Graduates tell tale of kayaking in Afghanistan

By Cambrian News reporter in Local People

TWO former students returned to Aberystwyth to relive their kayaking adventures in a country better known as a war zone than a white water destination.

James Smith and Joe Rea-Dickins spent 10 days paddling down the Panjshir river in northern Afghanistan with fellow kayakers Callum Scott and Kristof Stursa.

The group of four are now taking tales of their travels on tour around the UK and Ireland, with a special event in the Seddon Room of Aberystwyth University’s Old College held last week.

James Smith, who studied marketing and German in Aberystwyth from 2008 to 2012, said a return visit to the university was a must.

“I had an excellent time at Aber and have very many fond memories of my time here,” said James, who was president of the AU Canoe Club from 2009 to 10. “One of the main reasons I chose the university was because it had one of the best canoe clubs in the UK. The course was smashing of course, but the club became a big part of university life for me and it’s great to see it’s still going strong.

“Our trip to Afghanistan came about as a result of another trip we made while still at university to Pakistan.

“It made us realise that you can still visit these places and have a good time. We had escorts with us the entire trip and didn’t feel in danger at any time. In fact, we were made to feel incredibly welcome.

“We’re now planning to set up a kayaking expedition business in India so my marketing degree will come in handy.”

See this week’s south editions for the full story, in shops and online now

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