White Water Trip – 25th February 2018
Just six of us for this club trip, mixed ability, and low river levels around the country, but also absolutely stunning weather for a winter’s day. The Dee was chosen – parking behind the Ponsonby Arms and using the canal to turn it into a loop, so no time wasted shuttling!
Some may argue that instead we waste time on the canal, but an opportunity to practice sustained forward paddling does us all good, while also providing a warm up, and time to start to feel comfortable in the boats again, for those who may have not been out for a while.
It’s great to see the infrastructure that has been put in now for kayaks, including the seal launch upstream of the Chain Bridge Hotel. Even more great to see Jamie not even hesitating to do it for the first time, and ace-ing it! It was a freezing day, and after hands had warmed up, we headed down the Chain bridge rapid, a nice one handed manoeuvre from Jamie, no mishaps, and then an opportunity for some moving water coaching, while Dave demonstrated what surfing was supposed to look like, and I demonstrated how to fail to get on a wave.
Serpents had no sting in its tail on this level, and we had a couple of runs, including paddling Sonia’s and Jamie’s boats down for them to give the boats a taste of the action of things to come in the future.
Some nice lines taken down the drops, and an unlucky swim just before lunch and a hot chocolate in doors.
The bottom wave provided sport for some, while others didn’t fancy the risk of head wetting and helmets freezing. And from then on, virgin Dee territory for Sonia and Jamie – knowing that Town Falls needed to be navigated. Tim led Jamie and Sonia picking their way down away from the main drop, leaving Gen and Dave to peer pressure me into running the drop, something myself and Gen have been chickening out of the last few times. Safely down and upright, with some dodgy lines (mine).
Jamie starting to beam ear to ear breathed a sigh of relief too soon, not realising there was still one drop to go before the car park and dry land – but ultimately navigated safely.
It’s all too easy to think ‘the Dee, again’ – but every time we do that trip, it’s a reminder of how lucky we are to have access to that river, comparatively on our doorstep. A great loop saving on shuttles, something to keep everyone entertained, and the opportunity to walk around, or take an easier route, around the bigger rapids. Great to see our newer paddlers developing, and the hard work and time on the water paying off!
Thanks to the team – for Tim and Gen for the leading and coaching, Dave for showing us how it should be done, Sonia for her focus throughout, and Jamie for not stopping smiling – the day after.
The CNCC Festive Paddling Weekend Extravaganza, Christmas 2017!
Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th December 2017
By Sonia Mackenzie.
It was a weekend to suit the tastes of everyone in the club: canoeing on Saturday and kayaking on Sunday and for those who liked to do both, the whole weekend.
On Saturday morning ten of us met at the Sun Inn at Trevor, just outside Llangollen in North Wales. Richard wasn’t feeling too good and so he kindly provided a shuttle service – thanks Rich. We started our trip by the Swing Bridge, just up from the Pontscysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal. Off we went, passing mored-up canal boats and being passed by the odd boat still running the canal. After a short while we reached the entrance to the Aqueduct itself. Our little flotilla of canoes grouped up and over the Aqueduct we went; paddling way above the Dee Valley along Thomas Telford’s engineering masterpiece with a panorama stretching out for miles. The views were fantastic! Stopping occasionally, we peered down to the River Dee some 38 m (126 ft) below and the venue for Sunday’s paddle.
At the marina, on the other side of the Aqueduct, Chris and his son joined us. We turned left and spent the rest of the trip on the canal heading back towards the Sun Inn. We paddled under bridges, along straight stretches and around bends, pulling over occassionally for the odd passing canal boat; it was a very nice paddle. The end of the trip (our get-out point) was opposite the Sun Inn and only a short walk from our 3 pm lunch which was delicious and very convivial.
Food consumed, people warmed and lots of fun had; it was then off home for a good night’s sleep ready for the next day’s paddling…
The White Water Kayaking Day
On Sunday morning we met at the Ty Mawr Country Park; we organised the shuttle and started in Llangollen just below Town Falls. With all the rain and snow over the previous few days the water level was up and the flow was faster than it had been on the last club trip here in May. For some of us this all looked a bit scary. Once we got going we were fine and enjoyed playing, practising ferry gliding, eddying and breaking into the flow. With the higher river level we didn’t have to worry about bumping into rocks too much and we could enjoy paddling along the river and enjoying the day. Every now and then the river became very wavy; the water splashed our faces and the boats bumped along at a slightly faster speed – great fun.
We stopped for lunch at at about 12.30 on a little island just below a small drop and wave. We stopped for about 15 mins and then got back on the river. Some of us played in the wave, enjoying the much faster flow. Further on downstream the rapids had some bigger waves and again we had a chance to play or just practise breaking-in on slightly faster water. Some of us breathed huge sighs of relief after getting through the bigger waves. We finished up just before the Cefn Mawr Viaduct back at the country park. We’d had a great fun-packed paddle and finished off with a drink in the White Horse at Overton.
We’d had a great weekend, lots of fun and the coaches had been great. They’d done a fantastic job organising things and had looked after all of us. Thanks to Rob for the canoeing day and Tim and Gen for the kayaking. Can’t wait until the next time!