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Friday, 28 November 2014

And a bit wetter still...

The season of guinea pigging and generally trying to paddle as much as possible continues!

A first ever session paddling on the artificial course at Cardiff International White Water Centre found me fighting to hit eddies in the fast flow and finding little respite in those I managed to make it into. Unlike most of the rivers I have paddled, the whitewater course has fast recirculating eddies, meaning that when I paddled out of the flow, there was no real rest to be found. With vicious swirling boils to be found on each eddy line as well, I rolled and swam my way down the course.

The final indignity came on only my third run around the course, when I capsized, rolled back up again and promptly capsized again, with the concrete bottom of the course smashing into my paddle, which in turn smacked into my nose. A runny nosebleed and a bit of TLC from the centre staff later, and I was on my way home, chastened but determined to return and get to grips with the CIWW course.

A few days later, my much anticipated 4 star kayak training failed to materialise, due to an unforseen 2AM detour to west Gloucestershire, but that's another story...

I made day 2 of the training, and had a great day on the River Usk, with top-notch coaching from Paul Marshall of Inspire 2 Adventure. We ran the Talybont to Llangynidr section of the river, including the grade 3 Mill Falls rapid, a first for me, so I can't wait for the next course in January.

The latest bit of paddling was back up to North Wales, guinea pigging with Getafix again on a 4 star open canoe assessment.

A perfectly still first day on the Dovey Estuary gave me and Laura a fantastic introduction to open water canoeing, with wide-ranging vistas across the river in the early winter sunshine. The second day was on the River Dee, with eerie mist shrouding the riverbanks as we got on and bitterly cold weather prevailing for most of the day. The Dee had an entirely different personality to the last time we paddled it, with higher water leaving the Serpent's Tail almost washed out. The run from Horseshoe Falls to Llangollen seemed to take no time at all in the faster water, and it was soon time to bid farewell to North Wales again. For now.

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