On Saturday 1st September 2018, twenty-one brave paddlers ventured out onto the waters of Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, to take part in what would become the most successful sea kayaking trip conducted by the West Midlands region of British Canoeing to date.
Two coaches and nineteen participants between the ages of fourteen and sixty-five bravely confronted the windy weather conditions and challenging waters to complete the two-day recreational paddle, which saw the group exploring Holy Island’s breath-taking coastline on Saturday followed by a fantastic tour of the Menai Strait on Sunday.
Unforgettable highlights of the trip include passing beneath the immense Menai Bridge and witnessing a flock of herons commandeering a rocky outcrop mere metres from the paddlers, not to mention the incredible geography of Anglesey.
Furthermore, the provisions offered by outdoor equipment specialist Summit to Sea and the expert instruction delivered by coaches Charlie Miller and Sue Couling ensured all were safe and well throughout the journey.
“Heading out on a moving sea could have been a bit scary, but with the support of the coaches I felt completely secure,” recounts Vincent Williams, an attendee with no previous coastal experience. “The scenery on the trip was amazing and to have the instruction and coaching was invaluable.”
Training on rescue procedures and safety at sea was also delivered to ensure that the most possible fun could be had while simultaneously respecting the risks of charting open water.
“Weekends spent in a controlled training environment is time never wasted,” says Richard Moses, a participant with significant coastal experience. “Discussing sea self-rescue drills with sea kayakers as an open canoeist was fascinating and is certainly transferable to open boating.”
Throughout the duration of the trip, all paddlers were encouraged to test their limits and explore outside their comfort zones. Charlie Miller, organiser of the event, said: “Throughout my career as a kayaking coach I have witnessed so many people underestimate their abilities on the water, so it was lovely to see most of the attendees overtake their fears and come out on the other side with a real sense of achievement.”
He also stressed that any paddler who felt that they were out of their depth or equally not being challenged enough, were encouraged to change groups without hesitation.
“We were responsible for a wide variety of individuals this weekend, and some people weren’t 100% sure about their ability, which is fine,” he says. “The recurring rules throughout all of the groups, though, were look, listen, learn, and most importantly, laugh. That’s why we’re here.”
Thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response from the participants of this year’s trip to Anglesey, organisation of a similar event is planned for 2019 with extra emphasis on theory-based content such as tidal planning and packing supplies for trips.
Any ideas or suggestions for next year’s event should be directed towards Charlie Miller at [email protected].