Before starting, I would like to clarify something: it is not a typo – Wye is the name of the river.
Now that we have that out of the way – last year somewhere in the middle of the (short UK) summer we started our first course of kayaking here in London with Phoenix Canoe Club along with Cristi’s cousin, Gabriel. After passing the one star course, we decided to sign up for the second level as well since we really enjoyed it and the guys from the kayaking club are really great. One of the weekends, a camping and kayaking trip was organized by the club members to Wales and we decided to join them.
And so, on an autumn Friday evening, we set out westwards. The trip to the Biblins campsite took a bit more than we expected since one of the routes was closed down. By the time we reached the campsite most tents were already up. Luckily, ours is quite quick to set up, so we didn’t waste time and went to sleep.
Next morning we had quite good weather for an October day. Sun was shining, birds were singing – everything that you expect from an outdoor setting. After breakfast we set out for the river, with the entry point being near a parking lot. As we started to paddle downstream, we passed by some nice cottages on the riverside but soon we were surrounded by nature alone and the scenery was changing at each bend. At one point we were surrounded by forest on both sides, looming over the paddlers under them, the next we were in an open field soaking up the autumn sun. We even passed under one of those old stone bridges. For lunch we stopped on a rocky shore near a field before continuing onwards. The river was quite calm which made kayaking on it quite a pleasure.
We encountered some small sections of rapids as well but nothing too frightening – until we reached Symonds Yat. This is a rapids section where, unfortunately for us there was a competition when we got there. For some reason they did not let us descend on the rapids, so we had to wait. Although we weren’t cold while we were paddling, the cold started to creep up on us while waiting and the rain didn’t helped either. After what seemed to be more than an hour we were given green light on descending the rapids. It seemed pretty scary at first but there was no other way, so one by one we paddled through. While staying focused and trying not to capsize, I forgot to look up as well. Good thing I had my helmet on – halfway through, one of the hanging poles used for gates in the kayaking competition managed to swing and smack me right in the head. I was knocked a bit off balance but managed to maintain position and reach the bottom safely.
After the rapids there was another short, calm paddle back to the campsite. We took a hot shower, changed back to dry clothes and we had dinner after which we went to the closest pub – The Saracens Head Inn which is really cozy and welcoming, sitting right on the riverside. After a pint we headed back to the campsite, tired and looking forward to the following day. Next day we woke up to the sound of rain on our tent. Outside it was cloudy and rainy – a bit demotivating, especially when it means getting back into the cold and wet gear from the previous day. We decided to join the others a bit later on – joke was on us, due to a misunderstanding we thought there is going to be another session during mid-day, which was not the case. After lunch we packed up our tents and helped loading the kayaks onto the trailers.
We left a bit earlier and stopped by Bath where we only got the chance to walk around the city a bit but we decided that we will return another time to visit more of it, especially the roman baths which were closed.
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