CSCC Reports 2009: Sea kayaking summer holiday - Pembrokeshire - July 2009

The Club's summer holiday in Pembrokeshire was a big success with challenging paddles, beautiful scenery and sightings of porpoises, seals, peregrine falcons, guillemots, oyster catchers and choughs.  The warm welcome everywhere we went was another feature of this trip with several local people going out of their way to help us find well hidden car parks and the cafe and pub staff we encountered were also very friendly.

The paddles were as follows-

Saturday - the forecast was bad, so we paddled in Millford Haven, launching at Dale.  Unfortunately the visibility grew worse as we set off, so we never made it any where near our planned destination (Angle) and we decided instead to return to Dale and wander around on foot.  There was a good crafts exhibition and a chandlery, although Stephen questioned whether Dale was resting on its laurels when he spotted the best kept village of the year 1960 plaque.  

Sunday - we decided to risk tackling a section of the north coast from Newport to Fishguard.  On setting off for our get-in we had chatted to a group of paddlers training for their 4 star, who warned us that rounding Dinas Head would be extremely difficult, because 8 foot swell was predicted.  Most of our group heeded this advice, stopping at or before Cwm yr Eglwys, but the remainder decided to give it a try.  As predicted, the waves were HUGE and, with a strong head wind, the paddle back to Fishguard was incredibly hard work and a real test of who had the most efficient forward paddling technique (clue: it wasn't me).

Monday was a skills training day.  We had identified Cwm yr Eglwys as the perfect place for this owing to the shelter it offered, and we went through the 3 star syllabus together.  After that we headed off for a short paddle in the Newport direction.  The sea was perfectly calm and it was here that we spotted several porpoises.

On Tuesday we were forced to seek shelter from the wind once more and paddled from Neyland to Lawrenny Quay on the Daugleddau estuary.  Millford Haven is reminiscent of parts of the Thames estuary with oil refineries.  The paddle became less industrial and prettier as we made our way north.  We never quite made it as far as the promised pub, but the tea shop at Lawrenny Quay sold lovely cake.  The rivers off the estuary would be great for exploring by Canadian - highlights include castles and a tidal mill.            

On Wednesday we decided to paddle to Tenby from Amroth.  Our launch was through surf and I managed to take a swim on my first attempt, but everyone made it through eventually and the rest of the paddle went smoothly.  Tenby is an attractive town with brightly coloured houses on the sea front and the nearby island of Caldey looked fantastic in the sunshine.  

Our final paddling day was Thursday and the wind had dropped sufficiently to paddle between Abereiddy and Abercastle.   We ate our lunch at Porthgain.  The cliffs along this stretch of coastline have loads of caves which we enjoyed exploring.  All that practising manoeuvring and back paddling earlier in the week made more sense.  In one of the caves Stephen spotted a seal, which then proceeded to follow us along the coast.

Before the drive back on Friday there was time for Fi and Mark, Chris and me to look around the local craft workshops looking for presents (and, in my case, blankets!)

A few details about the arrangements-

Beth, Bridget, Fi, Mark, Chris, Alex, Luis, Stephen and Dan stayed in "Ty Gaard", a lovely rented house in Lower Town, Fishguard, which we filled up with all our drying paddlng gear and a mountain of breakfast cereal.  Gordon stayed at the nearby caravan park.  

We catered for ourselves on some nights, but we also enjoyed visits to the Stanley Arms pub at Landshipping and the Tandoori in Fishguard.  The fish and chips from the shop in Fishguard are also recommended.

Our thanks go to Chris for organising such an enjoyable holiday.


What could possibly go wrong?

Hot Ribena. Other blackcurrant juice drinks are available.

Chris's pictures here.

Bridget's photos...