My girlfriend and I (+ our little dog) wanted to do a 3day/2 night canoe camping trip on the river wye...I'd previously paddled a couple of times and consider myself as a novice, my girlfriend had never canoed before...so I looked on the internet for a canoe hire company and this one proved to be absolutely perfect for our needs...our initial phone enquiry regards canoe hire/kit hire/safety info immediately quashed any apprehension we had...
From the minute we arrived, to the moment we left, every single aspect of our trip was simply amazing!!!
Day 1) we arrived at the meeting place an hour late (due to unforeseen traffic chaos on the M42) which wasn't a problem..all the necessary paperwork/payment details were completed, we were shown our boat, all our own kit was inspected (bouyancy aids & helmets) to ensure that they conformed to safety standards and any additional kit which we required (spare paddle and waterproof barrels for storing our camping gear and dry clothes) were issued...we were then given a very precise,thorough and easy to understand safety briefing and some really useful basic paddling tips...we were then taken up to our start point (where we were given a brief safety re-cap before we set off) and off we went...day 1 was from Hoarwithy to The White Lion at Ross-on-Wye (where we camped for the evening and made the most of the pubs hospitality..the food and beer were fantastic!!)...I might add that we were even given a courtesy phone call by wye canoes to ensure that our 1st day had gone smoothly and with no dramas...
Day 2) we woke up to glorious sunshine, promptly packed up our tent and sleeping kit, ate a fantastic full English breakfast...then set off on our paddle down to symonds yat..this was a fantastic stretch of river,with some breath-taking scenery, which we managed with ease (with the help of our basic paddling instructions (skinny bird at the front,fatty at the back..aim for the clear v's of water and stay away from the foamy stuff and strainers near the banks...)
We arrived at the old ferrie inn and we're met by our organiser, we locked up the canoe, arranged a meeting time for the following morning, the. Moved about a mile round the corner to a campsite for the evening..where we were able to pitch-up and cook a wicked barbecue with some terrific locally reared/grown food..all of which was provided at a really reasonably-priced, well equipped local village store!! (Wherever we holiday in England,we firmly believe in supporting the local community, as we live in a small village in the Peak District and our economy depends a lot on our passing tourist trade!!)
Day 3) we arrived at the old ferrie in 30 minutes early,to find that our boat had been untied,taken off the trailer and was ready for us to set off.. :)
We had planned to paddle from symonds yat down to Monmouth and then on to lidbrook and finally down to redbrook (which was the planned end of our trip)
We were advised/warned that the weather had been forecast to take a turn for the worst,therefore if at any point we felt we couldn't continue, simply get off the river, give wye canoes a bell and we'd be picked up early...we were then given some more really helpful safety/paddling tips (such as "when paddling into a head-wind, put the fatty at the front and the skinny bird at the back - thus adjusting the trim of the canoe...but be aware that if you run aground in shall water, you'll stop more abruptly and may go flying out of the front of the boat!!...which incidentally didn't happen ) on route down the Monmouth strait, the wind picked up and it absolutely p##ed it down??and we found that the above tip worked brilliantly!!...we paddled down from Monmouth to lidbrook, where we stopped for lunch at a pub, then on down to redbrook..where we were promptly picked up and driven back to symonds yat...thus ending our trip..
On the whole, our trip was an exciting, fun , brilliant way of getting onto a river and exploring..the advice we were given regards places to camp/places to eat/sights to see were spot on!!!
Also, due to the level of customer service, paddling tuition and safety instruction we were given, did we ever feel that we were "out of our depth" or taking any undue risk...
Thankyou for making our adventure a fantastic, unforgettable experience that we'll definitely repeat!!
Greg, Pip and Molly the dog :-)