Monday, 17 February 2014

Clywedog – Sunday 16th February 2014

A small but happy band of intrepid paddlers pitched up to take advantage of a glorious sunny day and the promise of excellent Welsh water levels.

 The Clywedog was much fancied and after trialling several phone numbers suggested on UK Rivers Guide a direct line to the dam’s control room was discovered, where a very amenable chap confirmed the river to be on ‘maximum release’ of 1000 mega litres. Much Googling of conversion tables failed to translate this into normal kayak speak but a dip into the Welsh Rivers Guide Book indicated ‘best levels’ at between 450 and 800 mega litres... pushy waters beckoned!!

After the obligatory coffee-stop at Maccie D’s in Newtown, all became clear on arrival at the get-in and inspection of the Grade 4 Bryn Tail Falls. Groups from Birmingham and Aberystwyth were also in attendance and this initial drop duly produced an entertaining half hour which included 2 swims and a boat pin, the latter giving opportunity for Rob to test his throw line on a live bait retrieval exercise.  

Suffice to say Zaf, Rob and I were persuaded that our discreet portage to the eddy below the falls was a good decision made, the added advantage being a perfect view of Bill and Chucky’s endeavours on the drop....  We weren’t disappointed as the pair put on an excellent show for our benefit, incorporating a river left rock boof (Bill) and a masterly roll (Chucky) all beautifully captured in Zaf’s excellent video!

The rest of the river was an absolute blast with the initial pushy Grade 3 rapid and fallen tree portage giving way to continuous Grade 2 and some nice features.

Wide smiles and dry hair at the get out testified to a cracking day’s paddling in fabulous conditions, rounded off with beer and red wine at the Kerry Lamb and Rob’s mathematics skills being sufficiently honed by the alcohol to calculate that a 1000 mega litre release equates to 16.6 cumecs...

Grateful thanks to Bill for stalwart leadership on a challenging river he’d never run before, and to Zaf, Rob and Chucky for their brilliant company.

More soon please!!


Technical Bits
Dam control room number: 01686413207
Shuttle: 5mins
No of rolls: 2
No of swims: 0
Portage: Tree down full width Just after the first bridge,
Sneaks: At least two more trees down blocking river but can be sneaked past at 0.77 level

Bryntail EA Gauge: at the Start 0.69 then increased to 0.77m at 11:45