Aqua Eco Travels
Posted on September 16 2019
Aqua Eco Travels with Aladdin in Wales
This summer, one of our Aladdin Leak-Proof Travel Coffee Cups went on an aqua adventure in Wales. Aladdin took Katy, one of the Aqua Living crew, along for the ride. Read on to see the waterways wandered and rivers revelled in southern Wales through Katy’s eyes with her trusty Aladdin travel mug to hand.
Cardiff – Glamorganshire Canal, River Taff and Radyr Weir
First stop was Forest Farm Country Park and the Glamorganshire Canal Local Nature Reserve on part of the Taff Trail. A three-mile route took Katy and her Aladdin past a couple of bird hides on farmland that met grassland and reed beds, welcoming a diverse array of wildlife. Half an hour’s contemplation here resulted in a close-encounter with a bejewelled jay, a crouching heron, a brood of fluffy moorhen chicks, scurrying squirrels, roaming rabbits and nearby nesting great tits. However, alas, no elusive kingfisher.
After a stroll through the flourishing ancient beech and oak woodland, the landscape transformed again. It was the first watery wonder – the Glamorganshire Canal, where lush overhanging sun-dappled trees and trailing channels evoked an essence of the Amazon. Tranquil and dotted with lily pads, happy waterfowl bathed as it began to spot with rain. This path ended with an ode to history, a heritage lock gate covered in weed and brush – part of an old transport route rejuvenated into a home for wetland wildlife.
From here, the circular route took Katy along the River Taff and towards the Radyr Weir Hydroelectric Scheme. With three cormorants crowning its top, the weir was a fascinating find. The scheme uses the river’s power to create clean, renewable energy. The hydropower facility has two Archimedean screws. These can have up to 9000 litres of water per second pass through them and generate enough power for around 550 homes a year. At the side of the weir (the walled off section to the right in the photo) there’s even two fish passes that allow migratory fish – such as salmon, trout and lampreys – to travel upstream to spawn. A constant flow of fish has also helped local otter numbers to increase. This leg of the journey culminated in a torrential downpour – thank Neptune for the Aladdin travel mug full of piping hot herbal tea!
Aladdin leakproof mug at Radyr Weir
Brecon – Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal and River Usk
On the northern edge of the Brecon Beacons, which is awash with wonderful waterfalls and watersports opportunities, lies the small town of Brecon. From Probert’s Basin in Brecon Katy and Aladdin enjoyed the next part of their amazing aqua adventure – a 6-mile stroll along part of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. Made up of a small network of waterways, the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal follows the line of the Usk Valley through the Brecon Beacons National Park. The scenery is stunning with verdant trees sheltering the canal from the road on the left and vistas of the Black Mountains and Wales’ ubiquitous grazing sheep to the right.
Having explored this stretch the previous year by canal boat, Katy was keen to get a closer look at the flora and fauna along the towpath. There were delicious dog roses to sniff, dainty darting butterflies to follow and even squeaking mammals in the hedgerow to identify. Plenty of day-trippers and passers-through alike travelled up and down the waterway too. It was especially interesting for Katy to experience Brynich Lock (one of six locks on the canal) from above this time. With each rise and lower, the lock provided time to appreciate the mechanics as well as the community spirit such traditional ways of life muster.
Aladdin travel mug at Brynich Lock
Aladdin travel mugs looking towards Brynich Aqueduct
Over the road, there was an opportunity for Katy and Aladdin to get a different view of the River Usk and the beautiful Brynich Aqueduct. One of the largest canal aqueducts in South Wales, Brynich has four arches that carry the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal over the river.With a number of important fish species and high water quality, the Usk is of significance as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and special area of conservation (SAC). This was the ideal place to stop for a cuppa and a chocolate brownie – what a view!
Hay-on-Wye – River Wye
The last part of Aladdin’s magic carpet ride, and where the trusty travel mug kept Katy’s drink cool for a warm half day, was a canoeing trip along the River Wye. Starting out on a gloriously sunny Thursday morning for a 5.25-mile paddle from Hay-on-Wye to Whitney – doused in sun cream with Aladdin travel cup, map and binoculars at hand – our aqua adventurer was ready for action! With all equipment and as much instruction as needed provided by Want to Canoe, who also collect you from your finish point, Katy had a fantastic hassle-free paddle in a beautiful location.
Again hopeful of seeing the elusive kingfisher and perhaps an otter, she was out of luck. But – with sheep taking a dip at the water’s edge, a huge swoop of sand martins nesting along the sand banks, buzzards soaring overhead and dragonflies flitting around the vegetation – there was plenty to marvel. A variety of waterfowl along the route, from characterful Canada geese to gorgeous goosanders, was a joy too.
Aladdin travel mug in a canoe on the River Wye
Let Aladdin take you on an aqua adventure
We hope you enjoyed Katy’s aqua eco travels with her Aladdin travel cup via Wales’ waterways and you too feel inspired to embrace the aqua lifestyle. Whatever waterway you explore and by whatever means you do it – by foot, by boat or by paddle craft – your portable and refillable Aladdin travel cup should always be to hand.
Not only is the Aladdin travel mug a user-friendly size for stowing away in your walking bag or pocket but it’s leak-proof too. It will keep your hot drinks toasty while you’re out and about when there’s a chill in the air. Equally, it will keep cool drinks to temperature when the sun’s shining. Aladdin also offers high quality refillable water bottles. Made from 100% recycled materials, our Aladdin Eco Leak-Proof Recycled & Recyclable Travel Coffee Cups, 350ml are excellent value and an aqua adventure knapsack essential.
For more water bottles, travel mugs and kayaking accessories click on the links below: