REVIEW: Canoeing on the River Wye with Way2Go Adventures
With our daughter in the midst of her GCSE’s we decided to give her a break away from her revision and try a new activity, canoeing and kayaking – one which was not far from our own doorstep.
We travelled from Cheltenham up the M5, M50 through Ross-on-Wye and in less than an hour we arrived at our destination, Monmouth Rowing Club, the chosen departure point of our Forest of Dean adventure.
Di and Wayne from Way2Go adventures were already there preparing the 3 vessels for our eagerly awaited departure. Handing in the necessary paperwork, required for any Way2Go adventure, we were then briefed on what, how, and where we were going, with all the stringent safety checks, rules, regulations, and most importantly, ‘how to get into a canoe/kayak without falling in!’
With over 10 years experience in the watery pursuit, combined with a natural ambitious cheek and charm, Forest of Dean local, Wayne, our guide, instructor and half day companion, then led us on our way, downstream, not upstream – fortunately. Leaving Di behind we went with the flow and left Monmouth.
Paddling techniques such as stopping, turning and other very important canoeing/kayaking disciplines were first on Wayne’s agenda before we headed 'rapidly to the rapids', just past the old Gloucester to Hereford Railway Bridge.
The good lady wife ventured first with Wayne in the 2-man canoe, and a slightly apprehensive daughter then followed, with me bravely tackling a more adventurous path. It was at this point that Wayne asked us if we wanted to go surfing. Baffled and with visions of the Severn Bore we all agreed. ‘Surfing’ transpired to be something completely different, with Wayne taking control in the rear of the canoe and positioning the boat into the surging rapids and each of us then taking it in turns to stand up when told. An adrenalin rush soon took over the fear of falling in – WOW!
River etiquette from Wayne was observed at all times – the River Wye wasn’t just for our enjoyment. Keeping a careful eye on the river ahead, Wayne was aware of the several fly fishermen in the river and politely asked each one of them which course they would like us to take before we passed. It was interesting when speaking with one fisherman, who said that there had been a big rise in salmon numbers in the River Wye so far this year – or had his luck just changed?
The lower reaches of the river Wye in the Forest of Dean is an ideal stretch of water for beginners like us to enjoy, experience and discover the sport of canoeing and kayaking. With a variable physical challenge combined with the overwhelming natural beauty of the Wye Valley, this wonderful outdoor pursuit is an ideal way to explore the Forest of Dean.
Our journey along the River Wye gave us a different perspective of the Forest of Dean with an abundance of wildlife on offer, from the leaping salmon to the darting kingfishers – both of which we were privileged to see.
The adventure sadly came to an end at Redbrook, a small, picturesque village dating back the 17th century, which once had a significant role in the rejuvenation of the copper and tin industry of the Forest of Dean.
Our ‘retrieve’ in the form of Di, was waiting for us on the west bank of the river at the Boat Inn. Had we known that the end destination was here at Redbrook’s popular freehouse, we would have not prepared a packed lunch, as the food on offer looked wholesomely divine. I couldn’t resist one of the Boat Inn's many fine ales on offer to replenish my thirst, an opted for a pint of Jouster. We all relaxed outside the pub for a while and talked about the mornings wonderful experience. We then packed up the canoes and headed back to Monmouth to pick up our car.
For a half-day, day or even an overnight or weekend experience we thoroughly recommend Way2Go Adventures – just go for it!
26 May 2011
For further information.
• REVIEW: Canoeing on the River Wye with Way2Go Adventures
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