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River Dee Improvers Kayak Paddle – May 18, 2024

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River Dee Improvers Kayak Paddle – May 18, 2024

The River Dee Improvers Kayak Paddle on May 18, 2024, was a journey filled with adventure and discovery. The route provided a variety of experiences, from the initial put-in to the final arrival at the Boat Inn.

The journey began with a short carry downhill from the Ty Mawr Country Park Visitor’s Centre. As the river passed under the second bridge, it began to improve in character. The paddlers entered tree-lined secluded areas, with the occasional pheasant to be seen. The journey was punctuated by Grade II rapids and decisions on channels around the islands. The A483 road bridge provided a stark contrast to the bridges of earlier eras seen higher up the river.

The Newbridge Road bridge towers above the paddlers

A couple of miles further on, the group passed the Avon Ceiriog confluence, marking over halfway through the section. Another mile downstream, a house on the left bank and a bridge of sorts were notable landmarks. By this point, the rapids had diminished to Grade I.

Colin enjoying the interesting rapids at this level

About a mile further on, after a couple of small bends, the group came to a large fishing pool. The river bent hard right, and a concrete pillar could be seen about 100 yards downstream marking the central point of the Erbistock weir.  In low levels, this can be portaged by climbing over the concrete ledge on the left of the central pillar.  If water is going over the river left, this can usually be shot and even in high flows produces large rolling waves.  I am always very cautious of the stopper on the river right as this is where most of the water flows.   I am told that some find this a gentle play wave in lower flows but I always avoid most man-made weirs and paddlers should always inspect any drop or stopper and be very cautious of any boxed-in and difficult-to-reach river hydraulic.

Be wary of the Erbistock Weir hydraulic on river right – it has a long tow-back

Just around the corner, the group arrived at the Boat Inn on river left, marking the end of the journey. Despite the challenges faced, the River Dee Improvers Kayak Paddle was a memorable experience for all involved.  We enjoyed a relaxed drink and chat about the trip and all things kayaking at the Inn in the remaining sunshine of the late afternoon.  What a great place to end a pleasant day on the river Dee.  NB This was the 4th section of the river Dee paddled by the club this year at grade 2(3).