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08/07/2013

Messing about on the River Wye

Messing about on the River Wye

We had the active family Bartolini, Mum Claire, Dad Marco, & 8 year old twins Alina & Sophia, staying this weekend to provide an insight into family adventures in the Brecon Beacons.  The big success was our morning paddling the River Wye from Glasbury to Hay. After a lovely coffee & juice at the adjoining River Cafe, the helpful guys at Wye Valley Canoes www.wyevalleycanoes.co.uk  kitted us out with a kayak & a canoe, lifejackets, maps, safety briefing & most importantly a big waterproof barrel for our snacks !  After being launched (ahem) we perfected our technique around Glasbury bridge before heading downstream.  Claire & I took the open canoe with Alina & Marco & Sophia went with the double kayak.  Our wildlife spotting started as soon as we left Glasbury – the steep sandy banks where home to hundreds of Sandmartins – a Sandmartin luxury hotel was the description Sophia gave to it !

Our paddling was peaceful & the water slow & calm – well until the girls did a boat swap – it turns out Sophia took to kayaking like a duck to water & her ploy to get back into said kayak was to grumble about not being able to ‘do’ the single canoe paddle – thankfully Alina was happier with the canoe so peace soon resumed after we beached ourselves for a snack break !

The wildlife was amazing – the Sandmartins display definitely stole the show, but we saw wonderful Canadian Geese, colourful Damsel & Dragonflies,Goosanders, Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Black Headed Gulls, and of course Mallards & their young.  We saw a couple of graceful herons including one perched high in its tree nest.  The canoe girls are convinced we saw a stick being pulled upstream by something but the kayakers just laughed at us – maybe because they missed it ! We had fun with a waterproof camera but those pics only make sense to us...

Our briefing had included a guide the small set of rapids just before Hay – these are just at a shingly area known as Hay Beach, which was really busy with locals enjoying the sunshine – the rapids were great fun and we kept right as instructed & just let the water carry us along.  Our landing spot was just after Hay Road bridge and we managed to get our boats & ourselves out of the water without too much of a show !  We had been instructed to ring Wye Valley Canoes when we landed one of their super efficient chaps was there already so we loaded up the boats & whizzed back to Glasbury.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather & booking is advisable – Wye Valley Canoes can be contacted on 01497 847213, www.wyevalleycanoes.co.uk, - we were very impressed with the set up & organisation – everything worked smoothly & all the team were friendly & helpfully answered any questions we had & they were great with the children.  If you fancy a holiday cottage with use of its own lake with a kayak (in practise for your river trip of course) have a look at our Filly Farmhouse – idyllic www.breconcottages.com/fillyfarmhouse