Mid Wales Weekend 26th & 28th February 2016

Trip Report by Robin  Worthington; Photos by Phil Newson & Robin Worthington

We paddled the Wye, Newbridge to Builth-Wells on Saturday  – 7.5 miles

The Usk, Sennybridge to Aberbran, on the Sunday – 6miles

Our 8 paddlers were 4 in Opens and 4 in kayaks. Only 3 minor embarrassments – Robin coming a cropper just prior to “The Rocks” , successfully through on his second try, Phil taking a bath actually in “The Rocks”, both happening on the Saturday, and then Robin again falling foul of a section of bumpy rapids on the Usk on Sunday.

Gary was careful to avoid jarring his back during paddling, otherwise the whole team were successfully led through all the features encountered. Some of us took a little more time to consider, but encouraged by others, we braved it and were happy to do so. With lower water levels, the major drops were over three foot. Paddling through the many sections of rapids required technical skill, flair, balance and a keen eye. Lauren took her time, took stock then cruised effortlessly through.

Sam took every opportunity to demonstrate his ability with any sort of boat, piloting his open and a kayak through “The Rocks” (separately!). No rain, but as each day wore on, the wind became biting so lunch times were speedy affairs – just a quick bite, drink and onward.

Our reward after Saturday’s paddle was the Clarence Inn in Brecon – an establishment chosen by Gary for its steaks , and we firmly recommend. Most were too full to eat a Dessert – only Phil did the decent thing with Ginger sponge and custard.

Colin at Plas-y-Ffynnon B & B gave us a warm welcome, as did his 7 month puppy, and served up a series of tailored breakfasts. His drying room was appreciated.

Leader of the trip was the lovely Marion who gave expert advice when requested, and critical advice when necessary, all in her quiet, self-effacing manner.

Alan brought up the rear and was a great support. Both went out of their way to encourage and imbue a spirited team – it was great fun.

Phil, only the second time out in his open in white water, was looking increasingly competent by the end. Sam never took a swim but he came close!!!!

The rising star was Zainab who looked a natural from the start. She never looked like coming out, even when she lost the line at the final drop and landed in the full foam. The urgency of Marion’s “Paddle!” instruction was snappily followed.

Participants : canoeists : Marion, Alan, Sam & Phil

Kayakers : Gary, Lauren, Zainab & Robin

videoBy the way Gary took some lovely video – watch this space!