Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Lleyn Peninsula

Another trip up north has long been on the cards.  The last and only time I have paddled this far north (in Wales) was our circumnavigation of Anglesey in  September 2013.  I traveled up with Elan the previous evening.  Saturday was forecast as the better day so we wanted to get a few miles in before the unsettled condition returned Sunday.
Knocking off the tip of the Lleyn was an obvious choice.  Including Bardsey Island situated just 3km off the end of the Peninsular was an option but required getting on the water much earlier.  We were both tired from the drive and it was another hour from where we were camped so didn't fancy making the already early start any earlier.  To make this a one way trip Elans parents would be shuttling his car up to Porth Ysgaden as our finishing point making this trip and easily achievable 23.5km.
It was a perfect morning when we left Aberdaron.
Bardsey Island looked temptingly close.  The Welsh name for the island Ynys Enlli, translated as 'Isle of the Currents', backed up the description a couple of paddlers gave us as we left the beach.  We dwelled on it briefly, the flow through the sound would now be well into the flood.  We regrettably decided to stick to our plan and leave Bardsey for another day.  In hindsight the conditions were perfect and since wished we had given it a go.  
A few small caves along the western flanks of the Peninsula's tip commenced what we hoped would be a very dramatic stretch of coast with strong tides reaching up into the Bay of Caernarfon.
Fast flowing waters rush past as Elan touches the most prominent tip of the Lleyn.
Around the tip and now looking on as the coastline disappears NNE toward Anglesey.

We take on a few carbs in the glassy turquoise water just out of reach of the south westerly breeze that is slowly picking up. 
The miles drift by uneventfully with the rather disappointing coastline and lack of wildlife, the lack of pictures says it all really.  Don't get me wrong it is a beautiful stretch of shoreline, but I think our hopes were set a little high for a such a prominent land mass.
The low lying rugged coast gives way to a wide sandy beach Porth Oer, 'Cold Gateway'.  A small enclosed beach away from the crowds makes a perfect spot to have lunch in the sun.
We find a little interest as we rockhop our way through some shallow boulder fields.
High altitude Cirrus Clouds move in from the west indicating an approaching depression in the weather forecast for tomorrow.   
Things start to improve with the emergence of the Snowdonia mountains in the distant horizon...    

And we find a cave...

And a little wildlife.
The sea livens up a touch as we head into Porth Ysgaden, surfing the small waves between rocky outcrops.
Elans dogs spot us from the shore and greet us in the water just short of our destination.
Not a bad paddle, maybe if sea conditions were a little more lively it would add a bit more interest on the headlands.  However nice to knock off a bit of North Walian coast.  We will have to return to continue on toward Anglesey to connect the gaps.  A livelier day forecast for tomorrow that turns out to be a good one. 

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