I’m sure you’ve heard me talking about Kingfisher Kayak Hire before in Abermule and if you haven’t, have a read of my post when I went canoeing a few months back. I love it here. It’s such a beautiful part of the River Severn.
I’d been meaning to go kayaking for a while – I’ve never done it before mainly because I’m a little scared of deep water. Despite my mermaid routes, deep water makes my shells shiver! However, since I’ve canoed this stretch of the river, it’s not so unknown and it’s not that deep. Plus I’m surfing in August so I need to get over this deep water thing…
So one Friday evening whilst most of my city friends were going out to get ‘sloshed’ I was in my waterproofs with paddle in hand raring to go. Miles the owner of Kingfisher Kayak Hire is always such a jolly chap and you can tell he loves his business. It’s great because you don’t have to book in advance and usually if you let him know you’re coming he’ll fit you in. Although I do advise you to always book and don’t just turn up on the spot as he’s very popular nowadays!
Whilst you don’t get a kayaking lesson, he is an avid ‘kayaker’ himself and does give you a quick crash course before you set off. But of course, the disclaimers states that you partake in such activities at your own risk. Thankfully I was with someone who’s trained in kayaking so after about 20 minutes on the flat part of the stream, I’d taken to it like a duck to water (pun intended).
It such an usual feeling being so close to the water – you do see the land from such a different perspective! I felt really safe in my sea kayak and have heard their buoyancy and balance is much better than traditional kayaks. We drifted down the river, taking in sites of the kingfishers skimming across the still river. It was nice to just be at one with the water and get a good rhythm going.
First up was a set of rapids – last time we grounded out and had to do a lot of shuffling to get the canoe into deeper water. This time I knew which current to take, but wasn’t feeling too confident about getting through them. They’re relatively shallow yet lots of rushing water tricks you into thinking otherwise. So how did I do? Well I only ended going into the rapids side on, crashing into the bank and tipping my boat too much – it filled up with water! I was surprised that I didn’t panic actually – instead I walked through (came up just past my knees) the slippery and somewhat painful on the feet section. I settled on a small bank where I emptied my boat and got back in. Practice makes perfect I thought to myself with very soggy feet.
The rest of the rapids were really fun, I’d quickly learnt to judge the flow of the water and figure out where was too shallow and where was deep enough. There were sections that you couldn’t help but get stuck in due to the low water levels anyway but nothing a bit of shuffling can’t get you out of.
I saw herring, bullocks, curious sheep, a few jumping fish and even the otter’s homes but no otters. We purposely chose to kayak in the evening because you’re more likely to see them resting on the bank eating Cray fish. There’s so many chances to get lost in nature here – simply drifting with not a care in the world. Try it.
As we reached Lakeside Golf course I couldn’t see which way to go so I stayed straight which was a big mistake. I ended up hitting another set of rocks and got completely wedged in. Water rushed past me yet I wasn’t going anywhere. I shuffled like a mad woman and took my leg out of the kayak and kicked the boulder which help set me free a little. I dug my paddle into the creaks of the rocks to try wedge me out further which helped a little bit. I stopped for a rest because it’s hard going on your arms and suddenly realised that I had an audience from the surrounding caravan park. Now’s not the time to get embarrassed!
With a few cheers from the small crowed, I got free and the rush took me down stream! Queue big smiles.
In total, it’s about 4 and half miles which at a leisurely pace takes about 2 -21/2 hours. There’s plenty of places to stop off and snack at or in my case pour the water out of my shoes and fix my wonky seat.
I’m so looking forward to go again and by the time this comes out, I’ll have already been. I’m mega excited about getting my own kayak and I’m thinking about going on my own little adventure. That said, I don’t think I’m ready for any hardcore rapids just yet!
If you’ve never been kayaking before I can almost guarantee you’ll love it. You don’t have to share the river with anyone else and Miles picks you up at the finish point and takes you back which is handy when you’re soggy and bit tired!
Let me know how you get on!