Tide Race North Stack

To newcomers to sea kayking, the speed and power of tide races can come as something of a surprise. Here's a short video clip showing how an apparently calm sea can change under you in a very short time to something quite challenging. There are no cuts in the clip - the situation developed exactly at the speed you see it. We should point out that this was a planned trip and we were fully expecting this sea state when we set out - that's why the video was running.

To set the scene, we are in Anglesey on an August Bank holiday weekend. The weather is hot and sunny with not much wind and plenty of boaters around, from kids rubber dinghies (maybe not on this bit of the coast) to jet skis and bigger boats. We have set off from Soldiers Point on Holy Island, just west of the ferry port at Holyhead, and are paddling west with the ebb tide towards North Stack. There are cliffs here, and nowhere you could land for some distance. The video clip shows the bit from shortly after crossing the blue grid line in the centre of this view, to just rounding the headland before heading into the gap.

Route map of the North Stack trip

There is a bit of swell from the NNW (about 2 O'Clock direction as we paddle) but this is nothing we'd worry about. Ahead we can see a few whitecaps between us and North Stack, but they don't look big from where we are. At the start of the clip, the speed at which we are being carried forward by the tide has just started to pick up noticeably, and if we had decided to turn back at this point, we would probably not have been able to paddle against the tide. The waves from our right have just started to get bigger...

Paddlers: Andy Waddington (the boat with the camera), Mary Waddington, Doug Florence and Len Hartley (from Peninsula Paddlers).

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