Norway….here we come!

After almost ten months of planning and preparing we are finally en-route to Norway. We currently sat at Dover awaiting our ferry. We have managed 109 miles of our approx 1200 mile journey to our campsite in Norway.

Somehow we have managed to load all our clothes, camping kit, and paddling kit and still have loads of space in the car…. something that we might find useful during our long drive up.

Car loaded up and ready to go

Car loaded up and ready to go

Half-empty boot

Half-empty boot…maybe we are missing something?

Getting some practice in…

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Norway – sixteen days and counting – I wanted to get some river-running practice in the boat I am going to be taking – my Jackson SuperHero. Despite all the rain we have experienced over the last couple of weeks, it has not been enough to bring up any rivers. This left only one option to get some river-running practice in – Canolfan Tryweryn. I was joined for the day by the Birketts – Emma and Dave. An enjoyable day was had by all and only one minor injury picked up….. Dave had a bit of play in the Ski Jump rapid – showing off to the crowd – before discovering that he couldn’t paddle out. In the ensuing attempts to escape his paddle blade came into contact with his face resulting in a minor cut to his eye-lid, which can be seen in one of the photos. Having hit himself in the face, he threw his paddles away and took a little swim!

A selection of photos are shown below – for more visit http://photos.andywicks.com/TrywerynJuly2009

Me preparing to run Miss Davies' Bridge rapid

Me preparing to run Miss Davies’ Bridge rapid

Me running Miss Davies' Bridge rapid

Me running Miss Davies’ Bridge rapid

Dave and I after running Miss Davies' Bridge rapid

Dave and I after running Miss Davies’ Bridge rapid

Dave taking off part-way down Ski Jump

Dave taking off part-way down Ski Jump

Emma running into Ski Jump

Emma running into Ski Jump

Dave following his little swim

Dave following his little swim

Surfing a pancake…

For numerous reasons there was no traditional uni trip to the French Alps this year. However, we were still determined to have a trip to the sunshine to mark the end of the year. A couple of months ago we decided to run a trip to a beach in South Wales for some kayak surfing action – a trip which was duly organised by Emma P.

The weekend was drawing closer and both the weather and surf forecasts were looking decidedly less than favourable. The surf forecasts were predicting pretty much no surf all weekend and the weather forecasts was predicting somewhere between showers and horrendous storms! Thankfully at least one of those forecasts was partially wrong, as we were blessed with almost cloudless skies for the majority of Saturday.

Due to an AC/DC concert taking place at Wembley on Friday and everyone going there clogging up my drive home from Northampton we didn’t end up arriving at Hill End Camp-site until about half-past eleven. After watching Emma quickly putting up the tent we headed down to the beach to meet the others – most of whom had been drinking for quite a few hours by the time we got there! A sedate few hours were spent catching up whilst enjoying a few beers.

Saturday started off way too early – Emma woke up at eight o’clock and decided that it was time we were all up! Looking towards the sky it seemed that the weather forecasters were going to be proven correct as all we could see was a blanket of cloud. A quick trip to the cafe for breakfast was required before heading into Llangennith to experience the local market. This was followed by a day spent mostly enjoying the sunshine on the beach – a spot of rounders, some reading and a swim in the sea. A couple of us also managed to get out on the sea in our boats, attempting to surf what can only loosely be described as ‘waves’ as they were almost non-existent.

Saturday night was spent around a camp-fire on the beach. On of the group had brought along some Fire Poi and much fun was had playing with this, and the accompanying paraffin…. fire breathing… fire balls… all very silly (not to mention dangerous) but great fun none-the-less.

Sunday morning arrived and we were greeted with cloud-covered skies, but after a hearty breakfast at the on-site cafe, we again headed to the beach. As the weather was not as warm as the previous day, trousers and jumpers were more in fashion than the boardies and bikinis of the day before. In addition to the clouds, the wind had also picked up. This allowed Jethro to get his kite out for some entertainment. It turned out that his kite had quite a bit of power – certainly enough to drag me across the beach no matter how hard I tried to remain in full control.

Below are a selection of photos from the weekend – more are available at http://photos.andywicks.com/SouthWalesSurfing

The boats spent most of the weekend on the beach

The boats spent most of the weekend on the beach

Miles recovering from a session in the 'massive' surf

Miles recovering from a session in the water

Vicky taking her boat for a walk

Vicky taking her boat for a walk

Jethro trying to tame the kite

Jethro trying to tame the kite

The kite in question

The kite in question

Jethro

Jethro

Me having a go with the kite

Me having a go with the kite

The freshers

The freshers

Sion doing what he does best.... eating

Sion doing what he does best… eating

Some of the old(er) boys

Some of the old(er) boys