Follow the brown signs
It’s day 7 of my alternative torch relay of Britain and we’re metaphorically jogging with our flaming torches (which we might sell on ebay later if we’re a bit strapped for cash) from Worcester and over the Welsh border to Cardiff, passing through more of Herefordshire, famous for it’s cider and Hay-on-Wye literary festival. The Wye river cuts through our route today and so far we’ve had our feet very much planted on terra firma so I think it’s important we spend some time on the water, it’s an absolutely glorious day afterall.
The Wye river is the 5th longest in Britain and begins in the Welsh mountains at Plynlimon from where it meanders south along the Welsh/English border (at various points actually forming the physical border itself), then down until it meets the Severn Estuary just after Chepstow.
I’ve always wanted to canoe down the Wye (recently I very nearly persuaded a friend of mine to spend her whole hen weekend doing it but sadly failed in my attempts) so when I saw that the Olympic torch would be passing that way I thought I’d feature a canoe brown sign on the blog (they have their very own dedicated symbol don’t you know, and it happens to be a personal favourite).
Wye Valley Canoes technically don’t have a brown sign…yet. They are in the process of getting one and as these guys are absolutely brilliant at what they do and are the kind of people we love along The Brown Sign Way I think I can bend the rules just a little. The Wye Valley Canoe Centre are all about getting everyone out and properly enjoying this gorgeous mixed ethnicity river. They run various trips and courses, from 2 hours to whole weeks, with everything a canoe paddling virgin (like me) needs to get themselves on the water and enjoying the countryside in a way most of us don’t very often. The best trip is clearly the camping/b&b-ing option, paddling as far down the river as you can for 5 whole days if you like, watching the wildlife not your iPad, travelling through fields not motorways and getting your food from country pubs not the supermarket. Now does that not sound like absolute, unadulterated, amazing, cry-your-eyes-out-fantastic BLISS? Yes it bloody well does. And at just £30 a day for hire, which includes pick up from wherever you manage to paddle yourself to, that my friends is also a serious bargain.
Maybe the Olympic canoers will make it up this way for a bit of a leisurely paddle on one of our most scenic rivers after their Olympic efforts, I very much hope so, and by that time all they’ll have to do is www.followthebrownsigns.com! Good luck with the brown sign acquisition Wye Valley Canoes, may more people be inspired to visit you and experience what you have to offer them 🙂