Sunday, 2 March 2008

On the Taff - 02/03/08

Decided on a different type of water this weekend as I thought that the wind was a bit too strong for going any decent distance on the sea, therefore opted for a paddle on my local river, the Taff. I launched just above Radyr Weir and paddled up river. Even though it wasn't very high the flow was surprisingly strong and I averaged only about 2.2mph!

Just as I got to the motorway bridge I made my customary detour to the opposite side of the river so as not to disturb the 'ever so friendly' fishermen, should leave them a bag for their rubbish!!

As I pass under the bridge I get my first glimpse of Castell Coch, meaning Red Castle, nestled in the trees.

This fairytale creation of the Victorian age was designed by William Burges for the 3rd Marquis of Bute. The Castle was rebuilt from the ruins of a medieval castle and, with a few exceptions, is a fairly authentic reconstruction, at least externally.

The original castle was probably built at the end of the 11th century or early in the 12th century, and it was possibly at this time that the stone castle comprising a small oval courtyard with three circular towers was built by the Normans at Castell Coch.

Abandoned early in the 14th century, work commenced in 1875 on the complete restoration of the castle which was made into a comfortable home despite intentions to only use it occasionally in the summer. Burges died in 1881 and the castle was not completed until ten years later, however he left detailed drawings of the interiors which were completed by his team of craftsmen.

Next up 'playtime'.

This section of the River is the first bit of rough water, not much but enough to have a bit of fun with. You can often catch a small wave here, nothing like the scale of The Bitches but a good practice all the same. Paddled on for a short while, up as far as the footbridge by Taff's Well railway station, which is now receiving a well needed face lift, then turned back down river.

After a short play about in the rougher water again I carried on down river to The Weir. Radyr Weir was first constructed during 1774-1775 to provide water along a feeder to power the Mellingriffith tin-plate works. This weir is the third obstruction to migratory fish and kayakers on the river Taff, the others being Llandaff Weir and Blackweir, all of these have fish passes.

Weir could have done with a bit more water in it for a better ride down, but still got a fair soaking!

Since the early 1980s the salmon and sea trout stocks in the Taff have been recovering from nearly 200 years of industrial pollution and exploitation. During 1993 the National Rivers Authority monitored over 500 salmon and 700 sea trout returning to the river to spawn. Therefore warranting a need for these fish passes at the weirs, although not quite sure how they get up them!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I looked up your blog after paddling with you around Skomer and Skokholm yesterday. Impressive video of surfing at the Bitches.

I've never heard of anyone paddling a kayak UP the Taff. (Radyr weir at that level shown is dodgy). Thought you might like to see some of the Taff higher up. Here's a link to a video of Dragon Paddlers' Christmas paddle there. We run it all the time.

If you fancy coming along some time, let me know. You'll find my contact details on the club web site:

Hope to see you on the sea again.