The weather has at last taken a turn for the better and the forecast looked good so we took advantage of this and headed off for the weekend.
Our destination was Barmouth on the west coast of Wales.
We obviously took the sea kayaks and the plan was to paddle the Mawddach Estuary.
The Afon Mawddach rises near to Llyn Tegid and flows west to Dolgellau where it is joined by the Afon Wnion. It is navigable up to Penmaenpool which is roughly how far the tide reaches. It would be possible to paddle above this point but this would be more of a traditional river trip.
Neil had work commitments on the Friday morning so we were not able to undertake the trip as detailed in the guide book which recommends paddling up the estuary with the incoming tide.
Instead we started at Penmaenpool and paddled down to Barmouth with the ebb tide.
Penmaenpool is a SSSI due to the special wetland habitat just above the bridge which is home to many nesting birds.
The settlement is dominated by both the George 111 hotel and the wooden toll bridge.
The bridge was opened in 1879 and has a weight limit of 2.5 tonne. This fact is hidden from new visitors to the area until you have turned into the lane off the main road. There are no turning places and I had to instigate a 97 point turn before driving around via Dolgellau to the launch site on the south bank.
The paddle to Barmouth was fairly easy and stress free. The estuary basically dries out with the tide so there was little time to hang about and it was necessary to keep checking where the deep water was.
Shortly after leaving Penamenpool we passed Bontddu a small village on the north bank apparently famous for a gold rush in 1834.
There were lovely views all round with the Rhinogs to the north and Cadair Idris and its adjoining crags to the south.
Wordsworth stated that the estuary was sublime and compared favourably with Scotland.
As you approach Barmouth (Abermaw) you cannot fail to notice the causeway railway bridge.
The bridge is 732m long and was opened on 1867.
We had a play in the eddies around the bridge piers before going through the harbour and out to sea.
Once clear of the breakwater we turned north and paddled to the beach adjacent the campsite.
A nice paddle with stunning scenery, Wales at its best.
Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles
An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits
- ▼ 2009 (14)