Trip Report - Easter Trip 2019

Tim, Steve, Dave, Ken, Ben, Clare and John (from Sudbury Canoe Club) spent this Easter paddling on the River Wye. Over the four days, the fleet maxed out at six boats on Saturday and Sunday (three kayaks and three open canoes), reducing to three on the Monday for the few who just couldn’t bear to leave without one last go on the water.

The group was based at the Pound at Whitney-on-Wye, which offers camping, caravanning and B+B all close to the Boat Inn pub and restaurant, with fine views over the river a perfect complement to the fine food. Our hosts Carol and Robert made us all very welcome. The Yakmobile van offered fine Nepali curries for those who wanted to eat by their tents. A great base for paddlers.

The weather was glorious, warm and sunny every day, making short work of the picturesque mists which wreath the river and valley at dawn. This was perfect canoeing weather, with the cags banished in favour of sun cream and sun hats. There was plenty of water in the river as we wound through the verdant countryside – so many different greens also suggesting that maybe the weather is not always quite so clement!

We started with the international leg of the paddle, at Glasbury in Wales, passing Hay and then returning to England to disembark at the base in Whitney. The three following legs were Whitney to Byecross Farm, Byecross Farm to Hereford and Hereford to Holme Lacy Bridge. In total, just over forty miles or about ten miles or so a day. All passed without any adverse incident, though the Monnington Falls rapids at Byecross Farm provided some amusement at the end of the second day. The rapids themselves were a bit of an anti-climax given their minor notoriety, but the portage back to the lift-out turned out to involve dragging your boat back walking in the river. A damp but refreshing end to a hot day.

Byecross Farm also provided the main entertainment of the trip at the start of day three, when a stag party demonstrated a range of novel embarkation techniques. Whilst on land, the waiting staff at the Indigo Red restaurant in Hay delivered entertainment and good food in a Faulty Towers parody of efficient service.

The paddling itself was fairly easy, with a good flow on the river taking us on swiftly with minimal effort, with leisurely picnic lunches lazing in the sun watching the other river traffic drift by. Much appreciated by the novice paddler. This also gave us plenty of time to enjoy the wildlife. No otters or kingfishers this time alas, but many buzzard, sand martin, grey heron, little egret, goosander, mandarin duck, wagtail and dipper alongside the usual suspects and a few jumping fish. We also saw some mating toads swimming in the river. Or maybe they were frogs, we lacked an expert on this question.

In summary, a marvellous and memorable trip in glorious weather. Many thanks from all the participants to Tim for his hard work organising and leading.

Ken


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