N.E.Anglesey - beginner's zone ???^

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Bruxy
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N.E.Anglesey - beginner's zone ???^

Post by Bruxy » Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:54 pm

Hi,

Apologies if this isn't the first time this topic has been raised - but please bear with me as we're new to the forum and sea kayaking.

As newcomers to the delights of sea kayaking and having christened our boats in salt water for the first time up near Oban in excellent weather at New Year; we're more than keen for another fix but will have to settle on a venue a little more local to us (Derbyshire) for a weekend.

Anglesey looks like the perfect place to paddle - but we've seen This is the Sea and we're not quite ready for Penrhyn Mawr just yet !

Having had a poke about at a map, the NE coast looks like it could be interesting - especially around Moelfre; either heading north to Pt Lynas or south towards Puffin Island depending on the tides .. I've not had chance to have a look for this weekend yet.

Trouble is our maps and tide tables only give a small part of the story and we, as yet, have no contacts to ask about good places to launch; good places to see and, probably most importantly, places to avoid at this stage of our development if we're going to progress happily.

Scotland was great for us as we were able to take advantage of the excellent 50 Great Sea Kayak Voyages and enjoyed our first exciting (to us!) paddles in the real sea - feeling we were well primed with information.
But, I'm not aware of anything similar for N.Wales/Anglesey.

We'd be so grateful if someone could point us in the direction of such a publication, if it exists; or failing that, maybe suggest a steady itinerary in that area that would be relatively free of objective problems for novices like ourselves.

I realise this is difficult as weather, states of the tide and the paddler's own ability can make one person's easy trip seem like something all together different - and we're sensible enough to realise this and make the decision whether to go or not based on forecasts and how scary looking it is etc.

It's just suitable places to park/camp and an interesting weekend's paddling we're looking for and would welcome any help or advice on the area.

Thanks very much.

Chris

Goldspoon
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Post by Goldspoon » Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:16 pm

This is the safest part of Anglesey (generally the most sheltered).



Moelfre to a Porth Eilean (just north of Point Lynas) is a classic trip and often used as a beginner's trip (when wind from South through West it is good for less experienced paddlers and often very calm). Traeth Dulas beach is also a great big escape route for a good part of the trip. My girlfriend and I did this in fog once - it was quite reassuring to know that big beach was there...



Parking is fine. At Moelfre you have to pay £2 (only in tourist season) or park in a public car park about 200M from the water. Porth Eilean you can park about 100M up the road from the bay (car park free) and can drop boats down by the water first (if starting here). Sheltered launching and landing at both ends unless wind has any north in it.



On the ebb (anticlockwise around Anglesey)... do not hug the coast out of Moelfre as the whole Bay in between Moelfre and Ynys Dulas (bay of Traeth Dulas) is a big eddy and you'll be against the flow - stay wide (out to sea, 3knots on springs). Also do not try to get round Point Lynas with beginners at the last minute (suggest leave a clear hour before the flood starts. When it does startthere are overfalls (oot of Port Eilean it flows in a North Easterly direction and clashes with the main flood which is going in a more easterly direction). It can get quite bumpy and fast here as the flood gets going (especially on Spring tides). The flood is more powerful than the ebb around here. I played the early stage flood overfalls for a bit once, at the end of a trip, and really struggled to get into Port Eilean as they picked up pace more swiftly than I thought. At worst you would paddle out to sea a little and catch the flood back to Moelfre!



Lots of seals on the island - a really nice place.



The good thing about the eddy in Traeth Dulas is that you can get to the island and see the seals on almost any tide. If the tide is against you (on the flood) the eddy works the other way and as long as you can get out of Moelfre then you ride the eddy all the way to Ynys Dulas island (had 1 knot of tide in this eddy the only time I measured it). If the tide is still flooding when you leave the island - out to sea and whiz back (no car shuttle required).



If the tide is on the ebb then take it wide and out to sea (as described earlier) and come back hugging the coast, with the eddy).



Tide speeds up around the Ynys Dulas island and can be a little bumpy for beginners.



Great trip...



Doing it the other way...Just the overfalls out of Point Lynas to consider... won't generally bother good paddlers on fine light wind days but I hear that they can be quite impressive here with wind against tide on Springs...



The two main books...



The bible is Terry Storry's Snowdonia Whitewater and Surf but it is out of print. I believe Olly Sanders is updating it with new info and pics but not sure when.



Also "Cruising Anglesey & adjoining waters" is a superb pilot for the area.This is an Imray production and I bought mine from Dickie's at Bangor.



PS. I do not know your experience or skills so please do not use the above info to decide whether you are okay to do this trip... my disclaimer hee hee



Drop me an email om info@wackywebfun.com and I'll give you my phone number if you want a quick overview of Anglesey...
Last edited by Goldspoon on Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Owen
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Post by Owen » Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:30 pm

Hi Chris,
There was a guide book “Snowdonia white water sea and surf” by Terry Storry published by Cicerone Press; it was published way back in 1986 so it’s probably out of print now.
Moelfre to Point Lynas was my first sea trip, it should be ok in anything other than a Northeast wind.
Going south to Ynys Seirol (Puffin Island) shouldn’t give you much of a problem (but always if in any doubt get someone to go with you who knows what their doing). Between the island and the mainland the tide can run at up to nearly 4 knots and off the north end of the island a small race can develop in the middle hours of the tide. Around the island itself the tide is less strong.
On the west coast I would recommend the area around Llandwyn Island (it’s only really an island at very high spring tides).
At the North West corner is Holy Island, on the west coast of Holy Island is Penrhos Bay with at its north end Penrhyn Mawr and at the south end Rhoscolyn Sound. Best not to go into either of these on your own first time around. But it’s a big bay and there is lots of good exploring in between. Stay inside the bay and you’re out of the main tidal flow.
Nigel Dennis, Plas Menai and Rockpool all do some sort of guiding type arrangements if you aren’t sure use them; use the link in the almanac.

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Bruxy
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Post by Bruxy » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:51 am

Owen, Goldspoon and John W;

many, many thanks for taking the time to reply and give me all that information - I'm currently sitting with maps, almanac and whetted appetite to explore !

We had planned to paddle the area this weekend and really like the sound of the NE area of Anglesey (especially the chance to encounter some of John's friendly seals !!!), but from your replies, it would seem that winds from the NE are about the worst direction for that bit of the coast - and guess what the forecast is with the current high sat over us ?

As I mentioned, we're keen to get out there, but also very aware of our inexperience and the fact that we're learning as we go along and equally keen to save the potential for epics until we're more confident with what we and our boats can do (definitely think we're the weak links here, though - the boats are great !)

Delaying a tour along the coast towards Puffin Island and back for a week or two will give me a good chance to sit down, assimilate all that you've told us, and have a plan in place.

As an alternative, we may well use this weekend to find some small surf somewhere and have a play in that to get us used to a bit of rough and tumble :-)

It can be a bit difficult to know how to progress sometimes. We've practiced our rescues in calm water and have towed each other; and I can just about manage to roll - although this would, no doubt, fail dismally in anything like rough conditions.
Courses and instructors sound perfect, but can cost an arm and a leg I guess - and we've already pretty limbless after buying the kit !!

In time honoured tradition, which I'm sure most reading this will have followed, it's probably a case of dabbling a little deeper and deeper into it all while maintaining an adequate safety net - and just experimenting.
Living about as far from the sea as it's possible to get in the UK means there aren't dozens of paddlers local to pick the brains of, or clubs to join.

But we seem to have stumbled on a good, friendly site here to help us along :-)

Once again, thanks for some very comprehensive and really useful information for two novices... and also for the offers of being able to contact for more information which I may well do when we're set for our outing.

By the way, John ... we both enjoyed your pictures enormously ... marvellous !!

Cheers
Chris

Fast Pat
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Post by Fast Pat » Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:24 pm

You will find http://www.nwsk.org.uk/
both wellcoming and helpful - its not a club as such / nor does it offer coaching in a formal sense. It a group of folk interested in sea paddling with a wide range of ability who meet up and paddle!

Gavin74
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Post by Gavin74 » Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:11 pm

Hi Chris,

Amazon has a copy of the out of print "Snowdonia Wild Water, Sea and Surf: Canoe Guide" also by Terry Storry – no idea if this is a typo or a different book altogether. If it’s the same one, it’s worth the money (mine cost me over £40 and came all the way from the US!).

Never paddled the NE coast, but whilst I was “finding my feet", these were the sort of trips I was doing:-

Menai Straits (Mermaid Inn) up to Llandwyn Island, not a lot going on tide wise around the coast up to Llandwyn Island but the entrance to straits can be a big choppy if the winds up.

Llyn Peninsula – Trefor to Morfa Nefyn and beyond. Easy tidal planning with just the weather to worry about.

Abersoch to the Tudwals – again easy tidal planning with just the weather to worry about.

Cymran Straits to Borthwen. Let the last of the Ebb take you out of the straits then up to Borthwen.

Borthwen to Trearddur bay. – Scared me the first time I did this on my own (almost put my new boat straight on ebay), was a little bumpy between the Beacon, Maen Y Fran and Rhoscolyn head. This trip needs a bit more thought, stream runs at up to 4kts on springs and race off the southern tip of Beacon Rocks, also inshore stream changes early (don’t have the detail with me in work), but when the weathers good this place is awesome for pottering it's got it all arches, caves, wildlife etc. No doubt

No doubt Aled’s a busy chap these days building an expedition boat, but I'd strongly recommend Rockpool for skills training or guiding.

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Zoe Newsam
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:58 pm

I'd second all of the above - but particularly the North West Sea Kayakers bit (www.nwsk.org.uk). Check out the 'Planned Trips' bit on their site & post something on their message board- I reckon they/we are probably the most active sea paddling group in the UK during the summer. They also hold a beginners weekend in the early summer, for practise falling in/ surfing/ rockhopping with a few more experienced folk around.

If you show up at a few of their trips, no doubt I'll see you on the water sometime!

Enjoy.
Zoe

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Bruxy
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Post by Bruxy » Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:42 am

Fast Pat and Zoe,

thanks for recommending NWSK - we'll definitely drop something on their web site in the hope of meeting up and having a paddle in company.

Gavin,

thanks for more info - all printed off and being used to plan a good weekend soon !

I spotted the Terry Storry guide on Amazon and have sent off for it !


We were thinking of a trip to Anglesey this last weekend gone, but were put off by forecast NE 4/5 - which would seem to have been the worst direction for the Puffin Trip - which we're keen to do, especially hoping to meet "Lucy" the seal !

I'm wondering whether the forecast winds materialised - there wasn't a breath up in the Lakes, where we settled on in the end - enjoying a chilly night paddle down Ullswater and some even chillier ice-breaking on Derwentwater !!

That's one thing we're learning - when we were in Scotland, we were spooked a couple of times by scary inshore water forecasts of NW 7/8 and so gave the paddling a miss; only to discover placid seas and missed opportunities. We eventually gave up and paddled, keeping a wary eye open for the yet again big winds forecast, and had a nice trip out to Luing with barely a swell. Hmmm - I guess conditions can be very localised !!

Cheers
Chris

Gavin74
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Post by Gavin74 » Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:18 pm

I'm wondering whether the forecast winds materialised
They did, we left anglesey about 4ish yesterday and there was plently of white caps around puffin island.

We'd also planned a Puffin Island trip, but because of the wind direction we ended up paddling on the west coast, putting in at Port Dafarch and then up to Abraham Bosom (just wanted to see what Penrhyn Mawr was like on the ebb).

If you kept fairly close in you were sheltered from worst of the wind, but at times it was a bit of slog paddling into the wind.

Gavin

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