There’s quite a few thanks that we need to give to various people. A huge thanks must go to the friends and families of Rob, Steve, Kay and Rosie who have shown fantastic support. In particular is Janice, Steve’s wife, and Dave, Rosie’s Dad for providing transport down to Chepstow and pick-up in Chester (as well as sorting a very convenient exit from the Dee in the centre of Chester). A massive thanks to Eila Wilkinson and Nigel Dennis for providing Rosie with a Pilgrim Expedition for the trip, and for the fab Lendal paddle. Thanks also to Ann Turner at Kari-tek for providing a set of paddle blades and dealing with last minute requests. Thanks for all the support from numerous members of the Snowdonia Canoe Club, to everyone who followed the blog and for all the great comments and feedback sent to us. It’s fuelled our enthusiasm for the trip, and kept us entertained. And lastly, thanks to everybody on the trip for making it so memorable. Without that wok Kay, the Come Dine with Me competition just wouldn’t have been the same.
We thought it might be of interest to put some final information about our kayaking adventure. These apply to Rob, Kay and Rosie’s final details, Steve might like to add statistics for his solo voyage north of Aberaeron. So here goes:-
Total of 25 days on the trip, of which there were 17 paddling days, and 8 bad weather days
Total distance paddled = 655 km, average distance paddled = 38.5km per paddling day
1 Sudbrook (Chepstow) to Sully Island 47km
2 Sully Island to Kenfig Sands 48km
3 Kenfig Sands to Mumbles 18km
4 Mumbles to Porth Eynon 21km
5 Porth Eynon to Tenby /Caldey Island 42km
6 Tenby /Caldey Island to West Angle 46km
7 West Angle to Solva 31km
8 Solva to Newport (Parrog) 56km
9 Newport (Parrog) to Cwm Tydu 41km
10 Cwm Tydu to Aberystwyth (Sarn Gynfelin) 40km
11 Aberystwyth (Sarn Gynfelin) to Shell Island 41km
12 Shell Island to Porth Oer 53km
13 Porth Oer to Gyrn Goch (Trefor) 33km
14 Gyrn Goch (Trefor) to Beaumaris 38km
15 Beaumaris to Llanddulas 38km
16 Llanddulas to Flint 41km
17 Flint to Chester 21km
Woke to possibly yhe warmest morning of the entire trip. A long lie to half seven was followed by a leisurely breakfast, trying to eat what we could of the left over food. The evening before Kay and Rosie cooked a veritable three course feast, complete with wine.
Rosie’s father was due to pick us up in Chester around four in the afternon. This meant paddling against an ebbing tide in the Dee. With the pick up time in mind, we set off paddling at 10:00. The paddling started with an sixty foot plus seal launch ! Once in the Dee we paddled for all of a few hundred metres before deciding that it wasn’t such a great plan. The speed of flow, together with the very low depth made for hard paddling. So we got out and walked. After about a futher fifty metres we gave in, and went and sat on a sand bank. After waiting half an hour, we started on what turned into a long slow haul up the Dee. It wasn’t until a couple of kilometres before Chester that we noticed any tidal assist. The 20km that we covered on Wednesday was covered at an average speed of roughly 1.5 knots. Suffice to say Chester was a welcome sight.
As you may imagine, paddlingup the Dee felt strange, almost surreal. We seemed to be suddenly surrounded by industrialisation, people, and commercial enterprises. After a month travelling on the sea it felt very alien.
We set foot on dry land at about 17:45. Rosie’s dad had got the car to witin twenty yards or so of the river, which made life so much easier. He then produced coffee, pasties, and cake.
Some mixed emotions at the end … On one hand a feeling of achievement, on another, sad that it had came to an end. But at the same time, looking forward to running hot water, a comfy bed, and seeing family again.
Just a quick note to say that we finished at Chester tonight just before 18:00, crossing the Welsh / English border at 17:10. Kay did try and update the blog earlier this evening but for some reason it’s not updated properly.
More tomorrow ….. A hot bath beckons …..
Left Llanddulas at 8am for a four hour paddle against the tide past Rhyl and Prestatyn. Kept looking across and Rhyl Sun Centre was still there. To add to the tedium it chucked it down on us too. Finally Point of Ayr made an appearance. Passing Mostyn we started to benefit from the now flooding tide and enjoyed the increase in speed of progress. We are camped just outside Flint tonight, in a delightful spot. Just waiting for the first two courses to go down before desert. Doing our best to finish the bag of Pinot Grigio.
Had a very comfy night in a lovely place belonging to a friend of Gwyn’s in Beaumaris last night. It was completely unexpected and amazing (check it out at http://www.ariandy.co.uk). Today paddled to Penmon then across to the Great Orme. Had a real Llandudno seaside experience with a visit to the amusement arcade on the pier (to visit the loo) and ice creams. Had a sleep on the beach at Rhos on Sea and ended the day with a Thai green curry, a San Miguel and a fire to accompany a tranquil sunset. Mixed feelings about the trip coming to an end.