Photo by Paul Cooper

 

Sea kayaking in Anglesey


Lord Nelson, apparently, considered the Menai Straits the most treacherous waters in Britain; so treacherous, he trained his sailors here, reasoning that if they could navigate the straits, they could navigate anything. They haven't got any less treacherous since then. The stretch between the Britannia and Menai bridges, which connect Anglesey to north west Wales, is known as the Swellies. As recently as 1953, HMS Conway, a naval training ship, ran aground here.

Where better to learn to sea kayak? Philip Clegg, 42, has been leading paddlers here for the past 18 years as the owner of Sea Kayaking Anglesey (seakayakinganglesey.co.uk). As we head off, he tells me that when things go wrong on the rivers "they go wrong quickly and they're sorted out quickly. With sea kayaking, things go so wrong slowly and it takes a long time to sort them out."

In Clegg's hardy kayaks, however, it's difficult to go wrong. Clegg is affable, capable and admirably well-stocked: the gear includes not only the sturdy kayaks but also a spray deck, which seals your waist into the kayak so water doesn't get in, and a fleece-lined poncho that allows you to both preserve your modesty while changing in the car park and dry your feet when you get out of the water.

Together we paddle from the slipway towards the Menai Bridge. The tide is coming in quickly and we are fighting the current. Stop paddling even briefly and this current will swing the nose of your kayak from a 12 o'clock orientation to 9 o'clock within three seconds. “A bit of a workout,” says Clegg.

I'm glad to be doing this with an experienced instructor. In this sort of kayak you sit with your knees nearly akimbo, and my hip flexors have felt unpleasantly tight ever since we pushed off. We disembark on a sandy shore where, at Clegg's suggestion, I stretch my hamstrings by touching my toes. Clegg produces from a sealed storage unit in his kayak a flask of rooibos tea, and by the time we're back in the kayaks my hip flexors are as quiet as lambs.

We press on. Clegg shows me Ynys Gorad Goch, a private island with a whitewashed cottage, a fish trap and a smokehouse. We angle ourselves around it and ride the current back to the slipway. As we pick up the kayaks, we see someone else start paddling into the water: the man who holds the record for the fastest kayak trip around Anglesey.

By Tom Ough

 

 

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Tarifa 2003

One sunny day, Simon Osboure and I found ourselves on the beach at Tarifa. There was a gentle offshore wind and a couple of foot of nice clean surf rolling in.

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 Anglesey 2012

Today Trenk Muller from Sea Kayaking Germany was going to be bringing a group of friends over for a week of playing in Anglesey's many Tide Races with us.

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Greenland 2006

I remember 'bravely' volunteering to stay back and take this photo as Peter Jones and Martin Rickard paddled right up to this huge Iceberg to give it a sense of scale.

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Safety Alert

In the first half of 2019 there were over a dozen emergency callouts and rescues of sea paddlers. They demonstrate the need to have a means of calling for help to hand.

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1. Location

To have an enjoyable day out on the sea, we need to make some key decisions to ensure we are in the right place at the right time. Key factors influencing our decision... 

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50 Best Beaches

Sea Kayaking Anglesey had a small article published in the Times newspaper about us. We are always happy to see nice publicity about sea kayaking, and Anglesey.

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Chile Symposium

I've just got back from Chile where I was at the Simposio de Kayak Pacífico Sur run by Pueblito Expediciones. It's the biggest sea kayaking event in South America. 

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How its made

We use the Palm range of gear and are very proud to work with such a great British brand. We feel it's really important to know where our kit comes from and how its made.

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In December 2015 Dave Kohn-Hollins and Philip Clegg went on a river kayaking trip to Sulawesi, Indonesia to explore and paddle the rivers that were rumored to be found there.

 This is a video put together by the students of MCC Sixth form from a trip we did to Shetland.

In this video we take you step by step through repairing a seam on a fibreglass sea kayak. By Stuart Leslie and Philip Clegg.