Eight members of the club enjoyed a sunny canoe trip down the River Wye. Over 4 days we paddled roughly 20 miles a day to cover the stretch between Glasbury to Monmouth.
On the Friday evening Neil and Martin, Trevor and Christine, Richard and Judith and Graham and Ben met at the Boat Inn, Whitney-on-Wye and enjoyed a great meal in the pub. Overnight rain and a group of lads who arrived at 01:00 and drank and talked until 05:00 disturbed the first night. We met up with a Duke of Edinburgh Gold expedition group and their assessors from Ellesmere College who happened to be staying at the same campsites along the way.Day 1: Glasbury to Bycross Heavy rain had lifted the water levels so we were able to get on the river at Glasbury after shuttling the cars down to the next campsite at Bycross Farm. Many sand martins seen skimming the river and nesting in the river banks. The speed of the flow throughout the trip helped us cover the distance before mid-afternoon. We arrived at the campsite at Bycross Farm hoping to get a better night's sleep in the orchard. This time it was a far more civilised 40th birthday party singing songs around a campfire which lulled us to sleep!
Day 2: Bycross to Lucksall As the river was high and flowing both sides of the island, Monnington Falls, just below Bycross, was paddled with no problems. Early cloud cleared and the day was hot and humid. By the time we got to Hereford for lunch, a snooze and an ice-cream were necessary. We camped Sunday night at Lucksall luxury campsite and walked into Mordiford for a meal and an excellent pint at the Moon Inn.
Day 3: Lucksall to Ross-on-Wye Martin and Neil were having problems with leaks in the Coleman resulting in it being nicknamed 'the paddling pool'! Some tape on the keel reduced the problem for the rest of the trip. The higher water levels had encouraged a run of salmon up the river and from here we saw more and more fish jumping. The fishermen were generally hospitable as we tried to avoid their lines and seemed to be pulling out some good sized chub and barbel. We had to split up between two campsites near Ross-on-Wye as the White Lion did not have room for all of us. After some searching half of us stayed in the field behind the Bridge-at-Wilton. Having grown used to the peace of the river, Ross was relatively noisy with traffic on the A40 throughout the night.
Day 4: Ross-on-Wye to Monmouth The river became more dramatic as we paddled into the narrowing gorge. Talk of the rapids at Symonds Yat probably made them sound mountainous but with the river levels still 3 feet above recent levels the advice from a local guide was positive, just stay right and avoid a submerged rock on the left. After scoping out the aforementioned rock we all made it through with only the odd unintentional breakout into an eddy! Not bad for a bunch of sea kayakers! We got off the river just below the rowing club on river right in Monmouth and the drivers travelled back to Bycross by local bus and taxi to pick up the cars.
We camped that night at the Mono Bridge campsite and enjoyed dinner and a few beers at the Kings Head in Monmouth.
Everyone enjoyed the trip and thanks go to the organiser, Graham for a much sunnier and drier paddle than previously. More photos can be found on the club gallery site.
An edited video of everyone's clips of the rapids at Symonds Yat: