Our 12th wedding anniversary is here, and we’re still going strong. It’s September 2021, and we’re in the midst of a pandemic, lockdown number three (ugh!), but we’re allowed to move around the country. Hooray!
It’s become a tradition for us to celebrate each year with a wacky and challenging activity. This year, we decided to head to South Wales and tackle the Royal Forest of Dean, where the stunning River Wye snakes its way through woodlands, fields, and woolly towns. Everyone we spoke to beforehand said, „OMG, you’re gonna love it!” So, of course, we had super-high expectations.
We bought ourselves an ITWIT X100 DROP-STITCH FLOOR TOURING INFLATABLE KAYAK and affectionately named it „Speedy Gonzales.” We tested it out on the Cherwell River in Oxford and even in our own garden. Check out our „dry try” video where we figured out how to cram all our gear into our tiny kayak without capsizing.
We packed everything we needed for five days of wilderness survival (tent, sleeping bags, food, clothes, toiletries, pump, and more) and set off on our adventure.
But the weather wasn’t on our side at all. The first day was okay (as we drove to our starting point), but the next five days were miserable as shite! Grey clouds, cold, and occasional rain. Thanks a lot, Wales!
We won’t go into much detail about how we drove to our starting point, parked our car at the YHA, and then couldn’t find a taxi on Friday night because of some bloody football match (England vs. someone!). We finally found a guy willing to drive us for a not-so-small sum. Lesson learned: book a taxi in advance!
Our kayaking route was simple: paddle from point A to B every day, rest, and enjoy the great outdoors. Sounds easy, right? Not quite. Due to the lack of rain over the summer, the water level was sometimes so low that our inflatable kayak got stuck on pebbles. We had to jump out, lift the kayak, and carry it to the nearest deeper spot. Brrr, it was freezing, and we didn’t see a single kingfisher. All of them were probably huddled in their cosy nests, laughing at us. We did spot plenty of other birds, but we could have just stayed in Oxford for that.
On our last day, our kayak capsized, and I was pretty sure I was going to die from hypothermia. Thank goodness for constant paddling, which kept my body heat up. Lesson learned: always pack extra socks!
But, despite the crappy weather, there were some highlights. Some campsites were so remote that we felt like we were the only people on the planet (thanks to the weather scaring everyone else away). The few people we did meet were adventurous and super friendly. We had plenty of opportunities to light a campfire, chat, play games, and dream of better weather.
Finally, a few tips to help you make the most of your kayaking adventure on the River Wye. Before you set out, be sure to check the weather forecast to avoid any unexpected rains. If you’re planning to go during the summer months or on a weekend, make sure to book your campsites ahead of time as they tend to fill up quickly. And last but not least, don’t forget to pack enough snacks and supplies to keep you fueled up for your entire trip. Happy paddling!
Day 2: Preston Campsite – Hereford Rowing Club 18km, 3h10
Day 3: Hereford Rowing Club – Lucksall Caravan and camping park 13km, 2h10
Day 4: Lucksall – Tresseck Campsite 14km, 2h10
Day 5: Tresseck – YHA Wye Valley Hostel 33km, 4h40