Paddleboard Tour of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal: Part #2

Brynich Lock to Pencelli

Part 2 of our tour of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal takes us from the Lock at Brynich to the slipway at Pencelli.

After portaging (getting off the water and carrying your craft) around the lock, you need to head through the gate and cross the road – be careful as it’s a narrow road and used by lots of tractors! After passing through the gate on the other side of the road (making sure to close the gates after you), walk along the towpath to the canoe access point – a rubber sheet on the side of the canal.

You might notice some signs at this point describing the ‘Brecon Paddling Loop’, using the River Usk and the canal – but that’s for another time! 😉

After paddling this far, you might have noticed these rubber sheets placed at points along the canal bank, with a picture of a little kayaker on a post nearby.

These access points are designated access points for paddlers so the canal bank is not damaged by hoards of kayakers, canoeists, and us SUP boarders. It also conveniently protects our craft from damage too!

Brace yourselves – were soon to be arriving at this section’s first spectacular viewpoint – this time with historical overtones! A short 100m paddle will bring you out of the trees and over the River Usk…

The view downstream from the over-220-year-old aqueduct at Brynich on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

That’s right – over the River Usk! The aqueduct you are now paddling over was built c.1800, and is a very impressive structure! As you paddle across, don’t forget to take in the beautiful views of the River Usk as it flows downstream to your left.

Straight after the aqueduct, you will pass a mooring on the left where you will regularly find friendly faces waving as you paddle past. Each and every time I’ve asked for a cup of tea and a sandwich ready for our way back, and still I’ve never got one! 😀

The River Usk turns back to meet the canal, and we follow it’s path for a while, listening to the river’s rushing white water and the relaxing birdsong from the trees all around. Trying not to fall asleep in such a chilled-out environment, paddle on until the trees open out on your right displaying a lush, green, Welsh field, often full of sheep! It’s definitely worth taking a short break here and, providing there are clear skies, grabbing your camera to snap some shots of Pen-y-Fan in the distance.

Strike a pose with the tallest mountain in the Brecon Beacons in the distance

Just around the next corner, under another classic arching bridge, you’ll find Cambrian Cruisers where you can hire a Narrow Boat. Remember that anyone can hire a narrowboat with a small amount of training – so beware of inexperienced captains!

As you near Pencelli you’ll find more narrowboats moored on the left, many with personal moorings, decking, and sheds!

Time to portage!

The final obstacle is a very low swing bridge about 6inches off the water – so best to portage around this one! After getting back on there’s only about 50m before reaching the next canoe access point, narrowboat turning space, and a convenient slipway!

You can either egress the canal here – there’s a little parking area here – or you can continue for about 100m more and egress at the Royal Oak pub on the left… but that’s the start of the next section too – so keep posted for Part #3!

If you’re interested in joining us on this guided tour from Brecon to Brynich Lock, click here:

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