The first day paddling with seabeyondisability’s Ben Bostock and Tom Clark down the Llŷn Peninsula was a great experience. The highlight of the day was approaching Porth Iago and our destination of Porth Or (Whistling Sands).
A video link to the Llŷn Penisula’s Risso’s Dolphin’s taken from Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Youtube channel.
We rounded the headland with the daylight soon fading at 7:30 pm to find some huge animals in the water in front of us. Moving very slowly they broke the water only to breathe noisily. My initial impression was that they were some kind of whales. Then the long curving dorsal fins made me think of orca. Finally, when the whiteness on their bodies became evident I thought of the Risso’s Dolphin. This was confirmed a little later when two breached the water, revealing the lack of a bottlenose and extensive whiteness. The animals split, at least two large (the breachers) swimming West and a calf and adult into the bay. We were careful not to pursue the animals once we’d stumbled upon them and were very content to watch them move off.
Ben Bostock and Tom Clark paddling almost the entire north coast of the Llŷn Peninsula in a day
Sea kayaking between Clynnog Fawr and Morfa Nefyn.
- Rock hopping between Trefor and Nant Gwrtheyrn www.nantgwrtheyrn.org
Click on the photo to see Iolo Williams and Huw Jones’ trip from Trefor to Morfa Nefyn. This programme inspired me to explore the same area. In the following clip you can see how the character of this coastline can change under different weather conditions. Our experience around Trefor had rougher water due to North Easterly force 4-5 winds.
The SKW team returned to Bardsey Sound on 21 March to enjoy a beautiful day of paddling on one of the biggest tides of the year. Our launching point was Porth Oer (Whistling Sands), famous for it’s squeaky sand underfoot. Along with many of the other North Coast Inlets/beaches, Porth Oer once used to facilitate the import and export of produce to and from the Llŷn agricultural industry. This coast was once a motorway of cargo boats and ships. In difficult sailing conditions, a great many of these vessels foundered, in rough conditions, on the rocky coastline. The most famous of these shipwrecks was the whisky laden “Stuart”, which grounded in a storm at Porth Tŷ Mawr in 1901 without loss of life. Hidden whisky bottles are still being discovered nearby, North East of Porth Oer!
Departing Porth Oer
The stunning coastline South West of Porth Oer
Further down the coast, towards Bardsey Sound, fun tidal rapids could be played on. These tideraces were also easy to avoid on the inside, adjacent to the shoreline. At the Braich Y Pwll tiderace we shared the whitewater and surf with Dolphins.
Following lunch at Porth Felen, in Bardsey Sound, the team progressed on to Aberdaron via the lovely Gwylan-Bach and Gwylan-Fawr Islands.
Aberdaron, viewed from Pen Y Cil
Paddling on this day were… from left to right: Paul, Baggy, Geth, Ed and Richard.
This was the SKW team’s first visit of 2015 to Bardsey Island, “the island in the currents” and of 20,000 saints.
Bardsey Island on a sunnier day
Our trip started and finished from the former shipbuilding centre and industrial port village of Aberdaron. Also known as the “Lands End of Wales”, Aberdaron used to be a busy port for exporting the local mining and agricultural industries’ produce. It now prospers from its natural beauty and has a thriving tourism industry.
We were treated to a beautiful chilly spring day, with sunshine interspersed between cloudy spells. Some fun tidal rapid conditions were found on our outward journey at the Pen Y Cil mainland corner and along the eastern shore of Bardsey Island. These were caused by the flooding neap tidal currents, passing along the respective shorelines, and the interferance from the easterly breeze. Otherwise, it was a relatively easy passage in good company.
Anxious water at Pen Y Cil with Bardsey Island offshore
At Bardsey we caught up with the Porter family, who were just beginning to enjoy another busy lambing season on their island farm. Later, our walk up to the summit of Mynydd Enlli proved to be a great little excursion, whilst we waited for the flooding currents to subside. Back at the little harbour we met another kayaking group; Brian, Chris and Will (http://runswithaxes.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/suited-and-booted-for-bardsey.html) who had also paddled out from Aberdaron.
What an amazing trip! With…..from left to right: Paul, Geth, Ed, Rich and Abi.