Sunday, 18 May 2014

Whitford Point Lighthouse

Summer has come early and an opportunity to paddle one of my last remaining gaps on the Gower coast presented itself.  The paddle was planned for Sunday so I decided to take the family camping the previous evening...
We spend the evening walking the length of Worms Head as the sun set on the western horizon before retiring to our somewhat 'cosy' tent.  Last time we all slept in here the children were a lot smaller.
The following morning Hannah headed home with the kids while I made the short journey to meet up with Sean, Paul and Katie at Pen-clawdd on the Loughor estuary.  Katie wasn't paddling today but was going to meet us at the other end of the trip.
It was around high water so the estuary was in flood, at low water it completely dries out.  We paddle down the length of the estuary was uneventful apart from a private air show from a couple of small propeller aircraft.
A the mouth of the Loughor Estuary at Whitford Points stands an impressive lighthouse which marks an extensive sandbank that almost stretches across the entire entrance.  We took the opportunity to stretch our legs before heading out to the light.
I always get a tingly feeling and a big smile on my face when paddling out to such a focal destination I haven't been to before.  This abandoned lighthouse is unique in that it is the only cast iron offshore lighthouse in Britain, despite over seventy years of disuse.  
The light has had some extensive repairs in it's time.  During it's operation bands were placed around the tower after the cast iron panels kept loosening.  Later concrete and stones were placed around it's based after soft sand foundations gave concern to sinking.    
The fast flowing ebbing estuary waters provided some playful conditions around the light.
The tower has received a white wash coat of bird poop in it's time.  In an effort to save the tower crumbling into the sea the Llanelli Coastal Millennium Park offered it for sale for £1 on the provision that the new owner repaired it.  Unfortunately the future looks uncertain for the light as prospective buyers are put off by the £100,000 repair costs.  
For this trip I brought along my new Greenland paddle to test (more to follow on later posts).
Sean seems to be enjoying the new paddle.
We cut in through the shallow waters dividing Burry Holms and Rhossili Bay and take another opportunity for a short break with Worms Head on the horizon.

Back on the water we make a loop around the island and head back in close to the shore to eventually land at Broughton Bay.


On the sands is a host of life from Spider Crabs to hundred upon hundreds of Starfish.

The carry to the car was somewhat of a record, the waters edge where we landed can be seen in the top of the above picture.
A great end to a great weekend on the Gower peninsular with great company.  Thanks to Katie, Paul and Sean for the invite and the lift back to the van.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Shooting the Surf

I was unable to paddle this weekend, my wife was busy with our eldest son and football training so I was left to entertain Zakk our middle child.
Living so close to the shores we often visit the coast for some farther son time but today a few friends were heading down to the waves for a bit of surf action.  So to kill two birds with one stone I took Zakk for a play and brought the camera along to photograph Chris, Eurion and Andrew on the waves.
The carry to the shore.
The waves always look smaller until you sit on the water.
Eurion was the first to break through.
Then the ride begins...


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Skomer Island

Myself and Elan made a trip west with the promise of some fine weather.  We left a car at Dale with the intention of paddling out from St Brides Haven, around Skomer and Skokholm, cross over to St Anns Head and into Milford Haven to land at Dale.
 Ready to launch at St Brides Haven.  We made a beeline straight down onto Skomer Islands north coast hoping to catch the last of the southerly flow that would take us down the west side of Skomer and onto Skokholm.
Grey Seal
 Skomer Island is a wildlife haven and within minutes we were surrounded by many of its residents.

 Puffins

 Porpoise
On Skomers western point we enjoyed a close encounter with a pod of Porpoise.

We explore the rugged western approaches of the island but it soon becomes apparent that the low wind forecast was not entirely correct.  A stiff wind blew up from the south meaning if we wanted to carry on with the intended plan it would be a battle into the head wind all the way. 
The wind on tide made for some interesting conditions in 'Little Sound' where we decided to make a break against the flow back onto the sheltered northern side of the island. 
 Original plan aborted we decided to take a relaxing paddle back along the old red sandstone cliffs to St Brides Haven with a lunch stop at Martins Haven.
Conditions couldn't have been more different as we weaved in and out of the kelp covered boulder fields admiring the beauty of our home coastline.


 Not the intended route today but the close encounter with the pod of porpoise easily made up for it.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Barry Races

Into April now and the weathers gone pear shaped again.  Strong wind forecast so myself, Jules and Taran head on down to Barry for a bit of action on the tide race that forms off Nells Point.
 ARRGGHHH there be pirates!!! Now laddies contain yourself.
From the shore it looked relatively flat and gusty but out on the headland the strong Bristol Channel currents were picking up some pretty sizeable waves.
 I love this shot, dark blue skies adding to the drama.
We land at Jacksons bay on the far side of the head.  I decided to walk back up to the head and get some shots of the guys running the race....



I jumped back in the boat for one last run then it was onto pleasure beach for a bit of surfing before returning to the cars.