Symonds Yat

September 2013

Casual paddlers Tom, Sue, Lynds, Alice (Jigglypuff) and Chris, who shall herein be named Magpie (more on that later) descended casually on the scout hut. Paddlers stowed kayaks. Roof bars caused problems and kayaks came off, and back on, and off, and ... paddlers went on an adventure.

The casual paddlers were in convoy with a Nessie and Sir Trilby Filby and arrived at Lydbrook just before lunch time, setting off after highly efficient shuttling. The start was scrapey. Lynds looked like she needed to test her dry suit so got a customary paddle shower.

The paddle was a casual meander down towards the rapids of Symonds Yat. Swans were there most of the way acting as though they were in season, charging around, ignoring the teenage swans and suspiciously emerging from bushes ...

Lunch was a bit on the late side but the casual paddlers had to get somewhere first. It involved random comments such as "can you roll your tongue?" followed by expert projectile cherry seed spitting. Tongue rolling helps, see. Then ducks stole Sir Trilby's Filby's sandwiches.

There were big rocks to climb up. Not many did so - they were casual paddlers after all - but those who did were awkwardly watched by everyone and their dogs. Magpie's new Burn (Jaffa Cake) got some nice "characterising" new scratches from seal launch number 2, making it now totally veteran. Sir Trilby Filby and Jigglypuff got out tired before the rapids for some riverside chilling. At said rapids, which the remaining casual paddlers had seen higher and faster on other trips, there was more scraping and possibly some swimming practise. It didn't take long to get tired of the scraping ferry- lides and broken braking in, so back the hungry casual paddlers went to put tents up.

Merriment was had in the pub. Food was good and it emerged that Chris making fuss over Welsh early morning magpies on the last camping trip had been absolutely hilarious, especially when the sound was likened to, apparently, sheep with their typewriters. Yep. So, "Magpie". Then a defiant victory thrust /table bash thing during Uno drove it home.

Next morning there had been no magpies - only owls. After a bit of getting misplaced, Jess and Dexter joined the casual paddlers. So did others but, well, we shouldn't mention that they forgot dry suits because that would be embarrassing. Off went P***, H**** and passenger Rach to Wales. Bless.

The casual paddlers, now fresh, hit the rapids in force. The rapids were a bit less scrapey too so all was well. Sir Trilby had a go, and after a brave but not very successful first run down white-ish water, Ness gave him all the loving support and encouragement deserved. Something like, "You made absolutely no effort. What was that!"

So then Sue found a new talent for coaching. Everyone took it slow for a few hours. Except the swans. Yes, two swans coolly came down the rapids and to be honest showed us up completely, ferry-gliding and smugly surfing past everyone. No-one likes show-offs... Cream teas were had, which was the best bit (obviously), then the casual paddlers went back to base.