks were not only hard but able to withstand very high temperatures, essential to line the industrial furnaces of the time for the manufacture of steel. All interesting stuff but lost to the humour of friends Barry Shaw and James Stevenson who were with a group!
Launching was delayed as Geth rooted out a ‘Sea Squirt’, so named because they squirt out water when disturbed and more closely related to vertebrates like us than invertebrates. We were now chilly so headed West. Once out of the Bay we were paddling into the full strength of the wind. We paddled West of Middle Mouse before starting a ‘ferry’ out to the island. As we entered the eddy line, a call from Paul as a Common Dolphin (http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/common-dolphin/) was racing and turning just behind my kayak. Wonderful!

The ‘ferry’ became somewhat technical as we neared the island. Strong wind, clapotis and tide race joined forces to make quite tough paddling. The North side of the island was a blast. Fast surf waves and wind behind! The GPS track would be spaghetti as we repeated ‘runs’. All with the fabulous backdrop views of the North Coast.

Return to Bull Bay with wind behind and the flood tide was very quick. Even the rain had stopped. Yet again, a foul day turned out to be a great day!

Written by Rich.  Photos by Geth.

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Bull Bay trip via Cemaes Bay and Middle Mouse, 13 Jan 2018

Paddling today were: Paul, Rich, Rachel, Steve, Peter, Jan and Gary.

Good surfing at Middle Mouse Island and Llanlleiana Headland.

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Middle Mouse Island

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Middle Mouse to Cemaes Bay

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A hungry dogwhelk feasting on barnacles…

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Middle Mouse again…

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Great surf at Llanlleiana Headland

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Then end of the day photo.  Thanks to all for a great day!

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Anglesey’s North Coast – 28/10/17

A fine day of kayaking on the North Coast.  Ed was trying out his new Tiderace Pace 17 in rough water conditions.  It performed excellently and seems to be the expedition boat that Ed has been looking for.  In addition to rough water we had fun surfing with porpoises.

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28 March 2015, Container Ships, Copper, Bromine and Porpoises

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Approaching Porth Wen (site of the old brick works)

Saturday, 28 March was a typically windy day on Anglesey, with strong southwesterlies.  Nevertheless, many sea kayaking groups were out, making the most of the day’s conditions.  On the West Coast at Trearddur Bay we met Roger Chandler, coaching on an advanced skills course in the lee shore “windward” conditions.  On the North Coast we found Barry Shaw, coaching an introductory sea kayaking session for Sea Kayaking Anglesey.  Further along the coast Mark Tozer and Helen Wilson were also sheltering from the wind for their Greenland Style Rolling Course.  Finally, we also saw Manchester Canoe Club heading to the straits for a skills development fun day.  This nicely illustrated how there is usually something for everyone to do sea kayaking along the Anglesey coastline.

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Ed at Bull Bay with the Sea Kayaking Anglesey group in the background

One of our favourite options, on a day like this, is to paddle a returning linear route along the North Anglesey Coast.  On this particular day we paddled from Porth Llechog, Bull Bay to Ynys Badrig, Middle Mouse and back again.

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Ed with a container ship on the horizon

Often, when paddling or walking along the North Coast of Anglesey, you may see very large ships on an Anglesey landward heading. Their objective is to take on board a pilot, from the Anglesey port of Amlwch.  These pilots then convey the ships safely onward to Liverpool. Amlwch has an amazing history as an industrious coastal community.  It’s first major industrial activity was to facilitate the export of the copper ore from Parys Mountain.  During the 18th and 19th centuries North East Anglesey was the location of the Worlds’ largest copper mines.  Anglesey Mining plc intends to re-establish zinc, copper and lead mining at Parys Mountain, when the market price of these metals becomes more favourable.

Following the decline of the copper mining industry, a chemical factory, “The Octel” was built at Amlwch in 1953.  The Octel’s purpose was to produce bromine and dibromoethane (DBE).  Amlwch was chosen for this site as it has a plentiful supply of very clean, Gulf Stream warmed seawater and was well connected for export utilising the Anglesey Central Railway Line. Dibromoethane was an important constituent of anti-knocking agents needed to allow engines to efficiently use petroleum fuels.  The introduction of unleaded petrol in the 1980’s reduced the demand for DBE, resulting in the eventual closure of “The Octel” at Amlwch in 2005.

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Paul porpoise spotting

During our journey we encountered Harbour porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, at four locations along the coastline. Our encounters with porpoises are often at the turbulent waters caused by the strong tidal streams.  These areas are productive feeding grounds, providing the porpoises with the ~6 kg of food they need each day.  Porpoises feed mainly on cod, herring, pollock, mackerel, sardines, and whiting.  The frequent sightings of porpoises along the coastline of North Wales is a good indicator of fish stocks.

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Ynys Badrig, Middle Mouse

Paddling today were: Richard, Paul, Ed and Geth.