Thursday, 31 March 2011

New team member!

A warm welcome to TL who has recently joined us to keep the hens happy!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Round Wales - sea kayaking - rapid development xpedition

With two full days to go before our paddle round Wales begins, I finally feel as if I'm getting on top of those last minute, I've been wanting, should have done before, jobs! Van has been kitted out bags have been packed and re packed, cameras, vhf and phones charged, just some planning and chart stuff to go.

Also really pleased as we have had two companies offer our trip and group support.

Natur, is a North Wales, based company which produces really scrumy, energy bars which seem to work well. Intrested then contact Jacqui at

Look what we found, produce classic and traditional meals with a twist. I know what a treat they will be after along, hard and wet day, tucking into a prepared meal. Also great cause you can also boil them in the bag, so no washing up either!

Roger would also like to thank Peak Uk for their continued support.

You can follow our progress via a map on our web site:


or Twitter:

bespoke sea kayaking course - North Wales, Anglesey

Tracy and Andy were keen to up their skills, having bought their own boats back in the summer and are looking forward to a couple of paddles in Scotland this summer, partly under their own steam. Bespoke, is individualised for you, and enables you to focus on what you want and what you need to do, to get there. Puffin Island was the first day, with going over inside turns and draw strokes, static and on the move. We did a couple of eddy turns and then pushed on for the back of the island.

A couple of the seals were on true performance, with swimming under the boats with a fin either side, truly stunning.

At lunch one was considering joining us, but I guess she's fed up of tuna! We then crossed back over with the flow now in the other direction, using transits and paddle back into the bay. A couple of balance games and then ago at a couple of the self rescues, to finish off the day.

2nd day was at Rhoscolyn, moving on the previous day, greater focus on commitment to edge and feeling the water.
Then out to the Beacon, to work with some bigger and faster water, with both Tracy & Andy, working well and moving forwards.

Another super two days, with blue sea and skies .. i love high pressures ...and two people really throwing them selves into developing their skills and ability - I couldn't really ask for more, fantastic.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

North Wales Sea Kayaking - the supermoon & playing on the Swellies wave

This weekend, on the 19th March, was the "supermoon" or technical referred to as a Perigee ...when the moon is at its closes point to the earth, and BIG high and low Spring tides. Interested? this link says more about the supermoon. I was also only reading this morning about 5 boats that went aground in the English Channel over the weekend, also blamed on the moon, see this link. I know its the mail, but I was having a coffee at the time and it was all they had!

So having worked the weekend, this morning at 0615, my alarm clock went off and after a swift breakfast and a ponder what to wear (I got really hot last time) i was down at the slip way for 0730 to meet Justine, from "this is the sea" fame. Unfortunately no Barry as his wrist is still sore. We paddled into the flood tide, towards Menai Bridge above.

These little fellows we rarely sea, so I covered them up before a hungry gull located them.

When we got there, 2 people were having a great play in river boats, clearly talented. Phill Clegg then arrived, in another river boat. Justine above working her way up to then drop down on the wave, with Britannia Bridge in the back ground.

This was my 2nd time on the wave, and after my first time I was a little nervous. last time i could get on it, but came off the other end almost as quick, and I really had worked hard. So this time I just wanted 1 controlled ride.

This photo was taken just after 1.5 hours from the top shot, of the green marker post, although it doesn't really give the complete picture, a lot had happened in a short period of time!

It was a real work out, in a very dynamic, changing environment. Characteristics of a wave on a river, as its contained but as the tide floods in, it surges and just when you think you have the way on, or how to work it best, it changes and throws something else at you!

What I wore was spot on, woolly socks, padded shorts an icebreaker thin thermal and my Peak Uk dry suit, which was just as well as 5 minutes into it all I had a roll. Anyway... I got that controlled ride and then a 2nd one, and we were driving off at 0900 totally motivated and enthused, about the day ahead ; )
sea kayaking courses & expeditions

Sunday, 20 March 2011

North Wales sea kayaking - 3* sea kayaking train/assessment course

The day started prompt with coffee and going over the syllabus and some tidal planning, before a drive to Bull Bay, North coast Anglesey. Inside and out side turns, and then bow rudders and cross bow rudders, with a focus on BODY & Boat, polished off with the blade. Taran below experimenting with across deck bow rudder.
Loads of rock gardening, moving in and out of various channels, and a cave, putting the strokes into context. Jill paddling out of a channel.

Taran reversing into a super cave.

Following lunch at the brick works a journey into Hells Mouth, with a couple of rolls, and deep water rescues, before returning wind assisted and use of stern rudders.

Miss laid my camera today, so no photos. The rough water and paddling in wind was in the Straits, with some wind against tide providing super conditions for exciting ferry glides, towing work and various systems, before a journey into the Swelies, with working on eddy turns before moving back up the various eddies. Congratulations to Jill who completed her training and Taran who passed the assessment.

Monday, 14 March 2011

North Wales sea kayaking - winter skills sea kayaking course

This was the last of the winter series and skills courses for 2011, and despite a windy forecast, it never really arrived. A paddle on the Straits from the mermaid inn, crossing to Carnarfon, castle and then down to Menai Bridge.

Keith leading as we approach Britania Bridge, with Simon and then Jon. We also had a discussion on towing and a practice with contact tows and single in line towing. All were surprised how straight forward it was.

Some sheltered eddy turns and ferry gliding to finish off the day, before leaving the bridge arches behind and a short paddle to Menai Bridge, for hot chocolates/coffees and a reflection on the day. Thanks to Simon for helping with the shuttle.

This seasons Sea Kayaking Winter Series and Skills was a great success, with a total of nine days and with many course dates fully subscribed (two people were unable/chose not to attend the last session and moved to another date). The aim of the course is to keep your skills developing and moving forwards by keeping you active over the Winter, so that when Spring and the Summer returns, your fully ready for your own adventures ... dates for 2011-12 will be set around August.

07873 132999

Thursday, 10 March 2011

North Wales sea kayaking courses - 4* sea leader training

3 days of fantastic weather and conditions, which is often the benefit of doing a longer course, as its more likely to have varied conditions. First day after some tidal planning a journey out to Ynys Dulas, with some lovely winter sunshine.

One of the inquisitive onlookers at Ynys Dulas island. Looked at managing a group on a ferry glide, position and clear instructions, having a plan a, b and c, so as to be able to respond quickly and effectively to changing situations. Short leadership and navigation sections, made up the core of the day with reference to our tidal planning.

Gordon in point lynas tide race, in the last 50% of the main flow (2-3knots), looking for a wave. Some personal skills, stern rudders, fun & balance, rolling and self rescue.

Mikk, from Estonia, doing some fun & balance, and then into self rescues!

2nd day was a trip from Cemais Bay to Middle Mouse and back. Further reference to tidal planning and navigation to specific locations, group management, transits and the options and benefits of running down to an island and/or ferry gliding out. Gordon above with clean waves on the North side of the island.

Gordon, taking Mikk through the plan to get back. f4/5 created some exciting wind against tide

Mikk, paddling out first and a razor bill cruising in!

Crossing back to Anglesey, before landing for lunch and lots of towing techniques. A paddle back to our initial start and into much stronger winds. Finishing with a deep water rescue with the use of an anchored tow.

Our final day was f5 gusting f6/7 and surfing at tredour bay, with some leadership and scenarios for each of them to deal from a capsize in the open water in the middle of the bay, to a capsize in a gully with swell being channeled in. Gordon above paddling out.

Mikk on the way in.

Gordon running down the wave, and about to take a turn.

We finished with a journey to jumping jacks, cafe at Holyhead and some more detailed planning, with charts, going over and reflecting on the last few days and setting individual action plans.

Sadly Mikk was due to take the ferry back to Dublin that evening to catch his flight the following morning back to Estonia. We got to the ferry port 15 minutes before departure ... you need to be there 30 minutes before hand, and the woman behind the counter was a jobs worth ... the next one was 0240 in the morning, so at least he could still get his flight ... oh hum!!

Monday, 7 March 2011

North Wales sea kayaking courses - the stacks

"The Stacks" was the trip for the day a rare opportunity, when group, tide and conditions all came together. The Stacks is a committing trip that provided us with some early rough water, a capsize and a good rescue from Sue, and lots of opportunities for reading water and working with confused patterns of water.

Keith entering the eddy at the top of North stack race and the Irish ferry in the back ground.

Simon (below) also entering the eddy. (Its one good reason to be towards the back of the group, as your more likely to get caught on the camera!)

Sue exiting Wen Zawn, with Keith in the back ground.

Keith exiting Wen Zawn.

Tracey beyund South Stack and one of the many spires and towers of rock, along this stunning coastline.

Andy and Keith with South Stack light house in the back ground.

The day was finished off with some retrospective planning (we had to leave do the shuttle and get on the water ... tide and time waits for no man or woman!), over hot chocolates, looking at the 50/90 rule of tides, identifying that north stack flows for 7 hours (rather than 6!) and that when paddling in a committing tidal area, its important to be clear what time the last tide race begin its flow against you!

North Wales sea kayaking - Winter skills sea kayaking course

This weekend saw some settled weather in North Wales. With a reasonable spring tide, Treadour bay to Rhoscolyn was the paddle for Saturday. We started on use of body to assist the turn and here Andy is doing a great cross deck bow rudder.

We were about 1 hour after high water so made the most of putting the strokes into context. Below Tracey is paddling through the White Arch.

We stopped just before Rhoscolyn headland for some lunch. Simon back at his boat.

There was little flow off the headland, so we did a couple of eddy turns and paddled on towards the Beacon, looking for some rougher water. We found some good channels and went over stern rudders, use of body and blade angle and depth.

Big thanks to Sue for helping with the shuttle.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Sea kayaking around Wales 2011 - Dee Estuary paddle

We have a super high pressure here at the moment, so decided on a drive to the Dee Estuary and check out the channel markers and what sort of progress would I make against the ebb. I got on at the Point of Air which is a Special Site of Scientific Intrest (SSSI) and the c-tug kayak trolly came into its own and moved through the sand/mud reasonable well. The tide was beginning its 3rd hour of the ebb, which interesting flows for 7 hours!

I followed the green buoys to begin with as there seemed less flow, passing NE Mostyn, spotting Salisbury middle (a red buoy in the flow and channel known as Wild Road) and then on to Mostyn Bouy, a further 2k. This is were Ray Goodwin had warned me to take the left hand folk, into the main channel, rather than the right which at lower water ends at the Port of Mostyn and a carry across the sand : (

It was a bright sunny day so seeing the main channel buoys was difficult as they blended into the back grounds. One advantage of moving up the channel as low water progressed was that I got less flow, as eddies formed as each sand bank appeared. I just needed to keep moving!

I soon spotted West Bar a red buoy, seen below and then made my way up to buoy 2 (which had a 1a on it?) and then on to number 3. I now felt that the pieces of the puzzle were clearer, and the 2.5 hours to have covered the 10k, into the ebb took just over an hour to return to my start.

Two points which may be of intreats. My Imray chart of North Wales, went only so far into the Dee Estuary and then stated channel is likely to change. With a brief Google search I came across super work by John Hughes and an excellent sketch chart of the estuary.

My c-tug trolly (which we have two off) had two punctures, 1 in each. So with swopping wheels I had a working trolly. What really impressed me was that the New Zealand company that makes them, say if you get a puncture they will send you a new wheel, providing you pay the postage. Within 24 hours the uk importer had contacted me and was offering a new wheel called a sandhoper , which is plastic and cant be punctured ... happy days : )