48OE Blog  
Jul 31

Written by: 48OE Admin
31/07/2011 18:18  RssIcon

No, its not a spelling mistake. Just recently we have undertaken some photography of our 1948 Original Equipment products. As part of this we decided to take a canoe trip down the River Wye. In a few weeks, we will put some of the pictures and a few more details in the Friends section.  Our canoes and guide were from The Monmouth Canoe and Activity Centre. We loved the trip so much we thought you might just like a taster of something you could try as a family over the summer holidays.

There are very few rivers in England (this is another great debate) that have open navigation for canoes and kayaks. We are lucky to live near one of the best. We twisted the guide's arm and had a 6.00 am start. (Most family trips are during much more sociable hours but don’t be fooled it is worth making the effort). It was grey and very damp but between 6.00 am and 9.30 am we had a ball and got thoroughly drenched. The stillness of the jet black waters in the early morning mist was magical. It was as if we were the first boats ever to break the mirror finish of the water.
The scenery as the river carves its way through the landscape is breath taking and our biggest surprise was the close quarter encounters with wild life. The usual suspects of ducks and swans with their young were everywhere but we had no idea we would get so close to our own version of Spring Watch. We saw many Heron and several Cormorants, all of whom seemed dismissive of our presence.  A most inquisitive Mink stood his ground and was most indignant that his early morning rituals were being disturbed. You had to be alert to see the darting Kingfisher but the biggest shock was when a giant Salmon leapt three feet into the air in front of us and the trick was repeated by his colleagues on several occasions. It was a perfect day in spite of the rain.
You can take long (several days including camping) or short trips as there is quite a stretch of the Wye available for leisure activity.  We think any family would find this a very special adventure on a par with Swallows and Amazons. Check out our Friends section in about two weeks for more details of our trip. Our own guide said he has never seen so much wildlife on one trip as their trips mostly take place in the middle of the day. Morning is great for wild life and well worth the effort.

There are many companies providing canoes on the Wye (try a web search) and we spoke with many of them.  However, we got the best response from www.monmouthcanoe.co.uk and they proved to be fantastic; we could not have had better help. We understand that they cater for parties including overnight camping in Tipis which they supply and erect.  You could make this one of the best kid's holidays imaginable just doing old fashion things – and not a television or computer in sight!

At 10.00 am we were soaked and fell into sofas at the No1 Coffee House in Monmouth - all of us exhausted and sporting grins from ear to ear.