Symonds Yat Videos

A bit late, but I uploaded a couple of video clips from a recent club trip to YouTube, which you can see on our channel, or just watch here:

Getting in. Hilarity ensued as Nick’s dodgy helmet (attached to the front of his boat, rather than his head) appeared to disintegrate on impact. Even the fisherman thanked him for the laughs:

We then paddled upstream to the large rock, where a few of us enjoyed the initially daunting seal-launch. After his early doubts, Aaron enjoyed the experience so much he repeated it. As usual, Mike was left with the tricky problem of getting into his boat and launching without anyone holding onto the back of his boat to stop it sliding too early. To everyone’s disappointment, this didn’t go wrong:



Ironbridge Trip Video

I’m finally uploaded some video from this trip from Ironbridge to Bridgnorth, which we did back in April. It was a pleasant and mostly sunny float down the River Severn, which was flowing more rapidly than anyone expected, making the 8 miles quite an easy paddle:


Andy and Garry’s Charity Paddle. 50 miles in two days.

Hi Guys and Gals

We arrived at Hawkesbury junction, where the coventry and oxford canals meet, on a somewhat cool drizzley saturday morning at about 7.15am.

In front of us, a 25 mile paddle down the coventry and ashby canal to snarestone, an overnight stop at the globe inn, and return the following day.

The intrepid duo set for the off.

Leaving passed the moored boats on the coventry canal

Its about 3 miles to the ashby canal, passing charity dock on the way

passing through typically english countryside

About midway, we stopped for a bite to eat, a bit of the pasta and chilli me thinks…

passing close to market bosworth, we could hear the steam trains running on the battlefield line as they pass close to the canal, some nice properties canal side too

and then about 4.30 pm we arrived at the finish point, snarestone tunnel. You can see from the photo this tunnel has a slight bend to it.

loading the canoe up on the trolley

and pulling it up the towpath to the campsite behind the pub.

we set up camp and got some food on the go

and then made use of the bbq/firebox and it was a cold evening.

And then……well we were at a pub, and we had built up a thirst, and well it would be rude not to quench our thirst, and well the football was on, and well it was a cold night and the pub was nice and warm…………..mmmmmmm marstons pedigree………

A breakfast of bacon rolls, sausage and beans and we were ready for the return leg

more of the same really….

our starting point

an old bridge from the now disused railway

another nice stopping point

and before we knew it, the end of the ashby canal was in sight

and 3 miles later, the end was in sight

hawkesbury at last

50 miles in 2 days on the canal system, through some very typical british countryside, with a great paddling partner, over a cold weekend.

Happy paddling


New Year Trips

The first trip of the New Year was a not too difficult paddle on the Severn from Newtown (Powys) to Abermule – around 5 miles with one portage around a lethal looking weir but generally- Grade 1-11 with some flat. The river was suitably high and Andy took his Canoe onto moving water for the first time. One lesson – always bring some spare kit, which we did! You don’t get far without a deck on moving water.

Our next outing was to the Dee. Not the classic Town Falls and Serpents Tail but a more modest venture from Llangollen to Ty Mawr Country Park. Starting below the Town Falls, going through Trevor Rocks, a relatively easy grade III, we paddled under the impressive aquaduct. It was cold, very cold and we appreciated the sun. Less important things were left behind today, just a coat. It was a long walk out and up from the river. See Nigel’s Post for more info.

Is It Flashing?

… was what I kept asking people about the strange object attached to my helmet.

That’s because Sunday’s trip to the Dee below Llangollen (Matlock was cancelled due to a fishing competition) also marked the début river trip for the new club camera, a GoPro HD Hero 2, and I needed constant reassurance that it was working! Worried about the adhesive pad on my helmet coming adrift, I had stuck a bright orange “floaty back” to the case, and improvised a leash out of an old pull cord. Belt and braces. As it turns out, it was fine, and the water wasn’t fierce enough to provoke one of my periodic inspections of the river bed with my head. Although it would have given an interesting new perspective.

Paddlers for the day were myself, Nigel W, Jo, Tim, Nick, Adam and Aaron. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, but it was rather cold! Fortunately, everyone had brought pogies apart from Nick, who wished he had. At some point (honestly!) I will get round to editing down the 90 minutes of video (I wanted to see how long the battery would last) to something worth watching, but in the meantime I’ve grabbed a few frames to give a flavour of the trip – these are in the photo gallery. Here’s a selection:

Avon paddle from Barford to Stratford-upon-Avon

Glorious sunny weather joined Andy and me as we set off on what was to be a wonderful paddle down the river Avon from Barford to Stratford –upon-Avon on Thursday 21st April.

We set out from Barford Bridge early in the morning and quickly noted how shallow the river was in parts which created some fast currents, especially at the put in.

As we travelled along down to the first weir, Hampton Lucy, we were met by a farmer (with a shot gun) and his two dogs. Suffice to say he was a very genial chap who commented on what a nice day it was for canoeing. We made for a speedy paddle once out of sight once we’d left him behind!

The weir at Hampton Lucy provided no difficulties for us and we easily managed to drag the canoe out and put it back in the river on the other side.

As we paddled steadily down the Avon we were accompanied by what seemed to be a myriad of swans, every time we appeared to leave one or two behind we bumped into another group.

We quickly came upon Charlecote Park, who we had emailed prior to the trip to seek permission to paddle through ‘their’ section of river but to which we had not yet received a response so we therefore carried on with the knowledge that the National Trust were positive about canoeing (or so states their guiding principles on their website) and with some careful navigating we cleared the deer booms without any problems and were then able to paddle past the stunning river side country estate that sits right on top of the river itself.

Other than the sound of water pumps draining water from the Avon to provide farmers with water for their crops we enjoyed absolute peace and quiet, and other than the farmer who we saw earlier our only onlookers were the local wildlife, sheep, swans, cows, swans, herons, swan…A quite remarkable achievement considering we were only a few miles from some major town centres.

Alveston weir provided a nice resting place where we enviously looked on at some of the country piles which back onto the river. I definitely need to play the lottery more often!

The remainder of the trip to Stratford was just as delightful as the uncharacteristic sunny weather began to heat up even more as the mid-day came upon us. Thanks to Andy for his company and the biscuits! The paddle was a good run-in for the Doggy Paddle which will soon be upon us.

PS: Charlecote Park replied to our email after our paddle to state that we could not access their section of the river due to the deer boom across the river? Ooops!

Gower / Stratford

Despite wild weather forecasts and torrential rain on the Friday, Mercia set up camp on the Gower peninsular and enjoyed some reasonable surf, good company and even some sun whilst the Midlands was drenched. A change from Croyde the beach was massive and quiet enough that you could find a spot to surf without fear of running over people. We even dragged Andy and a couple of mates out.

Late September and with summer setting in we paddled at Stratford in the sun. Bob led a group over the two weirs and we had plenty of beginners shooting their first weir, forwards and backwards. Marion also took to hugging a rock on the second weir.

Camping at Bala

The club camping trip to Bala was dented by the release on the Tryweryn being stopped on Saturday because there was too much rain about! We went to the seaside at Barmouth instead and climbed the hills at the back. This was followed by a paddle on a tidal river, see the pictures. The event tent was put to good use and Rachel refused to use the new club Karaoke machine. Sunday was wet in the morning and with the midges biting we paddled the lower section. Simon paddled well, with just one dip. More pictures are on the site (Well, they will be, once I’ve fixed the broken gallery – NJP!). Mike and Nigel also did the top section where despite 14 rafts it was otherwise surprisingly quiet.


Mid April, we headed of to Dolgellau in mid Wales. The accommodation was in the style of a stable block with the stalls fitted out with bunk beds. It was warm and comfy and did the job at a reasonable price. The single kitchen unit was overwhelmed by loud US forces on Friday night. Come Saturday they were all in bed for 9 p.m.! Nigel remembered the eggs this time and a full cooked breakfast with boiled eggs for lunch was a great start.

There was plenty of snow on the mountain tops to be seen the next morning but the day was fine with good views. A strong cold wind meant that gloves and hats were in order on the hills. Tanygrisiau was our starting point for a yomp up and down the hill tops. We were congratulating ourselves on reaching a minor summit when 90 fell runners careered over the top and down the other side in shorts and running shoes. They were taking part in the annual Molwyn race and we spent the next hour watching them go up and down the hills. Afterwards we located John Whitehead’s eco bed and breakfast place and enjoyed a tour and look at the solar tubes. John was a keen member of the club for a few years. The cake and tea was well received and we got to see the steam train.