On the 18th and 19th of January six Nomads led by Matt traveled to Builth Wells to brave freezing conditions and paddle the middle Wye with good water levels. Matt arrived friday afternoon to inspect the river in the light, being joined by three more at the B&B that evening and two the following morning at Builth car park.
Levels were high but not spate, 2.05m on the Erwood gauge which promised good paddling but fewer features, unfortunately for Tony on his first proper river trip and needing a few eddies to practice breaking into and out of. Instead he got plenty of practice with big waves.
The killer wave 100 yards down from Builth bridge was miraculously avoided by all and we enjoyed playing in and surfing the many rapids, more wave trains than anything else, down to the lunch stop by Erwood Bridge.
The sun had come out and it was pleasantly over five degrees as we ate our lunch, chatted and prepared ourselves for the ‘Hell Hole’ soon to come.
Inspection was the better part of valour with the river high and we stopped on the right to survey the rapid before most of us chose to run the left hand side, while a couple of us portaged.
After the Hell Hole the rest of the paddle was straightforward apart from Tony, who’d got down all the bigger rapids just fine, hitting a hidden rock near the end breaking his so far record novice run. The rest of us, who’d of course never done that ourselves, suitably chastised him.
We got back to the B&B in unusually good shape due to the fast flow and, once Charlotte had headed home, went into Builth to eat in the excellent Cosy Corner restaurant.
Sunday morning was even colder with 2 degrees of frost as we headed up to Newbridge for the shorter but still extremely beautiful run down Builth. Martin was the only one of us up for Builth Rocks rapids as the rest of us didn’t want to get wet.
A very enjoyable weekend. Thanks to everyone for making it so much fun and congratulations to Tony for surviving his first white water trip so unscathed.
Matt, trip leader