On the 7th of September four Nomads and a friend met up at Symonds Yat west campsite for a weekend on the Wye led by Matt Greenshields and Nigel Atkinson. We got an early start and paddled off from Kern Bridge under a cloudy sky which brightened up as we paddled. This 9 mile section was a warm up for Symonds Yat rapids later, so we took things easily and enjoyed the fantastic scenery and wildlife including swans, a kingfisher and some curious cows.
On the way down Dan tried out break-outs and break-ins behind the fishermens’ groynes in preparation for the faster water to come and we all had a good time observing the comic paddling style of stag parties in rented canadian canoes. We made such good time we were past the campsite before looking for a lunch stop on a sandy bank in pleasant warming sunshine.
Suitably refreshed and possibly over exuberant, before reaching the rapid we passed the rock slide where Nigel deliberated for a whole minute before deciding he’d give it a go, accompanied by Richard.
Fifteen minutes later down at Symond’s Yat rapid proper we found the river empty or boats but flowing well, so after a quick briefing for the less experienced we headed on down aiming to make all the break outs. This proved to be no problem and after the initial surprise at the speed of the water David and Dan were soon enjoying their practice.
As well as giving instruction, Nigel meanwhile was showing us all how it should be done including backwards and upside down to impressed looks from another canoe club group who’d arrived to share the rapid.
Maybe just a little too keen to show tight he could make his break-outs on occasion!
After a couple of hours on the rapid our skills had been honed, but fatigue was starting to overtake them, so we paddled back up to the campsite to change for the car shuttle, for David to return unfortunately home and a quiet evening recuperating for the rest of us.
Nigel and Richard did take the opportunity to climb up from the Saracen’s Head where they were staying to Yat Rock though to look down on where we’d been paddling earlier in the day.
Next morning the remaining four paddlers awoke to a misty but stunning day on the Wye and decided to drive a hour up to Hay on Wye and paddle a short section down from Glasbury.
We could all feel our previous days exercise and just enjoyed the fabulous scenery with views of Hay Bluff in the background with a little play at the end on Boatman’s weir for Dan to get a taste of surfing.
At three o’clock on Sunday afternoon and with a long drive home ahead of us we’d had enough, but had really enjoyed the varied weekend, particularly appreciating how underrated Symond’s Yat rapid may be for training. Thanks to everyone who came along for making it so enjoyable and to Nigel and Matt for the photos.
Matt, trips officer.