Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Take a Walk on the Mild Side

South Stack lighthouse, built in 1809, is a proper lighthouse, in the childrens drawing mould, with a tall white tower standing atop cliffs on an island with strong tidal races forming around it.  All in all everything that draws me to these places.

South Stack Lighthouse

On the last weekend of January we headed off to take advantage of the settled high pressure system and the neap tides to run from Treaddur bay under the cliffs to Soldiers Point in Holyhead.  The others in the group hadn't done this paddle before and we've all been a little out of action over the winter so the neap tides allowed a trip to be planned that meant we had an easy trip on one of my favourite section of coastline.

The tides also meant that for the northward trip from Treaddur Bay we could have a lazy start, I certainly appreciated this having spent Saturday night playing polo in Stockport with a resulting late return home. We arrived at Treaddur to see another group taking advantage of the end of the ebb to head towards Rhoscolyn looking very scenic in the distance.

Rhoscolyn Beacon

We had a leisurely change and shuttle beofre starting out towards Porth Dafarch just before midday, at Porth Dafarch we had a quick lunch, the wind whilst light was quite peircing even in the shelter. Once back on the water we paddled round to Penrhyn Mawr to as the run was entering it's 2nd hour, the current was noticeable but the notorious waves of the headland were rather muted as we skirted through on the inside playing in the inshore channels until South Stack came into view. The lighthouse was a little less imposing than usual with the overcast skies not bringing out it's photogenic best.

South Stack from Penrhyn Mawr

As the tide would hardly of turned off South Stack we decided to head into Abrahams Bosom to investigate the caves and rock gardens in the cliffs underneath Elins Tower.

Claire Paddling into one of the Caves in Abraham's Bosom

Ruth in the rock garden beneath Elin's Tower

We popped out of one of the channels to be faced with the sight of South Stack lighthouse standing out into the sea. The cliffs overlooking the light were lined with seabirds already, try as we might to tread lightly some of them left their perches and circled overhead, a fine sight if a little awkward.  With the calm conditions we decided to squeeze through the rocks in the channel between the island and mainland, and emerged into to Gogarth bay to be met with the huge cliffs. The benign conditions meant it was possible to get right in close to them to really experience the full scale of them.

Ruth & Claire in Gogarth Bay

Mark in under the cliffs

As we closed in on North Stack the cliffs became punctured with caves begging to be explored. It was only polite that we obliged them! You can't paddle in without the formulaic out of the cave photo so here we go.

Ruth in the cave mouth

In the inshore channel at North Stack some small waves were forming allowing some easy surfing, the weather and water temperature did dampen the enthusiasm to stay for too long, and you've got to leave something to come back to in the summer. Rounding North Stack the wild nature of the cliffs dies away to be replaced by the more industrial views as we approached Holyhead. At Soldiers Point we faced the hardest part of the trip, carrying the boats up the steep, loose rocky shore to the cars.

No comments:

Post a Comment