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Sandy Buttle memorial sea kayaking weekend

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Near perfect condition: The group assembled at Whitesands.

Near perfect condition: The group assembled at Whitesands.

THIS AUTUMN, Pembrokeshire Paddlers Canoe Club held the sixth sea kayaking weekend in memory of Sandy Buttle. Sandy who passed away in 2009 was known to most paddlers in Wales as the Canoe Wales President and for his lifetime commitment to canoeing in Wales. Sandy, and his wife Moira, were also hugely important to the community of Pembroke Dock. With his involvement in further education, youth clubs and scouts, Sandy was instrumental in introducing huge numbers of youngsters to outdoor experiences of all kinds. 

Every year in late September Pembrokeshire Paddlers organise a Sea Kayaking weekend in his memory. This year Celtic Camping, Pwllcaerog Farm, St Davids was chosen as the base for the weekend. They turned out to be brilliant hosts with excellent bunkhouse accommodation. Rob, Ian and all their staff being very helpful and accommodating. After assembling at the campsite on a Saturday morning a group of 20 paddlers mostly from West and South Wales headed off to Newgale. In view of the forecast for a stiff northerly wind the group set off under the shelter of the cliffs towards Solva and Saint Davids.

After passing Porthmynawyd and the headlands of Dinas fach and Dinas Fawr Solva was reached. Avoiding the temptations of the hostelries in Solva lunch was taken on a rocky beach to the west of Solva at Ystafelloedd. After lunch the party proceeded on past Caerbwdy, Caerfai and St Non’s Bay to Porthclais. It was a fairly tired but happy group who had enjoyed a 13km trip with superb scenery that then headed back to Celtic Camping. That evening in the bunkhouse a meal was prepared by club members and thirty people of all ages spent a very convivial evening talking about the day’s paddle and past exploits including many involving Sandy.

The next morning saw an earlyish start with a few hangovers to be brushed off over breakfast before we set off for a circumnavigation of Ramsey Island. The weather forecast was favourable and the day sunny and so we assembled at Whitesands in near perfect conditions. After paddling due west we picked up the south going tide to take us round and down the west side of Ramsey Island. The group was rewarded with the superb cliffs, caves and beaches of Ramsey’s west coast: “We couldn’t explore too closely in some places so as not to disturb the large numbers of seals that had gathered for the pupping season. This however did not stop them coming to investigate us!” We then paddled through the gap between Ynys Cantwr and Ynys Bery back into Ramsey Sound in time to pick up the north going stream to take us through the Bitches to the harbour where we paused for a break and some lunch.

The harbour is the only place on Ramsey you can land on during the pupping season but even here there was a mother and its pup on the beach! Some of the party then headed off back up Ramsey Sound to Whitesands while a few adrenaline junkies went to ‘play’ in the Bitches tide race. Eventually everybody rode the tidal stream back to Whitesands where we finished. Everybody agreed it had been a brilliant day’s paddling with magnificent scenery, challenging paddling and beautiful wildlife. Tea and cakes in the café finished everything off nicely before everybody headed off home. Pembrokeshire Paddlers would like to thank Celtic Camping for accommodating us for the weekend and also Nige Robinson at Sea Kayak Guides for the loan of sea kayaks.

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Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’

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THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over plans to re-vamp Pembroke Dock’s historic port facilities.

The redevelopment scheme, approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning Committee in May, will see some areas such as a dock covered with sand and “infilled”.

Plans also include the demolishing of some buildings, erection of buildings and ancillary works.
Despite planning being granted at council level, full authorisation to go ahead with the development was not to be issued until the Welsh Government made its decision regards the matter.

More about the planning application can be read here: https://www.herald.wales/west-wales/pembrokeshire/major-marine-project-causes-concern-about-visual-impact-and-heritage-loss/

Now that the Welsh Government has decided not to interfere with Pembrokeshire County Council’s grant of planning permission, the Port’s boss, Andy Jones, expressed his delight, saying: “This marks an important step forward in the development of Wales’ clean energy centre at Pembroke Dock.

“It will provide sustainable opportunities for the many people who rely on the activity along the Milford Haven Waterway for employment.

CEO: Port Authority’s Andy Jones (Pic MHPA)

“Pembroke Dock Marine will unlock new opportunities for young people to enter the maritime, renewable and engineering sectors, build resilience within Pembrokeshire’s business community, and make a positive contribution to our natural environment as we transition to a low carbon energy generation.”

Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven called the project a “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come”.

Objectors had complained that the plans were too large and would damage the historic dockyard, as well as having a visual impact on the dock.

The was opposition from local heritage campaigners, with complaints over the size of two huge proposed hangars which the project’s critics said would impact adversely the landscape.

The economic benefits of the £60 million marine energy “far outweigh” any impact on the historic environment, a report earlier this year to council planners said.

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Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head

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ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from a LPG tanker 13 miles SSW off St Ann’s Head.

The coastguard helicopter from Newquay in Cornwall was also on route. With the poor visibility due to fog, Angle all-weather lifeboat was to stand by the vessel to provide an alternative route for evacuation if needed.

After a choppy route in the poor visibility the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at 2:07pm.

At the time of their arrival, the paramedic from the coastguard helicopter was aboard the vessel preparing the casualty to be winched to the helicopter.

In less than ten minutes the casualty was winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital, at which point the lifeboat and crews were stood down and headed back to the station.

After rehousing shortly after 3:30pm the lifeboat was washed fuelled and made ready for service shortly after.

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Milford Haven child sex offender Colin Sharpe jailed for 10 years

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A MILFORD HAVEN child abuser sat crying in court as details of his four-year long abuse of a schoolgirl were read out.

Colin Sharpe’s teenage victim says she is now “plagued by nightmares” that he will return and abuse her again, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Sharpe, 40, of Howarth Close was told by Judge Paul Thomas QC at Swansea Crown Court that “Your only concern was your own selfish sexual pleasure.”

The court heard that after the matter was reported to police and officers began a search for tSharpe. He was found in his vehicle in a car park at St Ann’s Head.

The court was told that police used their car to block Sharpe’s exist from the car park but he “sped off” across the grass towards the cliff edge before crashing into a fence.

The defendant abandoned his vehicle and made off on foot to the clifftop. A standoff then developed during which police brought in a specialist negotiator to talk him down.

After a lengthy negotiation Sharpe was arrested.

Passing sentence, the judge told Sharpe: “You had no concern for the psychological damage you did.”

He added: “But it is to your credit that you immediately admitted what you had done; this had saved his victim the further ordeal of giving evidence in a trial.

Judge Paul Thomas jailed Sharpe for 10 years and imposed an indefinite order requiring him to sign the sexual offences register on release.

Sharpe will now be subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and an indefinite restraining order when he is released.

As The Herald previously reported, Sharpe, who has been on remand since March, admitted one charge of sexual assault and five of sexual activity with a child, all between July 2017 and March 2021.

Police were informed about the sexual abuse by a third party, who discovered what he had done, and he was arrested and questioned early last year.

Earlier, Ian Wright, counsel for the CPS said that Sharpe used “emotional blackmail to frighten the girl into staying silent”.

He added “Matters seem to have come to a head on March 12 this year after Sharpe had once again sexually abused his victim.”

Dean Pulling, defending, said that when the police interviewed Sharpe he gave ‘guilty pleas and admissions’ at the earliest opportunity.

Excerpts from a personal victim statement highlighting the ongoing ordeal of Sharpe’s teenage victim were also read out in court.

“I am having nightmares,” the statement reads.

“I have nightmares of him coming back from prison and starting to do worse. My life has been greatly affected.”

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