Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Green Bridge of Wales

 It's been a while since I've got the boat out, almost three months in fact, my longest 'dry' spell.  A few reasons.  The obvious one being the weather, I've also had and still have an elbow injury, and simply a lack of enthusiasm.  Finally however halfway through April, for one day only, it feels a little like Spring.  After a 5am wakeup call I join James, Gareth, Marcus, Simon, Gerwyn and Gary for a long awaited trip along the southern Pembrokeshire Coast.
A low water launch from Freshwater West makes for a very long carry.  Notice those who brought trolleys have began to launch while Gerwyn and myself carry our heavily laden boats the entire distance of the beach.
James above breaks through the surf to the calm waters beyond to begin our trip, which will eventually see us finishing at Stackpole Quay.
Almost this entire trip is within the military firing range, notice the various military buildings above the sands.
Around Linney Head and the limestone cliffs rise steeply out of the water preventing any chance of escape from the elements of the sea for quite some miles ahead.  What a fantastic start to the journey...
James clearly dwarfed by the 350 million year old rock.

Various stacks and arches reached out into the sea up ahead.
A gentle swell allowed us to get up close and explore the nooks and crannies while allowing for a little fun... 

Time to explore some caves and this one was absolutely huge and passed right through the cliff.

Above Simon waited patiently beneath this huge overhang, clearly waiting for a few subjects for a photo opportunity...
..And what a photo it made!  A natural iconic landmark of Pembrokeshire usually photographed from above, The Green Arch of Wales.

You may have to look very closely in some of today's pictures to spot the kayakers dwarfed beneath the huge towering cliffs. 
Just beyond the Green Bridge tower the Elegug Stacks...

I struggled to get a good shot of the stacks because they were so huge so I paddled quite a way out to get this shot above, again spot the kayaks.  

This section of coast just kept giving and giving.  This narrow causeway was spectacular, again rising high out of photographic reach.
It then led into a cave like entrance.
 Looking back I don't know really what to call it, a causeway within a collapsed cave?
Further along Marcus spots a cave but paddling in reveals it's a collapsed cave (cave without a roof) with emerald green waters.
Further along the coast is Huntsman's Leap, where tradition has it that a horseman jumped the gap, only to look back and die of shock from what he saw.
You can spot the kayaker, Gareth, above but can you spot the two climbers?
A short distance in a small cove is St Govan's Chapel, built in the 13th Century on a site of a holly well that once attracted pilgrims.   
Around St Govan's Head we make our way into Broad Haven for a long awaited lunch stop, by now I had my breakfast 9 hours ago.
Back on the water in the bay of Broad Haven with Church Rock on the horizon.
It was only a short paddle to Stackpole Head and we were able to pass though two of the caves through the headland, popular with nesting sea birds.   

We glide now through glassy waters in the afternoon sun past the beautiful Barafundle Bay and though this sculptured small arch and onto our destination at Stackpole Quay.

We finally land after 5 hours on the water at Stackpole Quay, originally built for the export of Limestone for a nearby quarry.  We get out of our damp kit and relax in the sun outside the tea room with a warm drink.
I take a short stole up the coast path with superb views to the east as far as Caldey Island near Tenby while the rest of the group go back to pick up the cars. 
A track our our paddle off my phone app which I usually use for mapping my running and cycling but seems to work well with the paddling also.  A brilliant paddle once again made all the better for the great company. Not quite sure if it beats the Witches Cauldron paddle but definitely up there with the best.

1 comment:

Mike Mayberry said...

Great weather for it this weekend Stuart, your photos almost do justice for this wonderful section of coast.