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Hold on tight for an adrenalin rush; Holiday At Home A STEEP LEARNING CURVE ON AN ACTIVITY WEEKEND IN WALES.

Byline: By Gaby Harding

IF THERE is one thing that people know about me it's that I feel the cold. It's not unusual for me to wear a fleece in summer!

So when I first informed colleagues that I intended to go on an activity weekend at the beginning of winter in Wales many thought I would end up with hypothermia or worse.

However, the No Limits weekend run by TYF Adventure - kayaking, surfing, rock climbing and coststerring - left me feeling warm inside.

TYF Adventure is based in St David's, Pembrokeshire, where the coastal waters are some of the warmest and cleanest in Britain.

After a four-hour drive to St David's my partner Nigel and I arrived at the Twr-y- Felin ('Tower of the Mill') hotel which is built around a converted windmill.

The eco-friendly adventure company is carbon neutral - which means it uses green electricity and runs its minibuses on bio-diesel. The rooms are clean and comfortable and furnished with crisp white Egyptian cotton sheets and wooden blinds.

Our adventure started on a misty Saturday morning after a splendid heathly breakfast. We met our kayaking instructor Matt who assessed our level of ability before planning our route.

Nigel and I are happy flat water paddlers so we were eager to get onto the open water - even if it was blowing a force 4 gale with the sea moderate to heavy.

After picking our kayaks we were given a wetsuit, helmet and buoyancy aid and safety briefing before setting off to Solva, which has a beautiful and calm harbour, perfect for warming up or skills work for the beginner.

As we turned out of the harbour and I saw the height of the waves (15ft) crashing mercilessly onto the rocks, I admit my stomach felt queasy, even though our instructor Matt said that the conditions were typical of a moderate sea - you don't get that on the Avon!

We had great fun working our way around the breathtakingly beautiful coastline, riding the huge waves until Nigel succumbed to a spot of sea sickness and instead of having our packed lunch on a secluded beach we returned to the harbour for him for recover.

After lunch we travelled a short distance to Porth Clais with Malcolm - another kayaker we had met in the cosy hotel bar the previous night - and his instructor Ali.

The sea was much calmer now but Malcolm still had a couple of opportunities to gain experience in the art of getting back into your boat once it has capsized!

Alas we didn't see any seals, which are normally dotted along the coast, but we still had an exciting and memorable trip.

After a glorious hot shower we ate at the hotel's restaurant. As a vegetarian I'm often on the receiving end of poor quality food but at Twr-y-Felin the food was fantastic.

The mainly organic and locally produced food was also a hit with Nigel who thoroughly enjoyed his pork loin and vast array of tasty vegetables that accompanied it.

A few beers later in the Farmer's Arms pub tales of our morning adventure (with waves now hitting 40ft!).

After a great night's sleep it was on to our next chosen activity, surfing. TYF is a BSA-approved surf school and Tom proved to be a great instructor. None of the group had surfed before and after a safety briefing we left for Whitesands Bay, which boasts white sands backed by the stunning Pembrokeshire National Park.

The conditions were perfect to catch some waves. Nigel managed to go one better and was able to stand on his board until he wiped-out like the rest of us.

Back to the centre for lunch then on to one of my favourite sports - rock climbing. Our instructor Mark took us back to Porth Clais before setting up a selection of routes. The beginners had an opportunity to progress and we had fun Crimping (a type of handhold) our way up the sea cliff.

The only activity we didn't try this time was coasteering - scrambling, swimming and cliff jumping. It looks like it could be fun and it's one I'm going back for!

TYF like to push your boundaries whatever your level - the weekend is as wild as you want it and as Nigel and I are card-carrying adrenaline junkies we had a whale of a time.

All the instructors have a passion for the sport they teach and you'll find it will rub off on you!

Getting there

TYF No Limits Weekend: Try up to four activities - coasteering, sea kayaking, surfing and rock climbing.

Accommodation at Twr-y-Felin Hotel on Friday and Saturday night, four morning and afternoon activity sessions on Saturday and Sunday (2 sessions each day). Cost pounds 265 per person (full board) pounds 225 per person (b&b, packed lunches and hot drinks)

Contact: TYF Adventure, St David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Tel: 01437 721611, email: play@tyf.com or vist www.tyf.com Twr-y-Felin Hotel, Tel: 01437 721678, email: stay@tyf.com

CAPTION(S):

DON'T LOOK DOWN... the actvity weekend included climbing sea cliffs.' MAKING WAVES... kayaking off the stunning Pembrokeshire coast is often rewarded with a glimpse of seals.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 27, 2006
Words:860
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