Back with a Splash   14 comments

The enforced break is over and I’m back in action. Knee op went well and after a couple of weeks R&R I’m starting to head outdoors once more. A bike ride around the Forest of Dean and a short walk with TJS on a gloomy Friday evening proved I’m fit and able.

Time for some outdoor fun but there is more to life than boots and bikes. A long standing plan to kayak the river Wye having done many trips on French rivers. Having two cars makes this much easier and the Wye is very much the local. A route from Kerne Bridge via Symonds Yat and Monmouth to Redbrook was the plan


Its a fine a leisurely way to spend a day. A little too leisurely as it turns out



We passed by Welsh Bicknor YH and I rekindled memories of a stay there in my teens for a school history trip. We had to walk over the bridge in the photo below with all our stuff including food (which from memory consisted of many tins of beans). I was surprised to see the bridge in a very dangerous state and clearly closed. Its a very long walk in to the hostel at the moment


A little further on near Yat Rock we pulled up for lunch (and a Funster snooze)


Back on the river it began to dawn on me that it was quite a long way between Kerne Bridge and Redbrook. A very long way.



I’ve become used to the relatively swift flow of rivers like the Tarn and the Dordogne in France. The Wye is like a lake in comparison so rather than letting the river do the work, we had to paddle pretty much the whole way



Past the tourist haven of Symonds Yat and a short portage around the rapids. We should have just gone down on the water as they aren’t especially tough – a good deal easier than dragging a 3 person kayak 300 yards over slippery rocks


Onwards through the Wye gorge and under the bouncy bridge at the Biblins campsite


Its a very pretty stretch and very quiet. By this time however we were all feeling that we’d had enough of the river!


The stretch to Monmouth seemed to take an eternity but at least the crowds had gathered to cheer us through – well they might have been there for the rowing regatta but I’ll take whatever I can get


I was excited to pass under the bridge at Monmouth – seeing as I drive over a couple of times most days on my way to and from work.



Its a mightily impressive structure


At last we were on the home straight (after an involuntary dip trying to push the kayak over a shallow section)


Finally the bridge at Redbrook came into view and we were done


The pub on the opposite bank looked mighty tempting for a beer until I realised it was after 6pm and we’d been paddling for over 6 hours! Time to go home for tea 🙂


A long day, probably too long – lesson learned – but great fun and a surprisingly tough workout that my arms are only just recovering from.

Wye Valley

Turns out it was almost 16 miles – hell of long way to paddle but easy on the knees at least


14 responses to “Back with a Splash

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  1. Leisurely? 16 miles in an inflatable canoe? Blimey, I’m looking forward to seeing what you do when you want a challenge!
    What a great comeback. Am feeling inspired and thinking about where we might do something similar this summer.


    • I suppose you have stretches of the Lune and the Ribble, maybe the Wyre and the Lancaster canal. There is the Eden and the Esk further north. All look possible on the map! Me and The Hairy Oatcake once paddled down Ullswater and then along the Eamont to Penrith. There were a couple of weirs but they were easy and it was a nice paddle I seem to recall
      Of course France is the home of wonderful rivers to kayak. If only you knew someone who’d been there and could show you where to go, say next summer….


  2. Glad to see you’re back in blogland! That looks like an epic paddle – but one I’d love to try.


    • Thanks Linda. It would have a lot easier if the river had more water and was flowing a little quicker but its a lovely route and very pleasurable to let the scenery drift by


  3. Fantastic news that all went well with your knee. Now back to the business of keeping your readers entertained!
    I loved this post on 2 accounts.
    1 – I have walked across the suspended bridge you photographed, back in 2010, whilst enjoying the beauty of Herefordshire. We crossed back to our car on the hand pulled ferry. You have a photo of the cable across the Wye.
    2. About 10 years ago we took our sons, 10 and 8, canoeing on the Brisbane River. The morning was exciting as the current was quite swift. After lunch, the wind and tide was against us. We were an hour late to our rendezvous point. The shoulders took a week to recover.

    Enjoy your summer adventures.


    • I had no idea you’d visited my home county – never ceases to amaze me what a small world we live in and how the wonderful world of blogs allows you to make these connections. The walk you mentioned is a wonderful local classic especially with the ferry (last time I tried it it was closed as the flow was too high). I really should have taken time to see Brisbane when we visted Queensland in 2014, I love river kayaking


  4. Your versatility shines through. How lovely to spend a day on the river Cost and age put canoes a bit beyond me. However, I still muse over the idea of a packraft. Well, you never never know!!


    Brenda-Dawn Linney
    • I’ve had a go most things outdoor related at some point – I was out kayak surfing yesterday in some appalling weather. You can hire canoes on the Wye and they take you to/from the start and pick up points with any distance to suit. Its a very relaxing way to spend a day (if you don’t attempt 16 miles!). Packrafting is also on my list, I’ve seen several interesting blog outings – one day! 🙂


  5. Good to see you back in the outdoors


  6. Love the water reflections!


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