Ramsey Island, a wonderous little place not disimilar to something you'd expect to see in a film like Lord Of The Rings, with it's greenery and wildlife, I do believe I wouldn't be too suprised to see a hobbit strolling along the hilltop on a sunny summery afternoon. The island is one of my favourite places on earth to be, and although having been over there more than a handful of times, I’ve only actually walked on the island once. My days with Ramsey have been exploring the waters, features, bays and caves and the abundance of wildlife, all of which changing with the seasons and the weather.
Ramsey is a spectacular island situated about 1km off the St David's peninsula, along the Pembrokeshire coastline. It has a diverse history, and is home to many very interesting and sometimes rare animals and birds. Ramsey was first (as far as I am aware) inhabited and owned by the Church, before being sold for farming sometime in the early 1900's where it was used mostly for sheep and cows, then later deer, some of which still remain on the island to this day. However due to the observed breeding activity of some endangered birds on the island, the RSPB took over ownership and bought the island over 20 years ago, where it has remained under their watchful eye ever since. And what a spectacular job they've done too, infact on a couple of my trips I've managed to see a Peregrine Falcon (the fastest bird on the planet, and one of my favourite birds too), and watched the elegant flight of the Shearwaters coming back to their nests at dusk after a day at sea.
I've also never failed to attract the curious attention of a certain inquisitive water based mammal. The Grey Atlantic Seal is the only type of seal we get in the waters around our Pembrokeshire coastline, and if you're really lucky, quiet and patient, they may observe you long enough for you to observe them back, however it is very important not to outstay your welcome, especially during the later summer/early autumn months.
Ramsey also has a more extreme and exciting side than the tranquility of wildlife watching and pottering in and out of caves. The Bitches is a popular spot with kayakers that have all sorts of backgrounds. It's a reef that stretches out from Ramsey Island into the Sound, and on strong tides as the tidal race flows over the reef it can reach speeds of up to 18 knots in places and can form powerful standing waves. We took a lovely American group out this year for a paddle around the island, and the photo on the left is the oldest member Stuart rocking out with his white water background at the Bitches just before we headed back to the mainland.
We're definitely hoping for many more trips to this place during the 2017 season, so look out for our organised sea kayak speciality days in the New Year!