We met 6pm on Friday night to load up boats and kit. The party consisted of 5 coaches, Simon, Gwylim, Jen, Andy and Lizzy and 4 paddlers, George, Rich, Becks and Ishy. We scoffed down varations on the theme of fish(cake) or sausage and chips generously provided by Gwyl and the trip began in earnest. After a minor accidental detour en route the combined power of JenJen, GeorgeGeorge and RichRich ensured our safe arrival at Cwm Uchaf, the bunkhouse.

The bunkhouse was part of a beautiful 6-bedroomed house situated in the small village of Crai. It was very well-decorated and cosy and the land-lady was helpful too. Upon arrival we dumped gear made a brew and Simon set up his portable projector and 2.1 speakers and tried to convert the rest of the group into Rammstein fans. This was followed by a short presentation about the planned routes for the weekend and a secret video interview with our very own Rich Bates. By midnight we were all ready for bed and after the mention of a 7am start we all disappeared pretty quickly.

The morning began with the loudest alarm clock known to man in the form of very loud metal? played through the speakers. After a few moans and groans Ishy was on the case with Tea and Jen and Rich with a fry-up. We were on the water for 10ish, getting in at Talybont-on-Usk and realising that the water level was a tad on the low side. After a brief refresher session on ferry gliding and breaking in/out we proceeded at a gentle pace down the Usk. There were a few small rapids to start but mainly a lot of scraping. Further down there was opportunity for Andy and Simon to coach a few more things and we lined up to video some well-coordinated breaking in. We reached the major drop/playspot Mill Falls and decided to have lunch and scout the rapids.

Post lunch we did some safety practice as people negotiated the drop and we played around on some waves, before moving further down the rapid, where Andy gave two beautiful demonstrations of reverse ferry gliding and one of how to roll in moving water. The rest of the journey was more of the same with some bouncier rapids towards the end. One incident of note is Rich getting pinned at the top of a drop, Lizzy coming to the rescue and getting similarly pinned next to him and Ishy following them and getting stuck on an adjacent ledge. In fact it seemed that almost everybody had trouble getting over some ledge or another.

That evening we were joined by Liam and Helen and headed to Brecon for dinner with all eleven of us in the Land Rover. Wandering through Brecon evidenced no sign of a restaurant save a closed Indian and a British and Chinese restaurant whose staff seemed to be too scared of Gwyl to permit such a large party. We ended up at a Hotel Bar which served us some food, which hit the spot. Upon arrival at the bunkhouse, the projector was again set up to display video and photos of the day's events.

On Sunday morning it was decided that we would run the same section again as the river was too low to do the section we had planned. Having learned from the mistakes of the day before we progressed more rapidly and went down with fewer scrapes. At Mill Falls Gwyl set-up a sophisticated 2-camera system to film us descending the central chute. We got out and loaded up, looking forward to the Hungry Horse meal that we had promised ourselves but alas we missed the turning and ended up back at the Scout Hut. All good things must eventually come to an end it was a shame about the water level but this trip certainly was enjoyed by all. Thanks again to Simon for organising the trip and the coaches for all their help.

- Ishy

Photos by Jen, Simon and Gwylim

Video by composed by Gwylim, clips by Jen, Simon, Helen and Gwylim