Wales 4 Star Open boating training 17+18 October 2009
Sarah, Dan and I went on 4* open boating training in Wales. This was run by Kayakojacko with coaching from Jacko, Hila and the others within the group - we were all coaches.
Saturday - Lake
After breakfast and a quick (but productive) visit to Paddleworks in Bala, we met everyone for coffee and introductions at the Lake Vyrnwy Visitor Centre.
Jacko had organised a camping spot by the lake, so we parked nearby and launched from there.
We spent the morning in a general paddle - with sessions of mutual analysis and coaching.
After a quick lunch we built rafts and sailed them...
That evening we set out in the dark for a night navigation exercise. Visibility was about the length of a canoe, so there was much calling of "Alpha Two?" just to be sure that we had not lost anybody.
Sunday - River
I was woken at a vile hour by a spam text message from my evil mobile phone company. Thankfully Dan and Sarah saved my life by providing me with porridge and coffee. Real filter coffee. After that I could appreciate the amazing views of the sun rising through the mist over the lake.
We packed up and then drove a short distance below the dam for the put-in.
On the way down, we tried out different leadership styles, some lining and some poling.
The river was a good mixture of scenic and rapids that kept you busy. There is a weir that we portaged around fairly easily (look out for a white house on river left) and some trees that needed care. Sadly, we met barbed wire strung across the river towards the end of the day.
The lake would make a fine venue for a club trip. There is a parking by the lake and a cafe nearby. It is also possible to hire canoes at the lake itself.
The river is grade 2 with bits of kind grade 3. We paddled about 8km. The weir is easy to portage. The river is a good to paddle, apart from a couple of trees and three sets of barbed wire across the river, so the leader does need to keep alert.
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianhiggs/sets/72157622635234138/ - Photos from Ian
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/twicezero/sets/72157622634952852/ - Photos from Dan
- http://www.paddleworks.co.uk/ - Paddleworks has a shop at Llangollen and at Bala
- http://www.waterscape.com/services-directory/4226/lake-vyrnwy-visitor-centre - Lake Vyrnwy Visitor Centre
- http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/l/lakevyrnwy/ - RSPB page about Lake Vyrnwy
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/mid/sites/reserves/pages/lake_vyrnwy.shtml - BBC page about the area
- http://www.vyrnwy.co.uk/html/bethania_adventure.html - canoe hire
- http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/nwales/vyrnwydam.htm - UKRG for the river Vyrnwy from below the dam