I headed down the River Wye in a canoe, pretending to be in Swallows and Amazons.
Canoeing the River Wye
Struggling with your stress levels? I suggest you go get yourself a big green canoe. It’s impossible to worry about much when all you’re planning to do with your day is meander down a glorious river in good company, possibly with some cider consumption looming in your future. That is exactly what my friend Sam and I did last weekend, pootling down the Wye in our trusty boat. It didn’t rain, there was Prosecco. And it was pretty lush.
The night before we stayed at the lovely Wye Valley YHA, which is a very fine hostel indeed. A big, rambling former rectory looking out over the river, it’s nestled in beautiful grounds where you can spot deer peeking out from the woods, steal apples from the orchard and eat breakfast on the terrace whilst swifts dart in and out of the rafters. This is where the Reverend Gilpin coined the word ‘picturesque’ in the 18th century, which saves me having to wax on about quite how bucolic the lands round these parts are.
We hired our Canadian canoe from Canoe the Wye, who kitted us up with paddles and attractive life vests, drove us upriver to Ross on Wye and saw us off onto the water. And then we proceeded to have the most relaxed day ever, paddling gently through the changing countryside. The Wye runs through dense woodland and open meadows, past grazing cows and patient fishermen, by castles and villages and into the Forest of Dean. It was all a bit like being in a Visit England advert, which is no bad thing.
We moored our boat halfway down the river for a Prosecco-fuelled lunch and then wore our arms out paddling the final few miles into the glorious gorge at Symonds Yat, which towers over the river and makes you feel a little bit like you’re paddling on the Amazon, only with less piranhas.
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