The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is 35 miles of waterways passing though some of the most scenic countryside and villages in south Wales. It would have been rude not to go for a paddle!
We decided to meet at Talybont-on-Usk, a lovely little village along the side of the canal and just a mile from the Ashford tunnel, a long and dark tunnel, perfect for testing our balance out on!
The weather leading up to this trip had been heavy snow, and although now thawing, the peaks were still white and the air temperature cold. Sun greeted us on our arrival, and we headed out on to the canal.
The canal is a very scenic place to paddle, with little bridges dotted about, views across the valley and beautifully painted house boats, the whole experience just feels great! We even encountered some ice in a slack area, which made a lovely cracking sound as our boards broke through it!
We soon approached the Ashford Tunnel, and peering through, you could just make out a faint light at the end. Tony Bain from Green Dragon Activities, gave a few tips and headed in!
We followed one by one in to the darkness. It was a little weird at first as we had to rely on touch to gauge what direction we were heading in. Every now and then you would touch the side and need to straighten up a little. With eyes fixed to the slowly growing light at the end of the tunnel, we were all soon getting the hang of it. As we reached the end of the tunnel, it suddenly lowered, banging my hand on the ceiling was a little worrying! The light grew and the side walls became visible one again as once again we were back on to the canal. It was a unique experience, and one we would do again on the return journey!
The Monmouth and Brecon canal is one of the nicest I have been on and was a joy to paddle along. Add in a long dark tunnel, and you have the makings of an adventure!