Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Day 53 St Bees

So after excitedly planning our crossing over to Scotland for today, we woke up this morning to stronger headwinds than forecast, with little chance of getting over 2 mph and no chance of travelling the 25 miles across Solway firth we will have to wait til tomorrow. Very frustrating but its not all bad - we've got a great place to stay and we're currently sat in a lovely tea rooms.

Day 51 Silecroft

After a lot of wild camping we decided that we could really do with a campsite for a night - which actually turned into two nights so we could sit out another windy day. Having freshly washed clothes, showers and a plug to charge phones etc really feels like the ultimate luxury. (although it should do here as the campsite was ridiculously expensive).
I used the day to meet up with my parents in a very windy and wet Glasgow. It was great to see them and have a day where I'm not absorbed in the trip. Rob has also restocked our food bags. So now feeling completed refreshed - if the wind could now please calm down for a few days and allow us to get some miles in that would be very much appreciated.

Day 52 silecroft to st bees

Its drizzley and dull as we pack up camp. This does not change much as we paddle, an additional head wind is thrown in to the mix for the last 10 miles. Rach phoned  Eskmeals firing range as we approached and they promised not to blow us up however they still kept blowing other stuff up as we passed by. It was a little unnerving and we did question if we had phoned the correct range.
St bees is as far as we can get and we arrive just before the tide turns against us. St bees life boat crew were out training and welcomed us in for a tea and kindly let us store our boats. All the guys were super friendly and interested in our trip. On dull wet days like this one being so welcomed by the life boat crew really is a big deal for us and it made our day.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Day 49 Formby to Walney island

Beautiful day today and its good to get going again. With a bit of tide we get to Blackpool in good time. Blackpool on a sunny bankholiday weekend is a bit busier than we been used to. I went to find a loo and felt a bit of of place in the main shopping centre wearing all my kayaking clobber.
After a long lunch it was a pleasure to leave. Slow progress across morcomb bay with the tide against us now. We get to land late and very tide. We had planned to stay at south end cavan park. When we get there we seem to be at the wrong end and there is no way in, so we get our bivis out and sleep just out side the park. 

Formby days 46 to 48

Waiting for the wind to drop again this time at Formby. The beach and surrounding areas are a national trust strong hold so we have been hiding away in formby hills keeping the camp on the down low. I think this might be the best camping spot so far. It was hard work lugging everything over the dunes but well worth it.

Day 50 Walney island to Silecroft

We can only do half a day today The tide is strong here and we need high water to get over the marsh. In morning we find the way into the holiday park and make use of the facilitys.
I met a lovely family who invited me for coffee in there cavan, then filled me with toast and biscuits and sent me of with fruit and more biscuits. Thanks that made my day:D
On the water and there are loads of seals all around at one point there was 5 following rachels boat. We zoom along with the tide and land at Silecroft.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Trefor to Menai bridge - day 43

After a lot of discussion, looking at maps and the five day forecast we decided to not go to Scotland via the Isle of Man. Bit gutted as we were both looking forward to it, but with all the northerly wind there would have been a lot of waiting around for the crossings. So we've decided to follow the coast around which means today we had a lovely paddle up to and through the Menai Straits. Beautiful scenery and lots of shelter from the wind. On arriving at Menai Bridge we saw and met more sea kayakers in one hour than we have done for the entire rest of the trip! We met Phil Clegg, who gave us some advice from his circumnavigation of Britain a few years ago and kindly put our kit and boats in his container. We were then picked up and looked after by Pete, Kelly and their family (the owners of Summit to Sea - the outdoor shop on Anglesey). After showers, proper beds, lots of food, talk of; kit, kayaking, and riding your bike without stabilisers we were refreshed and ready for the off again. Thanks very much all, we felt thoroughly welcomed.

Day 44 Menai bridge to abergele

After a bit of a false start this morning - i left my sunglasses on the slipway so had to go back, we eventually got going for the second time at 11. We had a lovely paddle out of the Menai Straits with great views of North Wales. Aiming for just past Rhyl - we realised, with our delayed start, we weren't going to make it until very late, so we stopped just before and bivied on a stoney shelved beach in front of a caravan park. Not the most beautiful place we've stayed but did for the night.

Camping at Abergele

Rik Stanton trying Rachels boat

Fishermans cove

Crossing from Aberystwyth to the Lleyn peninsula

Rachel & Gerti

Day 45 Abergele to formby - 20th May

9:30 start, we paddled off towards Rhyl on a pretty overcast day with a cross wind. On getting to near rhyl we realised that all the choppy water over the sandbanks in the area were going to slow us. So we started heading away from the coast earlier than planned and headed up to Formby. Crossings can get pretty dull at the best of times, but on an overcast day, with small waves hitting from the side and just a few windmills as a view this has to be our least inspiring yet. I started to get pretty annoyed and bored, maybe I've become a bit too used to the good weather and interesting scenery we've had over the last 5 days in North Wales. The paddling finished with a sprint across the Crosby channel - (not that there were any ships particularly nearby but i still feel pretty venerable) and a very ungraceful exit on Formby beach where i almost loose my sunglasses (again).
After eating alot of smash,veg and tuna we relook at the weather forecast and maps for the next few days. Doesn't look good. The furthest we can get tomorrow- with the wind getting stronger is Blackpool, and with nowhere to camp and sit out the next few windy days between here and there we reluctantly stay put. This is one of the few occasions where i miss not having a support vehicle to pick us up anywhere and whisk us off to a campsite. I gladly go to bed after a very tiring day.
P.s. The last few blogs have been sent by email and won't be in order, you'll have to work it out.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Day 42 - Fishermans cove to Trefor

Yesterday evening we met Will who will become the youngest person to walk the recently opened path around Wales - Check him out on twitter  @Willwalkswales. He was accompanied by Pete a very enthusiastic guy from Penrallt coastal campsite, today we recognised a moral boosting wave from him about a mile away stood on his land rover on the coast. Good day with a nice fairly early finish in Trevor where we met an paddler who tried out our boats and we talked kayaks. One of the best parts of this trip so far has been all the interesting and helpful people we meet everyday.

Day 41 - Aberystwyth - Lleyn Peninsula

Can't quite believe the difference in weather from yesterday, can't get much better for the crossing. A long paddle across cardigan bay in almost glassy conditions. Lovely day for the first eight hours or so, with a good view of the coast of the bay in the distance. However the last three hours started to hurt having spent all day in the sun and getting just a little bit bored! So very good to arrive at Fishermans cove near Aberdaron, found a lovely spot on the beach and ate lots.

Day 40 Aberystwyth

Another very windy day so no paddling. A day of washing, stocking up on supplies, lovely home cooked food and great company. Thanks very much Alan and and Gerti for looking after us so well.

Day 39 Mwnt to Aberystwyth

Up early to carry all our kit to the beach. just about to start taking the first load to the beach when Martyn and Davina appear with a van, offer to give us a lift with all our stuff and a wave from the cliffs as we leave. A good start to the day.

Back on the water and we have the wind behind us and we make good progress up to New Quay where will pull in for a bite to eat, meet more friendly people on the beach and see plenty of dolphins.
The tide is against us for some of the afternoon and we make Aberystwyth by about 1830, with enough time to get some fish and chips. We meet up with Alan and Gerti (parents of another round Britain kayaker ( although they've decided to add on Ireland, where they are currently). So we get zoomed off for to theirs for the night. - a great finish to a long day.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Day 38 mwnt

Looks like we will be leaving Mwnt tomorrow.
We've had a good rest and are very keen to get going.
The Ty-Gwen campsite has been great and made even better by the  the owners Martyn & Davina who have been very friendly and helpful during our stay.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Days 35 to 37 Still at Mwnt

Still in Mwnt as it has been to windy for us to paddle. Monday looks bad as well, we hope to move out Tuesday.
Not much to report, we've both been reading  a lot. I've been eating a lot as well I think I've managed to put on a couple of pounds.
We have been making use of the local bus going to Cardigan.
On Friday I got my hair cut and posted a parcel back home with some finished books and some clothes I can do without.
Today (Sunday) Rach has gone to do touristey stuff in Cardigan and  I've been food shopping.
When we do get going again we are heading for Aberystwyth or Borth and then over to Aberdaron nr Bardsey sound.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Day 32 Pwllgwaelod to Mwnt

A relaxed start to the day. We get on the water about 1130 and keep in close around Dinas head. It's a beautiful paddle. There is a strong off shore wind but the sea is flat so we can get in really close to all the rocks and enjoy the coast. I'm not feeling well today and we know we can't paddle the next two days due to strong winds so we stop at Mwnt and cart all our gear up to a camp site.
Just as we approach the beach at Mwnt we spot a pod of dolphins which is a nice way to finish our paddle.
Sorry for the lack of photos. Im having trouble with water on my lens.

Day 31 Musselwick to Pwllgwaelod

Across St. Brides bay this morning heading for Caerfai bay for some lunch. It has warmed up today and I'm sweating in my dry suit which ironically makes me cold by the time we get to Caerfai.
As we are just leaving Caerfai we meet a lovely couple who are very interested on our trip and sponsor us 30 Pounds! Thanks, I'm sorry I forgot your names.
Ramsey sound is a blast. Even though it is neaps we still fly through, 5knots when not paddling and with a little effort I reach 12knots. Somewhere before Stumble head Rach needs a pee, should not be a problem we are 2 miles offshore and no boats in sight. Just as she starts I can see a boat zooming towards us from the coast, rach just manages to finish up before a small boat with 4 blokes on it pulls up to check we are ok. Luckily we are ok and the boat of blokes returns to shore.
After Stumble head we get stuck in an eddy and our speed drops to about 2.5knts. When we get to Fishgaurd bay there is no wind no tide and the sea is a mill pound for the last few miles. We set up camp on Pwllgwaelod beach just as night falls. I think this has been our longest day. We have done 32.5nm.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Day 30 Watwick bay to Musselwick sands

This morning we popped to Dale for some water and a bit of food. After lunch we set off towards Jack sound. The sea has calmed today and the sun is out so we can enjoy the coast as the tide pushes us though Jack sound and into St. Brides bay. At the end of the day we try a bit of fishing, but no luck. We find a nice beach and have a meal of rice and tinned mackerel before bivi'ing it for the night.

Day 29 Barafundle to Watwick Bay

A short paddle today only about 14nm. However it was full on, with 18mh sw wind against the tide and us. All nice until Stackpole head, then the seas picked up and we were paddling though massive waves that made us feel tiny in our little boats. Then at st govans head it gets even bigger and messy. The sea is a boiling pot. This continues for about 5nm, then we turn the corner heading for sheep island and the sea starts to calm a little. As we pass sheep island the swell starts to follow us and we get a bit of a surf into watwick. Hard but enjoyable, sums up the paddle for me today.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Day 28 Barafundle bay

Still here at Barafundle bay. Bit windy to paddle today, so reluctantly we have to stay on land for one more day. Im not complaining, this place is beautiful. I went for a little paddle around the bay to try to catch some fish. Not a nibble but still well worth it. This bit of coast is great for kayaking with loads rocks to hop and cave to explore. I could easly spend two weeks just paddling around pembrokshire.

Day 27 Barafundle bay

I awoke this morning with the sun beating down on my face. As we landed in the dark yesterday it is relief to see we are on a fantastic beach. In fact this might be the best beach so far.
We have decided to stay here until Saturday. Thanks to Ava and Simon for giving Rach a lift to town to replenish our food supplys.

Day 26 Lundy to Barafundle bay

The weather looks good today so we're off to Wales. The first half of the crossing is perfect the winds are light and the sea flat. We have about 15nm to go and the wind and sea pick up. This slows us right down, we can only manage to do about 1.5kn. After 3 hours of slogging the wind drops a little and we pick our speed up a bit. Eventually after 13 hours of paddling we reach our destination tired and hungry. Normaly we would plan for the next day but we just eat and crawl into our bivi bags.

Todays photo shows Rach using our trolley we have on test from summit to sea. Its doing a good job so far.

Day 24 & 25

Two glorious days spent on lundy island. The sun has been out and we have been really enjoying exploring lundy.