The February paddle was about 12 miles down the River Torridge from Beaford Bridge to Great Torrington. For February, the weather was very kind. Not too hot, dry-ish with just a couple of hail showers, but also some sun which made all the difference to the day.
The January paddle was c. 10 miles along the Kennet and Avon Canal from Dundas Aqueduct to Bradford on Avon return. It was not a warm day and high winds were forecast but it stopped raining as we were taking the boats off the cars and then it stayed dry all day. The strong wind didn’t appear until lunch time and when it did we were not affected too much because of the shelter from the mostly tree-lined route....
When the weekend finally arrived the numbers had dropped to four. We all met at the campsite in St. Petrox, a basic but well situated site for this weekend. Saturday morning came and we made our way down to Stackpole Quay, there is a handy National Trust car park here with a short walk to the water. Once all the boats were loaded, carried to the water, we set off in the flat calm of the harbour. From here we paddled west along the cliffs and across Barafundle Bay, one of the best beaches in West Wales. More cliffs and around Stackpole head going out to avoid the fishing lines. From here it is across Broad Haven another fine beach. There are some wonderfull rock formations along this coast, the water is clear and green.
As w head around St Govans head we meet the full impact of the gusty wind (F4), this together with the waves and current against us made for slow progress and we were lucky to make 2mph. As this is a very exposed section of coastine we knew that landing for lunch would be very difficult. We paddled untill noon when we turned around, this automatically doubled our speed.
Along this coast is St Govans chapel, which is built into a small crevice in the cliff. It is so difficult to see that Fran missed despite pointing it out.
Lunch was back at Broad Haven. This is a lovely sandy beach and was very sheltered today.
From here the trip back is flatter and an easy paddlle. We met some current by Stackpole Head so able to play on the waves.
Once back and all changed it was to the cafe for refreshments.
Trip 12.5 miles, average speed 3mph
Paddlers Ralph, Fran, Mike & Mark.
As the weather had taken a turn for the worse no paddling on the Sunday, but we did walk along the cliffs and down to the chapel. This area contains the MOD tank ranges so look out for the red flags and lights and do not touch strange objects on the beaches.
On 18 July I was able to do a trip I have wanted to do for years.
We started at the end of the Llangollen canal at Chain Bridge just west of LLangollen (parking and loos available) and paddled past LLangollen and Trevor.
Then came the scary bit - Pontcyslte Aqueduct (like a viaduct, but wet!). This was particularly scary for Rob soloing his open boat, as there was quite a strong gusting wind up there.
Soon after that we went through Whitehouse Tunnel (191 yards) and then Chirk Tunnel (459 yards) both with towpaths in them. To do these all you need is a whistle and a light each (headtorch is best).
We finished at Glendrid bridge between Chrk and Rhosweil where ther just happens to be a pub.
On a bright, warm sunny Sunday morning we meet at the slipway at Beachley. Whilst getting ready we had a nice chat with the local coastguard and I have some useful leaflets to do with safety at sea for anyone who is interesed. As arranged we set off bang on time 1000 and heading upstream passing the Hen & Chickens marker so the newbies on this trip can appreciate the speed of the water.
We paddled up on the left side of the estuary until aligned with Oldbury, from here we alter our course and head towards the west bank. Being a fine day there were a lot off other smallcraft - most heading for Lydney. Just before Berkeley power station we had a ten minute pause. Thanks to Margarita for the flapjacks.
From here we use the remnants of the flow and cross to Lydney, landing just upstream of the harbour. (1145)
At midday we start the return leg, sluggish to start with until the ebb flow gets going and as we neared the finish we are moving just over 9mph, very few of the sail boats caught us.
The final excitement to this trip is the Hen & Chickens which on the ebb produces some fun water. Margarita decided that this was the ideal spot for a swim. After I had her back in the boat we paddled to the slipway using the large eddy that forms. No chance of a play as the rest of the group were on the shore waiting. We were also bang on time 1330.
After changing and loading it was to the Old Ferry Inn for a deseved lunch.
Paddlers: Ralph, Phil, Giles, Margarita, Mark & Kevin
20.4 miles paddles, average speed 6.3mph top speed 11.9mph.