Last year was the beginning of a soon to become a yearly week of paddling with Scandinavian female paddlers in North Wales. Last year the four of us, Carin Green, Eva-Lotta Backman-Winquist, Pia Sjöstedt and me all did a proper 5 Star Training during 5 days with Nick. Already after the first day, we had decided that we were going to this again next year. And that year passed really quick cause last week it was time for us to reunite and spend another 5 days on the water together. Unfortunatly Pia couldn’t join us this time, so instead we invited Leslie Fleming from Denmark and she spread her Danish smile around us the whole week.
During the first evening, when we were drinking a white wine called High Tide(!) and eat a super tasty cheese called Beaufort(!), we realised that we were actually going to do a 22 Star Training. Me and Carin would be aiming for our 5 Star and Eva-Lotta and Leslie would go for 6 Star, if there would have been one... We had a feeling it was going to be a great week.
Monday morning. Phil Clegg arrives with strong winds and a pretty dull weather forecast (but with a smile of course) for the next two days. Of course it wasn’t his fault that the weather was going to be a bit obnoxious but since the conditions were going to be a bit rough, Carin (who was sick) and Leslie (who was just knackered after having worked too hard over the last few weeks) decided to stay on land, me and Eva-Lotta went to Rhoscolyn for some safety and rescue training with Phil. And it turned out to be a really good day on the water. And on the rocks, since we did a few rocky landings too...
Tuesday was even windier with windgusts of about 18 m/second so we had to go to the Menai Strait, which is not a bad location at all. Quite the opposite. The fast flow in the strait made it an exciting playground for us where we could cross eddylines, surf waves and play with the elements. Leslie joined us this day and I think we were all a bit tired after having paddled in the windy conditions.
On Wednesday we changed coach to James Stevenson and finally the whole gang was gathered on the water and we headed for the beautiful north coast of Anglesey where the spring tide was almost eating the tarmac road above the launching beach we usally see when we head out from Bull Bay. I’ve never seen the water being that high. We spent the day doing leadership legs, rockhopping, focusing on stroke linking, trip planning in an tidal environment, competing in the prestigeous competition ”Do as little as possible to win a bag of peanuts”, watched lots of porpoises playing (and hunting for food) and of course we had a "fika" on land too.
On the Thursday, Wales gave us such a beautiful day with a big bright autumn sun and smooth light winds, so we decided to go to the Skerries. It was one of the bigger tides of the year (10 m at Liverpool), so we knew it was probably going to be an exciting day on the water. So just when the water was flooding the carpark at Cemlyn Bay, we set off for our first target for the day, the monster green Harry Furlong buoy. The ebbtide had just begun and we could feel and see the tidal race at Harry Furlong starting to create some wave action, but we decided that the goal for the day was the Skerries, so we paddled away from the mainland, using transits to make sure we were not dropping down too much (risking we might miss our goal), when we aimed for the different cardinal marks towards the islands. When we finally reached the Skerries, we had a lovely break up at the lighthouse in the sun and it felt like a warm day in spring. We also got a good view of the water we were going to cross to get back to the mainland and to Church bay and yes, it was moving quite fast I must say. In the end, the crossing turned out to be a really good one and finally back on the beach at Church Bay, we were all competing in giving the biggest smile of the day!
And then Friday arrived. The last day for us to paddle together. This time we went for a paddle in the Rhoscolyn area that gave us some choppy conditions in the beginning with onshore winds and big tides, some nice and friendly surf waves at Silver Bay and we didn't have to share our cookies with any coaches and we just enjoyed being there paddling together, on our own. And do I have to mention that the dinner and the wine that evening tasted really good?!?!? Please make the next 365 days pass quick, so that we can do it again! :-)
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