Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Delights of the Gower

Last weekend's work commitments took me to the Gower peninsula in south Wales. Without hesitation I packed my kayak and got in touch with local paddler Eurion Brown. We met up on the Friday evening at Port Eynon for a short sunset paddle and quickly discovered that this coastline is something special.

This smugglers cove has a tower built of stone set deep into its gully. If these walls could talk they would tell tall tales of smuggling brandy, tobacco and pirates booty.

The lack of air traffic left the skies clear of vapour trails. A wonderful sunset was our cue to head back to reach Port Eynon before dark.

The following day Eurion and I paddled the section from Port Eynon to Llangennith. This classic journey took us past Paviland Cave and on towards Three Cliffs Bay before rounding Worms Head. The towering limestone cliffs and pinnacles with sweeping grassy meadows between them are reminiscent of summer alpine scenes. No doubt this is why walkers and climbers are drawn to these shores.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Northumberland at Easter

The Northumberland is blessed with a wild, bleak and beautiful coastline full of adventure. Kirstine and I braved the A1 with thousands of others for the great Easter get away. By late evening we were established in our lodgings at Farne Diving Services in the village of Beadnell.

On Good Friday morning the beach at Beadnell Haven was bristling with wildlife. Eider ducks were so busy squabbling over who should mate with who that they hardly noticed me sneaking up on then with my camera.

The tide was on its way out and the wading birds were tucking into the fresh feast exposed along the sands.

Most interesting were a small group of 'bar tailed godwits' possibly part-way through migration to their breeding grounds in higher lattitudes.

On Saturday Kirstine and I paddled out to the Inner Farne to look for some more wildlife. Before long we spotted the first of what seemed like a million puffins. Kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and shags have also arrived in readiness for the breeding season.

Sunday morning was a little fuzzy due to a few extra beers in the Craster Arms. I left Kirstine to rest whilst I met up with local kayak guide Ollie Jay for a trip out to the Longstone. The Longstone is one of the outermost Farne islands and after stopping for a hot drink beside the lighthouse we had fun nipping in and out of the tide races that rush between the kelp infested rocks. Some of the seals followed us for over a mile until we were well on our way back to St Aidan's beach near Seahouses.