"You really have got the best job in Wales"
This is the reaction I sometimes get when I explain what my role entails. Somewhat embarrassed, I mutter something about the hours spent working on our coastal strategy, traveling to meetings, responding to requests for information, managing the budget, preparing for events...
Of course, they don't believe me, but every now and then I get to do something that makes me think that I do have the best job in Wales. And so it was earlier this week when I got to try out a kayaking taster session at Stackpole in South Pembrokeshire.
The team at Stackpole started to offer this experience last year; the trial went well and this year they have been offering regular kayaking and coasteering sessions for the public, as an offshoot of our well-established Stackpole for Schools activity centre.
My companions for the trip was Jonathan Hughes, the Trust's General Manager for Pembrokeshire and Andy Godber, Operations Manager for Llyn, who has in mind setting up a similar activity in the north.
I'm no stranger to kayaking, but that moment when you float free of solid ground, dip your paddle into the yielding water and feel your body responding to the water’s liquid buoyancy never fails to thrill me.
The next magical hour – spent soaking up the incredible beauty of Barafundle Bay at sunset, watching seabirds hurtling towards their lofty perches on Stackpole Head and reveling in the sheer excitement of paddling through a rock arch – will stay with me forever.
As we happily trundled the kayaks back up to the store, with the lure of a late-evening pint in the Stackpole Inn beckoning, I could not help reflecting on the restorative power of an hour or two spent free from the petty tribulations of our landlocked lives.
If you would like to sample the delights of Stackpole from the sea, why not book a taster session with our qualified instructor by phoning 01646 661425 or click here to visit our website.