Skip to content

Anglesey Circumnavigation by Tim Haines

A person in a kayak on the water Description automatically generated

Anglesey Circumnavigation by Tim Haines

Setting off at short notice, with minimal planning time, it was inevitable that I would forget something. Forty-five minutes into the drive to Anglesey, I realised what it was – my dry trousers. I briefly considered going on without them but thought better of it, and accepted the time penalty incurred. This meant I got on the water a little later than intended, leaving Bull Bay at around 6.30pm on the Friday night. Conditions were perfect – a warm, still summer evening with the ebb flow doing much of the work for me, so I stayed afloat long past dusk, eventually rounding Trwyn Du and pulling in on a shingle beach at around 10.30.

Tides the following day mitigated against an early start, so it was a relaxed morning, drying my dew-soaked sleeping bag in the sunshine and enjoying the view before getting in the boat at around 0930. Even this was a bit too early for the tide, and I’d soon paddled through slack water, so I stopped – hoping for a fried breakfast at the Gazelle pub – but sadly this was not to be. Back on the water 30 minutes later, and the tide was pushing me down the straits. A little past Carnarvon the RNLI Rib stopped to ask if I was OK, as they’d heard reports of a kayaker in the water, and I was able to reassure them that it hadn’t been me. God Save the RNLI.

I hadn’t paddled the next section, from Abermenai Point around to Rhosneigr before, and I was excited to see it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be as thick fog came down just past Ynys Llanddwyn, and visibility fell to a few hundred meters. My new deck compass – an ‘e-bay special’ – was really useful, although somewhat perplexing as it appears to be out by exactly 180 degrees!

Jet Skiers make me nervous at the best of times when I’m in a kayak, and this part of the world is massively overrun with them. The fog made me particularly nervous about a high-speed collision, but it turns out that – much like wasps – Jet Skiers only come out when it’s sunny. The obvious quiet that accompanies their absence is blissful.

A person in a kayak on the waterDescription automatically generated
Photo Credit: Big Shawn.

I pulled into Porth Dafarch just as dusk fell, and parents were making increasingly desperate pleas to their children to get out of the water as it really was way past going home time now. Behind the beach multiple campervans, a beach campfire and wafts of weed smoke made for a festival atmosphere. Being a sad middle-aged man, and feeling a little tired, I didn’t join in and was soon asleep beneath the picnic tables.

I was joined shortly before 0600 by Shawn, another member of Liverpool Canoe Club who had agreed to join me for ‘the tricky bit’ – Penrhyn Mawr, the Stacks and Carmel Head.

Shawn had been working till past 11pm the previous night and had set off at around 0300 to drive to Anglesey. He had also done a 22-mile run the previous day despite having a touch of gastro. Despite all this, he still outpaced me significantly, frequently having to stop and pretend to admire the scenery, as I paddled hard to catch up.

As we paddled Shawn recounted at least three different occasions on which he had snapped paddles – all during rolling practice. From this I am inclined to deduce that he has discovered a new form of roll which is dependent on simply battering the water into submission with the paddle, forcing it to submit to his greater will. But if it works, it works, and to paraphrase the old RAF adage about aircraft and landings, “A GOOD roll is any role that works. A GREAT roll is one where you can use the paddle again.”

I used my radio for the first time ever to request permission from Holyhead port authority to cross. I was relieved that it worked, and I didn’t make too much of a mess of it – these things make me nervous. After this we were off, heading initially directly across the harbour, and then pointing for Carmel head when we were safely out of the way of shipping. The tide was at full flow as we rounded the headland, and I was grateful for its assistance, as I hadn’t been in a boat for several months and my body was feeling the strain.

Pulling into Bull Bay again at around 1130 am, some 41 hours after setting off, it was humbling to think that the record for an Anglesey circumnavigation is under 10 hours*. Ah well, at least there is a significant opportunity to improve, next time!

*See:…/circumnavsAnglesey2… for some inspirational data.

1 thought on “Anglesey Circumnavigation by Tim Haines”