The weekend began with a long, slow drive to the campsite with congestion almost the whole way. We were first to arrive followed a few hours later by the rest of the group. There was some confusion on whether we would be joined by some more paddlers but in the end we stayed as an eight.
After an early night to shelter from the rain, and a slow morning, as I am defiantly not a morning person, we were kitted up ready for the day ahead.
After putting in just below town falls, we all warmed up on a small shoot with a tricky little wave to try and surf before heading off downstream. The river was fast and shallow with plenty of things to avoid. In between these sections were more deep flat bits of river giving us the perfect opportunity to take in the Welsh landscape. It seemed like just as we got in it was time to get out again, and so we decided to do the middle section as well…
Now things were about to get a bit more exciting. The rapids were more rapid and the waves a lot bigger. We flew down the river until we got to a huge section of water called Serpent’s Tail. After surveying it from the bank we decided it would be too dangerous to paddle and so portaged it and got in just below. After more of the same we ended the paddle with a quick play in a very retentive stopper, which was next to impossible to get out of!
That evening we ate our dinner and started a nice little fire, proving the point that all kayakers are pyromaniacs. As the sun went down we sat around the fire and shared various stories, most of them about paddling. When the last block of wood was burnt out we agreed to hit the sack.
The next morning after Steve had cooked his full English breakfast on what was effectively a supped up Bunsen burner, we got ready to paddle and planned the logistics of shuttling the boats.
We decided to paddle the lower Tryweryn, however all agreed it would be good to see the infamous upper section. As we chased Steve down the river from the bank it’s safe to say we were all suitably impressed by his paddling. Once we had walked the upper section we reached our put in, where we were straight into the action just below Chapel Falls. The weather was beautiful and the sun beat down as we shot down the river dodging rocks and picking the best lines, perfect for us new to White Water Rivers. Towards the end of the day we came to a huge grade 3-4 section called Bala Mill Falls. Half of the group bypassed this section, floating there boats down the Mill Leat, and the other half braved the falls. After careful planning of the line from the bank we set off and all four of us made it down the falls with no tumbles, although I had a worrying false start, leaving me pinned on a rock just above the main drop. I made it back to the eddy to give myself the chance to try again. This time successfully! Then it was a short flat water paddle to the car at the finish.
It was home time now, and after a shower and dismantling the tents all we needed to do was say thank you to Steve for a fantastic weekend, and embark on the long journey home.