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News article created on 4 February 2015

My calm spot: Gilwern, Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

The most soothing location on the canals – as decided by you.

We wanted to know about the calmest places on the waterways so we put out a tweet. Iain Swanson replied first, so we asked him about beautiful sunrises, rewarding fishing trips and friendships formed along his calm spot. “It’s more than a canal, it’s like one of the family.”

“I was lucky enough to grow up next to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal at Gilwern. The canal holds a lot of memories in my heart as I spent so many hours there fishing or just walking along it, enjoying the breathtaking Monmouthshire scenery.

Being a keen angler, I feel privileged to have seen the canal's beauty at its very finest, and can recall many times being sat there fishing, witnessing a golden sunrise with just hovering dragonflies for company. At times, if I'm honest, it didn't really matter if I caught anything or not; fishing was a great excuse to be there. Of course myself and friends who I fished with as young lads did catch a lot of lovely fish from the water, and several tales and legends about fish we caught or ones that got away are still spun today.

This landscape is more than just a canal to me; it is a huge part of my life, almost like one of the family. Friendships were formed and strengthened on the banks of this canal, each of us appreciating it for all it was worth. Even the local pub, the Navigation Inn, has a beer garden that backs on to it, so I get to enjoy it socially as well as recreationally.

Nowadays even though I don't get to fish it as much as I used to, or would like to, every time I'm there or walking along the towpath, memories flood back of a canal that I've loved and enjoyed for 30 years, making it my own little calm spot in the world.”


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