Personal Paddle on the River Dee

I managed to get out on the river again today with Chris Hughes today. We met at Llangollen to make a plan and, with the water level at 7.5 on the gauge at the Mile End site, we decided to do the run from Glyndyfrdwy back down to the Mill. Having spent most of the night listening to the rain hammering against the house, I was relieved that the rain had stopped as we got ourselves on the water.

Chris looking nervous going over Horseshoe Falls
Chris looking nervous going over Horseshoe Falls

With all the rain, certain sections were quite bouncy, and provided quite a lot of fun without causing any real problems. As we heard the roar of the water going over the Horseshoe Falls, I decided to get out to have a look. Chris and I had a good chat about appropriate options when leading groups, whilst munching on our sandwiches. There was a lot of tree debris hanging around, and one particular branch which I felt would be a major hazard for many groups. Chris reckoned I could sit my canoe in front of it to stop anyone else getting trapped. A little unconvinced, I announced that I’d give it a go before watching Chris head off to go over the main drop of the weir, where I’d have had little chance of helping him if he got into trouble. By the time he had second thoughts, he was committed but made it through unscathed. My descent of the ‘chicken shoot’ on river left went fine until that damned branch! The force of the water caught me and I was in in an instant.

Chris playing in the flow
Chris playing in the flow

With my boat freshly rinsed out, we headed on down passed the Chainbridge Hotel before getting out to have a look at Serpent’s Tail. The site of the standing wave made my decision easy – there was no way I was going to run that today. Chris had hoped to give it a go, but soon changed his mind and we both lifted the boats over the rocks on river left.

A little further down, I’d decided to get out and check a short shoot on the left. As I was standing up on solid ground I saw Chris about to go over a drop on river right. Typically, he caught a rock which knocked him off balance and in he went. With no real time to check the shoot, I just had to go for it. However, by the time I managed to get to Chris he’d got himself and his canoe into an eddie.

Getting out, we noted that the river level had risen quite considerably during the course of our paddle, and I’m sure it will have continued to rise – be warned.

If you’re interested in reading Chris’ side of the story, have a look his blog entry about our day out.

One thought on “Personal Paddle on the River Dee”

  1. I wasn’t nervous it just looked much bigger on the approach from the bank and the canoe needed a bit of reassurance – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Great day on the water mate and looking forward to the next one.

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