Sunday, 6 June 2010

Porth Clais to Solva 05/06/10

My mum was on her way down to look after the kids for the night and the Mrs was off to work so I left for Pembrokeshire for the afternoon. I headed straight for Caerfai Bay in St Davids to Caerfai Farm Campsite. This camp site is literally on top of the cliff. There was some good surf down on the bay so I headed on down the road to Porth Clais harbour for an easier launch.

Out of the bay I turned left and headed for the islands of Green and Black Scar. There was a slight Westerly wind and a fair bit of a swell.

The first bay I paddle into is St Non's Bay. It is apparently the birth place of St David and is named after his mother. I made my way into this cave cautiously and just as I was at the entrance the water receded steeply exposing the rocks on the bed. I knew what was about to happen so I frantically paddled backward. The wave passed under me, broke and smashed through the cave. That was a close one!

Next I paddle around into Caerfai bay where my tent is perched up on the cliff to the left.

This stretch of coast is littered with caves and rock hoping opportunities but frustratingly I couldn't get anywhere near them. The swell wasn't all that big but every now and then two huge waves crashed in completely submerging the rocks up to the high water mark.

I found shelter around Penpleidiau outcrop into Caer Bwdy Bay where the swell had little effect. This bay has a disused quarry which once provided the stone for St David's cathedral.
I was even able to explore this cave.

There are also some amazing rock formations which look as if the rock has simply melted and rolled into the sea.

There were plenty of climbers all along this coast.
Somewhere around here there was a small narrow bay with an impressive arch at the end. I tried to paddle down but as it narrowed the swell was breaking and flushing a torrent of white water into the cliffs.

Around the headland and past Black Rock which marks the entrance to Solva Harbour I was glad to get into some calmer water.

Looking back out of the harbour (left to right) The Mare, Black Rock, Green Scar and Black Scar.

I only noticed the Tango can spoiling the picture when I got home. I stopped here for a bite to eat. The water here in the harbour was only a foot or so deep so I had a little play about with the wavelets coming in before heading back out. Even with these tiny waves you can pick up a bit of speed.

Leaving the harbour I paddle directly into the sun which seemed to come out from behind the dark clouds that lingered on the way here. The water seemed to look like a mirror.

I like this picture, I looks more like the west coast of Scotland at a distance. It is of course the peaks of Ramsey Island and the islands that reach out off every headland.

Turning back the sun really lit up the cliffs now and the swell seemed to have almost vanished.

Still a bit to much movement in the sea though to risk paddling through here.

It was about 8pm when I got back to Porth Clais and with low water at 8:30 I had a long carry back to the van. It's an easy walk mind compared to some. I played in the shallows for a bit putting off the long walk to practice my turning and paddle strokes after purchasing Gordon Brown's DVD last week.

I got in the van and took a drive up to St Justinian's where there is a life boat station and of course a fantastic view of Ramsey Island. The water in the sound looked deceptively calm.

I highly recommend this camp site if you need somewhere in the area close to the sea. The walk down to the beach isn't all that bad as long as you don't mind punching your way through the surf to get out.

Not a huge paddle only 9nm or 17km. Disappointed I had to view the cliffs from a distance, some off those caves look brilliant. I woke the next morning to a cloudy start which turned into rain and a bit of fog. The swell seemed to have dropped but the wind had picked up a bit. I'll be back in a month!

1 comment:

stoney (Martyn) said...

Nice one Stuart! I should have been there from Wednesday night, but one of the jids was up ill all the night before, so I just couldn't face the 5 or 6 hour drive with no sleep.
I've been to Anglesey for a couple of days instead. Posts to follow
Glad you enjoyed it