Canoeing is a popular sport at Monmouth School for Boys. The school pool, River Wye and a range of trips keep pupils of all ages engaged in this exciting outdoor pursuit. The Canoe Club made several trips this year including a visit to the ever popular upper Usk – a playground of white water on which newly-learned skills were tested to the full.
A very active year in the Canoe Club saw five students from Years 10 and 11, who have been honing their skills at the Cardiff White Water Centre in slalom-training sessions on Tuesday evenings, successfully completing their BCU 3* Award. Their assessment took place on a swollen Upper Usk on the last wintery weekend of the Lent Term when all other sports fixtures were, not surprisingly, cancelled. The boys showed no small amount of grit in some challenging conditions, demonstrating their ability both to paddle a river in spate and to rescue each other using ropes, boats and slings.
In June this group enjoyed taking on the infamous “Graveyard” section of the Tryweryn River in North Wales and spent two days at this national whitewater centre in baking heat enjoying the dam-release rapids. They again practised swift-water rescues and ran the mighty Bala Falls. This was part of the Llangollen Camp which saw 13 kayakers spending the second weekend of Half term in this beautiful valley. The intermediate group ran a section of the River Dee and practised their white water skills on the Slalom Site at Mile End Mill. They gained a lot of confidence in water that was bath-time temperature and there was a lot of swimming down the rapids. An evening trip over the Pontystyclle canal viaduct saw them paddling 200 feet above the Dee valley.
Trips to Southerndown Beach, the Upper Usk and the Monnow helped students learn new skills and in July the club entered its first team into the slalom competition in the Gemau Cymru Games. Three medals were won in the flat races and the boys enjoyed the challenging conditions of the white water course in the slalom events.
Watch this short video of our Llangollen Trip this year:
White Water in North Wales
Thirteen boys spent a broiling Half term weekend developing their kayaking skills on the white water of North Wales. An advanced group ran the grade IV section of the Tryweryn over Bala Falls and spent a challenging time on the slalom section of the National Whitewater Centre. A group of intermediates and beginners learned how to surf waves, evade stoppers , swim down rapids and swift-water rescue techniques in the friendlier waters of the Upper Dee. With a group of five Y10 and Y11 boys achieving their BCU Three Star award in February it has been a very active few months for the club.
Former Student in Great Britain Freestyle Kayak Team Selection
OM Richard Longley, took part in the Great Britain Freestyle Kayak Team selection process in the 2006 European Championships. This took place at the National Watersports Centre, Holme Pierepoint, Nottingham. He entered both the Junior Mens’ Kayak class and the Mens’ Canoe Class. Richard competed in six separate events and performed eighteen runs in three different water features. Richard won at the “Inlet Gate”, almost doubling his rival’s score. Overall he finished second in the Junior Class, securing him a place on the Great Britain team for the third year in a row.
Sixth Former, Ben, competed in freestyle competitions last summer and was selected for freestyle coaching by GB coaches. He is continuing to make great strides in the new sport. Other kayaking achievements are the participation of Matt (VI.2) in an expedition on the River Zansker in Norther India, and his brother (OM) Nick who helped lead an Oxford University expedition to Sir Lanka where several first descents were made.