The Lukeys Welsh Marches Trip – 12th to14th July 2013

Alex and I decided we wanted to go on this trip at the start of the season. It was going to be our first overnight kayaking/canoeing trip. We decided to borrow a canoe from Halifax Canoe Club as Alex feels happier in a canoe.

This trip was going to be a twenty mile trip over two days, canoeing first down the River Vyrnwy on the Saturday and then down the River Severn on the Sunday.

As we are both members of the Club we decided it would be a great opportunity to give something back to the club in the form of Sponsorship.

We set about raising sponsors, begging and borrowing kit and ‘training’. (Thanks to Paul for fast track canoe training).

The day eventually arrived and for once the weather was on our side. The journey to Wales was hairy; hoping the massive canoe on the car roof would stay there.  We arrived late on the Friday night at Melverly, pitched camp and opened a cold beer.

Saturday morning came and we put in to the River Vyrnwy at 10.30 am. It took only 15 minutes for us to capsize!!! I waved goodbye to my beloved cap as I watched it float off down river thinking I’d never see it again. Lo and behold 10 minutes later it was found and returned.

Thanks to the wonderful weather we dried off quickly and my cap was needed to pour water over our heads as the trip progressed.

Not much to see on the way down stream, banks were steep with no shade from the blistering sun. Got a bit lost, when we went up an ox-bow lake, but sent Chris ahead to find out which way was right. One unusual sighting was a black and white cow taking a paddle amongst a bed of white flowers and a drink in our path. When we stopped for lunch, we were joined by two horses. In the background we kept hearing gunshot going off. Most of us thought it must be clay pigeon shooting, but only to be told it was to scare off the birds, I thought it was more likely to scare off kayakers!
We carried on paddling downstream until about 4pm when we reached our camp site. At 5pm we suddenly got a quick down pour of rain, which was much appreciated, it only lasted 10mins but cooled us down nicely. (Except Alex left my camping chair outside while I was in the shower!!!!)

For the majority, spirits were high that evening with beer and BBQ on offer, with everyone looking forward to the Sunday, despite back ache, leg ache and slight sun burn.
Sunday arrived and once again the weather was glorious.  After a fried breakfast we set off again about 10.30am.

The River Severn was more enjoyable as it was wider and more scenic.  Alex started getting bored, so Andrew Livingstone swapped over for a while (mid river), with Alex having a go in his kayak.  Secretly (or not because of the jeering and shouting) most people were hoping for someone to get wet! But alas we easily managed it.

When we stopped for lunch this time it was in a farmer’s field, in the distance we could see a herd of cows (40+), within 10 minutes the herd of cows had come over to see what we were doing, getting closer and braver, so time to head back down river.
The last leg of the tour was very tranquil and very good views, with not being able to see landmarks when in the river we asked a couple walking their dog “How far to Montford Bridge?” with the reply “3 Miles”. It seemed to flash by and before we knew it we had arrived at our destination.
We had a memorable time, raised £230 for the club and had a brilliant time, so much so we have recently done the River Esk trip (10 Miles) into Whitby Harbour (see video footage on youtube – River Esk Paddle 2013 ) and looking forward to a River Calder Trip soon…

Andy and Alex Luke