River ConwyThe last 3 months have been an absolute blast in terms of trips that have been planned via the clubs trips email list and some last minute trips. It all started with some rain in early November with me and Sarah driving up the M6 to find some water and resulted with the two of us on the Conwy a great little Grade 2/3 river in North Wales. We had a group coming up on the Sunday but we decided a quick run on the Saturday was in order then found a bunkhouse to stay in ready for another fantastic trip on the Sunday with 6 people.

2 weeks later were on the M6 again this time heading towards the Lake district with a trip organised by Dutch and advertised via the trips list again. We had two days of fun on brilliant grade 2/3 water. Its this sort of grade that I love to lead down and Sarah and the rest of the group really enjoy, it was perfect white water with a few exciting rapids and one grade 4 feature (water fall) Triple step on the Dart Loopthat made the trip worth while.

The following week we were visiting family down south so as always put the boats on the roof just in case. We managed a day on the Dart loop, this was the first time Sarah had done this river and it’s a classic in all books and a tick that Sarah was kThe get on for the Clywedogeen to get in the ever growing list of rivers she wants to paddle. Early December arrives Christmas shopping is in full swing for everyone except me as my car is taking us back up the M6 (im sure it could do it on its own by now) for another weekend in North wales. This was another trip organised by Dutch and found us doing a 2 quick runs of the Conwy with Sarah having a swim at the top of one rapid resulting in a interesting rescue all of which is good practice for me. After a full team fry up on the Sunday morning and referring to the oracle of where to paddle (Sarah) we were off in search of a new river called the Cierw. We have driven over it many times but never paddled it, after getting start of the gorge section of the Wnionin just below the Grade 5 section we were off on a fantastic spate run of a new river. This really tests the river leading skills as no one knows what’s round the next bend.

After much merriment at Christmas and now everyone is keen to try out their new paddling equipment that Santa had brought we were off to find a river in Mid wales called the Clywedog, this river is dam released and after getting to the bottom of the dam to find it releasing we got changed, boats off etc, just as we were about to get on a man in a van turned up and promptly turned the dam off spoiling all of our fun and the 3 hr drive in -3deg frost we had just endured. Cue a backup plan of the upper Severn which again was a new river to us all coming in at grade 2 with a grade 3 rapid, this turned out to be an excellent backup plan and a river you really wouldn’t do as you would normally do other rivers if in the area.

A rapid on the River Wnion After all the New years eve celebrations finished I found my self being invited to North wales for a few day trips to have some fun on rivers that are a level that test my skills and I find most enjoyable. I was again on the M6 on my way up to north wales at 6am on the hunt for the rest of my group I was meeting up with. We ended up deciding the Wnion was the best idea which is a grade 3 with a grade 4 gorge. This sort of water is where I have the most fun especially the gorFalls on the Mawdach while paddling the Edenge section and spending more time than anticipated in a stopper halfway down.

The following weekend again im off to North wales leaving Sarah at home, as I look back over my shoulder while tying the boat on the look im getting is like im leaving for a year, luckily she knows im off to paddle big water and this day was no exception we met up in Llangollen with the rest of the group and headed over to the west of wales to paddle the Eden. A great little Grade 3 / 4 the first half was constant grade 3 followed by the joining of another river, a quick jaunt upstream so the rest of the group can blast off a waterfall followed by another mile of almost constant grade 4 rapids.

In order to allow Sarah to get some more paddling in as her kit had plenty of time to thoroughly dry out which is unusual, we were off up to the top of England with snow River conwyforecast on another trip organised by Dutch were off and arriving in heavy snow. Moring arrives and were pushifirst rapid on the Cierwng the cars out up the hill wondering why we do such a cold sport. We were driving / sliding our way over to the Greta which is a brilliant grade 2 river with some small grade 3 features smiles all round after a great little river some of us were off back to the top to do the river again but this time at full speed the result being we did the whole river in 40 mins arriving just as it was beginning to get a little dark. The Sunday found us on the river Tyne, this would be an ideal river for beginner’s as it was mostly flat with a few grade 2 rapids and one small section that could reach grade 3 but mainly bouncy all the way down.

So far this year we have been all over the place, seen some stunning scenery and I know people are looking forward to the Usk trip at the end of February and hopefully some others including flat water trip at the end of January. Most write-ups are published on the website and I try (battery’s permitting) to publish my videos of the rivers on my YouTube channel (Just search for my name)

Happy paddling

Steven Battams