Gone Crabbing: Family Fun on a Shoestring | Evans-Crittens | Family Lifestyle Travel & Recipe Blog, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Gone Crabbing: Family Fun on a Shoestring

Shoes on beach no laces


We spent Father's Day afternoon on Sandy Haven Beach.  Dave worked during the morning, then for one of his "Father's Day  treats" he had the chance to choose our trip for what was left of the day.  I'm sure he had the kids interests in mind though when he chose a beach, as in our house (like many others I'm sure) happy kids equal happy parents!  





Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun


Sandy Haven is one of our closest beaches, there is a circular coastal path walk from our home in Gelliswick to there.  I  keep planning to make this one of my regular running routes.  When I taught at a local federated school here, the children from the different bases, all walked from each school and met up here, which was a lovely school day.


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

There is a narrow single track road from the pretty village of Herbrandston that takes you to the free car park. 


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun


 Adjacent to the car park is Sandy Haven Caravan Park.  I imagine it is a lovely park to stay in when holidaying in Pembrokeshire, being only a stones throw away from the beach.  Friends of ours keep their caravan there permanently and have enjoyed many years of family, unspoilt seaside fun.  


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

We grabbed our  "always in the car boot" buckets and spades and ran down to the beach.  On first arrival, we were on the wide estuary creek rather than the beach side.  I always feel impatient to walk around and get to the sea so that I feel like I'm at a "proper beach".

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Seaside Fauna at Sandy Haven

Seaside Fauna Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire

Along the way we passed crabs, sea creatures and the beautiful seaside fauna.


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

When we get to the sea, then it suddenly feels like home for me, even when the tide is quite far out.  The sounds of the distant waves and the sea breeze instantly have a relaxing effect.


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Just imagine the views from that caravan.  

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Girl building Sandcastes Sandy Haven Beach Pembrokeshire

Izzy counting sandcastles

The girls quickly settled down, writing messages and building sandcastles in the wet, moudable sand.  


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

I sat down to watch them play and thought of all the memories I have of coming to Sandy Haven as a child and also as a mum.  I remember making each of the kids shell rattles to play with on the beach when they were babies.  As they got older, they would thread holey shells onto string or rope to make seashell necklaces too.


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Then we went to the crabbing bridge for a spot of crabbing, which is a popular family activity at Sandy Haven.  This was our first time on the new bridge and although we were really sad to see the old stepping stones removed, I can see that the new bridge is more practical and also means that buggies and wheelchairs can be taken onto the crabbing bridge (with care of course) now too.


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun


We hadn't planned this activity so hadn't packed our crabbing lines.  We had a quick look on the beach for old string and rope which we can usually find, but had no luck.  By the time I got to the bridge, Danny and Caitlyn had already donated their shoeslaces to be the family crabbing lines.  Some people bring bacon as bait, but we always use mussels that we find on the shore.  Finding them is part of the fun for the kids too.

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun



Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun


Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

For any readers that haven't "crabbed before", we tie the mussel "meat" to the shoelace, lower the bait into the sea and watch as the crabs come out from under the bridge to eat it.  Once they are safely attached to our line we pull them out from the water.  When we have our net with us, we put this under to avoid the crab falling off, but on this occasion, we put them straight in the bucket.  We then let them go off the crab bridge or off the sandy shore.  Then the kids do it again, and again...

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

I prefer to just watch them in the water- can you spot the crabs?

Seagulls on a rock Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire

Seagulls love crabbing too.  We saw them catch and eat a few while we were there.  They're surprisingly vicious, but it's a good lesson on the natural animal food chain for the kids (never an easy one for me as a vegetarian though).

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

We say goodbye to our crustacean friends.  Caitlyn named everyone she found, Rhys!

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

I love seeing them scuttle sideways back into the sea!  They are fascinating creatures.  Crabbing can be a fun, learning experience for children and mean that the crabs are well fed too, which they seem to enjoy.

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing is number 39 on the National Trust's 50 Things list.  

Our tips for crabbing are:

  • Bring a crabline (or shoe lace!), a net and a bucket (the wider ones are best).
  • On the beach, first use a smaller bucket to collect your "bait" (mussels in our case).
  • Fill a larger bucket half full of seawater.
  • Put your bait onto your line and lower it onto the seabed.  Watch and wait.
  • Once you have caught a crab, bring your line out of the water slowly.  Place a net underneath the line in case the crab falls off.
  • Place the crab gently into the bucket of seawater.
  • Do not overfill your bucket, as crabs don't like to be overcrowded.  Current guidelines are no more than ten crabs at one time.  However, some organisations suggest no more than two in each bucket (if you're worried about two males fighting then stick to one  at a time).
  • Keep your crab bucket directly out of the sunlight.  Place a shade over them if needed and add some seaweed to the sea water so they can hide under it.
  • Let your crabs go as soon as possible so they don't get distressed.  Choose a place close to the water's edge, not too close to seagulls and not with a high ledge.
  • If you release two or more crabs at once you can each choose a crab and have crab races to see who's crab gets into the water first.  
  • Enjoy learning about them but be kind to the crabs.
Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

Crabbing Sandy Haven Pembrokeshire Travel UK Family Fun

A fun afternoon was had by all and all for the price of a shoelace- family fun on a shoe string indeed!  




Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 
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4 comments

  1. I just love your photos. They are pretty and the mood is fun and sunny! We always have that in the car trunk too! In addition to wellies. We always end up going somewhere where its muddy =P

    Thanks for sharing this. A lovely look, watch and read =) #countrykids

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! We usually have wellies in our car too- apart from when we unintentionally go somewhere really muddy then by Murphy's Law, we never have them on us! ;-) x

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  2. Oh claire this is such an inspired post, you are so resourceful to use shoe laces and mussels and they worked too! I shall remember this tip, just brilliant. What a lovely way to spend the day as a family. Thank you for sharing an ingenious idea and lovely photos on Country Kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you- I have to admit that the shoelaces were Dave's idea and he was the one to teach the kids all those years ago. I just take the photos! ;-) Yes, it was a lovely day out and lovely to hear that this is a popular activity at Coombe Mill too. :-)

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