Sunday, 3 July 2011

Six Cardinals of the Severn

Setting out from St Donats
Combination of a spring tide, the prospect of another gift day for sea paddling, and a wonderful understanding wife, were the ingredients to go play on the Severn Estuary.

The proposition was to just ride the Severn tide down for most of the day and back again, just to see what happened. Richard was interested. So we left St Donats with approx. 3 hours left of the ebb.

To add a little interest and to break up the monotony a bit we came up with the idea of following a line of cardinal buoys that seemed to have been placed in a perfect position just for the job, that also led us to a fairly large sand bank (nice place to stop for a bite to eat we thought).

Heading past East Nash along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

East Nash Cardinal taking the strain at Nash Sound

Sticking our noses out towards Nash Point we are making a good 5 knots towards the Sound without dipping a paddle in. We clock up about 8 knots as we paddle past the East Nash Cardinal.

Next up is the Mid Nash South Cardinal.

Richard a few miles offshore at the Mid Nash South Cardinal 

Mid Nash South Cardinal
This trip now becomes a case of joining the dots, as we head on a bearing from buoy to buoy. Each one is approx. 4 nautical miles away from the other so to begin with we can't see them. We head on a bearing to where we think they are. It becomes a bit of a game to see who can spot the next match stick on the horizon first. At about 3 nautical miles away one of us normally spots them. Then we have something to aim at rather than paddle on a wish. At about 3/4 mile the head markings normally become clearly visible - this is with the sun behind us on a perfectly clear day.

Richard spots a single gannet up in the sky, and then below it a porpoise.

We sit and watch as it trawls for fish.

Magic to watch.

Porpoise trawling the Bristol Channel
Before very long we arrive at West Nash cardinal.

West Nash Cardinal
Next hop is over to the South Cardinal at South Scar.

South Scar Cardinal at Scarweather Sands

This is where we had planned to stop for our lunch. There is no sand bar to be seen. We have made good time and the tide has not turned yet. We see plenty of waves breaking over the sand bank and decide to take a closer look.

Seeing some interesting rough water we decide to head over to the waves breaking over the sand bank
The mast/tower thing is or was a monitoring site for an offshore wind farm which has now been shelved.
Some very tasty waves are seen and we have a little play in the rough water.

Surf spot some 5 nautical miles offshore - no boardies out here to drop in on

I can only imagine that this spot must be the gateway to some neptunous hell on a rough day!  Some 100m further on and all is back to an oily flat calm sea . . .

Given the good time we have made and we still have an ebbing flow, we decide to continue on towards the West Weather Cardinal.

West Scarweather
We stop here for a lunch break. Slack is approaching. While munching away I notice on the chart that there is one more cardinal, the Ledge South Cardinal, a few nautical miles away. A pity really to have come this far and not bag that one as well. So we decide to give it a go. We put our backs into it and manage to reach it despite the tide having turned.

The Ledge South Cardinal - time to go home
We both look at the chart and think it's a job well done. Only need to paddle all the way home now.

With all the sights taken in, we don't bother to stop on the way back. Just make a B-line for Nash Point.

Passing Nash Point lighthouse before the final slog around to St Donats
For what could be regarded by most as a pointless boring paddle, this has been quite an amazing days paddle.

37 nautical miles (69 km) covered in just over 7.5 hours - channel riding at its best!

69 km round trip


Taran Tyla said...

Fab trip that, bit jealous (LOL).

I was looking at those waves from rest bay a few weeks back, think I'll have to take a closer look :)

Taran Tyla said...

Hi Eurion, I'm thinking of arranging an Anglesey circumnavigation trip for the 6th, 7th & 8th of August, with some of the other bloggers. What do'ya reckon, fancy coming along?

Dr Blug said...

Great pictures Eurion