21 January 2007

I must be stupid!!!

Today I got a lift down to North Wales and the home of Canolfan Tryweryn to paddle the... wait for it... Tryweryn. Fancy that! Now I must be really stupid to go and paddle the Tryweryn, a place where you have to pay to get on the water, when there has been so much water put down recently. However, when reading the Internet regarding river levels all the grade 3/4 gems which I want to get out on seem to be running empty. So maybe the Tryweryn was the only option where you were guaranteed water with out having to drive around for two hours like last week.

Once we had arrived at the centre and paid our fees we got changed and sorted out the days plans. Some of the people that we had met up with had decided to stick to the top section and play on the features which have been developed here and the four remaining, me included, would blitz down the top section and then continue on downriver to do the lower section as well.

Getting on the river above the Chipper.

Looking up the Graveyard.

The start of the lower section could be said to begin just after the NRA Bridge and straight away you are into one of the two main drops on this section of the Tryweryn. The first of these is Chapel Falls, which I got out to inspect just to take a look at the line, whilst one other member ran it. I then provided rope support for the next paddler down. Unfortunately they didn't quite get their line and ended up having a bit of a surf in the hole. To give them credit they stuck it for quite a while and made an effort to fight their way out. I think I would have pulled my deck sooner than they did and started swimming like a carp. When they did swim however I had a rope straight to them and they were out of the water in seconds whilst the person who ran the drop first chased down the paddle which had floated off downstream. The boat obediently floated into the eddy where I was stood. Whilst we were recovering from this rescue the rest of the group came down the river and ran the falls with varying degrees of success.

A bit of carnage in Chapel Falls just after the swim.

I then stepped up to run the falls and took a similar line, but totally different to everyone else, to one I had taken on this rapid before. It was a nice line I thought with a fair bit of margin for error, however it took you straight into the eddy so it looked sweet when hit right. Luckily I hit it well, and with just one hard pull on the left blade I was out of the hole and sat comfortably in the eddy ready to paddle on downstream.

The river from then on in settles down a bit and is basically a grade 2/maybe pushing 3 bumble and considerably easier than the top section. With the recent wind however there was the odd tree in the river making the negotiation of some rapids a bit harder. Only one piece of wood in the river lead to a mandatory portage for the group, which isn't to bad. There probably was a sneak route on the left, but it just wasn't worth it.

The fallen tree in the river on the lower section.

The next notable fall on the lower section of the river is Bala Mill Falls. The group of four all got out here to have a quick look-see. Half of the group decided it would go whilst the remaining members decided to walk it. I was in the half that decided to run it therefore I deposited my camera so that a couple of shots could be got of the descent. Once the two members that were portaging had completed their portage the other group member and myself got back in our boats and headed off downstream, breaking out once before heading off down over the falls. I was the last to go so I did get to see the line taken by the other paddler, but basically it looked like any line would go as long as the bow was kept on the water.

Digging deep to escape the small tow back of Bala Mill Falls.

The river now flattens out and it is just a couple of hundred paddle strokes before we were at the car, packing up and heading back to the centre to see what the other paddlers were getting up to. We eventually managed to locate them at the NRA Wave, which has supposedly been improved and on this 16 cumec release it did look mightily impressive and the moves that were being landed looked good.

Going for the helix.

One handed blunt.

A shot I am proud of - an arc of water flies off the stern as the paddler pulls a blunt.

A paddler pulling a blunt.

All was left to do now was pay a visit to the cafe, then the chip shop and head for home with stories of the M6 being covered in snow.

More pictures can be found here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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