CSCC Reports 2004: River Wye, 18-19 September 2004

David Pite, Chris, Diane, Beth, Bridget, Dan Jones, Alex and Luis went to Symonds Yat on the River Wye for the weekend 18-19 September, with Matt Savage joining them for the first day only.

Saturday morning found the water level of the Wye up and the river fast-flowing, muddy and containing a moderate amount of tree debris. A visit on foot to Symonds Yat rapids confirmed that they were washed out and the white-water skills training which had been the object of the trip was not going to be an option. While debating what to do instead, the group walked up the steep path through the woods to the top of Symonds Yat to be rewarded with spectacular views of the Wye meandering through its valley below and, through a powerful telescope (courtesy of a friendly bird watcher), of a Peregrine Falcon on the rock bluff high above the river.

After suitable refreshments in the tea shop it was down the hill and back to the campsite at Symonds Yat West. A decision was made to do a flat water paddle from Kerne Bridge to the campsite in the afternoon, a distance of about 8 miles. The speed of the current made it quick and easy going. While pausing in an eddy we saw more birds of prey, this time soaring above us, which Matt identified as Red Kites. A pleasant evening followed in the local hotel where a wedding reception was in progress.

On Sunday morning we found that the river had only gone down a foot or so during the night and using the rapids for white-water practice was again not possible. Instead, after a prolonged breakfast and faff, the group paddled the six miles from the campsite to Monmouth, shooting the washed-out, but nevertheless fast-flowing and bouncy, rapids at Symonds Yat on the way.

Although the trip didn't achieve its main aim, everyone at least had a couple of very pleasant paddles through exquisitely beautiful scenery, nobody swam, the weather was kind, and everyone had a thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable weekend: so heartfelt thanks to Turtle for organising and leading the trip. Watch out for a Wye tour, possibly in Canadians, next Summer!

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All images ©2004 CSCC/Chris Stephens