This was a mid week visit to Wales with the intention of paddling the Llangollen Canal, and a chance of also introducing open water paddling to some of our less experienced members.
Llyn Tegid, also known in English as Bala Lake, is a lake in Gwynedd, Wales. The name Tegid may be related to Welsh teg, meaning “fair”. It was the largest natural body of water in Wales before its level was raised by Thomas Telford to help support the flow of the Ellesmere Canal.
Bala did not disappoint, with some heavy rain, the car park was underwater, but being intrepid explorers, it did not take long to unload the canoes and kayaks and get on the water. Then came the fun! When we changed tack to paddle across the lake, the wind blew up and provided a broadside swell of sea state 3 and some interesting gusts of wind. After a bit of hard work we crossed the lake then skirted the shore till we got back to the launch point.
Off to the campsite for some of the intrepid explorers and a hotel for our even hardier paddlers. A good meal had been earned and the choice of hostelries in LLangollen did not fail.
Then came the main event
Embarking at the start of the LLangollen Canal (a World Heritage Site), paddling back up to Horseshoe Falls. This was truly the source!.
The canoe trail is classed as a 10-mile paddle, but Google Maps put it closer to 12. We were joined by a past club paddler Carys Owen who re-located home to Anglesey a number of years ago, it was good to catch up.
The trip down the canal was a very relaxing with good time made at around our average pace of three miles per hour with stops. Then came the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
Some of the team were a bit wary of the height at 38m (124ft), but when you see what a truck looks like it puts it all into perspective!!
A short distance further on was another first for most of us, as we passed under a Lift Bridge, kindly raised by Paul S.
So like all enjoyable days , there has to be something that reminds you, even on canals you have to be careful. With a lot of hire Narrow boats in the area, once we were a third of the way through the 450m tunnel with a 500w LED Builders light on the front canoe and everyone with head torches on, a hire boat decided to come through and meet us. After a brief discussion it was decided that we would walk our canoes back the way we came and let the very sheepish boater carry on his way.
Leaving Wales we passed over another aqueduct at Chirk and paddled into England for a short distance.
A very enjoyable paddle through some stunning landscape, wonderful views and warm hospitality.