Wales this weekend and what a trip it was! I packed up the camper with my shiny new custom Pyranha Machno (Pink and green should always be seen!) and after a wild drive down to Llangollen, I parked up at Mile End Mill and was welcomed by Graeme and Bb with a nice cuppa (extra points for the hobnobs!) and excited chatter for the next couple days paddling! Throughout the night the rain and wind woke me up a few times but when I finally decided to emerge I was welcomed by hot coffee, friendly faces and a huge looking Dee! After about an hour of me running around speaking to everyone I’d been missing, we kitted up headed to the top of the Dee. It was an awesome run from below Horseshoe to Town Falls, some choice lines and some amazing ones. I wasn’t really looking to run Town Falls which felt like an intimidating level, before and after a wee swim on Serpents Tail! It’s important to note here, for myself, a swim is a swim at the end of the day and so long as you weren’t being extra stupid, you have my permission to get over it, get back in, and move on. New boats need some time to settle in sometimes and it’s important to me that I get back in my kayak unless absolutely necessary not to because this helps me recover best from a swim.
Thankfully I had a friend who gave me a little nudge and provided me and G with the small comfort of following him down the rapid, reaching the bottom full of joy! The paddle back up the canal for another run I was a little bit less enamoured with, but I did use the time to get a bit more comfortable in my Machno, aiming to keep the boat straight and putting out good strong strokes. On the second run down there were a bigger group of us and there was such a buzz in the air! Everyone was nailing their lines and trying new things and I got caught up in it all too, aiming for the biggest boof over waves and trying to catch and surf on huge waves!
After a better nights sleep and some great company on Saturday night, G and I met Nichole, Clive and Sam then headed to the Wnion! What a treat this was, a proper gorgeous run, gorgy, steep in places, drops a plenty and a load of fun! Nichole and Clive were awesome to lead G and I down the river and can’t wait to return the favour in Scotland some day! On that point, I realised something over the weekend….I’m always asking kayakers who live and boat in Wales if they have ever paddled Scotland and was always surprised when the majority haven’t been, however, I get it now! Wales has so many styles of river to offer, I wouldn’t bother travelling very far out of Wales either if I lived there!
Speaking of, I almost didn’t get away when my tyre blew and I was squirrelling all over the road before regaining control and coming to a thankful stop almost in the hedge! The guys in Ty Nant Garage who came to my rescue were amazing and I managed to drive onto the flatbed truck! My wee nephew is going to be stoked with this! So despite a few set backs, I’ve come home with a tired body yet a refreshed mind because we did some awesome boating and every damn time I looked up over the weekend, there were nothing but smiles and white water! Danger x
P.S I met a dog called Sam, who I now love and Nichole will need to keep an extra eye on me to not puppy-nap her in the future