I was not looking forward to a Discover Kayaking course at Plas y Brenin last weekend.

Kayak Taster

Written by Haydn Williams

I was not looking forward to a Discover Kayaking course at Plas y Brenin last weekend. I mean, I was looking forward to it in the general sense, but specifically the Met Office forecast of a “feels like” temperature of -9°C and snow. Whilst on a lake. And possibly in the lake.

Day 2 - Good weather off Rhoscolyn, Anglesey.
© Haydn Williams 2019
Day 2 – Good weather off Rhoscolyn, Anglesey.
© Haydn Williams 2019

I needn’t have worried – Day 1 was gloriously sunny even before Becs and I met Andy and Zoe at PyB, and it stayed that way as we tentatively paddled around Llynnau Mymbyr in general purpose boats, white water boats, and the sea kayaks. Our focus was on sea kayaking, having enjoyed it on previous holidays and decided it was worth investigating further after having fun in New Zealand.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.
© Haydn Williams 2019
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.
© Haydn Williams 2019

The day finished with capsize drills in the swimming pool, which weren’t as traumatic as I’d expected. The plan for Sunday was an ‘expedition’ on Anglesey, if the weather played ball…

Sunshine and birds. It's like an 18-30 holiday.
© Haydn Williams 2019
Sunshine and birds. It’s like an 18-30 holiday.
© Haydn Williams 2019

… which it did! It was very strange to be in the heart of Snowdonia, and actively seeking to return to sea level instead of heading up a mountain. But head away from the hills we did, and the grey clag slowly cleared into blue sky. Glorious sunshine accompanied our first tentative solo paddle strokes on the open ocean. Which is to say we followed our instructor, Spike, very closely along the shoreline. But it was very nice despite a troublesome breeze, and I was delighted when a seal accompanied us for a while after lunch, darting around and playing with the boats.

Jacket matches boat: tick. Helmet needs work.
© Haydn Williams 2019
Jacket matching boat: tick. Helmet needs work.
© Haydn Williams 2019

Apologies to Andy and Zoe for not capturing any photos of them, but it turns out it’s quite hard to pilot/steer/captain/drive a kayak whilst taking pictures.

Finishing up, post-dunking.
© Haydn Williams 2019
Finishing up, post-dunking.
© Haydn Williams 2019

All went well, and the sea kayaks behaved for all of us. As we approached the beach to finish, Spike suggested we might like to try a capsize in full gear in the sea, just to see what it’s like in real life as opposed to the pool. I foolishly agreed, and thus ended the day sopping wet despite spending the previous five hours desperately fighting to stay dry. It was an experience nonetheless, and let’s just say that I wouldn’t want to do that in any kind of rough sea whilst tired and stressed out! Overall, a very enjoyable weekend, but I also found out the price of a nice sea kayak, so perhaps plans are on hold for a little while anyway!

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