Glasbury to Bredwardine – Paddle
Paddle to Hay-on-Wye
I’d been looking forward to the paddle down the Wye, having heard it was beautiful and very scenic. And so it proved to be, what rapids there were, were a gentle relatively straightforward distraction given previous experience early on in the week with a force 7 gale in yesterday estuary. Hay-on-Wye where there was to be another short orienteering special stage in the town was as interesting and quirky as expected too.
Progress seemed very slow, I knew Hay-on-Wye was relatively close as the crow flies but what I hadn’t accounted for was the meandering nature of the river. The high banks of the river seemed to contain the view and there was very little access to the river’s edge, this meant we hardly saw anyone, it was very peaceful.
By the time we got to Hay it had been raining a while and we were again soaked through. The maps too were getting soggy. We beached the boats and immediately we were given a short briefing from Tom and an 18-century map of the town with 4 controls points marked. Some teams were finishing and pointed out the first of our controls, just on the other side of the main street. Collecting that we headed for the town centre in search of coffee and somewhere to dry off a little and sort the maps out
The Old Electric Shop, “Interesting vintage and industrial furniture, lighting and home accessories. We have cafe, galleries, shops, studios, wifi and workshops.”.
Part of the experience of Expedition Racing is meeting people along the way. The organisers and the marshals, some who were friends already, fellow competitors, many foreign teams were involved, all these encounters added to the experience in a hugely positive way. The visit to this shop in Hay was one such moment.
The whole thing has stuck in my mind since, quirky shop, great coffee and cake, friendly staff the whole atmosphere was a brief place of sanity that helped us collect our thoughts and maps and dry out a bit, it really helped us all. (sorry about the mess)
The staff showed an interest; one even said she’d like to have a go, (sorry I got the date wrong the next ITERA is in Ireland 2016 not next year but there are many other races) or maybe that’s a figment of a very sleep deprived mind.
The map proved interesting and an enjoyable tour around the town. Locals were quizzed and we successfully collected the controls with out too much delay, although the brambles also collected chunks of us too.