Book review – Welsh Sea Kayaking – 50 Great Sea Kayak Voyages

Welsh Sea Kayaking – Fifty Great Sea Kayak Voyages – Jim Krawiecki & Andy Biggs

Pesda Press 

Welsh Sea Kayak Cover

What is it? This is a sea kayak guide covering virtually the whole Welsh coast, divided into trip-size pieces. The chapters are very thorough, with overview and trip detail, diagrams, tide explanations, difficulty ratings and colour photos. Some of the photos are aerial, which is a nice touch. All the pointers you need.

Is it readable? Yes, it is. As well as the technical stuff on how to do the trip, there are descriptions of natural or local history, warnings about which islands are snake-infested, and tales of ancient shipwrecks.

Is it a replacement for Snowdonia Whitewater, Sea and Surf? Snowdonia whitewater sea and surf is a super book, and for years was the only guide with enough inshore detail on currents for kayak use. WSK certainly builds on that, with great new charts, and obviously it contains trips in South and Mid Wales not covered by the Terry Storry book, and gives you more up-to-date gen on where to eat and camp as well. Two great books which will sit nicely together on your shelf, great charts in the WSK, and character and anecdotes from the SWSS

Can any of these trips be done using General Purpose kayaks? Well, this is a sea-kayaking guide, and as the saying goes, “When in Rome, buy a sea kayak, and then walk away from Rome and towards the sea, then go sea-kayaking.” 

You need the right kit for the job.

Having said that, the trips are divided into 3 difficulty ratings, green=”not as hard as blue,” blue=”middling” and yellow=”challenging.” While many/most trips would be plainly beyond sensible thought in a short boat, some of the green ones, or shorter parts of some trips, are ones we have done, or might do, in GP boats. E.g. Puffin island, Greenscar, Llandwyn island, Roscolyn Beacon and the Tudwells trip can all be feasible, in the right conditions, in river boats.

Any gripes? No, none. Its a lovely book. It doesn’t always have time estimates in it for how long trips take, but then that will vary depending on many things, and users should anyway have the know-how to estimate expected journey times based on the maps provided and the tidal features described. With regard to the maps: In any sea kayak guide, authors have to decide how to balance detail vs clarity – mentioning every last overfall, flow variation or feature, or giving a clear view of the trip and the main markers of the journey. In Welsh Sea Kayaking, its good to see the clear, attractive solution they have chosen – the diagrams are certainly very clean and consistent in format, and do the job well.

All in all, this is a great guide for planning your sea trips and getting new ideas about beautiful places to explore. Its also very nice for reading in your armchair even if you have no intention of getting salty. I love it, and feel that it opens up endless possibilities for future trips – its going to be very well thumbed.


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