A first hand account of kayaking at Cwm yr Eglwys beach.
I love the sea and I love going on it, so when a friend of ours offered to take myself and my partner kayaking, we jumped at the chance. I have always been very envious of kayakers, able to investigate the secret and hidden nooks and crannies of the coastline which are invisible and inaccessible to those on shore.
Our friend had already taken us out on his boat and was very calm and patient with his instructions, so we were confident about trying kayaking with him. He was also able to lend us the necessary safety equipment, particularly important for me as I have never learnt to swim!
We had to wait for the right conditions, particularly as we were beginners and my non-swimming state, so were very excited when we got the call to say we're on. I don't have any swimming gear so decided to wear a tee shirt and cycling shorts and my neoprene beach shoes to protect my feet. The day chosen was warm and calm, with very little wind and the tide at Cwm yr Eglwys was just starting to come back in. This would help us back onto the beach at the end of our trip when we were likely to be tired. As we walked down the lane from our friend's house to the beach, carrying paddles and life jackets, we felt very much the part!
Our friend's kayaks are the sit on top type which I thought preferable, as I didn't like the idea of it rolling over with me then under the water and having to extricate myself!
Once we'd got the kayaks onto the beach, we sat in them and had some 'dry' paddling practice to get the feel of the paddle, how to hold it and the rhythm you needed to propel yourself through the water. We were also advised to try and not make any sudden movements, which might make the kayak unstable or tip us into the water and what to do in an emergency (don't panic and always try and hold on to the kayak as it is the most buoyant object in the water). Knowing that I had two strong swimmers with me and was wearing a life jacket which would support my head, as well as my body, in the water gave me confidence and I was excited to set off rather than apprehensive..
We didn't venture too far from the beach, but there were others setting of on a journey around the headland (known as Dinas Island) to Pwllgwaelod Beach, we also met a couple who were returning from a kayaking trip to Newport and back - they told us it was a great stretch of coastline to explore.