On friday the 7th of September despite a forecast of rain seven nomads arrived at Symonds Yat West campsite. By saturday morning they’d found each other and Matt, the trip leader and were joined by two more before arriving at Kerne Bridge for the put in. The Wye was low but still flowing reasonably fast as we set off wondering if we’d be in for a miserable wet day, but apart from a couple of short spells of light drizzle the rain held off and we enjoyed passing through the stunning countryside with even sunshine at times. We made quick progress and soon passing last year’s lunch stop we pressed on under Fane’s direction to a beach he knew for a very agreeable picnic and canoeing chat.
The remaining section back to the campsite passed quickly and everyone except Dave who’d come down for the day continued on to the rapid for some whitewater skills practice. The very upper section of the Symonds Yat rapid was too shallow for ferry gliding practice with everyone getting fed up with hitting their paddles, but the lower sections were very enjoyable with everyone doing very well with their breakouts, breakins and ferry gliding and those who came on last year’s trip enjoying the large and satisfying improvement in their skills. What with the day’s 9 mile ‘warm up’ we were all tired enough after a couple of hours and paddled back upstream to the campsite, stopping only to find out who could get the most water up their nose coming down Wyedean Canoeing’s seal launch slide. The evening was spent in the local hotel crashing a wedding reception and making up for fluids lost during the day’s paddling.
On sunday morning, less Mike who had to get home and faced with the possibility of a paddle down to Monmouth which everyone agreed wasn’t all that interesting last year, we decided instead to drive an hour upstream and paddle from Glasbury down to Hay on Wye – another beautiful and wilder section with little in the way of rapids, except for Boatman’s weir, a natural weir were we stopped for lunch and Fane and Steve mastered the art of side surfing a stopper under Nigel’s expert tuition.
Thanks to everyone who came on the trip and to Britta for photos and videos. More photos of the rapids to follow.
Click on the links below to see the seal launch slide videos!
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