NB: Because Joshua is only eight years old, we have a support vehicle to help us and to transport us for some of the journey where it would be unsafe or dangerous for him to travel any other way. He is supported throughout this adventure by his Dad, his Granddad, his cousin Joel and his uncle Mike.
The River Wye (Welsh: Afon Gwy) is the fifth-longest river in the UK, stretching some 215 kilometres (134 mi) from source to sea. For much of its length the river forms part of the border between England and Wales. The Wye Valley (lower part) is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.The Wye is important for nature conservation and recreation.
The source of the Wye is in the Welsh mountains at Plynlimon. It flows through or past several towns and villages including Rhayader, Builth Wells, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford (the only city on the River Wye), Ross-on-Wye, Symonds Yat, Monmouth and Tintern, meeting the Severn estuary just below Chepstow. Its total length is 134 miles (216 km). The lower 16 miles (26 km) of the river from Redbrook to Chepstow forms the border between England and Wales.
On the 3rd April 2015, Joshua set out very early to do his latest adventure. Its often the days like this that turn out to be the hardest. The journey to the source took over 3hrs driving from our home. It is in deepest darkest Mid Wales at the heart of the Hafren Forest.
Once we got to the forest, we had to cycle for ninety minutes deeper into the forest to the bottom of the slopes of the Plynlimon Mountain. It rained on and off during the journey, but thankfully by the time we got to the base, it had stopped for a bit. At the base of the mountain, we abandoned the bikes and trudged up the slopes to find the source.
After over five hours of traveling, we eventually got to the source!!
Joshua found the trekking in hard work and as he described it “boring!” However, once we got to the source, he got excited and got back into the adventure. He told me that it was the hardest thing he’s ever done and that the hard work was boring. However, he loved being at the source. To confirm we were at the source (SN802871), we had taken a Garmin GPS and proved that we were accurate to within 2mtrs. Joshua checked this and then showed the rest of the team the screen to prove it.
As we moved back down the stream, it crossed the forest track by going through a culvert under the road. At this stage, Joshua decided to build a dam across the stream. This was successfully done, creating a huge pool of water. Being environmentally friendly, he destroyed the dam and allowed the water to carry on its normal course.
After spending some time chilling and having his packed lunch, he set off on his bike to descend the mountain and following the forestry tracks made quite a speedy descent.
The descent was much easier than the ascent. It started on open tracks from the mountain and meandered through the forests on gravel tracks. As we went into the deeper darker forest, there were fallen trees around us and Joshua commented that the mud coated exposed roots of the trees looked like they had faces in them and we tried spotting monsters and ghouls as we went.
At one point about seven kilometres from the source, the track we were following crossed through the river at a ford. Joshua cycled straight into the ford and got halfway through the river, which had now grown from being half a metre wide to now about fifteen metres wide at the ford.
Halfway across the ford, it was about a good foot deep and quite powerful. It took Joshua off his wheels and pushed him down, he stood up, picked up his bike, burst out laughing and waded out the other side of the river. He sat on a wooden step and lifted his legs up so the water flowed out of his boots all down his legs!
We called up our support vehicle and met them at a woodland car park. Joshua got changed into a set of dry clothes. He enjoyed some food and had some hot chocolate to warm himself up.
After a break, we got back on the bikes and continued to the end of our stage at Rhyadear. By this stage the river was a lot deeper and moving quite rapidly. At this point, we took the support vehicles and and travelled to Builth Wells. At Builth Wells, we got back out of the vehicles and joined the cycle path next to the river. We followed this towards Hay on Wye.
The journey ended for day 1 at Hay on Wye.
- Distance covered: 62 miles
- Time spent on Adventure: 10 hours