Some more old kayaking pictures

Here is another selection of old pictures, illustrating some of the places that we have been paddling over the years.  It feels like it is time to pay a visit to some of these places again, its been nearly 40 years since I paddled some of these trips.

Old pictures
This is paddling around the Great Orme in North Wales in November 1979. We couldn’t afford specialist sea kayaks so used general purpose kayaks with home made skegs that we used to slip over the stern, when we weren’t paddling the same kayaks on white water.
Eastbourne kayaking
I started work as a teacher in September 1980 and before my first salary check arrived I had ordered my first Nordkapp HM. I collected it from Nottingham at October half term and this is kayak being launched for the first time off the beach in Eastbourne.
Bardsey
The first summer holidays of teaching so it was time to go paddling. This is approaching Bardsey, in perfect conditions. The string across the hatch cover was there for a very special reason. My Nordkapp was one of the first to be built with the new hatch covers but the mixture proved to be unstable and the rims started to collapse. After this trip it was back to Nottingham for new hatches to be fitted by Valley before we headed off for a 4 week kayaking trip in Denmark.
Menai Straits
A rather blurred picture from the Menai Straits in October 1986. I was on my Level 5 Coach assessment at Plas Y Brenin. We camped at the south west entrance to the Straits and I still remember the look of horror on the face of the group when the shipping forecast for the Irish Sea was SW Force 12.
Porth Daffarch
Paddling out of Porth Daffarch at the 1993 Angelsey Symposium. The paddlers are Andy Stamp and Graham Wardle.
Rathlin Island
The bay at the western end of Rathlin Island, of Northern Ireland It was a Coach Assessment in 1996. We were looking forward to a night of traditional Irish music in the bar, but it turned out to be a karaoke evening with Japanese divers, rather disappointing.
Arduaine Children
The Scottish Sea Kayak Symposiums used to be great family affairs. The five children on the right are my two girls, Howard Jeffs two daughters and Gordon Brown’s oldest daughter. As you can see we used appropriately sized kit!
Cricceth Castle
The BCU Sea Touring Committee used to run Symposiums every autumn. Initially at Calshot and later on in North Wales. This is some paddlers from the 1998 event off Cricceth Castle.

North Wales Wanderings

North Wales Wanderings
My Salewa adjustable crampons, which had seen service since 1976, were finally replaced today as I purchased a lovely pair of yellow crampons from the Cotswold Store in Betws Y Coed, North Wales.  It was clear that there was snow on the mountains but the weather forecast was just abysmal.  It was one of those days when an afternoon with a good book by the fire was preferable to struggling up a wind blasted Welsh mountain side.
Amazingly though the torrential rain, which had been a pouring down for the last couple of hours, stopped as I walked out of the shop and so the reasons for not going on the hill were rapidly disappearing.
I decided to follow the path into Cwm Tryfan, hoping that I would get some shelter from the wind and if at any time the conditions deteriorated too much it would be relatively easy to retrace my steps.  As it turned out I had an interesting few hours and didn’t see anybody else all the time I was walking.
Sadly though I didn’t get to use the new crampons.
 Leaving the A5, conditions were really wet under foot but it was clear that there was snow higher up.
 The east face of Tryfan, disappearing into the cloud.
 Looking up towards Glyder Fach
 I headed up this slope to Bwlch Tryfan.  On the way up I has considered crossing the col and heading back to the car by Cwm Bochlwyd but the gusts of wind were so strong I preferred the shelter of my ascent route.
Just starting the descent, back into the relative quiet of Cwm Tryfan, trying to seek some shelter from the strongest gusts of wind.
It almost appeared as if there was some sunshine in the Ogwen Valley but it had certainly disappeared by the time I got there.  Replaced by heavy rain and a howling wind.  It was just past this point that I was blown off my feet by a particularly strong gust.  Time for coffee and cake in Capel Curig.

A few days in the mountains

Last week we managed to spend a few days wandering around the mountains of Snowdonia, making a really pleasant change from being out on the sea, off Jersey.  I lived in North Wales for a few years towards the end of the 1970’s, working in a number of outdoor centres and spending every available day meandering around the hills, from Cader Idris in the south to the Carneddau in the north.
We passed a relaxing day heading up Cnicht from the Gwynant Valley, with views stretching from the coast off Porthmadog to the crags on the south side of the Glyders.
Our second day involved a rising traverse from Cwm Idwal to the summit of Foel Goch, a mountain I have largely ignored in the past, followed by a reasonably steep climb to the snowy summit of Y Garn.  In retrospect snowy is too generous a term, it was more like closely compacted ice pellets.  Lunch sheltering in the lee of the summit cairn was as cold a meal break I can remember for years.  It wasn’t a place to sit and savour the gastronomic delights purchased in Capel Curig.  As we headed down via the Devil’s Kitchen I couldn’t help but remember a bitterly cold January day in 1979 when all of the streams were frozen and we had a really memorable day ice climbing.
For the final day, there was only one real option, Tryfan by Heather Terrace.  I have lost count the number of times I have reached the summit of Tryfan, it must be in excess of 50 times, but each time it just re-inforces my belief that Tryfan is the finest mountain to be found almost anywhere.
Reading the walking magazines one gains an impression that British mountains are so crowded that it is almost impossible to find space for your feet.  In these 3 days we saw 4 people and only one was close enough to speak to.  So the moral of the story is if you want the hills to yourself then midweek in December is a good starting point.

Snowdonia
Moel Siabod from the car park at Tyn y Coed. Lovely start to the day but not the best conditions for practicing navigation.
Snowdonia
Pete below the final slopes of Cnicht. It must be one of the best little mountains anywhere.
Snowdonia
A perfect reflection in Llyn Gwynant.
Snowdonia
Heading up the final slopes of Y Garn, a bit slippy underfoot.
Snowdonia
The route from earlier in the day. We followed a sloping route to the summit of Foel Goch.
Snowdonia
A picture from an earlier decade. Cwm Idwal in January 1979.  A memorable Snowdonia winter