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Slow down and contemplate: stand-up paddle on Vieilles Forges lake
Absolute calm on the waters of Vieilles Forges lake with CAP Ardennes Events
5 mins OF ESCAPE
In October, the lake of Vieilles Forges at Les Mazures becomes a place of absolute calm. Only a few fishing boats can be seen, as well as some rare walkers whose laughter can sometimes be heard echoing from one bank to another.
An autumn session of stand-up paddle
We park the car on the huge car park of the Vielles Forges lake watersports centre. Apparently, tourists flock here in the summer to try a whole host of nautical activities, including sailing, kayaking and rowing. They also come just to savour an icecream and admire the natural surroundings of this beauty spot.
AT the Cap Ardennes SUP centre, two lovely paddleboards are ready for us
No wetsuits are available out of season, so we'll do our best not to fall in the lake - the water's pretty cold! Although the air temperature makes it feel like summer, it's another story when you dip your toes in the lake, which we choose to avoid doing!
Cap Ardennes SUP proposes a whole range of watersports (canoeing, pedalo, stand-up paddle) as well as dry activities (mountain biking, survival courses, hiking, archery, etc.), all under the supervision of an enthusiastic team of sports lovers.
Peter, my partner, has already had several goes at stand-up paddling. For me, this is the second time and I don't feel very stable to start with. So he does his best to show me the right movements and how to keep the correct posture. It only takes me about fifteen minutes to master the technique... But I'm on still on my guard, determined not to take an unplanned dip. It's easy and it's great fun!
After a hesitant start, I finally start enjoying myself, floating along on this stretch of water that's as smooth and shiny as oil, and surrounded by dense vegetation.
We're lucky enough to have the lake of Vieilles Forges virtually to ourselves. Today, this playground belongs to us!
Exceptional moments on the water
We paddle almost to the far end of the lake, beckoned by the unspoilt wilderness of its banks: this is a pleasant version of sea hiking, except that you use your arms instead of your feet. As my confidence grows, I try changing positions, kneeling on the board, then sitting cross-legged.
We stay for a good hour, contemplating the world from the middle of the lake, playing with our reflections and shadows and taking tons of photos. There's no wind today, just the waning sun of an autumn afternoon.
This is the tail end of summer: what a joy it is to be able to spend it here, together, in the middle of nowhere!
Peter bravely decides to take a dip. He doesn't stay in the water for very long but he feels great afterwards. As for me, no way, I'm staying dry! I'm happy here, lying on my board and enjoying the lingering warmth of the sun's rays.
Return to dry land
When it's time to turn back, I feel a little sad. The approaching banks get bigger. We can see the little dam at the end of the lake and three onlookers with their dog. The fishermen's chatting gets louder... The return to civilisation, to everyday life. We would have liked to stay longer. I wonder if it's possible to pitch a tent on a paddleboard?