Posts Tagged ‘Dale’

Go Coastal – Dale Trip, May 2014

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Thursday 8th May, and it’s wet.. I mean REALLY wet – 216 miles of solid downpour to be precise.  Whilst resigning myself to the idea that the first of our bi-annual trips to Pembrokeshire was going to be a washout, something changed!

Was that the sun creeping through?  Whoop – Yes! The final 13 country miles winding from Haverfordwest through to Dale were brightening.  On arrival into the bay some of the guys could already be seen out on water so what better way to unwind from a long miserable drive, than to grab an inflatable 10’6 from the boot and get out with them for a cheeky SUP before decamping to The Griffin for a bite and some banter.

Despite the poor outlook, 10 Bray friends and members turned out to be rewarded for their efforts.  Friday morning kicked off at various B&Bs with a Full English to fuel the day.  Gathering on the beach the enviable ponder of conditions and rig requirements commenced.  Following some faffing about, splashing about and profanity with a 5.5 – I got it right the second time.  An offshore provide some lovely flat water for me to get back into a Windsurf on my 4.75 whilst the big boys blasted along the bay.  We earned our dinner and beers, that’s for sure.

Saturday morning saw even stronger winds blowing through.  Was I man enough?  No – sadly not with limited water time to speak of in 2014 and nothing smaller than the 4.75 in my quiver.  Something to work on me thinks.  Instead Chris and I headed out for a morning walk along the coastal path before reassessing an afternoon on the water – glad the wind didn’t change direction and sweep us out to sea as I didn’t have my ruby slippers to hand to take me home – Let’s just say it was bracing.

Whilst the others took to the water in Dale again on the Sunday morning, I decided to head off for a stop on The Gower Peninsula on the way home.  Meeting up with UK SUP event regulars Alan & Emily for a SUP Surf at the beautiful Oxwich Bay.  Something new for me as the last attempt I had at surfing was a body board in Newquay as a child.  A fun few hours, albeit maybe not for the local fishermen.  My cackle was likely to scare off the fish – the whole bay knew I had arrived.  Mental note to self – when trying to SUP Surf – pack the right leash.  Those coils really do work!

Active, but a change really is as good as a rest.

Contributed by: Candice

Club Trip to Dale (23-25 Sep 2011)

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Located on the northern entrance to the Milford Haven Estuary, lies the peninsula and village of Dale.  Bray Lake have been making bi-annual trips here for years as the sheltered bay is perfect for those inland sailors wanting to take their new found skills to the seas.

Seven years ago that was me, now however, it still serves as a relaxing weekend break away from my workload, and a great venue to remind myself some of the skills learned that I’ve let lapse a little in recent months for the house, or the garden, or the … blah, blah (you get the idea).

After news of friends ripping it up in Ireland the previous week, the forecast lagged slightly from what was promised to blow through, but there was still enough to play with.  Kit was packed up for a Thursday night arrival in Dale with enough time for a bite to eat and a pint in the pub on arrival and making the most of it.

Friday saw a bit of a shoreline dead zone and interesting swirl in the bay due to the wind direction, but those brave or foolhardy enough to brake the cover of the headland managed to get some good runs in on a sizeable sail.  I know I did, and I knew it.  Man did that hurt – how long had it been?  Longer than I had initially thought by the feel of it.  Come dusk though I was last off the water (as usual), but eventually made The Griffin to recharge the batteries, or so to speak.  A new landlord and new menu made for a welcome change, and plenty of banter to entertain.

What did we do before the weather App...

We’re never short of a story or few amongst the diversity that comes with being a Bray Lake Member.  And whilst hopes were high when checking weather apps, Saturday conditions saw more of the same so no rush out onto the water was needed.  Some choose to head out with the walking boots in search of the latest arrival of seal pups, or went to check out the nearby prep for the film shoot rolling into town, whilst the rest of us headed to the café for more banter, coffee and maybe a cake before all getting together again for an afternoon on the water.  Still a bit achy whilst hanging off my 7.5m, so obviously still need to get more time out on the water when back home or maybe it’s just my age catching up with me.  Having hit 40 the previous week, and Candice doing the same the following, our 10 strong party roped in old friend and West Wales local Annie to head to Dale Yacht Club for a good meal and a spot of champers (thanks all for the champagne) in celebration or commiseration for the night.

All of a sudden Sunday was here, last chance for a few hours play before loading the car again and hitting the M4.  So long Dale, we’ll be back again in Spring.

Contributed by: Gavin Lambourne

Dale Club Trip Fri 8th – Sun 10th April

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

After a slightly delayed start, mainly due to supervising a certain shop manager during his wooing of the Maidenhead females, Amy and I made it down to a sun blessed West Wales at around 17:00. No sooner had we settled into a couple of drinks at the Griffin, enjoying the warm early evening and relaxing after the journey the rest of the ‘club members’ arrived. I say club members, possibly a more accurate description would be ‘associated members’! Down in Dale we had the old guard of Colin and Mike, the original ‘Big’ Dave Haskins and the justification for the term club trip, Les!

A good dinner was had by all in The Griffin, especially Dave who, ignoring the menu, managed to have a prawn curry appear from somewhere, then any leftovers from anyone else’s plate and finally finishing off with an apple crumble. This could be the reason for his height! In true Bray style the rum and cokes flowed until we eventually retired, excited by the possibility of wind and sun the following morning.

We woke on Saturday to blazing sun and building wind. Excitement took over so, skipping breakfast, we headed to Dale car park to see who was contemplating an early session. Dave and Les were leading the charge. Dave had rigged his 9.4 Lightning and had ‘advised’ Les onto his 7.5 T-Bird. Rather more meekly I opted for my 6.3 Ezzy wave SE and a 100L Starboard Kode.

As it happened the wind built more than Dave or Les had anticipated so were quickly back in the car park rigging something a little more manageable and were equally quickly back on the water having a more enjoyable time. As days on the water go I have to say it was pretty much perfection for the UK. Force 4-5, high tide, sun, 25 degree heat and only a handful of people on the water. Bliss!!

Rigging upAs the morning went on we were joined on the water by Colin and (shock horror!) another club member – Simon. I have to take my hat off to Simon for his commitment to windsurfing as he was only there for Saturday driving both ways in the same day and scoring some great conditions during the day, amazing! A lesson to all those with work, family or friend excuses!!

We decided to break for brunch at around 11:30 and retired to the cafe to dissect the morning and meet back up with Mike (and his blister!).

Wanting to gain the most from the weekend away I opted to go for a walk in the afternoon and after following Mike and Dave’s advice headed round to West Dale beach and then on to St. Annes Head rejoining the crew for dinner. As it, fortunately, turned out the wind died a bit in the afternoon so I enjoyed my walk with a clear conscious!

Enjoying the view from the cliffUnfortunately during the afternoon Les had to return to England with pathetic excuses pertaining to his brothers golden wedding anniversary! Back down to one club member! No I tell a lie, Simon had to return to Blighty also, only associated members left!!

Another wonderful evening in The Griffin was had by all, the rum and coke flowed once more!

Sunday started with Dave myself and Amy meeting Colin and Mike at Allenbrook B&B to examine the owners 1934 Rolls Royce which was described at one point as ‘slightly mashed up due to machine gun fire’. It has been lovingly restored and, along with the Peacocks, adds another touch of elegance to Allenbrook Bed and Breakfast. Greeted as we were on Sunday by no wind (nats fart being generous) three of us headed to Newgale for some surfing and paddleboarding parting company with Colin and Mike.

NewgaleI cannot say with hand on heart the surf was epic!

I however cared not a jot as I had recently purchased Frostie’s 10’5 Starboard Paddleboard and was eager to give it a whirl!

(You have to admit that is a pretty board)

Conditions were ideal to test out the new toy and I generously let Amy and Dave have a go as well! The only word to describe the board is fantastic. Wonderfully stable, great glide and highly responsive on the wave, incredible. As it turns out it is also really useful for giving your girlfriend a tow as well!Preparing to SUP

After a few interesting wipeouts I started to get the hang of it and had a brilliant time in the less than great conditions. This is honestly the best sport to go along with Windsurfing as you can make the best of the conditions on offer. Wind – windsurfing, wind and waves – windsurfing, no wind – paddleboarding, no wind or waves – paddleboarding. It allows to have more time on the water whatever the conditions, genius!

SUPing at NewgaleAnyhow, a great weekend was had by all those who made it and I hope to see a few more there in October.

Have a good one and take it easy……………


Contributed by: Ed Thorne

10.1 Tushingham Max…and Chips

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Here we are again – the first of our bi-annual trips to Dale. Despite a lacking forecast, the recent sunshine must have lifted the escape desire as we were a good 20+ gathering in the making. After a few OCD moments prompted by a change of car and an overwhelming requirement not to have my kit introduce itself to the hard deck of the M4 “a la Matt”, we were off arriving in Dale for a quick night cap and good nights sleep.

A gloriously sunny Friday morning kicked off with usual catch up and procrastination between car park and beach front bench. Not much on the wind front so Gavin, Tom & I found ourselves joining Mike for a walk (read route march) around St Ann’s Head on his new quest for fitness (of which he looks to be doing rather well I might add). I could at least be deserving of my white chocolate cake on return to the cafe. Some just choose to go straight to the cake… After lunch, and a little more procrastination it was decided practice in rigging up my new kit was needed. Having only rigged my 5.5 and 6.5 once each, who was I to deny the opportunity when nudged. And then of course, not make the effort to bob about a bit in the light afternoon breeze after bothering to do it. I was not alone, although not everybody else needed the practice we at least got out there – The sun must have been getting to us. Or had Frostie not arrived with the backgammon yet!

Saturday faired better, albeit not much, but with big sails and a “lets make the most of it” attitude most of us took to the water. We pottered about, with a few snatches at planning on 6 – 8.5’s. Lucky Darren caught the best break of the day. Sailing his way out of driving fatigue whilst the rest of us grabbed some lunch he found himself sole recipient of some good wind action – Or maybe at that distance, we just couldn’t see how hard he was pumping! Not to be outdone, Simon Michelle (The Beach Inspector) has charged back into the fray taking out a lamppost, hedgerow and almost a small child in his exit from the beach. He made the quickest rig change known to mortal man emerging resplendent from the car park flying a 10.1 Tushingham Max. The term “go big or go home” just is Simon. Sadly, a sail that size tends to come with the curse of a dying wind so he didn’t get to play for long.

And so to The Griffin. Our visit this time was timed with the arrival of their new “Fish shop” style menu, so fayre was not what we went for.  A few drinks, cheerful banter and the arrival of a Hen party to amuse the lads all makes for a fun weekend whatever the wind conditions.

Sunday saw an early mist with no wind to speak of so a contingent headed to Newgale. Not much happened wind wise, we hung around in Newgale for a few hours waiting for inspiration before Gav & I gave up and headed back home. With a extra day at their disposal, Frostie, Linz and Neil hung in a bit longer and stopped at Broad Haven having spotted a windsurfer planning in the bay and got a bit excited at the prospect of getting out on the water, only to find he was on his way back in because the tide was not working. I have been told they ended up having a good SUP in the early evening sun at Dale which was cool.

Neil informs me that Monday started off grim – no wind, no sun, with the sea mist rolling in again at Newgale, so yet more coffee and waiting ensued until they could actually see the sea. Patience paid off. The sun and the SUP’s came out as the waves were perfect (read sphincter tightening big!) according to Frostie who I have been told was looking like a surfing God while Neil not so much. We await the addition of Lindsey’s action photos to confirm this!

As ever, it was fun and a perfect way to end a great weekend. See you for the next Dale trip later this year.

Contribution by Candice Betts