Monday, March 25, 2013

Baltic Menai - Two days on the Straits

Here we are in late March and people are struggling with ice and snow drifts. Yet, a small group of enthusiastic sea kayakers are persisting with the freezing temperatures and getting the most out of the weekends' paddling opportunity.

On Saturday morning I drove along the A55 through wintry scenes with fresh snow clinging to the trees. When I arrived at Menai Bridge I was greeted with a mixture of enthusiasm and words like, "We must be absolutely crazy!"

With plenty of warm layers under our drysuits we set off to get warmed up with some practice amongst the bridge pillars of the Menai suspension bridge.

We saw plenty of bird life as we drifted between the islands west side of The Swellies before heading into the woods for a sheltered lunch spot.

The return to Menai Bridge was helped by the new flood stream rising from the south but the strong north-easterly, with temperatures barely above freezing, we were glad to get off the water and into the pub!

Sunday was colder and the wind just as strong. This time we planned for a one-way trip from Menai Bridge to Moel y Don, opposite Y Felinheli. Pogies would have been handy.

One of the rewards of paddling in fierce weather is the ever changing light conditions. Every now and then, wintry shafts of golden sun shone through highlighting small patches of scenery.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Extended Winter or Delayed Spring

This time last year on a trip to Bardsey Island, chiffchaffs were heard singing in the hedgerows and temperatures reached the low 20s. Today's weather forecast shows no sign of rising temperatures yet last weekends trip to Anglesey was the kind of classic more typical of summertime.

Saturdays plan was to paddle from Chruch Bay to Cemlyn and back again. The weather was better than expected and before we arrived at Cemlyn we decided that after a short lunch break, we would visit The Skerries.

The ferry glide had to be quite accurate as we would be approaching the islands during the strongest part of the tide. A last minute hiccup necessitated a quick sprint to reach the lagoon and avoid being swept south towards Holyhead.

After a short break we clambered up to the lighthouse to experience the amazing view before crossing back to church Bay.

The trip had been longer than expected. When we landed at Church Bay we packed up quickly so that we could get to Caban at Brynfrefail in time for the evening talk by Olly Sanders.

Sunday mornings weather was less encouraging. Snow and hail gave the streets of Llanberis a thick layer of slush. The east coast of Anglesey to the north of Moelfre gave us plenty of entertainment.

Ynus Dulas is a must do for this coast. The seals there are so inquisitive we were followed almost all the way back to the mainland.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Stillness o'er Lune

Bright hazy sunshine and light winds greeted members of Ribble Canoe Club as they descended upon the shores of the Lune Estuary at Glasson in Lancashire.

Our arrival was timed so that we could watch the rising waters spilling in across the sands from Morecambe Bay. Before long we were making our way towards Lancaster with the flooding tide more than doubling our speed.

Upon reaching the normal tidal limit at Skerton weir, there was plenty of time for a birthday celebration by way of a huge chocolate cake.

Before heading back downstream with the ebb, we all indulged in a bit of cake busting play on the powerful jet of water produced by the weir.