I had been invited down to work on the Stackpole sea kayak festival, South Pembroke and as this is one of my favourite events. A relaxed start with tea and welsh cakes at 1100 on the Saturday may have something to do with this ... and with a good selection of demo P&H sea kayaks, Olly Sanders another sponsored paddler, were kept busy.
Weather was mainly windy with sunny spells and showers, which meant shelter was mainly looked for, on the Sat/Sunday but the Monday looked promising for a longer paddle. The photo below was taken by Richard Waller, on a small beach along the range west coastline and was on the Monday when winds had dropped, sunny spells, although surprisingly cool at times. This was only the 2nd time I had paddled this section of coastline and it was truly stunning, great rock structures, bird life, committing cliffs, swell, surf and gentle current (down to our slack water start).
Food was great at the centre, with lots of it and with a new bar on site the social scene was also well lubricated!
Following on from the 3 day festival I had a number of clients who were keen to stay on and with 3 in the group who had completed the 4 star leader training, it made sense to use their skills.
The Tuesday was very windy and winds ranged from F4-6, so shelter with some conditions was decided upon, so Fishguards old town was chosen and having spoken to Dr Lou Luddington, she was available to provide an input on the marine environment, while also provide further support to each small pod of paddlers. Turning in strong and gusting winds was the main focus to begin with, using similar principles as with a ferry glide and crossing current, to crossing very windy and gusting channels. The day was finished off with assisted rescues and anchored towing, to maintain position and provide time.
Wednesdays forecast was much better and the 3 leaders of Craig, Andy and Gary choose a journey from Abercastle to Porthgain. Wow ... what a stunning section of coastline, with current, reflective swell & waves, small rocky headlands & outcrops, caves, secluded beaches and only 8k!! Main focus was group leadership/management and good position, so we did a lot of sea kayak coastering, and close quartering and discover some super rocky channels.
The day was finished off in the calm entrance of Porthgain, with rolls, self rescues and anything else people wanted to go back over, or wanted to try. Kayaks loaded and drinks at the Sloop inn, fuelled us up to begin or long drives home. But what a super time we had. Thanks to Tracy, Andy, Zoe, Rich, Julie, Craig, Steve, Phil and Gary for making it all work.
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