Thursday, 14 October 2010

Four Star

So after one day at home it's back up to North Wales to help Rob Yates and Jon Cox deliver a 4 star canoe assessment.

Rob on the bottom wave at Mile End Mill

Day One, and we are on the Dee, it on about 4 on the guage - so plenty of water for what we want to do. After the warm up paddle up the canal we are on the Dee just below the Horsehoe Weir, and paddling to the first little leadership challenge - Chainbridge Rapid. It took a bit of deliberation but we are soon looking down towards the Serpent's Tail, at this level it's a bit sporty for canoes, and outside remit for 4 star, so we are off with portaging and lining.
We just had time at the end of the day for a spot of surfing fun in the bottom hole, in glorious sunshine.Next morning it's off to Llyn Tegid - Bala Lake, and the glorious weather from yesterday was decidedly absent! the mist was so thick we couldn't see the water, Rob and myself simultaniously said - "Navigation then!" The candidates looked slightly worried, but not as worried as I was, I'd heard the stories of Teggy - the Llyn Tegid Monster!!!!

No-one seemed in much of a rush to launch into the unknown -

I made sure I kept 'line of sight' that was about 50 feet!

"Teggy, Where are you????"
Eventually we found our way into the Upper Dee and began poling and tracking our way up, After a spot of lunch on the banks of the Dee we paddled back into the lake and witnessed a minor miracle, the sun was now out and the weather so glorious it was as though we had paddled to different country!There wasn't much wind for sailing canoes! - so we played with trim! Some of the group were so happy with the lovely weather that they dipped their feet in the lake, convinced that Teggy wouldn't come up now it was sunny.If you fancy paddling with me, drop me an email - I always find fantastic weather!
Not a bad job!

Welsh Canoe Symposium

Each year there is an open canoe symposium, it rotates on a three yearly cycle between England, Scotland and Wales - this year it was the turn of the Welsh. It's quite an honour to be asked to work at these events so I was happy to get an invite to coach at this one again this year. The Welsh event is traditionally held at the Urdd Centre Glanllyn on the banks of Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake). It's a fantastic venue for a great event, waterside facilities, close to the Tryweryn and other North Wales rivers. Accomodation is excellent as is the food, with camping close by for the hardy types! There are workshops over both days for all abilities and tastes and very entertaining talks in the evenings.

Glanllyn - My first workshop on Saturday morning was improvised sailing, using the wind to blow you along, using whatever bits of kit you happen to have to hand - all open boaters have a brollie about their person - don't they? Then we played around with cags on paddles, tarps on poles, survival bags etc - Then we played around with some slightly less 'improvised' sailing - not much room on that little 15 footer with the Jolly Roger flapping around!My second sessios was Deep water strokes which really was an excuse to take my Northern Sound Birch Abenaki out for some paddle waggling! - I found Alex out there with another one of Rob's Northern Sound Birch canoesThe next day I went for a more sporty day on the Lower tryweryn, unfortunately the camera battery was flat so no photos of that!