Whitewater Aptitude is an idea in development to highlight Gavin Hart's skills, adventures and accomplishments with an insight into the thoughts and feeling he has throughout his journeys. As well as this blog please visit his Photography Portfolio Website showcasing his best photography. For shorter more regular updates on Whitewater Aptitude adventures Like it on Facebook or Follow on Twitter. Get in contact via email using gavin@whitewateraptitude.co.uk

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Pyranha Fest 2013

Pyranha Fest is a whitewater kayaking festival that runs annually at the River Tryweryn, Bala, Wales. I have been to the event three years in a row now and have not once been disappointed by the gathering.
My festival experience began this year with me running home from work to load my car up to then blast down the motorway to Gorman's house. We then transfered my kit and boat into his car and proceeded to Bala via Preston's best fried chicken takeaway! After a few dodgy sat nav directions we made it to the campsite for the event which is located on the bank of the Lower Tryweryn. We met up with Jack the other member of our crew, also a Pyranha Fest vet. Then to our surprise we stumbled upon two friends who we weren't expecting to see Pete O and Tom H. After a good catch up we all retired to be fresh for paddling in the morning. This is important as its best to get out from the campsite early as possible to get ahead of the crowds that will take up the eddys by mid morning.
 Having paddled the Tryweryn regularly each year, it has enabled me to see where I am with my paddling and its safe to say I've made a huge improvement over the past year which was even commented on by other more distant friends at the festival. In 2012 my ability and confidence was a bit dodgy not always making the eddys I wanted and always having to take the easiest lines to navigate down the grade III whitewater. This year however was quite opposite. After warming up I found myself hitting majority of the lines I wanted and when I did mess up and had to recover I did so without a splinter of doubt in myself which lead to great performance on a personal level.
Steve Marfleet
At the end of the day we blasted down the Lower Tryweryn busting out plenty of rock spins on the moss covered boulders that litter the river. After exiting the river just after Bala Mill Falls (IV) which I seemed a lot less intimidating this year we then joined all the others in the Party tent for food, drinks, music and inspiring presentations from fortunate paddlers that had been off exploring in far off places. I like to think I'll be able to give one of these presentations one day.
After a great party for the second day of the festival again we made our way back to the Upper Tryweryn this time slower and hungover. Strangely we still made it there before most crews and got to enjoy the river relatively empty of people again. Hungover and dehydrated I called it a day around lunchtime for my paddling but got out my camera and snapped some of the shots above on the teams last run of the day before all departing back to uni etc. If you are even in doubt about venturing to this festival or its suggested by mates I highly recommend it.

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