Waterless Wales

In the downstairs bathroom at Lledr House Hostel, where we stayed, was a quote “Life is not waiting for the storm to pass it is about dancing in the rain.” As a group we would have been happy with a storm of any kind as long as it contained rain and we would have been more than happy to dance and even paddle in the rain.

After a dry October there was little choice for paddling in the club trip to North Wales 4/5 November. Unfortunately there we no dam release in the area so on Saturday 5 November with very low scrappy bottom river levels the group split into two. Led by Phil Clayton a group of five went walking on the Welsh mountains and the remaining seven, led by Dutch, paddled along the Menai Straight where water levels was not a problem. Unfortunately the strong wind and unpredictable tides were.

The paddlers left from Plas Menai Outdoor Centre with the intention of paddling to the Menai Bridge. After 2 kilometres the wind and changing tide made it very difficult paddling in our river boats so a decision was made to return to the start and drive straight to the Menai Bridge where a very pleasant time was had paddling between the bridges and playing in the friendly waves and stoppers.

It was disappointing that there was no rivers to paddle but a good day was had by all regardless of the chosen activity. There were 12 in the group and we stayed overnight at the Lledr House Hostel, Pont-ypant, Dolwyddelan. This is a warm well equipped hostel which we would stay at again. The drying room does need improving but the large kitchen and dining area enabled us to enjoy eating our meals together and celebrate James Dunns 17 th birthday.

On Sunday the faithful River Dee enabled us to go for a paddle. The river level was low but all those who wanted to paddle did. It was great to welcome Andrius Sargautis on his first trip with the club. Unfortunately his time on the river was not long as a capsize at the Chainbridge Hotel meant a swim, broken paddle and strained shoulder and a return to the cars to get changed. It is great to hear that this experience has not discouraged Andrius who is looking forward to the next trip. The world and his wife was also paddling the river Dee that morning so there was plenty of opportunity to view students paddling and swimming on the serpents tail before we all got down safely. With advice from Martyn and Steve to those all those paddling we went down several times.

The Town Falls at Llangollen were tricky and technical and after much thought a line was decided upon which Tom and James chose to ignore. It was good to see James do a couple of rolls on the way down and Tom bounced his way down an awkward route. It was great to see a relieved Dutch under the bridge as the last time he came down the falls he capsized and dislocated his shoulder.

It was disappointing there was no dam releases or a choice of rivers to paddle but we had a great social time. On these trips usually someone will bring the evening meal and breakfast so we can all eat together and the shared cost of the food and hostel make it a great social inexpensive weekend away. If you would like to come to the planned trip in December or those planned in 2017 please contact Dutch Hollands, Mike Smith or Steve for more information.

Those on the trip were Tom Brooks, Dutch Hollands, Adrian Dunn James Dunn, Andrius Sargautis and Santa Sargautis, Sarah Davies, Steve Bantams, Phil Clayton, Scott May, Martyn Steele, Mike Smith.

Mike