Rise of the Rain Kings
by Jon 'Spike' Green, Paddlesport Coach at Plas y Brenin
Sometimes it all just falls into place… A week of advanced WW needs two things – Water and a strong team!
This week we had both.
Ben, Ian, Keith and Mario (all the way over from Switzerland). Fit, keen and all paddling well and at a similar level, perfect!
As well as that, the forecast was wet all week – the mountaineering groups were not happy, but we were!
Day one – the usual shakedown day. Levels were low, but we found ourselves on the middle Conwy. No dramas, clean lines and lots of smiling. We had a little time on hand, so we headed back to PyB to have a look at forward paddling. An hour spent on the lake in sea kayaks always pays massive dividends when forward power is needed to drive your boat around on the river.
A quick pool session working on WW rolls finished off the day – if you don’t count my evening witterings to a tough crowd, as I recounted tales of boating in Kenya.
Day two. Rain overnight had worked it’s magic. Ogwen, Nant y Gwryd and a section of the Llugwy in the bag and in good style – what a treat!
Day three. More rain overnight… Great levels. After much thought I decided that I should persuade the team to ease off the difficulty (a bit!). Instead concentrate on ‘River Sense’. If we were to run some harder rivers later in the week, we needed to improve our on the water relationship, not by much! But every bit helps… Upper Conwy and Dwyfor are the ‘ticks’ for the day.
Day four. Dry today, but the Wnion is running – what a great river. Few upside down moments, and the steeper nature test the team a little more. We hope to run the Mynach next, but the river is dry. Instead we enjoy throwing ourselves off the top drop of the Gamlan.
Day five. Micheal Fish has let us down! He promised rain, but none came until too late. So we console ourselves with another (equally excellent) run down the Wnion – few more fluffed lines and upside down moments, the team are tiring! We eventually opt to head back north, to see if the promised rain has arrived. We notice that the Gamlan is rising, so we nip to see if the Mawddach is possible. Low, but the 3 Nasties section down to confluence drop should be ok. The tiredness tells and he who shall not be named and shamed takes a proper ‘shoeing’ in the middle ‘Nasty’. I pull the plug.
Great week of paddling. An average of two river sections a day and plenty of ‘classics’… Hope this team want to come back!