Dyfi Estuary Adventure

As it was a ‘rest day’ on Saturday I decided to head out for a little Dyfi Estuary adventure on my Surf Ski. High tide was around 1:30pm at Ynyslas and therefore around 2pm 6 miles further upstream at Glandyfi. Winds were fairly light and mainly southerly and the sun was out. The weather looked set fair for a few hours at least which was quite a contrast to the past few days.

After a bit of work at home, and then some time cleaning my bike and the cars, I set to fiddling with my surf ski. I then headed off to the estuary at midday to set off on an adventure. I had the idea of paddling upstream with the incoming tide to Glandyfi and then turning around and coming back with the outgoing tide later. This plan would be quite an undertaking though as it would be 12 miles or so of paddling. I was on my own on a small, unstable surf ski in the big wide estuary. I therefore had fall back plans of just paddling across to Aberdyfi or my usual of heading up the River Leri.

I almost plumped for one of these less ambitious options once I was on the beach as there was a little more wind than I had hoped, and therefore more chop too. However, as I headed out I saw some friends out rowing and mentioned to them that I might try to get to Glandyfi. Having said it to them, and a couple of other people earlier that morning I kind of had to at least give it a go. I did have my phone with me so if the worst came to the worst I could always phone Anna and get her out on a rescue mission!

Glandyfi Bound

So that was it, I was Glandyfi bound. I was making good progress though. The tide was in my favour, I had the wind and the chop behind me too and the miles started ticking by. This was all a little worrying though as it was just too easy. This meant that once I turned around I’d probably have quite a slog into the wind to contend with.

It was a lovely winters day though with clouds rolling across the blue sky as I made my way up the Dyfi Estuary. There were birds all around and large flocks of them in some places. I left the people of Ynyslas behind and ventured ever further into the estuary. I almost ran aground across one of the larger sandbanks, but just had enough water to keep going. Everything was perfect with just a single train passing by on the northern side of the estuary breaking the sound of the wind and the birds at Ynyshir.

Eventually the large expanse of the estuary became a little more river like as I rounded the bend and headed towards the tiny hamlet of Glandyfi, with Glandyfi Castle on the hill behind it.

Once in Glandyfi I stopped on the bank for five minutes to have a drink and an energy bar and to take a photo. I also used the opportunity to stand up for 2 minutes as sitting in the ski for extended periods of time soon becomes uncomfortable.

Back down the Dyfi Estuary

As I stood there eating my energy bar, the little boat moored just off the shore slowly spun around marking the change of the tide – perfect timing, almost as if I’d planned it. I didn’t hang around long because although the sun was shining it was pretty cold at around 5ºC. I was also a little wet in places and therefore soon started to shiver so jumped back on my ski ready for the long journey home. I almost fell in the water as I did so which didn’t help the chill. I soon warmed up a little once I started paddling though.

The first stretch out of Glandyfi was once again easy. There wasn’t much tidal flow but at least it was now in my favour again. Once I rounded the bend into the estuary proper though I had a headwind and some chop to content with. It’s quite difficult to tell if you are actually making headway once out in the wide expanse of water. I had my watch was set to beep at me every ¼ of a mile and it was doing so every 3 minutes so I was still making good progress. I did my best to keep the wind and therefore chop directly in my face as that was easier than side chop and continued to make my way back down the estuary.

I was doing well and didn’t start to tire until I was at the 10 mile mark. Just a couple more miles to go and if anything it got easier. The wind eased off and swung around to the east a little which was what I was hoping it would do. The tide was of course increasing in strength too so I sped up a little and finally made it back to the car. Quite an adventure really. Just under 12 miles of paddling and my time of 2 hours 18 meant that my average speed was just above 5mph as well. I have no idea if that is good or not, but it felt good to me!

I’m a little sore now though – not muscularly but I have some chaffing around my neck from my wetsuit and also have some on my hips and shoulders which is a little sore. I’m not so sure that I’d quite call it a rest day either. However, once  back at home I baked a lovely Earl Grey Tea Bread so will treat myself with that and chill on the sofa this evening!

5 Responses

  1. Mum says:

    All the through reading that blog I was waiting for ” a but” or a disaster, so was glad to get to the end iread all was good xx
    Not my dort of rest day that’s for sure !

  2. Jean Ashley says:

    Loved you’re blog Alan, it’s a great river trip, done it myself a few times! You sound like just the person who’ll love the Quad scene, there are alot of us in the Vet category, age has no boundaries for us! Jean (age 58) but acts more like her shoe size plus 10! 😉 👍

    • Alan Cole says:

      Thanks Jean – Nice to hear you’ve made that river trip before – it’s literally on our doorstep so a nice easy one for me to repeat. If you’re ever out this way and fancy doing it again then let me know – I could certainly do with some (lots) of tips! I’m sure my padding technique leaves a lot to be desired but for now I’m just concerned with not falling off! 🙂


  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Alan, I’ll remember that …. we did have a BQA Racve there last year called the Fabian 4 Mountain Triathlon, It started with a paddle down the estury, then as hill run and finally a MTBike … its a bit of a tough one, its run every other year, so will be back in 2018, one to train for maybe (you may have seen the write-ups on our BQA website. :
    Catch up soon
    cheers Jean

    • Alan Cole says:

      Hi Jean… Are you sure that’s here. I thought that was up in Conwy which is a couple of hours drive from here. Sounds just like my sort of thing though so I may well be making a trip to Conwy for it next year.


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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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