Saturday, 20 October 2012

Newport Sands to Poppit Sands

This trip has been on the list since I started kayaking.  I remember being inspired by one of Richards posts but never seem to have ventured that far north.  This 18km trip is the last remaining stretch on the north Pembrokeshire coast I have yet to paddle.
I met up with Taran, Jim, Gareth and Simon at Newport Sands on Saturday morning.  A northerly force 3-4 seemed perfect for a paddle along the north coast.
Jim and Gareth ran a car up to our destination at Poppit Sands.
Left to right...Gareth, Simon, Jim and Taran.
From the start the cliffs rise steeply, shaped over thousands of years of geological activity.
The aim of today was to take our time and explore the rugged stretch of coast.  But our main goal was to find the Witches Cauldron, a collapsed sea cave.
I was just about to have a look in this cave beyond when I noticed this seal cow guarding the entrance, with a seal pup inside.

The cliffs continue to rise steeper and steeper.  A settled forecast is advisable for this trip as there are no escape routes until Ceibwr Bay some 10km away.
Already this trip was throwing out huge sea stacks and caves.

We were always under the watchful eye of a big bull seal, with so many pups on the shore.

We come across a sea arch, this tip has everything.

Caves caves and more caves....

And cascading waterfalls!

A young seal pup on an outcrop.
Errmmm Taran decides to take a dip in a cave...that's for the suitcase picture ;)
We continue on in search for the Witches Cauldron 
Not in there...
Jim seems to be on to something.
Looks promising.
The colours in here were beautiful, as if under-lit with green lights.
Into the enclosure and we're all looking forward to stretching our legs and getting some food down us.  Unfortunately well camouflaged at the back of the only beach was a lone seal pup, best not disturb it.
A secret cave through a very narrow and low entrance proves to be a beauty.  Sun light pours in through a hole in the roof, bouncing off an overhanging rock, illuminating the entire cave.
There was another cave with a waterfall but I had a heart dropping moment when I dropped my camera in the water and thereafter didn't take any pictures.  Here is a short video tour of the Cauldron to capture the moment...

Back outside we follow a couple on a double sit-on-top who disappeared into a cave.  It was narrow and there was a swell running through.  Half way in it was pitch black and with the sound of waves crashing into the gloom it was a bit un-nerving .  A faint light was visible around the corner so we proceeded on to be welcomed with the view in the bellow picture.  Whilst inside there was a huge boom where a wave had hit the back wall and the whole cave
We arrive at Ceibwr Bay but there was a blow hole opposite that looked like fun.
Jim gets up close waiting around for a big wave to fill the cave entrance.  Seconds later he gets a face full of spray...brilliant.  Here's a quick video...

Gareth getting a closer look.
Just before the blow hole Taran took this picture.  There was a rock ledge about 2ft out of the water, which with the swell rising was possible to ride over.  Taran goes over in his plastic boat.  I wasn't going to chance it in my glass boat, then Gareth runs it in his brand new immaculate Tiderace.  Looks like I'll have to do it now.
The outcome!
We stop for a long awaited lunch break at Ceibwr Bay.
Back on the water and the geology gets better and better, another reason I wanted to get up here.

Pen yr Afr head with its complex folding and faulting.
A large cave in the side of the head.

Camaes Head.
Anticlinal rock fold Camaes Head.
More complex folds in the strata...beautiful.

We pass a beach loaded with seals and pups and paddle on before we upset them.
There's a last little play with a race forming off the point and one last look in a cave.  It almost looks like the scales of a huge dragon.
The sun gets lower in the sky silhouetting Cardigan Island on the opposing horizon as we paddle into the calm waters of Poppit Sands.
We land at Poppit with a long drive back to Newport before saying our farewells to Gareth, Simon and Jim and heading back up to Taran to set up camp for the night.
11 nautical miles over a leisurely 5 hours.  A brilliant trip, probably one of the best made all the better with great company.  Cheers guys.  


Mayberry said...

Great pictures of a great trip Stuart :)

Taran Tyla said...

Suitcase Revenge, PMSL ;D