My original motivation for arranging my break in North Wales was to try out Sea Kayaking. It’s something I’d wanted to do for a long, long time so earlier this year I booked myself on a two day introductory course with Sea Kayaking Anglesey.
It was a fine day, hot (but not too hot) and sunny, although there was a stiff breeze. Our small group of 4 (there are only ever 5 places on these courses) met up with our instructor, Phil Clegg, for an initial briefing and to get to know each other. He showed us how to check out the sea conditions and due to the breeze the sea was going to be fairly rough so as novices he’s decided we should go to a sheltered section of water, the Inland Sea, a short drive away.
We loaded up the kayaks on to the trailer and gathered together our gear. Sea Kayaking Anglesey provide the essentials of wetsuit, cagoule, buoyancy aid and spray deck.
Arriving at our destination we unloaded the kayaks and got kitted up and after a quick run through of the essentials we got in our kayaks and launched onto the water. WE were soon paddling away and Phil told us how to handle turning, and paddling into the wind and with it behind us. Surprisingly, the latter was the most difficult.
By the end of the day we were beginning to get the hang of paddling and manoeuvring our kayaks. Our final lesson was what to do in the event of a capsize – how to rescue a fellow kayaker. One of our group volunteered to capsize while another performed the rescue. The lesson was needed as a couple of the group managed to capsize for real later on.
We finished the day by paddling through some rougher water under a bridge. I was amazed that I coped and didn’t capsize! We then had to get our kayaks out of the water and back on to the trailer, trying to avoid getting killed by traffic in the process! Then it was back to base for a final briefing and some lessons on tides.
I had a aches in a few places, but I slept well that night in my Pod!
The wind picked up during the night and the next morning Phil told us that it was too rough to go out on the open sea, but gave us the option of a day on Llyn Padarn, a lake near Llanberis. We opted to do that so we loaded up the trailer, gathered our gear together and drove onto the mainland and up the Llanberis Pass.
It was disappointing not to get out onto the sea, but we had fun paddling the full length of the lake and getting more experience on how to handle the Kayak in different water and wind conditions. I was surprised how much they varied across the lake. We learned a few more techniques including “edging” to turn the kayak.
This time it was my turn to capsize (accidentally!!). But the water wasn’t cold and with expert instruction from Phil I was rescued and somehow managed to get myself back into the kayak in one piece.
After paddling around for a little longer we landed, changed and loaded up the trailer before driving back to base for a coffee and final briefing. Then it was time for the familiar drive back home from Holyhead.
It had been a good few days adventure, walking and trying out some new things. Despite not getting out on the sea the second day kayaking , I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I’m keen to give it another go with the “Intromediary” course. Hopefully I won’t have forgotten the lessons learned during the weekend!