Everyone else having traveled to North Wales Friday night, Dave and I decided as there was no water in North Wales we would head to the Cardiff International White Water Center, a pumped course guaranteed water, paddle there for the day and then head to N. Wales to paddle with the rest of the group on the Sunday.
Arrived in Cardiff and filled in all the paper work, got changed watched the course start to fill with water and had a look at the features. Then got on the water and warmed up and waited and waited, only 1 pump would run, so after an hour we got off for a stretch and luckily half an hour later all pumps were running and we were back on ready for our first run down the course.
Talking to a local he described the course as "Like being mugged by a toddler" an excellent description as though the course looks easy there is always something that will catch you unawares if you relax too much.
Course is a similar level to the Legacy at Lee Valley but the features are more representative of a real rapid and the eddies are easier to sit in. It is very shallow in parts and has some nice surf waves and stoppers to play in.
After wearing ourselves out on the course Dave had the pleasure of driving us to meet the others in N. Wales, we arrived in time to walk down the town for dinner and a few well deserved beers. They had all paddled various parts of the Dee from Horseshoe falls to Town falls with varying degrees of success.
Sunday saw the group paddle yet again paddle the Dee this time from Horseshoe falls to JJ's. The Dee was at the lowest I have ever paddled it. We paddled as one group of thirteen (unlucky for some) Serpents Tail was the usual wall to wall plastic,some of the group running the rapid and some portaging it and others with more energy running it several times.
We then carried on down to JJ's with various paddlers playing in the various features on the way, with varying levels of success.
Thanks to Dave for being my chauffeur for the weekend and Graham for organizing the coaching and accommodation. Despite the lack of water I think everyone had an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable time.