GUIDE TO STANLEY EMBANKMENT
NAME OF RIVER: Stanley Embankment.
WHERE IS IT?: Near Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Head along the A55 towards Holyhead. Turn off at the junction signposted Valley (Y Fali). Head onto the old A5 and through Valley. Suddenly, You'll see an ATS garage on your right and the sea. DO NOT park in the ATS garage car park. You used to be able to but people have been stupid recently and the manager finally went ape and banned all parking in the garage. Please don't park there (we mean it this time boys and girls...).
Once you've found somewhere sensible to park, cross the road and head through the gate in the brick wall. Be careful crossing the railway line.
Now you have a choice - you can leg it along the line for about 30 metres until you can drop down on the left and walk along or you can head through the gate, along the path under the motorway to the inland sea, where you can paddle along to the wave. If you decide to walk along, be aware that you run the risk of having the local plod turn up and nick you for trespass...
APPROX LENGTH: Length? Its a wave...
TIME NEEDED: You need to get there about two and a half hours before high tide.
ACCESS HASSLES: Parking is a nightmare. The ATS Garage is not on at the moment, so use your common sense. Sometimes you get some guys fishing off the A55 embankment and it's nice to ask before you go charging through - they never say no...
Other than that, it's the sea so access isn't an issue.
Stephen Courtney..."I paddled stanley embankment on the 1st march on the high tide 2006 and must make people aware that some one maybe British Rail have been installing fencing on either side of the tunnel from the edge of the girder bridge to the waters edge, it is only posts with wire but there was a post ready to take a sign [probable trespass sign?], maybe ready to prosecute someone for trespass...so beware if walking down the embankment to watch your buddies."
T..D. Parker update...(June 2002) 'The WCA held a users forum last Wednesday and the access situation is now this: Parking in the ATS garage is only available to permit holders. There is only space for eight vehicles in the car park and the possession of a permit does not automatically give you a right to park. You must show the permit to the ATS staff when you arrive and have it on display in your car when parked; otherwise you will be clamped. Permits and details are available from the WCA. Walking along the embankment to the wave and paddling down the channel between the rail and road embankments is now really not recommended. The local police have been present lately cautioning and nicking boaters for these activities. Railtrack are mightily peeved at people doing this and if it carries on there is the potential for a bye-law to be set up banning canoeing on the wave... Be sensible in the village - not dropping your kecks in front of the locals, not playing chicken with cars hammering along the A5, that sort of thing really. If you need more info, ring the WCA (their number's in the yearbook).'
Mike Redding...(June 2002) 'I've been busted by the police for walking the '30-yards' down the line mentioned (it's not even that far). No fine - but if they catch me again it may be a different story! Generally if people want to walk on the line and risk losing a couple of grand then that is their choice - what I don't want to happen is for access to be lost to such a great spot. The basic rule has to be not to go on, or near the lines under any circumstances. The last time I was there (a couple of weeks back) a train actually stopped and the driver poked his head out to say we had been reported and the police were on their way. The police never arrived but I would like to thank the driver. What a great way to clear the eddy - 50% of people there ran away!'
Phil Woodhead has the clincher (22/10/02)...'I got up at stupid o'clock at the weekend and went to Stanley Embankment. Had a great time. On getting off the water and getting to the car I noticed signs (which we hadn't seen in the dark when we got on). "No Parking - Wheel Clamping, 50 Fine" This was in the ATS Euromaster car park. On speaking with a mechanic it turns out a few weeks ago there were about 25 cars parked. I was told that a few inconsiderate parked cars had blocked access to some machinery and a low-loader from essex had had to go home empty. The owner was said to be be mighty pissed off. Parking was no longer allowed and an external company has been employed to enforce this. I hope the selfish paddlers are happy - cheers guys.'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Runs at all levels of tide.
Lowri Davies (Nov 2003)...'Does NOT work at all tide levels - its need a big(ish) tide. Works best 8.5-9.5 (based on Liverpool Alfred Dock). Any bigger and it does start to get pretty messy but is still good fun and remember the build up can be the best part so get on quite early. Smaller tides aren't worth travelling for but it can be worth checking out if you are in the area already. Tide times can be found at http://ukho.gov.uk/tideprediction.cfm?region=1locale=Englandportid=0452'
GRADING: Very Good Fun.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Being run over by cars or trains. Occasional shark attacks and swarms of jellyfish.
Be very careful about paddling along from the ATS car park beach and through the tunnel, as at certain tides a KILLER stopper forms in the tunnel.
Ed Shaw...(June 2002) 'One other hazard worth noting is the abundance of Jet-skiers. 6 or 7 came through at stupid speeds last time I was there, with no warning at all. Could have been particularly nasty if they hadn't been spotted!'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: At ideal levels, the water rushing through the tunnel forms a beautiful breaking v-wave, ideal for all manner of freestyle trickery and jedi mind tricks.
OTHER NOTES: Watch the parking, it's well sensitive. Careful paddling through the tunnel, you never know what you might find. Watch out for trains. Avoid sunny weekends with nice tides, unless you like queueing. If it's busy, everyone tends to follow the "go large or go away rule"...
CONTRIBUTED BY: T.D. Parker, also Mike Redding, Phil Woodhead, Lowri Davies, Stephen Courtney, Adam Davies and Ed Shaw.