Only the brave: Paddleboarders tackle 70ft Chirk Aqueduct

By Sue Austin | Mid Wales | News | Published:

The thought of walking or boating over an aqueduct towering hundreds of feet over a valley fills many with dread.

So when about 40 people took to Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) to cross the 70ft Chirk Aqueduct they drew a great deal of interest.

The expedition, which saw the SUP owners paddle part of the World Heritage Llangollen canal including the aqueduct and the 'Darkie' tunnel, was organised by instructor, Alex Thornhill.

Based on the Wirral, Mr Thornhill said he chose the Shropshire border because of the beauty of the area and the spectacular aqueduct.

Paddleboarding on the Llangollen Canal

"Over Christmas myself and a group of 12 friends had an SUP outing to Lancaster and had such a good time that I decided why not see if other like minded people wanted to join us in a different trip.

"We had people travel to Chirk from as far as Kent, Cambridge and Birmingham. It was a great day."

"We asked people to make sure they had head torches for the tunnel but some of them put lights all around their boards and one even brought a disco ball with him."

Going through Chirk tunnel on a paddleboard


"The aqueduct was incredible. Because it has the viaduct next to it you get an idea of what you are crossing and how high up it is."

He said that paddleboarding had really taken off since inflatable ones were introduced.

"You can roll them up and put them in the car - and even in a suitcase to go on the plane."

"Paddleboarding is so good for fitness - you have to have a good core. And people of all ages can do it, from children to people in their 60s and above. "

Mr Thornhill who runs Xt-Sup, said he was now organising a trip to the Comic Con event in Liverpool when paddleboarders would be asked to dress in super-hero or villain costumes.

More information is available from the Xt-Sup Facebook page.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.


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