This trip was in preparation for the clubs fast approaching Alps trip. Kevin, Clive, Phil, Miriam, Jill, Andy and his family and me travelled to Wales on the Friday and camped on the shores of Bala lake. Some of us pitched where the midges hang out and consequently now look like we have some incurable disease from bite marks. Bala night life needs a lot to be desired, its non existent, however the one eatery that was open, a pizza restaurant with an unpronounceable name did Bala proud and we were happy bunnies. It tipped down with rain all night so not much sleep. Saturday came and some of us were up early in the morning to cook breakfast, however no one else bought cooking gear so I breakfasted alone. It was then off to the local cafe for,er, more breakfast. We then hit the water.
Andy and I put in a the bottom of Chapel falls in order to take photos of the others coming down. My videoing needs a lot to be desired. Miriam came over the top capsized and did a text book roll – not caught on camera. She was followed by Jill who shot the falls with no problem and then Phil came down. Unfortunately he caught his tail end in a stopper and capsized and after several attempts at rolling bailed out,(caught on camera) , much to the delight of Andys children who were lining the banks and laughing with excitement.
The journey down the river to Bala falls was full of lots of exciting moments and near misses, far too many to mention including an interesting method of transferring an empty kayak from one bank to the other. At the falls Miriam, Andy, Phil and myself did the Leat, a very narrow canal running alongside the gorge whilst Kevin, Clive and Jill went down the falls. We got to the bottom of the falls just in time to see Kevin come over the top. Jill was next but she clipped a rock on the lip of the very first descent and capsized, negotiating the rest of the falls upside down. It looked horrendous and after what seemed an age Jill popped up smiling – and I’ve got that on video! Top woman and battle scars to prove it! It was then back to the centre for a quick cup of tea and then Clive, Kevin and Miriam went and played in the top of the Treweryn by the chipper. Its was all going well until Spud (Miriams kayak) did a runner and shot the falls on his own, much to Miriams annoyance. After Spuds recovery, he was found snorkelling around some rocks, Kevin and Clive decided to crack on down the river on their own. Saturday evening was spent in a pub in the next village to the south of Bala. Excellent food and the conversation was all about the days events. We were joined by Miriams mum who came up to camp for the night. Thankyou very much Miriams mum for the lift to the pub.
Sunday morning and I was up cooking my breakfast again, followed by a trip to the cafe. Today we were going to play on the upper Treweryn putting in by the Chipper. We practiced eddy hopping and worked our way down the river taking on bigger eddies and falls. We had named parts of the river to reflect our efforts and failures, For instance we had the pool of shame, a nice catch pool before the really big stuff, and you ended up here on your lonesome if you missed all the eddies further up stream. We also had Phils bush (named changed to prevent embarrassment) another safe haven, but if you let go you ended up over the falls. This was an excellent days paddling and confidence booster for the whole group and a brilliant way to finish off an exciting weekend. Thanks to Kevin and Clive for their patience, rescues (!) and tuition and to Jill for the fantastic descent of Bala falls. Memorable.