Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Top 5 Places to Paddle in the UK

Have you got your paddling trip book yet? Are you in need of some inspiration? Well, here at Escape Watersports we have our top 5 places to paddle to give you some food for thought.

1) Wales, Gower - Oxwich Bay

Photo credit: Driftwood

If kayak fishing is your thing then it is worth visiting Oxwich Bay in the Gower. Home to the Oxwich European Kayak Fishing Championships, Oxwich, the largest south Gower beach is a superb venue to explore. The shallow sloping beach and big tidal range can make the walk/portage a fair distance, but with the aid of your C-Tug Canoe and Kayak Trolley it is easily defeated. If the beach is busy, the trying the wooded Oxwich head to the west of the bay is worth a look. 

You will find ample mackerel within the season. There will also be Huss nibbling at static rod lines. About two thirds it length and some 200 yards offshore are the remains of a wreck worthy of fishing. The best time to fish is on neap tides, where the water flow is not as strong as on a spring. 

For information on British Sea Fishing, click here

2) Scotland - River Spey

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The River Spey is a Grade II/III river than can usually be relied on to give reasonable water levels in all seasons. There is nothing highly technical, however, on sections downstream of Grantown-on-Spey there is a good number of entertaining Grade II rapids. With the majority of the length of the river being navigable, this is a superb river for canoe expeditions.

Scotland's Land Reform Act allows for any responsible pedestrian; cycle; horse and non-motorised boat access to the river. There is a public right of navigation on the River Spey. 'Navigation' extends to movement over the water, up, down and across stream. It is also worth knowing that you are sharing the river with other users such as fishermen who are either bank based or fly fishing from the water. 

On your journey down stream, you may happen to pass the Speyside Distillery for a sample of their single malt.  

For more information on access, river information, accommodation and contacts for the River Spey, click here.

3) North Wales - Llyn Peninsula

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Wales's Llyn Peninsula is a popular destination for Sea Kayakers. It is perfect from beginner to advanced paddlers, offering a wide variety of experiences for all. 

Pwllheli to Abersoch is a great leg for beginners. With plenty of options available for you to beach and stretch your legs or even a well placed cafe for a tea and Welsh cake. If you're after something a bit more gripping then it is worth checking out the Gwylan Islands and whistling sands of Aberdaron. There are some interesting arches and caves so explore on your paddle round too. During the spring and summer months you will see a wide range of birds including puffins, choughs, peregrines and you may also encounter seals and dolphins. 

It is worth checking the access prior to your trip at the islands as some (like St Tudwals island) are privately owned, so landing is not possible. There are also nature reserves along the coast that need to be considered too. 

There is an abundance of histroy, as Bardsey Island especially is said to be the burial place of thousands of saints and was once considered an important religious pilgrimage. 

For more information on Sea Kayaking the Llyn Peninsula, click here

4) Devon - Upper River Dart

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There is a wide variety of White-Water on our doorstep, but the River Dart proves to be a popular descent for most. Acclaimed by some as one of the best grade 4 runs in the country, the Upper Dart is cetainly not to be missed. The river tends to be at its best around November to March. If you've got the skills, right conditions and equipment, then get the boat on the roof! 

Starting just below Dartmeet, you will journey down to Newbridge, or continue down to Holne Bridge. Just ensure that you are parking consideratly (weekdays only) as the access situation is sensitive here). 

If your building up to the Upper, then take a look at the middle and the Loop sections of the Dart. There are alot friendler for the beginner to intermediate paddler. For more information on the river Dart, click here.  

5) North Ireland - West Coast

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Northern Ireland and Eire has many great surf spots to offer, for both board and kayak. The best time to surf Ireland is from September to May, when the Atlantic Ocean provides plenty of powerful cold water swells. The only downside with surfing in Ireland is the temperature during these months. If, you are well prepared with a winter wetsuit, thermal rash guard, booties, wetsuit gloves and hood, then we recommend you make a visit.
Spots to consider are Dongegal Bay on the North-West Coast. It is described as a swell magnet, with surf spots everywhere. There is a wave for everyone, making it a great place to learn to surf. If you're into bigger water, there are spots that hold 20ft+. Make sure you don't leave without checking out Lahinch, Easkey and Portrush (as well as the Guiness). 

For more information regarding Ireland's surf, click here. 

1 comment:

  1. for begnners there is nowhere better this time of year than the upper levels of the river Severn. Last week we saw 24 varieties of birds, salmon jumping and the river to ourselves.