Wales 4 Star Open boating training 17+18 October 2009

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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.

The Tower

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.

Sailing our rafts

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.