Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Strumble Head

Strumble Head is situated just above 52 degrees North, 52 01.' 005 04.' to be precise, on the West Wales coast line. The focal point of the head is the lighthouse built on Ynys Meicl which is one of a number of small islands just off the headland.
The mainland together with the islands form a peninsular jutting out into the Irish Sea. Consequently the tides can flow fast here and tide races form North and South of the headland on both the ebb and flood tides. The islands can also create strong currents of their own which vary at different states of the tide. This all makes for an interesting place to paddle a sea kayak.
The forecast was for light variable winds and a sunny day. High tide Milford Haven was 14.45 so we decided to paddle South to North. The wind forecast is often understated and this would put the wind behind us for most of the trip.
A further tidal issue occurs in Fishguard Bay where a large eddy forms on the flood tide and runs for nine hours. This eddy extends all the way back to Pen Anglas which would be the last headland for us to paddle round. We therefore had a three hour window to paddle from Strumble Head to Fishguard Bay.

We launched in ideal conditions at Abercastle just south of Fishguard having left some of our cars in the car park at Goodwick next to the ferryport.

Abercastle has a small car park on the quay. We moved some of the cars up the road to leave more space for other visitors. There is a nominal £1 voluntary launch fee to help towards the maintenance of the quay and car park.

We turned North out of the harbour and enjoyed a spot of rock hopping along the way.

The wind was indeed stronger than we forecasted but was behind us which meant that we had made the right decision to go South to North.

After 3 Nm we reached the first headland at Penbwchdy. A small rock, Carreg Bwch-du sits a few hundred metres off the headland and we found confused water in the gap between the mainland and the rock.

It was a neap tide and with the wind behind us we did not have a problem rounding the point.

The next feature was Pen Brush where a tide race can form on the North going tide. Again this was not an issue for us.

There was plenty of wild life to keep our attention. We saw Seals, Guillemots, Razorbills, Cormorants although the numbers of sea birds flying about appear to be less than normal which is disappointing

Eventually we got our first view of Strumble Head.

We had an explore around the islands.

It was great place to have your picture taken.

Access to the lighthouse is via a steel bridge over a channel which dries out at low tide. We made our way to the North side of Ynys Meicl to get out of the wind and had our lunch on the sides of the channel.

The lighthouse was built in 1908 and automated in 1980. More information here: http://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouses/lighthouse_list/strumble_head.html

After the lighthouse there were once again many opportunities to go rockhopping. In one cave some of our group had a very close encounter with a surprised bull seal.

Approximately 2nm after Strumble Head is Carregwasted Point. This is another smaller headland which is the site of the last invasion of mainland Britain. An oberlisk just visible from the sea marks the spot. It does not seem logical that a landing would take place on cliffs such as these, but just passed the headland is an inlet marked as Aber Felin on the chart which would make a much better place to put troops ashore.
The invasion took place in 1797 more information here: http://www.fishguardonline.com/Last_Inv.html

The Stena line ferry travels between Fishguard and Rosslare.

Luckily the Ferry left before we got to the breakwater at Fishguard.

We rounded Pen Anglas exactly at the time we had calculated.

We had a short break in the lee of the breakwater before the final leg back to Goodwick into the head wind.

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