Teifi Tour

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Summer 07
Winter 07


This weekend I went on the Teifi Tour with Cheltenham Canoe Club, a bunch providing much entertainment over the last couple of years. For me a final chance to paddle before the ice closes in and makes a boat a bit pointless.

The Teifi Tour is held in Llandysul, with the club making use of the Llandysul Paddlers' execellent bunkhouse accomodation. TV, kitchen, sometimes a copy of Blue Juice, but most importantly it's right on the river for the first day of paddling and lets us laugh to our bellies at all the students camping in a giant muddy puddle. The levels were very high, so we did the usual first section and the section above it in record time. Mostly the river rushed down past pretty views and inquisitive cows, just in its banks. A good play wave formed a couple of miles before we reentered Llandysul (claiming a play roll from Neil).

The town section was only just working, with most features washed out into a long wobbly eddy line, with the water about a foot below the holes in the road bridge. Passage was filmed by Llandysul lot, so some of us might have been famous, had we wiped out trying to show off, rather then grinning and waving like maniacs.

Down from town the river placid drifts past more fields. The weir mid-way down was portaged as although it formed a very good play wave, you'd be playing there for quite some time until the levels fell back to normal.

Finally Hencllan Falls approached. We didn't bother to inspect, so caught the Swift Water Rescue unawares. As is often the way with feature rapids, the tricky bit was just before the main drop, with folding stoppers and a boiling lead in. No one swam here, but a few had to fight to stay upright, with Neil rolling once on his second trip down the rapid. The main drop got no one, but the takeout eddy was more violent than usual, so Steve had a little swim, and one or two people got out a bit further downstream than planned, with a fun walk back to the bus through a field full of brambles.

Overnight it rained and rained. Turning the megabash party into a small version of Glastonbury, but with a swimming pool instead of a dance tent. Half of the club displayed their unfashion sense and walked over with bin bags over their shoes. The party was a hoot, with kayaking challenges (we'd hoped to shark the canoe rolling by passing Chris off as a student, but the real students cheated by pushing off the bottom of the pool) and a not so bad band. A few of us had a frenzied dance, a few even had a little pole-dance, then we went to our warm, dry, not-fallen-down-or-sunk beds.

We woke to the smell of bacon and the rush of the river. Alas it had risen by another foot overnight leading the organisers to cancel the paddling for the day. Undaunted we ranged accross Wales searching for safe rivers. The Twyi offered promise, but the three section was washed out with a take out eddy too small for a diablo. We headed upriver for a look at the Llyn Brian slipway, impressed with its stunt potential but more impressed with the stopper of munching doom at the bottom. We concluded that there was too much water flowing to run it (saving us making the decision on the basis of our rational fears). The Twyi off we attempted to get to the Irfon, but couldn't reach the lower section as the upper section had turned a ford into a torrent.

Concluding that the River Gods give, as the River Gods take, we called it a day and headed back to Cheltenham. All in all an enjoyable weekend, but with less paddling than we'd hoped for.

In Cheltenham I had a final coffee with Leon, my housemate for the last three years, then rocked back to Reading.
prev: Cheltenhamnext: Oxford

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