My interview for BBC Radio Wales went out today across the country. Feel free to have listen to it here;
After a long time in the making, we are proud to announce the new Adventures of Joshua book has been sent to the publishers!! Continue reading
After a quiet morning chilling and playing Snow Party on my tablet, dad and I went to Boulders indoor climbing centre in Cardiff. We signed in and then did some climbing.
I warmed up on their great bouldering wall, topping out a new route for me, and then climbing down a ladder back to the floor level.
Finally, we’re completing the river wye journey. This has been a very tough challenge, and a very demanding one.
Today we had to do the final leg of the journey from Monmouth to Chepstow where the river meets the sea.
What a fantastic day! This was meant to be our day two from the adventure we started over Easter, but because I was ill we had to have a break and have now picked up the challenge again.
We took our tandem kayak for this leg of the adventure and after putting it on the roof of dad’s van, we drove to the start of this leg of the adventure which was at Glasbury.
There is a lovely pebble beach along the side of the rive, just at the main river bridge. We got the kayak off the roof of the van and I carried the paddles and our kit and food in the waterproof dry bag and dad carried the kayak. At the waters edge, dad reminded me of how to hold the paddle and the right way to do it, we then loaded all the kit into the kayak and dad jumped in and off we went.
We glided under the Glasbury bridge without any incidents and all around us were tourists and groups that were in Canadian canoes all heading down the river.
We passed an island on our left as two other canoes started to go the wrong way, they corrected themselves and we paddled past.
The river meandered around this way and that, at places it was shallow and other places it was deep. Dad told me that we could tell when the river was deep and shallow by the way the water moved on the surface. The flatter and calmer looking the water the deeper it was, and the choppier it was, the shallower it was with obstacles under neath causing the choppiness.
At one point there were two women in another canoe and they asked us directions so we told them to take the easiest line through the obstacles and to get out on the right hand side at the Hay on wye bridge.
After a few miles we came to a natural weir in the river and a few people were on a pebble beach looking at it, dad guided us into the right hand end of it which was quite rough and we shot through it. The water rushed over the front of the kayak and splashed into my lap. I was little scared but I enjoyed it a lot.
After we shot through that a few canoes came through it behind us and one of them capsized and the people in it were suddenly in the water screaming. Looking back at them, I was glad it was them and not me lol.
After another short while we came into Hay on Wye. A lot of people were getting out here but we paddled on. It was shallow in places, but we managed to get through it without getting wet.
After another few miles we saw the ruins of Clifford castle on the right which used to be an important castle on the border between England and Wales.
After passing the castle, we paddled on enjoying the lovely sunshine beating down on us and I splashed dad with the water on my paddles, although I pretended it was by accident so dad didn’t splash me back me haha.
After 10 more minutes, we reached a small hamlet called Whitney on Wye and saw the a wooden toll bridge. The stanchions were made of timber and the bit the cars drove on was also made of timber. Just before it was a place to get out and get ice creams, but we kept paddling.
Just after the toll bridge we came to to a pub called the Boat Inn and some low level rapids, They were fun and easy to paddle through. I paddled and dad steered, I liked the rapids as they were fun and made the journey more exciting.
I was tired at this point so we stopped and had a break on a pebble beach, enjoying a sandwich and a drink whilst I explored some washed up trees on the beach.
We had passed several little islands in the river but the river narrowed after a short while and there was an Island which we passed on our right and the channel led into a series of fast and fun rapids leading to the bridge at Bredwardine.
Dad lined us up and I paddled hard and it was over in about 10 seconds, but it was bumping and splashy. The river carried on a bit faster for five or so minutes and then it eased up and we were back to normal speed.
Just after this we saw a large reddish coloured cliff which I liked and dad told me it was called Brombury Scar and was red because it was sandstone. I knew that sandstone is a soft stone made of compressed sand.
We kept paddling, taking it in turns to paddle, sometimes I would paddle and sometimes dad would whilst I rested.
I saw my first heron in a river – it was pretty huge, it looked like a pterodactyl. I also saw a black kite which was also large and had a lovely v shaped tail feathers, which is how I knew it was a kite. Dad thought it might be a red kite but I told him it was a black kite because of the white and black markings under its wings.
Just before we reached the end of the river at Bycross, we saw another ruined bridge across the river.
This was a lovely day and I felt nervous and a tiny a bit scared at the start because of the waves. But by the end of the day I was pleased with my achievement but I was tired.
We then had to wait for a bus to take us back to the start where we had left the van so we left the kayak on the edge of the river and took our bags with us on the bus. Whilst we were waiting for the but I had a lovely ice cream which I told dad I deserved and bought myself a small fishing net for trying to catch tiddlers with.
We got back home late and I was tired. My Mamgu (editors note: Welsh for grandmother), had made us a roast chicken dinner so dad and I ate that before watching Barcelona and Juventus in the Champions League final before I went to bed exhausted.
So the plan was to wake up and crack on with the adventure. Sometimes event the best plans don’t work out as we wished they would.
We had a five day window for this adventure and on this trip the first day was lost due to weather issues so the first day happened on the second day. The day after reaching the source of the wye, Joshua got D&V so spent 48hrs ill. As such he wasn’t well enough to continue with the adventure at that stage. Therefore the second day of the trip didn’t happen until the fifth day that we had available. As such adventure as planned turned into a two day spread over five days. We are planning to revisit the three additional days over the forthcoming months, with the aim to complete the adventure by the summer period.
So on to day two blog;
The day started as per any other adventure day, we woke early and had some breakfast as I was feeling better than I had for the previous couple of days. Dad and my cousin Joel headed off to pick up the kit from our storage whilst I prepared some food for us with my Mamgu (grandmother).
By the time Dad got back, I had been ill again so we had to shorten the day. By 11am I felt a bit better so we set off. We drove an hour to get into the river Wye near Ross on Wye, Dad felt it better to do an easier section since I was feeling rough.
When we got to the launch site, we met my cousins Joel, Lydia and Eve. My uncle Mike was also there so between us all we unpacked our van and got the raft into the river. We put the engine on the back of it, not to be used for the whole journey, but in case we got into problems or ran out of time and we could speed up the journey.
We got in near the Riverside Inn and the journey began. Joel, Eve, Lydia, Dad and I were in the raft and Uncle Mike was in his Kayak providing support to us and to check the safe routes ahead of us. There were a lot of people on the river today as it is Easter Monday and a lovely day.
We started off and everyone got their paddles and after a bit of confusion, we got into ta steady rhythm. The river meandered alongside the road for a while and then we passed the ruined Goodrich castle. The journey was okay but long. Passing under several bridges was fun as the river seemed to speed up through the arches of the old stone bridges.
We passed a few small Islands along the river which were pretty cool, making sure that we took the correct channel around the Island was Dads decision, he made me paddle hard though.
After a hard while of paddling and floating with the current, we went under the huge Symonds Yat rock where we could see the nesting holes of the peregrines, but we didn’t see any peregrines today.
Beyond that we paddled onto Symonds Yat where we stopped at Yat rock to jump in the river, that was cool. Joel and Uncle Mike did the big jumps but I just did the smaller jump. It was a bit cold in the water, although I did jump in and out a bit and enjoyed it a lot.
Dad told us that some rapids were coming up so we stopped just before them at the Ye Old Ferry Inn and had an ice cream and some lunch. We met our support team here of my Aunt Avril and Uncle Niall (Joel, Eve and Lydia’s parents). That was a nice break. Joel fell in the river here as he tried to swing on a vine, which was funny.
After the break we carried on and approached the rapids. In the raft it was easy and we zipped through and continued along the river passing a small island on our right. We paddled hard and Dad steered at the back.
After the rapids the river was going to be a slow and steady paddle into Monmouth. We used the engine a little bit as Dad was worried about the time and so the last leg after the rapids was lovely as we got to rest our arms and enjoy the journey.
We got out at Monmouth rowing club and met our support vehicles. We packed all the kit back into the vans and cars and headed for a well deserved McDonalds. I was pleased that I wasn’t sick or ill today whilst on the river. It was a long and tiring day, but I loved it.
The journey for day 2 was Ross on Wye to Monmouth.
- Distance covered: 18 miles
- Time spent on Adventure: 5.5 hours