Boat Trip to Stack Rock Fort

This is my first story for The Anchorage website. I am Matt, second son in the Roobol family, and I have spent much of my childhood and time as an adult swimming, fishing, BBQing, and enjoying family holidays in Pembrokeshire.

I have fond memories of visiting Lindsway Bay as a young child and my imagination would often be captured by the offshore fort, Stack Rock Fort, visible from the cliff top path as we would make our way to the beach. With it’s big looming ‘windows’, solid appearance and isolation from the mainland, I could only imagine what it was like inside.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I finally decided to take a boat out to Stack Rock Fort. So in 2009, my brother and I set out on an adventure and this is the story of that boat trip and what we discovered.

On a clear sunny day with deep blue skies, we prepared for our day at sea by packing corned beef sandwiches, a Roobol family favourite, testing the outboard motor and preparing our life jackets. Unfortunately for me, my life jacket felt a couple of sizes too small, but in the case of an emergency, it would’ve done it’s job to keep me comfortably afloat.

We lifted the mirror dingy up and walked it down to the beach from The Anchorage, about 25 metres away. At the time of launch, the sea tide was coming in and close to high tide. At this time, the crabbing bridge is under deep water and the boat could launch from the top of the beach. The sun reflected on the calm sea and we had perfect weather conditions for our boat trip.

I’d say the fort is about 3 miles away from Sandy Haven creek and this would be no trouble for our small outboard motor. The creek was sheltered and calm, as usual, and this made for a very pleasant start to our short voyage. Once we were out of the sheltered creek and at sea our boat wasn’t troubled by the small waves as we made quick progress towards Stack Rock Fort.

After taking turns steering our boat and enjoying the warm weather and views of the land from sea, we eventually got to Stack Rock Fort. The fort was very impressive and had been built on rock that jutted out of the sea. My first impression was how well preserved it looked from sea, for a solid building that had been built in the 1800′s.

We spotted a place to dock the boat with steps up to the main fort. Carefully, we moored our boat and made it up the steps that had been decayed by the sea, also shown in the pictures below. With our boat tied up and us reasonably confident that it wouldn’t be smashed up by the sea waves against the sea fort, we took a look around.

As you can see from the pictures, the entrance to the centre of the fort is blocked off to the general public, however the views and large area outside the fort made for some good exploring. Up close, whilst some areas of the fort had decayed, the overall impression it left on me was that this was a solid construction and a very impressive building. After some exploring, we got back into our boat and took it around to the back of the fort where we moored again. Here, the rocks extended behind the fort and it was in the warm sun. This was the perfect spot to enjoy our corned beef sandwiches, surrounded by fantastic views and sunlight sparkling on the sea. Pete decided to put on his diving suit and went diving around the fort. At this time, it was slack tide, when the tide had reached its highest level and the currents had temporarily stopped allowing for safe exploration. I just enjoyed the sun, views and corned beef sandwiches.

When we left Stack Rock Fort, we took the boat back and Pete took another dive off the boat near the coastline and I enjoyed some paddling around.

When we got back, we had lots of good stories and pictures to share, some of which I’ve included in this post. As a child, Stack Rock Fort captured my imagination and it did so again as an adult, leading me on to subsequently taking a boat out and writing this story, I have only fond memories of this impressive offshore fort.

Matt Roobol

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