Archive for the ‘monmouth’ Tag

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

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

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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

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

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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.

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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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.

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Its a mightily impressive structure

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

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

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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 🙂

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

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

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Me? On a Bike? You must be joking!   9 comments

Most of my friends know that I’m not a huge fan of cycling. As a cheap means of transport when I was too poor to afford a car it did the job. As a means of outdoor fun it just never quite buried itself in my psyche like walking and the rest of my madcap outdoor pursuits. I do own a very dated mountain bike a very sad relic in an age of high-tech machines, but its a rare occasion when I take it out.

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This could be changing however after a rather splendid little jaunt a couple of weeks back which I have to admit I rather enjoyed. When we were walking at Symonds Yat at couple of months back I noticed lots of cyclists on the south side on what must be an old disused railway line along the course of the river Wye. Perfect for the kids I thought so we hoisted all the bikes down there and gave it a shot

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After a reluctant start from my youngest (trying to get past the crowds and the cars at Symonds Yat out her off a bit) and some lunch the kids really got into the swing of it and we picked up a decent pace all the way to Monmouth and back.

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Only about 10 miles in total but seeing as L in particular has never cycled more than up and down our cul-de-sac before I was quite pleased at how well she coped. The weather was kind and stayed dry so it was a very pleasant and very different day out from the usual walks. The Forest of Dean nearby has loads of old disused railway lines from the coal mining days now used as cycleways so hopefully we can get a few more trips in before winter.

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I actually quite like cycling – there, I said it. Just don’t expect any major cycling tours from me!

Video works better than photos so enjoy the little compilation with a tune to remind you that it’s still August and still technically summer…

Posted August 6, 2012 by surfnslide in Cycling, Family Trips

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