River Taff

After a very early morning alarm, Lynds, Bradley and I met Glynn and Helen at the Watershed to select and load boats. We programmed the sat nav and set off for the River Taff. Along the way Lynds and I compared facts that we had researched about the trip, including the fact that we were going to park very close to a Greggs bakery (which we were quite excited about). Lynds tried to sabotage our entry into Wales by screwing up the £5 note so it wouldn’t go into the machine, but I was saved by a nice lady in the booth who took the money and opened the gate.

John met us at the car park and when we examined the litter strewn get in, we decided that we did need a second breakfast in the form of pastry based items to give us energy for the trip. We also stocked up on cakes for later.

Under the direction of Glynn and Helen, the first part of the morning was spent honing our ferry gliding skills, including the eyes shut challenge and a ‘non-competitive’ who can ferry glide with the least strokes competition. Lynds found some rocks to bounce off, and we continued downstream practising eddying out, low brace turns and admiring the rubbish on the river banks and stuck in the trees from times of higher water.

After lunch on a pebbly beach, we attempted to rescue Helen with numerous throw line attempts. John managed to reach the target, and the rest of us failed spectacularly. A little further on we came to the weir that had been promised. It had a massive tree lodged at the top, it was a long way down, it sounded really angry, and there were a lot of expectant spectators waiting to watch us on the river bank. Glynn bravely crept up to the edge to assess the best route of descent, and gave us instructions to aim for certain twigs, or was it to avoid them? I’m not sure.....

Anyway, we all landed safely at the bottom, and it was decided that some multiple kayak descents should be attempted to please the crowd. John and Bradley timed their launch well but collided on the way down resulting in a capsize and Eskimo rescue. Lynds and I followed in our matching kit which might have made the crowd think they were seeing double. Then the boys went for a third and final plunge, which was very well executed.

Five weary paddlers returned to the cars and were reunited with their earlier cake purchases. Lynds was very impressed by the depth of a Welsh custard slice, and may be writing to Greggs HQ to ask for fair distribution of custard throughout the UK.

Many thanks to Glynn and Helen for their expert tuition and endless patience. Also, commendation to ASDA for its conveniently located toilets and to Greggs for refreshments.


Photos by Jen.