Sea Kayaking – a review from Chris.

It’s not just river running here at Halifax – we go further afield than Yorkshire. Did you know that  a large percentage of our paddlers enjoy sea kayaking?

Chris Hickling has reviewed the adventures of the sea kayakers so far this year:

Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium.

The Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium has been running for more than 30 years and is a truly global festival of Sea Kayaking. Approximately 200 participants, coaches and guides from across the world descend on the Anglesey Outdoors Centre for three days of paddling, lectures, courses and more over the May Day bank holiday weekend. This year eight members of HXCC joined the paddlers from as far afield as the USA, Iceland and Catalonia. Judith and Paul honed their forward paddling under the expert eye of Ivan Lawler, six of us completed the BC Coastal Navigation course, Mark went playing in the tide races and Chris, Liane and James were battered by a near gale in the Menai Straits. On the Sunday evening we all enjoyed the superb live music provided by the Coffin Dodgers. Allan has already agreed to join the band next year as he meets all the selection criteria and likes the fact they get paid in beer! We weren’t sure what it was the Icelandic contingent were passing around to drink but it could probably be used to put a spacecraft in orbit. A superb weekend of good paddling and good company.

Club trip to Holyhead. May 28th to 30th.
At the end of May we returned to Anglesey for three days of paddling with Tidal Waters at Holyhead. Once again Nigel Dennis and Eila Wilkinson looked after us and we enjoyed three days of warm sunshine and calm winds that allowed us to complete three classic North Wales sea kayak journeys. Day one took us from Aberdarron on the Leyn Peninsular to Bardsey Island, day two out to The Skerries and day three around The Stacks from Holyhead to Porth Dafarch.

For many of the group the 4km open sea crossing to Bardsey was a first and a little unnerving as the strong tides meant we spent most of the time heading out to sea on a giant ferry glide to reach the island. It was a stunning paddle with superb scenery and plenty of wild life. Liane couldn’t resist a lunch time swim when she seemed to spend more time talking to the friendly seals that inhabit the island than actually swimming. Time to let the pictures do the talking.

Saturday took us out from Porth Trwyn and with another open crossing and ferry glide across the tide we landed at the Skerries to be greeted by the thousands of Arctic Terns that make the journey from the southern oceans to the UK to breed. After a leisurely lunch surrounded by these amazing birds we headed back into the tide for the crossing back to mainland Anglesey.

Bank holiday Monday brought with it more sunshine and calm winds and our final day of paddling and a journey around “The Stacks”. Going around North Stack, exploring the caves and enormous cliffs of Gogarth Bay, the seabird colony at South Stack and the tide races at Penrhyn Mawr make this one of the classic trips of UK sea kayaking.

Club trip to Holyhead. June 11th and 12th.

This year we had a lot of interest in sea kayaking from club members who hadn’t been on our trips to Anglesey before. This meant we were able to book another weekend and give some virgin sea kayakers their first experience of paddling these long, elegant and sometimes tippy boats. It was quite an introduction too with the first day taking the trip around The Stacks and the second heading out to Rhoscolyn Beacon to see the seals and play in the tide race there.

The HXCC sea paddlers in 2016 were; Liane, Chris, Christine, Iain, Paul, Mark, Mike, James F, Alan, Mandy, Andy, Judith, James, Claire, Jess, Jo and Al. A huge thankyou to Eila and Nigel for looking after us so well. We will be back.