Sunday, May 21, 2006

another strange site

I have pleasure in presenting another in my wierd and wonderfull internet sites series. Form the why-be-normal internet vaults I give you:

hours of endless fun chasing up those urban legends.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

a tale of two lakes

Following my non arrival at the Loch Lomond meet- up with other open canoe-ists last week I decided to make amends to myself by taking a look at one of the large reservoirs up here in North Wales. Being only an hour or so away, Llyn Brenig looked the perfect place to get some Scottish flavour, being high, windy and with moorland and coniferous forest to it's sides, together with lots of nooks and crannies.
The WCU website stated that there was an informal agreement to canoe the lake, owned by Welsh Water and built in the 70's. The Llyn Brenig website said nothing to the contrary so an early start saw me at the lake around 0830 Saturday morning. Deciding to check out the place to make sure, I came across an official notice board and there it was... watersports area, canoeing, about 2 miles round the shoreline.I arrived at the somewhat derelict 'watersports centre' and off loaded the canoe and got all the stuff into it. I had all the gear I was going to have had at LL to get a feel for it so this took some time. I got the stove going and had a 'panad' and locked the car. Just as I took a photo the Ranger hove into view and apologetically told me 'No canoeing'.To say I vented my spleen was an understatement. A long discussion ensued, which ended with my demanding that the ambiguous signage was sorted and that WW contacted the WCU to sort out the false claims being made. The Ranger was most apologetic [an open canoe'er himself he fully understood the situation.]

all dressed up with nowhere to go

Anyways there was no shifting the situation there and then and so, still fuming, I decided that since I was over this side of the County I'd go down to Llyn Tegid [Bala], even though I knew there was two regattas on [one of which was for high performance catamarans, which you don't want to be tangling with in a canoe. they do 30knots +] and the place would be swarming with tourists with it being a bank holiday w/e too.

So I took another photo of Brenig so you can see what I missed and then drove the 20 miles down to Bala.

Of course at Bala it was heaving, and it appeared that the whole of the north west motorcycle population had arrived. The problem with Bala, apart from it's popularity is that there is a busy main road running down it's whole length so it's impossible to get any of the tranquility present at Brenig. Nevertheless, I was here so a paddle would'nt be amiss.

Llyn Tegid. Aran Fawddwy in the background

A nice paddle was had, and I had a chance to try the sail out for the first time...

So intent was I to get it right I ended up down opposite Llangower point, almost at the far end of the bay and was faced with a fairly long paddle back into a now increasing headwind.

It took a good hour of hard work, where any steering stroke just seemed to stop me dead, but powering up just made me veer off. I ended up hugging the shoreline to get some shelter.I soon found that powering up and then switching sides enabled me to go upwind much more effectively, but I suspect that an investment in a kayak paddle might need to be made.I got back to the carpark as the place became full up.. I packed the gear but sat and had a bite whilst the canoe dried out. It quite a few looks from various bods but no-one asked me about it. I beat a hasty retreat soon after, the crowds were begining to get to me.

Thus ended a somewhat frustrating day out and about. I am still annoyed with WW attitude on the Brenig. It's OK to stand up to your waist in water to fish, or stand up in a boat, but a fully equiped canoe is far too risky. There are double standards there and I intend to make some noise. Chances are it will have no effect on the bean counters and shysters who are running scared of potential lawsuits, but c'mon people, canoeing is a risk sport [in the Uk at least] and those who undertake it accept the risks thereon.

Well it will make me feel better anyway