• Glyn Brackenbury

Day 8 Abermenai to Rhos-on-Sea

My day started going the wrong way. But this was all part of the very intricate plan. We'd spent last night staying at my mum's on the Island, so getting dropped back off at Abermenai was going to be a 2 hour round trip for Lou rather than 40mins if I paddled from the island. I launched at 0900 from the Anglesey sea zoo and paddled back to where I got out yesterday.

This gave me the chance to paddle essentially where I was about to go, so I could warm up and check if there were any suitable eddy's to make a bit of ground before the tide turned, and it gave me the chance to warm up, because for the plan to work I was going to have to give it some effort as soon as it turned...

The plan was to try and cheek a bit against the ebb tide which I managed to do, I got up past Caernarfon before hitting slack tide,. Then the idea was to go pretty hard past Felinheli and into the swellies so I could maximise the northerly flow, hoping to get to just short of Penmon before hitting the opposing tide. Simple.

What I hadn't accounted for was a shift in the wind, what I thought was going to be a beam wind then a head wind later in the day, was just a headwind. All day. Blowing against the tide. Causing some lumpy conditions.

That aside I absolutely loved coming through the straits, it was like visiting all the old haunts. Past Plas Menai where I trained as an instructor, past Indefatigable where I went to school, and of course through the swellies where I spent 1000's hours trying to perfect my boating skills (still haven't managed).

Nostalgia was quickly over as I headed under the Menai Bridge and into the wind over tide all the way to Beaumaris. This was where I had to make a decision about whether the head wind was too much to make the crossing to the Great Orme at Llandudno or whether it was worth a look.

A stop on the beach to call Lou revealed the tracker wasn't working which appears to be some kind of technical user error (not switched on) Apologies if you had plans to watch it. The GPS track is here.

Being keen to get the miles done I'd decided to hug the Anglesey coast using the back eddy leading up toward Penmon, then ferry glide over to puffin Island and try and join the Easterly tide stream from there.

I got to the top of the island and it was hard to establish what the crossing looked like, as the overfall was running too strongly to be able to see past it. No choice other than to go for it but with a tail between the legs plan if I didn't like it.

The overfall was suitably awkward, not really big enough to be able to read easily and not small enough to not care about. I spent the next 5 mins getting slapped about by the water until I came out the bottom able to see what the crossing was going to be like.

Happy it was on, I kept the head down and tapped out the miles over to the great orme, then crossing Llandudno bay to get me to my destination of Rhos-on-Sea.

33.77 miles today but it feels like 50. Probably the most technical days paddling so far, which give the weather I've had is no surprise! I registered my slowest average speed for a day of 4.1mph as a combination of tricky flows and a headwind in the teens all day, meant I had to be thoroughly present all day which is quite tiring... A good day out. I think I used every single trick in my book at somepoint today.

Currently using Volterol like a body lotion. Onwards to the Dee tomorrow, and corner 4.

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