Select Page

There are times in your life when your hear lifts and you feel that in some small way you have made a difference. The Clyweddog Sailing Club Disability Day 2014 was one of those days for me.

Clyweddog Sailing Club have being giving the less abled, both children and adults, a chance to experience being on the water in a safe and supervised way Initially this was only on sail and motor boats. In recent years a friend of mine, Martin Hurst, has offered the services of a group of kayak anglers with their kayaks to take the guests out on sit on top kayaks and canoes.

This year I was very pleased to be invited to attend as a volunteer at the event. Little was I to know how special a day it would be.

Llyn Clyweddog is a beautiful lake in the mountains of South Wales. The view as I arrived was breath taking.




This is a man made lake flooding a small village and a series of valleys making a lovely water to paddle on.



A group of us arrived the day before the event to camp over night. It would have been rude not to have an evening paddle to see the nest of a breeding pair of Ospreys. So a friendly trip with the five of us renewing acquaintances and discussing the safe handling of the event tomorrow.



We awoke the next day to see the lake swathed in a low lying mist with blue skies above. Thankfully the wind was gentle on the water.



We had a quick breakfast and prepared all the kayaks for the water as well as lashing two open canoes together to offer another option.



Safety was the watch word of the day as some of our guest would be ‘challenging’ in many ways often meaning ‘balance’ would sometimes not be their greatest skill. Hence the volunteer paddlers might be called upon to leap into the water to support any capsized paddler. Fingers crossed.

We were able to offer solo paddling, paddling a double accompanied by a volunteer or parent/carer along with a family trip on the open canoes.

We had Helen on the slipway doing a sterling job making sure PFD’s were securely fitted and adjusted correctly and then introducing each guest to the team of paddlers that would be escorting them. Off we went for a 15 minute paddle exploring one of the arms of the lake in the glorious sunshine.


Throughout the day we took some fifty guests onto the water ranging from very young through teenagers to one or two more mature ladies. The one common denominator was the smiles, laughter and thanks we received after each trip with several coming back for a second try.

One young lady made me feel very proud. She went out on a double with her father who paddled solo. After a few minutes he offered his daughter the paddle. Her first efforts are best described as ‘splashing’. Then with a little gentle coaching from her father suddenly she was paddling superbly. It was truly amazing as it was the first time she had been on the water with a paddle. Her father was beaming and vowing to get a kayak. He believed that paddling would be a real benefit to his daughter and her condition. This experience was just one of many that had me, a big ugly angler, close to tears.

Another big hit with guests was the ‘wheely boat’ which took the wheelchair bound out on the water for a little taste of speed.

All too soon the day came to an end and our guest left smiling and laughing. Still ringing in our ears were the lovely things that carers and families said about how beneficial the day was and how secure they felt leaving their treasured and fragile family and friends in our care.

I have already offered my services for next year. It is days like this that make you look at how fortunate you and your loved ones are but do not think that are guests should be pitied! They were happy and friendly people and having the chance to share time on the water wth such special people is a privilege we rarely get. I would urge all of you if you get the chance to support any event like this….DO IT! You will find it a rewarding and heart warming experience. You will leave feeling a happier person as we all did.


ROLL ON 2014 !