Wales 4 Star Open boating training 17+18 October 2009

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Sarah, Dan and I went on 4* open boating training in Wales. This was run by Kayakojacko with coaching from Jacko, Hila and the others within the group - we were all coaches.

The Tower

Saturday - Lake

After breakfast and a quick (but productive) visit to Paddleworks in Bala, we met everyone for coffee and introductions at the Lake Vyrnwy Visitor Centre.

Jacko had organised a camping spot by the lake, so we parked nearby and launched from there.

We spent the morning in a general paddle - with sessions of mutual analysis and coaching.

Sailing our rafts

After a quick lunch we built rafts and sailed them...

That evening we set out in the dark for a night navigation exercise. Visibility was about the length of a canoe, so there was much calling of "Alpha Two?" just to be sure that we had not lost anybody.

Sunday - River

I was woken at a vile hour by a spam text message from my evil mobile phone company. Thankfully Dan and Sarah saved my life by providing me with porridge and coffee. Real filter coffee. After that I could appreciate the amazing views of the sun rising through the mist over the lake.

We packed up and then drove a short distance below the dam for the put-in.

On the way down, we tried out different leadership styles, some lining and some poling.

The river was a good mixture of scenic and rapids that kept you busy. There is a weir that we portaged around fairly easily (look out for a white house on river left) and some trees that needed care. Sadly, we met barbed wire strung across the river towards the end of the day.

Thoughts

The lake would make a fine venue for a club trip. There is a parking by the lake and a cafe nearby. It is also possible to hire canoes at the lake itself.

The river is grade 2 with bits of kind grade 3. We paddled about 8km. The weir is easy to portage. The river is a good to paddle, apart from a couple of trees and three sets of barbed wire across the river, so the leader does need to keep alert.

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