Little & Large

The forecast was for southwesterlies F4/5 becoming southeast F3/4.
A trip around Great and Little Orme off the North Wales coast would put us in the lee of the cliffs therefore, but having been caught out before in these parts by winds which have had a great deal more ‘west’ in them than predicted, I had a sneaky suspicion there would more than a little chop to deal with today.
Conwy bay just before we launched and conditions, as expected, a touch brisk. The sun was warm, but fresh snow on the hills tells its own story.
Once out of the channel we were quickly into steep confused seas with waves to about 4 feet; approaching the northern end of Great Orme’s Head, these grew by a couple of feet, becoming more confused, rebounding off the headland.
Paddling off shore to escape the clapotis, it was a boisterous ride, a following sea soon pushing us east after which conditions rapidly and dramatically eased.
At last, calmer waters and a chance for a photo…
…though approaching Pen-Trywn, the northwest facing cliffs were enough to create another interesting section of water.
Getting in close to land in the caves here was quite exciting although landing itself was not difficult.
East of Pen-Trywn was another world of calm water and warmth…
We basked awhile, steaming slightly as we soaked up the sun. Watching those attempting the bolted routes here reminded me of climbing in Spain; long, dusty days on the giant walls of El Chorro, such was the ambiance of the sun baked limestone cliffs. Not bad for North Wales in March.
At least it gave Tim an excuse for an inexcusable hat.
Following the long beach of Llandudno Bay heading east, the wind picked up again and once off shore quickly strengthened to a good F5. Conditions beneath the cliffs of Little Orme were not dissimilar to those off Great Orme. I was surprised to find around 30 grey seals hauled out in the rocky cove of Porth Dyniewaid which of course meant no chance of a landing for us. We’d all hoped for a break here before turning into the winds and making the return journey.
A short battle around the headland, winds now gusting at F6 and some quite severe down draughts from the cliffs above added a little spice before a head down type battle across the bay ensued. The closer we got the more things eased until we landed, finally, beneath the pier.
As ever, looking back across a flat sea, one wonders what all the fuss was about.
We had intended to continue, but sat on the beach in the sun, the prospect of another battle into the headwinds with nothing better than clapotis at the end of the cliffs to look forward to, we walked. (The 1km walk directly across the peninsula some 9km less than the paddle around it.)
Back at West Shore, the wind seemed to have dropped slightly, but these guys were still making the most of it…
…looks like more fun than paddling into it but overall, another great day in North Wales.

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