Sunday, 23 August 2009

22/08/2009 North Anglesey

NWSK'ers Mary, Rosie, Dave and myself spotted a decent weather window to get out and enjoy some brilliant scenery. We launched from the beach at Cemaes, a small coastal village with active harbour largely catering for rod and line anglers. Funnily enough there was a fishing competition going on today so there was more boat traffic than usual.

At the beach car park a sign explains that two thirds of the beach is out of bounds to dogs. It doesn't say anything about horses though.....

We set off along the north facing coast. The sun rarely reaches these dark mainly north facing cliffs, reaching Porth Llanlleiana after a couple of K. Here are the ruins of an old china clay works, a hint of things to come as Angelsey has many features of interest to the industrial archaelogist.

Today was one of the highest spring tides of the year. Offshore the flood tidal stream was tanking eastwards, but closer inshore, and perhaps for a kilometre out, there was a substantial eddy and we were paddling east against it.

Every so often the line of cliffs broke to reveal a storm beach and potential landing site, such as here at Porth Cynfor, or Hell's Mouth.

Eventually we reached the substantial bay of Porth Wen. At its entrance, where there was some tidal interfaces causing mild turmoil in the water, a couple of porpoises were briefly glimpsed. We paddled slowly in, enjoying the sunshine, shelter and beautiful scenery.

In front of us the ruined brick works rose from the waters edge, up against the cliffs. A real sun trap and a great place to have lunch. Dave spotted a lizard here and butterflies abounded. Offshore we could see gannets dive bombing. Obviously there were fish about.

After lunch we paddled through the arch and around the wide curve of Porth Wen. The tide was exceptionally high and at the back of the bay the beach was totally covered by the sea right up to the foot of cliffs. As we exited the bay we found the porpoises again at the tidal interface, three adults and a young one feeding, swimming around us and breaching regularly. Beautiful.

We headed west, back the way we had come. Of course the tidal flow had changed direction and we were again paddling against the eddy close in shore.

We paddled past Middle Mouse, the island in the distance, and across the mouth of Cemaes Bay. The water was confused here with many rapidly moving wavelets and a wind quarter beam on that combined to continually try and push my kayak to starboard. The west side of Cemaes Bay has some sheltered coves, an island and a long abandoned life boat station. Much quieter than the main beach at the village. Shame about the nuclear power station perched on the headland above!

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