What does a first timer need to know about The Swellies

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Andrew

What does a first timer need to know about The Swellies

Post by Andrew » Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:07 pm

I'm visiting The Swellies on the Menai Strait for the first time. I am a competent flat water paddler but have limited White Water experience. So what do I need to know to make the best of my trip and what do I need to be aware off for safety etc

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adrian j pullin
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Post by adrian j pullin » Wed Sep 08, 2004 3:32 pm

You need to know what the tide is doing. It turns very quickly in this area. You will not be able to paddle along the straights against the tide. Also, the current turns at different times from high/low tide. Try to get local information or look up Terry Storey's "Welsh White Water Sea and Surf".

Guest

Paddling the Swellies

Post by Guest » Sat Sep 11, 2004 12:51 pm

Andrew

There can be a lot to learn about The Swellies bit there is also a fair bit of hype too. The Swellies can vary between completely flat water, to rather fast and boily stuff with some reasonable play waves - it all depends on tide timing and heights. At its fastest the water flows through at around 7kts - fast!

For sake of convention, the tide ebbs from the Beaumaris end towards the Caernarfon end and floods obviously in the reverse.

First of all you need to appreciate that slackwater(SW) at the Swellies is different to High water(HW) or Low water(LW) locally, that is, at Menai Bridge.
High water slack(HWS) is at about HW Liverpool -2.00 hrs and Low water slack (LWS) is at around HW Liverpoool +4.00 hrs. If you want an easy paddle through go through an hour or so each side of slack. Note: the level continues to rise AFTER HW and to fall AFTER LW.

The ebb tide gives a fast and powerful but fairly smooth passage through the Swellies whereas it is the flood tide that makes the waves and large boils. On a spring tide the boils can be quite strong and perhaps 50+m wide. On the early flood waves form in the channel to the Bangor side of the Cardinal marker starting about 50m east of the marker and also NE of the cardinal near the rocks on the Anglesey side. After 2-3hrs or so these start to smooth out and waves form on the Swellie rock itself (at the Cardinal Marker). There are also waves around the 'Cottage island' - and the remains of the old fish trap.

The Telford Bridge can give a good spot for practicing ferry glides/breakouts on the ebb, but can be powerful at high water.


The weather does not affect the Swellies stretch too much but the wind can be very strong under the bridges, especially under the Brittania bridge with a westerly. If you have a strong easterly wind against a flood tide, you can get some large waves on the stretch between Bangor Pier and Menai Bridge.

Contrary to poular belief it is not that hard to paddle through against the tide, in either direction. You can make steady progress from Bangor Pier all the way to Plas Newydd by hugging the Bangor bank, there is plenty of slack water - just be careful at HW, there are low hanging/fallen trees to avoid in the Swellies section!

The Swellies is a great place to paddle and nowhere near as bad as people makeout; the tide will give you whatever you want, from a gentle flat paddle to a nice bouncy ride with playwaves worth a breakout.

JW

Guest

Paddling the Swellies

Post by Guest » Sat Sep 11, 2004 12:53 pm

Andrew

There can be a lot to learn about The Swellies bit there is also a fair bit of hype too. The Swellies can vary between completely flat water, to rather fast and boily stuff with some reasonable play waves - it all depends on tide timing and heights. At its fastest the water flows through at around 7kts - fast!

For sake of convention, the tide ebbs from the Beaumaris end towards the Caernarfon end and floods obviously in the reverse.

First of all you need to appreciate that slackwater(SW) at the Swellies is different to High water(HW) or Low water(LW) locally, that is, at Menai Bridge.
High water slack(HWS) is at about HW Liverpool -2.00 hrs and Low water slack (LWS) is at around HW Liverpoool +4.00 hrs. If you want an easy paddle through go through an hour or so each side of slack. Note: the level continues to rise AFTER HW and to fall AFTER LW.

The ebb tide gives a fast and powerful but fairly smooth passage through the Swellies whereas it is the flood tide that makes the waves and large boils. On a spring tide the boils can be quite strong and perhaps 50+m wide. On the early flood waves form in the channel to the Bangor side of the Cardinal marker starting about 50m east of the marker and also NE of the cardinal near the rocks on the Anglesey side. After 2-3hrs or so these start to smooth out and waves form on the Swellie rock itself (at the Cardinal Marker). There are also waves around the 'Cottage island' - and the remains of the old fish trap.

The Telford Bridge can give a good spot for practicing ferry glides/breakouts on the ebb, but can be powerful at high water.


The weather does not affect the Swellies stretch too much but the wind can be very strong under the bridges, especially under the Brittania bridge with a westerly. If you have a strong easterly wind against a flood tide, you can get some large waves on the stretch between Bangor Pier and Menai Bridge.

Contrary to poular belief it is not that hard to paddle through against the tide, in either direction. You can make steady progress from Bangor Pier all the way to Plas Newydd by hugging the Bangor bank, there is plenty of slack water - just be careful at HW, there are low hanging/fallen trees to avoid in the Swellies section!

The Swellies is a great place to paddle and nowhere near as bad as people makeout; the tide will give you whatever you want, from a gentle flat paddle to a nice bouncy ride with playwaves worth a breakout.

JW

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