While Wales is part of the United Kingdom, it has retained much of its Welsh pride as evidenced in its people, castles, sites, culture, and history. In addition to the paddling portions of the trip, you’ll have the opportunity to see these sites and sample Welsh life. We’ll even change pace a bit and go for a motor boat ride through one of the strongest tidal races in the world know as “The Bitches”. Here, the incoming and outgoing tides are funneled between Ramsey Island and the mainland, creating an incredible current. All your nights in Wales will be spent in a cozy traditional Welsh cottage. We’ll also be spending our first and last nights in Dublin, Ireland so you’ll get your city fix as well.
Dates: June 15-24 2018
- All lodging
- Most food and drink
- Professional guides
- A motorboat ride
- Ground transportation including transfers to and from airports and rental van
- Ferries to and from Dublin and Holyhead
- Kayaks, paddles, and PFD’s are also included.
- 6 meals
- Beverages between meals while in cities
- Alcoholic beverages
- Unscheduled activities
- Laundry service
- Additional days
- Personal travel insurance
- Tips for staff
- Anything not listed as included
Food: Most meals are included and prepared by staff while at the cottage, but be prepared to be independent for 5-6 meals at restaurants or when staff need a night off. On paddling days, lunches will be packed and brought with us. Please let us know about any dietary restrictions so we can best accommodate them.
Lodging: Our nights in Dublin will be spent at a reasonable hotel with easy access to the city center. In Wales, we’ll stay in the Porthiddy Farm Holiday Cottages. These are 5-star selfcatering cottages, just 500 yards from Abereiddy Beach. All lodging has a shared room arrangement. Depending on group size, single occupancy may not be available at the cottage. Please contact us if you require single occupancy.
Guides: Safety is always a top priority. This is why all guides we work with are professional, knowledgeable, and hold relevant certification from the British Canoe Union and/or the American Canoe Association to include water safety and rescue training.
Visa Requirements: Citizens of the USA do not need a visa before arriving in Ireland or the United Kingdom.
Fly to Dublin, Ireland. We’ll plan on everyone meeting at our hotel at 5pm so we can have a meet and greet before going to dinner and maybe a pub together. Transportation from the airport is easy but a guide will meet you there if you need it. We encourage you to arrive early and explore the city, its sites, and its culture. A visit to the Guinness Storehouse, the National Museum of Ireland, or to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells are all good options.
After breakfast we’ll catch the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead on Holy Island in northwest Wales. Here we’ll get our van and make our way across Anglesey, also known as Druid’s Island. Anglesey once had groves of sacred oaks and other important druidic sites. It’s even said that Merlin the Magician lived, and is buried near here. Anglesey was one of the last vestiges of druidic culture in the area before being mostly lost to the Roman Empire. We’ve got a bit of a drive ahead of us so we’ll make the most of it as time allows. As we make our way south along the scenic Welsh coastline, time permitting, we’ll make a stop at the impressive Caernarvon Castle or other points of interest. By evening we’ll be at our traditional Welsh cottage near St. Davids where you will be spending the rest of your nights until day 9.
Days 3 and 4
Your first days on the water exploring the stunning Pembrokeshire National Park coast line with our top notch guides. Paddle along the rugged cliffs, stacks, natural arches, sea caves, beaches, and islands of the Welsh coast. The nutrient rich waters along the coast make Pembrokeshire one of the best habitats for marine life in Europe. While we are there in early summer, some of the cliffs will be full of birds like puffins, manx shearwaters, and gannets. Some of these birds have traveled thousands of miles to breed and nest on narrow rock ledges. Some of the same conditions that make the Pembrokeshire coast such a good place for birds also makes it a good place for seals. Seals are frequently seen swimming, sunning on rocks, or resting in caves. Specific paddling locations will be determined by tides, weather, paddler abilities, and other conditions.
We’ll take a break from paddling to do some things on land. St. Davids Cathedral is an important pilgrimage site for Christians in the western world. Nearly 900 years ago, Pope Calixtus II decreed that “Two pilgrimages to St Davids is equal to one to Rome, and three pilgrimages to one to Jerusalem”. We also have the option of visiting the beautiful Pembroke Castle, which is worth the trip on its own, but it also happens to have some of the most amazing fish and chips nearby. If we visit the castle, we’ll also visit St. Govan’s Chapel. St. Govan was a hermit monk who built a small home nestled into the cliffs on the coastline. His home then became a chapel where pilgrims and the ill traveled to benefit from the alleged healing qualities of a spring that flowed there.
Days 6 and 7
These days will be spent exploring more of the Welsh coast from our kayaks. Possibilities include a paddle around Ramsey Island or Skomer Island and a visit to their bird sanctuaries. There is plenty of great paddling to be had in Wales and we want to take advantage of it with the short time we have. Again, specific paddling locations will be determined by conditions and a variety of other factors. We will do our best to give you a great kayaking experience but we cannot guarantee any particular routes. Safety is our top priority, and the ability to adjust our plans is just part of it when working in an environment as dynamic as the ocean.
This is your last full day in Wales. By now you’ll have been able to feel the history around you. It’s hard not to think of it as we launch our kayaks from a harbor dating back to roman times, paddle the waters the Vikings invaded from, walk through village ruins, and sit in the shadow of a castle. Today is about rounding off our time in the Welsh coast as our mood and conditions suit us. We can do a half day of paddling if you haven’t had enough yet. Or we’ll do some other things on land like visit Pentre Ifan, the largest Neolithic dolmen burial chamber in Wales, dating to 3,500 B.C. We’ll also go for a motorboat ride through “The Bitches” in Ramsey Sound. In the evening we can walk from our cottage to Porthgain along a scenic trail overlooking the Celtic Sea for dinner at the pub.
In the morning, we’ll start making our way back towards Holyhead. On the way we might stop for tea in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. No, a cat didn’t just walk across my keyboard. It’s a real village and has the second longest place name in the world. As long as we don’t miss the ferry because you were trying to pronounce the name of this village, we’ll take it to Dublin. We’ll have one last dinner together and enjoy the city before turning in at our hotel.
Take advantage of your time in Dublin to see a bit more of the city before going to the airport for your flight home. Or, better yet, stay longer and explore Ireland on your own.