CSCC Reports 2010: River Wye Touring Trip - 1st May 2010
Stephen organised a very enjoyable paddle down the River Wye on the early May bank holiday weekend. Eleanor, Leila, Stewart, Chris, Malcolm, Stewart's friend Dave and I joined him for the paddling and Marcia nobly volunteered to act as our 'shuttle bunny'.
The plan was to paddle in four Canadian canoes from Ross on Wye to Monmouth - a total distance of around 20 miles. We camped at Broom Farm, Peterstow (just to the west of Ross) on the Friday night. This was a fascinating place with orchards, rare breed pigs and alpacas. The farm owners were very friendly and helpful and sold us some excellent cider and cider cake. The equally welcoming proprietor of the local pub in Peterstow provided us with supper and we then hit the sack.
The shuttle on Saturday took longer than expected, because it involved a drive down a precipitously steep lane to the river which was only one vehicle wide. Chris' clutch was burning oil by the end of this. Stewart and Dave remained patient even though we did not get on the water at Ross on Saturday until about three hours later than they were used to. However, the flow on the river was so great that we made it to the end of our first day's paddle not long after lunch. The forecast rain had held off.
We pitched our tents in the grounds of the youth hostel at Welsh Bicknor (at the bottom of the steep hill mentioned earlier) and then went for a lengthy hike. After wandering through pleasant woodland, we crossed the river at Kerne bridge, stopping for refreshments and a rest at the pub there, before walking back along the east side of the river. This involved walking on the busy B4234, but we made it safely to a really excellent indian restaurant in a pub for our dinner. After sampling a bit more of the local produce we stumbled back in the dark along the river bank and crossed the footbridge to our campsite.
On the Sunday we paddled on towards Monmouth. This is particularly scenic stretch of river, because you pass through a gorge. I gave Eleanor some sound advice on good swimming technique just before we headed down Symonds Yat rapid and she quickly got an opportunity to put into practice what she had been taught after I failed to steer us past the rocks on the left hand side. It did at least give me an opportunity to test out the waterproofing on my new "adventure pants". Our get out at Monmouth was near a church on the outskirts of the town (just off the A40).
While half of us had to return to London on the Sunday evening the remainder went back to Broom Farm for another night. We then went for another hike on the Monday up to Symonds Yat. We chatted to the green woodworker working near the viewpoint before strolling around in the beautiful woodland.
Our thanks go to Stephen for organising such a varied and enjoyable long weekend.
Stewart's photos can be found at http://www.civilservicecanoeclub.org.uk/csccgallery/thumbnails.php?album=23