Menai Challenge Info - Legacy Course
The Menai Challenge is an Unsupervised Standing Challenge. Paddlers are entirely responsible for their own safety and welfare, and that of others, whilst attempting or preparing for the Menai Challenge. We suggest all paddlers undertake a site specific risk assessment before paddling. And continue a dynamic risk assessment whilst on the water. All paddlers should carry relevant safety equipment; suggestions include: waterproofed mobile phone, VHF radio, flares, spare warm clothing, exposure bag, first aid kit, spare paddles etc. Paddlers should be well versed and competent in self rescue techniques and open/moving water paddling; solo paddling is most strongly not recommended. Participants must wear a CE approved personal flotation device (PFD) and paddling clothing relevant to the anticipated conditions.
Beware of other water users and obstacles within the Straits. There are numerous buoys, moored craft and markers/perches/posts - all of which could result in serious harm if you get too close. Give them all a very wide berth, the fast flow means that you will close surprisingly rapidly on any obstacles. Be aware that some parts of the course can be exposed to wind and wave.
It is recommended to notify Holyhead Coastguard (01407 762051) and/or a shore contact before you set out.
(See also PSK Safety Info Page)
The Legacy course takes in a loop that starts and finishes in Menai Bridge.
The course has two turn points, one at Bangor Pier and one at Brittania Bridge. The start and finish points are on the slipway in Menai Bridge.
The course can be run in either direction and at any state of the tide; Start at the slipway, go to Bangor Pier and Brittania Bridge (in either order) and return to the slipway, all the rest is down to you. You decide which direction and route you think is best for the prevailing conditions - Brittania Bridge and the Swellies first or down to the Pier followed by a long run to the Bridge, passing through the Swellies to finish? It's your choice.
The concrete slipway in Menai Bridge (SH 558, 718). Start/Finish on the centre line of the slipway and within one boat length of the visible (waterline) end.
Turn Point - Brittania Bridge:
Turn around the central pillar of the Brittania Bridge, at the western end of the Swellies (SH 541, 710). The turn can be taken either clockwise or anti-clockwise, go up one arch and then down the other arch.
Note: The Brittania Bridge pillar sits on a rocky island which is submerged at high water, don't get too close or you may damage boat, blades or body! Expect fast moving water here.
Turn Point - Bangor Pier:
Turn around the red can buoy (SH 581,737) which lies just north (~100-200m) of the end of Bangor Pier. The buoy is marked 'Bangor'. Turn either clockwise or anti-clockwise.
Note: Give the buoy PLENTY of room, the flow can be fast here and the buoy WILL close very rapidly. Do not pass beneath Bangor Pier as there are shallows and numerous dangerous beams and struts, some are barely submerged. On the noth side, give the Gazelle Hotel slipway plenty of room, it extends, barely submerged, a way out - marked by a green perch.
Paddlers must start and finish on the Menai Bridge slipway and turn once around both turn points. Otherwise the route and direction is down to the paddler.
There is moving water along the whole course but this is especially strong in the Swellies - between the Telford Bridge and Brittania Bridge. Expect swiftly moving water and turbulence here. This can give considerable rough water, especially on Spring tides.
In strong winds, conditions can become extremely challenging throughout the course. Strong Westerlies will give rough conditions at Brittania Bridge (especially on the ebb) and to the East of Menai Bridge town. During Easterlies the whole stretch to the East of the Telford Bridge can become very rough, especially on the flood tide. The Bangor Pier turn is exposed during any wind.
There are two posts within the course area - the Green Perch close to the Menai Bridge slipway and the Yellow/Black Cardinal post in the Swellies. These can both be extremely dangerous - AVOID!
At low water rocks and weed are exposed along the length of the course, at high water the water's edge may reach within the treeline in places.
It is left to the paddler to choose the best time and tide to undertake a Menai Challenge run, - but we suggest you time things to arrive in the Swellies around slack water.
There is very limited car parking by the slipway and this becomes busy during the summer months. There are car parks available off the Hight Street in Menai Bridge, you may want to drop your boat and then move your car to a car park. Please park considerately, car parking is limited for local residents also.
Please do not park on the slipway, it is in regular use - year round.