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Thread: Wye are we.... still.... waiting????

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    prestatyn,north wales
    Posts
    106

    Default Wye are we.... still.... waiting????

    (My apologies to the gang for the overlong delay in getting this blog onto the site. Partly due to a massive computer malfunction, difficulties in getting photos to load via Photobox, Flickr or any other method. A trip to Amsterdam (with SWMBO) and general lazinesss, its taken forever. Apologies also to Peter R and Mike your excellent piccies are unfortunately stilll somewhere in “the Cloud", despite my best efforts I have been unable to get any onto the blog”.)



    I pulled into the Hoarwithy campsite feeling pretty smug, I was at least half an hour early , and for me that's pretty good, especially on a bank holiday. I wasn't the first to arrive though , George complete with new Apache 12 and even newer hips and Mike R were already unloading boats and packing kit. Ace organiser Peter R rolled in just before the 1100hr deadline as I was starting to unload the old van, so there was only Mike and Maz to make up the numbers for this, the second leg of our River Wye odyssey which had begun last year at Glasbury and ended here at Hoarwithy.

    We were not going to get the river to ourselves, several touring groups were also packing tents and loading canoes and a boisterous group of scouts/guides were milling around preparing for a kayaking day. Great to see so many paddlers on the river, the weather was fine and I couldn't think of a better way to spend a bank holiday.

    We had hoped that Mike and Maz , ( the official photographer ) would be camped up and preparing bacon butties but apparently they had been lured away from the joys of camping by an old acquaintance to a night of revelry in Church Stretton. They duly arrived a little late and in fairly fine spirits. The team were reunited, belated New Years greetings exchanged and soon on the water heading for Ross on Wye.


    The Wye is a lovely river, and when the weather is fine is a joy to be on. We made a fine procession: Mike and Maz just about squeezing into their Prospector, piled high with Mikes' “essentials”, Peter R and Mike R. smoothly gliding along in their matching, hand crafted, super light weight, kevlar custom builds, George proud as a peacock in his gleaming new Apache 12 and me in my old Ontario, the only real (red) boat in the bunch.

    It was a short leisurely day,Hoarwithy to Ross-on-Wye, ht e day started fair but the clouds gathered as we glided gently amongst dozens of wild fowl with duckling, gosling and cygnets in abundance. A stop for lunch and a brew on a small guano covered beach , was accompanied by a short shower, typical British summer weather but it was insufficient to dampen our spirits.

    Approaching Ross on Wye in the early afternoon the impressive Royal Hotel and the spire of the church command the high ground and dominated the skyline. Maz , somewhat hopefully enquiring of Mike ,

    “ Is that where we're stopping tonight?”


    It transpired that the facilities at the Ross on Wye Rowing Club were far superior, well cheaper anyway , and for a true Yorkshireman ….......no argument. Here were a few other family groups, also touring on the river, and a stag party which luckily packed up and left before lights out.

    Peter was keen to erect his Tarp but there was a purpose built shelter which we decided was ideal for our kitchen. Showered and refreshed the early evening was rounded off with a stroll around Ross, stopping to sample the local cider and a fine meal on the terrace of the Royal Hotel with a back drop of the wonderful views back upstream and across the Wye valley to the North.

    Day two was a little more challenging , Peter had gone for a 22 mile day, aiming for the lovely little riverside village of Redbrook , a few miles past Monmouth. Of course before we could relax there was the fearsome Symonds Yat to negotiate, when I say fearsome it is a little tongue in cheek , whilst there are a few wavy bits and the obligatory slalom gates for the playboaters to show off their prowess. However with loaded boats and benign river levels , it was little more than a pleasant wave train which Maz took in her stride and actually seemed to enjoy.

    The river scenery was, as ever, delightful. We spotted a mink and quizzed George whenever we spotted a fowl we couldn't identify. I must remember to pack a Birds of Britain I-Spy book for the next trip.

    The geology changed dramatically from the previous day with impressive cliffs and large boulders strewn around the river in places. The weather keeping pace with the scenery, was changeable but never oppressive. Lunch was taken and passing day trippers enjoyed the 'white water' riffles, one pair unfortunately coming to grief under the trees. We valiantly set out to provide a hand, only to realise they had rescued themselves by the time we got there..... it's the thought that counts !


    Monmouth was accompanied by another shower, and the dull roar of traffic, we paddled on leaving the noise behind and arrived at Redwood, where we landed just downstream of the footbridge and small weir to search for the campsite which Peter had been informed was fine for a one night stop.

    Ever efficient Peter had found the lady who owned the field, and had confirmed she was happy for us to stay provided we made a donation to the village green fund.

    The only problem was that although the field looked great on Google Earth, it was somewhat overgrown, not being fully paid up members of the F**kawee tribe and having left our strimmers behind , we sought alternative campsites, helped by some information provided by a local dogwalker, who happened to be the Landlord of the local hostelry we returned with some difficulty to the footbridge and the village green.

    The green was perfect if a little exposed and having set up as unobtrusively as possible we headed to aforementioned hostelry for another fine meal . Peter was once again thwarted with his plan to erect his Tarp, on this occasion it was decided that we should not antagonise the locals by turning their well kept village green into a travellers encampment

    The notice board on Redwood village green informs the reader that back in Victorian times it was an incredibly busy and grim looking industrial centre with enormous viaducts carrying rail traffic and finished foundry goods , difficult to believe that its' is now a beautiful sleepy village.

    Another quiet night, Mikes' snoring was strangely subdued, and a breakfast of bacon butties and tea. The team were almost ready for the final leg of the trip to Chepstow. Peter had thoroughly researched the passage plan for the day, it entailed a trip downstream to Brockweir , where the tidal race meant we had to disembark, wait until half an hour after high water at Chepstow before we could regain the river and cruise down to Chepstow on the outgoing tide. There was a little confusion as to when high water at Chepstow actually occurred. Some websites suggested 1430, some 1230, we agreed on 1230ish.

    Brockweir is an old dock , being the highest point on the Wye that large vessels could reach in those surprisingly industrial days gone by. It is also obviously tidal. The thick silt covering the riverbanks and the vegetation, evidence of a tidal range in excess of 4 metres. We decide to moor up at the old dock and take tea in the village shop.


    The first to set foot on the shore, I soon realised that the mud was a little more than a thin veneer. Thank heavens for sandals. Safely landed and, despite the mud, fairly clean, we strolled up the steep hill to the village shop, which was only a mile or so, however cake and coffee followed...... along with a little foot washing in a conveniently placed rain barrel .

    The tide had definitely swept in as we discovered on our return to the tethered boats. Luckily my suggestion to moor them to the ring on the top of the dock and not to the mooring post lower down had been agreed by all. The lower steps were completely covered and the brown soupy river made seeing where one was placing ones feet quite difficult. Despite all our careful prodding and warnings Mike R managed to miss a step whilst boarding his craft and quite alarmingly ended up face down between the dock side and his canoe. Between George and myself and Mikes belt, he was unceremoniously hauled out and despite being a bit damp was none the worse for his 'dip'.


    Everyone else safely back aboard we set off for the last leg. The forecasted tidal flow was less helpful than we expected and with a bit of a headwind slowing progress we made our way along a rapidly widening river. Peters plans had taken into account the fact that one has to exit the river at Chepstow via the sailing club floating pontoon , this dries out about 3 hours after high tide and if missed means either a long wait in midstream , a muddy crawl or a trip down to Beachley Point and a possible tour of the Bristol Channel. No time for a leisurely poodle then !!


    The river finally sweeps into Chepstow via a long left-hand bend and the Castle on the forbidding cliffs is a wonderful sight from the river. Larger than expected, the ramparts stretch along the riverside for what seems like a mile before the fine white arch of the Chepstow bridge is reached.


    With no time to loose we headed for the pontoon, already it was grounded on the seriously steep mud banks, and surprisingly there is little room for Canadian open boats on its narrow deck. Despite the steep angle we succeeded in landing craft, kit and personnel safely. there remained only the small matter of negotiating the steep gangway, carrying canoes and kit .


    Luckily the gangway terminated at a decent pub, so whilst Peter was busy rearranging our lift back to Hoarwithy, we enjoyed a drink to celebrate another fine trip. All that was left was to collect vehicles load up and return whence we had come.


    A wonderful 3 day trip on a lovely river ,with great company. Looking forward to the next big outing, which will be to the Royal Dee in September . Bring it on !!!






    POSTSCRIPT: Our thoughts and condolences go out to the lady who was originally our intended shuttle back to Hoarwithy, (so sorry we don't have your name,) we later discovered her son had been hospitalised and tragically passed away.
    The answer is blowin' in the wind......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    19,744

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    Sounds like a wonderful trip. Hopefully we'll get the pictures sorted at some point.

    Guess I ought to bite the bullet and get the tidal bit done sometime.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Nr Hampton Court, West London
    Posts
    2,609

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    Mal...I have the same wish. We might hatch a plan

    Impcanoe

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Peak District
    Posts
    346

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    Well done for the text Smudger - pity about the pictures!!!! Why don't you send them all to me on disc and I'll have a go at it using FlickR - I've just registered and will follow Mal's instructions!
    Peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    prestatyn,north wales
    Posts
    106

    Default

    Undone by technology again.. send a text with your address peter and it'll be in the post tomorrow. you can give me a tutorial on the Dee... cheers
    The answer is blowin' in the wind......

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