Volume 10 Issue 5

   May 2010

May Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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Major Trip Reports.…
 


27/04/10 Many thanks to all who have helped prepare our storage at the docks

Over the past month or so many people have helped build canoe racks, a storage shed and a pontoon or have donated equipment, time or materials.  We would like to say a special thank you to Hana and Tomas Mracek who have donated hangers and equipment as they are returning to the Czech Republic.  I hope they will keep in touch via emails and the website. 

 

The club has taken delivery of the first of two open boats which are essential to our coaching over the summer.  Although many members bring their own boats to club sessions we now have a every increasing variety of  canoes and kayaks which are available to all to widen their experience.  There has also been some discussion regarding the limited use of club boats away from the docks for club weekends and trips.  An online booking system could be developed to facilitate this but we would be interested in hearing your views.  Please talk to any of the coaches at club sessions or email website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk

27/04/10 Monday Night Talk – A paddlers Diet
As a follow up to Frankies Talk in December on nutrition and energy for paddling she has produced a set of comprehensive notes and menus that may be of interested to both competitive and recreational paddlers.  Click here to view them…..

27/04/10 Club Paddles
If you fancy paddling on any of the proposed trips this year then please consider offering to act as a coordinator. You won’t be in charge of the trip; you just select the date(s) and act as a contact point to give information / gather prospective numbers etc. Contact Keith Steer with offers of help or suggested trips.  All coordinators will take a list of names and contact numbers before paddlers get on the water - please contact the coordinator before the trip.

 

 

28.04.2010

Wednesday Evening Local Paddle - Chester Weir and River Dee flatwater section above CH1 1SD Click for maps.

28.04.2010

Becky Mason - Open Canoeing talk at Brookbank Shop Stockport - Click for link

29.04.2010

Help needed to move our boats to the docks immediately after the pool session.

29.04.2010

Polo Training for polo squad members and anyone who has access to a suitable boat - Contact Dinny Davies if you would like to join us

29.04.2010

Last weekly pool session until next winter at the Kingsway Leisure Centre - Widnes. 20+ boats and paddles available. Click for more information. Pool time 9 to 10 pm. Arrive for 8:30pm to get ready. Coaching for beginners, improvers and more advanced.

30.04.2010 -
03.05.2010

3rd annual Pembrokeshire Weekend - Surf, Sea trips, mountain biking, coast walks, climbing and BBQ - Coordinator Keith S

 

04.05.2010

Come and Try it Session - Anyone who would like to give paddling a try can drop in at our base by the harbour club for a free taster session - click here for more details (Dom Buckley)

 

04.05.2010

First General Club Night - Liverpool Marina Harbour Club Car Park - 6:30 for 7pm on the water start to 8:30 (or Dusk)

 

05.05.2010

Wednesday Evening Local Paddle - Leeds / Liverpool Canal Aintree L10 8JQ Click for maps.

06.05.2010

Polo Training for polo squad members and anyone who has access to a suitable boat - Contact Dinny Davies if you would like to join us

 

06.05.2010

General Club Night - Liverpool Marina Harbour Club Car Park 6:30 for 7pm on the water start to 8:30 (or Dusk)

07.05.2010 -
09.05.2010

34th Annual Scout & Guide Training Weekend at Bala - Some BCU courses available to members with pre-requisites - BCU Coaches from LCC usually offer to help with the courses and assessments - Coordinator Alison Bell Click for more information

10.05.2010

Sea Kayak Rescues - Keith S. Every second Monday of every month we hold a mini-lecture or talk at the Liverpool Marina 8.00pm start - All those interested in paddlesport are most welcome (you do not need to be a member of the club). Click for details

2010-05-11 

11.05.2010

General Club Night - Liverpool Marina Harbour Club Car Park 6:30 for 7pm on the water start to 8:30 (or Dusk)

 

12.05.2010

Wednesday Evening Local Paddle - Bridgewater Canal - Runcorn WA7 1JH Click for maps.

 

13.05.2010

General Club Night - Liverpool Marina Harbour Club Car Park 6:30 for 7pm on the water start to 8:30 (or Dusk)

15.05.2010

Conwy Ascent Canoe Race and Tour - Starts from the Beacons Car park next to Conway Marina and paddle up the beautify tidal estuary of the River Conway to Dolgarrog Bridge - approximately 2hrs

 

18.05.2010

General Club Night - Liverpool Marina Harbour Club Car Park 6:30 for 7pm on the water start to 8:30 (or Dusk)

 

19.05.2010

Wednesday Evening Local Paddle - Crosby Beach (By Coastguard Station) Click for maps.

 

20.05.2010

General Club Night - Liverpool Marina Harbour Club Car Park 6:30 for 7pm on the water start to 8:30 (or Dusk)

21.05.2010 -
23.05.2010

Anglesey Weekend 1 - Sea kayak, Surf and playwave - Coordinator Kirk Williams

 

25.05.2010

General Club Night - Liverpool Marina Harbour Club Car Park 6:30 for 7pm on the water start to 8:30 (or Dusk)

 

26.05.2010

Wednesday Evening Local Paddle - Chester Weir and River Dee flatwater section above CH1 1SD Click for maps.

 

27.05.2010

General Club Night - Liverpool Marina Harbour Club Car Park 6:30 for 7pm on the water start to 8:30 (or Dusk)

29.05.2010 -
06.06.2010

NW Scotland - Skye - 7 day extended expedition led by Keith S and Ian Bell. Coordinator Frankie Annan

 

01.06.2010

Come and Try it Session - Anyone who would like to give paddling a try can drop in at our base by the harbour club for a free taster session - click here for more details (Dom Buckley)

12.06.2010 -
13.06.2010

Merseyside Canoe Polo Tournament - Contact Dinny Davies if you would like to play for one of our sides

14.06.2010

Every second Monday of every month we hold a mini-lecture or talk at the Liverpool Marina 8.00pm start - All those interested in paddlesport are most welcome (you do not need to be a member of the club). Click for details

15.06.2010

Pyranha and Kayaks North West Demo Boat Evening - Come and try a selection of demo boats at our usual club night venue - Liverpool Marina

19.06.2010 -
20.06.2010

North West Region Coaching Weekend - Coaching for everyone - contact Ian Bell

26.06.2010 -
27.06.2010

Cheshire Ring 2010

27.06.2010

Kayak Safety Cover for Liverpool Triathlon - As many club paddlers as possible are needed to help our 4 kayak Safety teams to provide cover for the Liverpool Triathlon - coordinator Brian Green

02.07.2010 -
04.07.2010

North Wales Weekend Staying at Kirks House near Bala or camp in the back garden. Paddle the Tryweryn on Saturday & LCC run White Water Rescue skills day on Sunday using either the Tryweryn (if running) or River Dee. Contact Helen Seirtsema for a place. Places on White Water Rescues Skills Day are limited.

10.07.2010 -
11.07.2010

Capel Curig Weekend (1 and 2 Star Training and Assessments together with an easy river trip for those that want to paddle the LLugwy) Possible 3 star white water assessment as well - Coordinator Keith S

16.07.2010 -
18.07.2010

Alternative Anglesey - The endless summer weekend - Coordinator Mike Alter

23.07.2010 -
08.08.2010

2010 - 7th Annual Club Holiday in the French Alps (Briancon) - ideal for playboaters, opens, families and those wishing an introduction to moving water - Contact Keith S if you would like to join us.

01.08.2010

Ironman UK 2010 - Kayak Safety Cover Team to cover this event in Leigh (Pennington flash Country Park) - We need 30 club members to help out - Coordinator Brian Green

07.08.2010 -
08.08.2010

The London Triathlon 2010 - Kayak Safety Cover Team - Coordinator Brian Green

 

13.08.2010 -
15.08.2010

London International Polo Tournament - Come and join our team in London for the weekend, a fun event with access to a safe Lake - Contact Keith S for more information

16.08.2010 -
01.09.2010

2010 Trans Alaskan Sea Kayak Expedition. Following our 2008 successful expedition to Prince William Sound we hope to cross the sound from Whittier to Valdez. (200 miles approx 12 days kayaking) Anyone interested in joining us should speak to Keith S

11.09.2010

Seaquest and Seatour Races on the River Wyre Estuary - Click for more information

30.10.2010

Halloween Paddle - Evening paddle in the dark along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Maghull. Please bring a torch, Costume or Halloween Mask, any spare day glow lightsticks or similar. Coordinators Jim Slater and Justin Cooper

 

Click here for the main Calendar for weekly trips to white water play spots. Informal trips arranged by club members are circulated by the club`s Googlegroups email system.

 

22/04/10 Wednesday night paddle – Runcorn Bridge

11 of us managed to navigate to last nights, Wednesday evening paddle – the first of the season.  The launching area was a small slipway along side the Mersey Hotel on the river right of the Mersey directly under the bridge.  The narrow concrete slipway is accessible for at least half-tide and above.  While preparing for the paddle we had numerous interesting conversations with the local drunk but the locals in the hotel were friendly enough and remembered our last visit a month or so ago.

 

The tide was already ebbing and although neaps was moving at about 2-3 knots around the bridge supports.  A series of small waves appeared which allowed for some surfing and general messing about but the cold breeze was soon felt on our hands.  We paddled up to a disused lock on the Manchester ship canal and tried to see who could drive their boat the furthest up the slimy mud bank. 

 

We have a different venue for every Wednesday throughout the summer.  Please click through the calendar or venues pages for details.  Most venues are suitable for any type of boat or experience and there is always someone who will give you guidance and look after you.  Next Wednesday we are at Chester Weir or you can paddle the flat water above. (remember your helmet if playing in the weir).  For more information click here…….   More Photos…..

 

21/04/10 White Water Norway and Nepal Talk by Phil Holland 19th April

Last night saw the Phil, Dinny and Katie show!  Lots of video footage together with fascinating photos and light-hearted but entertaining commentary from Philip. Unfortunately the upstairs lecture room has not been finished yet with the projector waiting a final connection with the jack into the wall.  This meant lots of switching between the  plethora of laptops and DVD players at the head of the table but the tales of adventure made up for this.

 

Norway

Upon entering Norway the quartet were reminded on the laws about the need to wear seat-belts at all times by customs.  They all replied that this was not a problem.  However, the customs official was keen to ensure these fitted correctly and opened the rear doors of the van “you haven’t even got a seat!” she exclaimed and two of the four were sent on their way to hire a car.  Of course, Mike picked them up a little further down the road.

Waterfall and slab-rides sum up many of the rivers paddled.  Some of the video footage had to be seen to be believed.

 

Nepal

Six rivers paddling 11 sections in 11 days, flagging down local buses to get around with the boats and sleeping in local tea-houses.  We were treated to some excellent photos of the paddling on the Trisuli, Modi Khola, Kali Gandaki, Marysandi, Balephi Khola and Bhote Kosi.

Click for more photos…….

For more information on paddling in Nepal click here for the online guide……. 

 

If anyone is interested in a trip to the region in Easter 2011 and is happy paddling on grade 4/5 then please contact website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk

 

Thanks again Phil for a fascinating talk.  

 

Monday evening talks through the summer If any member is willing to share their experiences during one of the monthly evening talks or you have requests for topics please email ideas to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk

21/04/10 The Wye Open Boat Trip Easter 2010
The plan was set, a trip down the Wye over the Easter weekend for those short of time, or lasting well into the week after for those wanting to do the whole 251 km!

 

The trip is suitable for kayaks, but in the end all three paddlers (Ian B, Keith S and Mike A) chose to paddle open boats, taking all camping kit along with us. I was paddling 2 days, Ian 4 and Keith to the end of the river - or until he got bored!

 

Day 1 - Rhyader to Builth Wells (ish)

 

The group met in the pouring rain at Rhayader to find a River Wye that was, to put it plainly, rather high! Few, this meant that there was going to be a good flow assisting us as we paddled the 26km to Builth Wells. Cars shuttled, we headed out onto the river with hoods up (helmets on in my case) and were soon settling into the rhythm of the trip as we paddled the grade 2 - 3 river through the wild majestic that is this part of Wales.

 

 It was a really claggy day, mist in the air and snow on the hills, but that didn't diminish spirits as we bailed both the river and rain water out of the canoes - point to me, remember the bailer! Point to Ian, remember to remind me about the bailer that I had just mentioned that I needed to remember! Lack of bailer aside, the miles cruised by as we switched from smooth fast flowing waters to the intervening rapids and back again, all the time accompanied by Kites flying overhead, squirrels darting along the river bank and otters eyeing us warily from the safety of their domain.

 

Suddenly the ominous roar of significantly larger rapids greeted us, and with discretion being the best part of valour, it was decided that we needed to get out and scout. I was soooooo glad, after kneeling for over 4 hours I needed the stretch. An interesting S bend rapid was lain before us through Builth Rocks, with a few holes to carefully navigate around - testing for our group of open boats. Keith ran first, a clean line through the rapid and over the final drop, but he caught an eddy and his boat struck a rock - CRUNCH, snap - his thwart suddenly broke with the impact. Ian was next and then it was my turn. Heart was in mouth, I haven't ran anything this big in an open boat before, but I was cleanly through and it felt FANTASTIC!

 

Down to Builth where we decided not to camp in the town car park, but rather to fix Keith’s boat - which he did rather well - and then complete the next days car shuttle, before getting back on the river about 7pm to paddle off and find a camp site. We found a nice ledge, and hoped the river didn't rise. It did, but luckily not enough!

 

 

Day 2 - Builth Wells to Hay on Wye through the infamous Hells Hole!

 

Morning brought sunshine as we woke, and then rain as we struck camp - Boo! Boats loaded it was back onto the fast moving Wye for today’s 36km of grade 2 - 4. Again we didn't meet anyone else as we paddled along, again switching from 1km long rapids through to smooth waters, always with the thought that Hells Hole was approaching, and that we were in fully loaded open boats.

 

We knew that when we saw a chain bridge then the Grade 4 Hells Hole would be fast approaching. I had paddled this section 17 years ago, so memory was a bit sketchy when the others asked if the bridge we could see indicated the approach to Hell Hole. I couldn't remember, but informed them that the big sign stating, "Canoe Inspection & Portage trail, exit here!" probably suggested it was. I don't know how they missed it.

 

All out to have a look and decide the two big questions, 1) Was it safe to run? and 2) where was the best place to take a picture from if it all went wrong? Sorry, that should have been where was the best place to set up SAFETY if it all went wrong? Keith decided that he would be official photographer / safety whilst Ian and I ran it, and then we would return the favour. It was noticeable however that the only bit of safety equipment carried by our safety provider was a camera. Hmmmmmm      Hell Hole Video – You Tube……

                                                                      

Bouncing around, but avoiding the almost river wide holes Ian cruised the line and carved into the eddy - nice! I followed, again chuffed just to have stayed upright, and then finally Keith ran the rapid. Phew, all successful!

 

After that, the river dropped its grade as we began the long run down to Hay on Wye. Unfortunately just at that time whilst we paddled underneath the snow capped Black Mountains, the weather gods decided that it was time to close in and re-fill the river.

 

At the purpose built get out in Hay on Wye we were met by an anxious canoe hire company owner, busy looking for some paddlers who had been loaned boats by a "rouge" company. He told us that following the fatality the other year most of the hire company's had decided not to load boats at this river level, but that one was lending whatever and they were concerned. But he hoped we had had a fun day, we had indeed!

 

I stepped out at this point believing that I had had the best the river had to offer at near perfect levels. Ian and Keith were continuing on as the river continued through its now long and flat meanders as it headed for the sea. I was sad not to be part of the ongoing trip but glad that I had enjoyed such a fantastic trip, in great scenery with great company. Look out for the upcoming tales of the ongoing journey

 

My conclusions

 

This is a fantastic area that most Merseyside based paddlers probably don't use enough. The two day section of the Wye could easily be completed as 2 day trips with numerous camping / accommodation options for groups or families. As to the Wye, think of all the best bits of the Dee and you get the idea. But there is soooo much more to the paddler who visits this area. As it is roughly the same travelling time as the lakes, but with more options, I am sure we will be back.  Mike Alter

 

Mike having to leave us at Hay meant the need to consider the next set of car ferries so we could make best progress over the next two days before I would leave Keith to finish. So before departing Mike and Keith dropped Keith car in Ross before dropping Me back at my car in Buithwells on his way home. Whiles this all took place the other individual ate and rested.  We then got back on water to drift downstream a short way to find a suitable wild camp. The river still high and running well.  Before we knew it we had done another 5km or so and were near the Boat Inn. Shortly after we found a suitable piece of woodland which made a good camp site for the evening. Ian Bell  More Photos from the trip…….. 

 

Day 3 Easter Sunday - Hay on Wye to Hereford

 

After a good night rest we had a leisurely start and were on water by about 9:15.  The river had dropped slightly but still had good pace although now a steady grade one and more open countryside. We covered the next section to the impressive sandstone cliff known as the Scar in next to no time and were at the well kept National Trust gardens at New Wire.  We had elevenses on the steps at the foot of the gardens and had to endure the “Oh look dear there are some canoes down there, I wonder what their doing"” comments of every tourist viewing the gardens ". This meant that we had paddled the Monnington falls without really noticing them.   I only mention them because the guide book does and say see inset instruction on p26. I guess from what it says, it`s a tight channel at low water. I do remember seeing an Island in the river and commenting to Keith that I think this will be a fall at low water!

 

We continued to paddle, passing though the medieval cathedral city of Hereford at lunchtime.  There was not much happening so carried on stopping next at Hampton Bishop for another food and drink stop. This meant we where well on target for Ross by Monday afternoon when sadly I would have to level for home so we decided to paddle until we found a suitable camp site as the wind was starting to pick up.  We covered approximately another 8 to 10 miles and found an ideal site at Carey wood, landing at 4pm giving us a long evening to rest and freshen up before a good nights sleep.  Ian Bell  More Photos from the trip…….. 


Day 4 - Hereford to Ross-on-Wye
We woke early and with a forecasts of a change in the weather and river having dropped slightly made an early start on the leg to Ross on Wye. The wind having picked up and the valley being more open meant that at some point on this meandering section of the river we would be paddling into the wind.  However, it was only occasionally and for short periods. This section is a steady meandering grade one with picturesque villages and remains of old railway bridges from the old Gloucester to Hereford line.

 

Before long we where approaching Ross-on-Wye and could hear the main road for the first time in two days.  We saw rowers from Ross Rowing Club fighting their way upstream against the current as we fought our way down against the wind.  We chatted to a local hire guide / Instructor who politely asked where we where from and how far we had come. He obvious only knew his bit of the river as he did not recognise the place names upstream. We landed at Ross by 11:30am, stored the boats securely (locked) against a tree and then undertook the last car ferry before I made my way home. It was a three leg trip. One from Ross back to Hay for my car, two from Hay to drop Keith's car in Chepstow for his finish on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how it went. Three, back to Ross to drop Keith and pick up my boat before heading home. This round trip took all most three hours. I then left as Keith headed of down river towards Symons Yat, this his next target point.

 

I arrived home about 6pm to get sorted for work next day.  As I sat down for tea I received a text to say Keith had done well with good conditions that afternoon and was just by Monmouth and all set to complete the trip on Tuesday, day 5  Ian Bell  More Photos from the trip…….. 

Day 4 - Ross-on-Wye to Monmouth
We arrived early at Ross-on-Wye, secured the open boats with a padlock to a tree and threw the dry bags into the back of my car and headed off to pick-up Ian`s car at Hay.  We drove down to Chepstow to deposit my car at the bottom of the river.  With 5 hours of daylight left I said goodbye to Ian and headed off down river.  With all my bags pushed to the front of the boat to weight down the bow to stop a freshening headwind spinning me around on every open stretch of the river.

The current sped me the ten kilometres down to Kerne Bridge and then on through attractive countryside. Goodrich Castle was perched high above on the right hand bank. The next section curving around in an enormous bend contains a few small rapids on its way towards the Huntsham bridge. This is a popular access point is just off the A40, and is ideal for paddling the  famous Symonds Yat gorge and Rock. After a short while Bicknor Youth Hostel welcomes paddlers and had very pleasant grounds.  I headed on under the famous Symonds Yat rock and through the gorge and down to the rapids.  Pleasure boats and habitation surrounded area to the top of the rapids.  Monmouth rowing club and town were reached well before dark and I selected a great campsite near a fishing stand and seat at the confluence with the river Monnow.


Day 5 - Monmouth to Chepstow

From here down to Chepstow, the Wye marks the border of England and Wales. The Monnow enters from the right just before an old railway bridge which is now used as footpath. There are occasional ripples and little waves from here on down. A gloomy old railway bridge is reached, with a pub on the right hand bank.  After a few more miles the main road (A466) crosses at Bigsweir bridge. Unless on big springs, this marks the tidal limit.

From here on down the banks consist of oozing mud, which is extremely slimy.   At Tintern, it is possible to access/egress into the car park and visit this splendid old abbey.  The guides warned that at low water the remains of ancient weirs may prove dangerous.  At mid-tide I saw no evidence of this and although any river current was now nullified by a rising tide I soon made good progress over the final 12 kilometres through magnificent steep limestone cliffs and gorges.  Because of the mud you should time your descent of this section to arrive close to HW or soon after.  (High water Tintern is approximately four hours after high tide at Dover).

At Chepstow you pass under the impressive ruins of Chepstow Castle passing several moored boats and then under the fine old iron bridge spanning the river.  There is a jetty on the right belonging to the sailing club, which is by far the best place for getting out, much preferred to the mud covered slipway and automatic flood gates above. (It is between the old iron bridge and the new road bridge).  Several sailing club members helped me drag my boat up the steep bank from the jetty and over the old stone wall.  The club asks for a small donation to the maintenance of the jetty (a donations jar is behind the bar of the pub opposite).  The Wye is a fantastic resource with excellent white water on the top section and beautiful gorges on the lower.  251km (153 miles) and 5 days later left me with a trip to remember.   Keith S    

 More Photos from the trip……..     More information on the River Wye……

20/04/10 John Maddock has won the Canoe Focus Magazine Photo of the month for February

 

John`s photo of our recent trip on the Straits has taken first place in the Canoe Focus (BCU) photo of the month competition.  See April`s canoe focus Magazine.  Click to see more photos from the trip…..

 


20/04/10 Whitewater Improvers Course with David Fairweather

 

A few people have asked me about the 2 day course I did recently in North Wales run by Flowfree, so here are some details in case anyone else is interested.

I'd reached the stage where I was frustrated to be still wobbling on minor rapids and swimming too regularly. What I needed was to learn how to feel comfortable on grade 2 - 3 rivers and be able to move through water in a more controlled, smooth way. The course requirement was for grade 2 white water experience and no roll necessary. So I paid my £135 and prayed for salvation.

 

Eventually the great event happened and I met up with two other improvers and not one coach, but two! The main coach was David Fairweather, a Team Pyranha member and freelance coach who was filling in for Flowfree. We started with a briefing and an opportunity to say what we wanted from the course (taking time to think about this beforehand is important). Then it was off to the top section of the Tryweryn, just below the Chipper. We spent all morning eddying in and out, learning how to get through the eddy line by efficient forward paddling and trim. David has a philosophy about forward paddling - that most of the time we use a forward stroke and variations on it. For the purpose of the course, we were discouraged from back-paddling and didn't need to brace - just concentrate on effective forward strokes. This works! We also spent a lot of time focussing on looking where we want to go and the boat would go there.

 

Then in the afternoon, after a post lunch break warm up, we went from the Chipper, turning left down through Mushroom Rocks to the start of the Graveyard (but not through it!). David had instilled so much confidence in us that we could all do this stretch and enjoy it rather than fear it. Then it was a short portage before getting in just after  Everest Rock and off down the ski slope. Having done what must be the easier sections of the Tryweryn, day one was over. Had it not been for David's skills I'd never have dared go there. An excellent first day!

 

Day two was on the Dee. We started at Mile End Mill (Paddleworks), reinforcing what we had learned the day before. We also had some fun on the play wave just below that section, before going up to Chain Bridge, through Serpents Tail (first time I've done it without swimming and eddied out halfway down!) and back to Mile End Mill. The course finished with us developing our own action plans for our specific future development - there's so much more to learn but the action plan puts it into achievable steps.

 

In summary, I can't recommend David enough. He put everything into the course and although I know I've still got a lot to learn, I came away as a much more confident, smoother paddler. He even encouraged us to contact him by email if we needed more advice. If you like the idea of the course, let me know and I'll give you more detail. If you book a course through Flowfree, you can ask to have him as the coach.   John Maddock


18/04/10 River Tryweryn Sunday 18th April

13 club members met at the white water centre together with the wildwater racers and slalomists.  Full report to follow  Jon Strange  More photos…..

18/04/10 Upstream on the tide for the Conway Estuary Saturday 17th April

18 club members converged on Conway on Sunday to enjoy a paddle up and down the estuary in the balmy April sunshine. We set off around 10am in a variety of different boats with the tide certainly helping us on our way.  Before we had cleared the Marina the first drama of the day occurred when Sally tried to board a passing catamaran. After three other members of the party perfected an excellent  rescue, Sally was back in her boat reflecting that the rescue had been well worth her membership money for the year.

While Sally dried off in the increasing temperatures, the party made its way further inland. We passed Conway Castle on our right, evading the odd water skier/wake boarder and pleasure boats and continued for an hour before stopping for a brief rest. After we got going again Dom Buckley treated everyone to a demonstration of how to nudge yourself off a particularly sticky sandbank, and had us all in stitches.

We continued on down passed Dolgarrog gorge on the right with its water now being diverted to an adjacent Hydro electric plant and eventually stopped for lunch about 10 or 11 miles inland from the start. While most of us brought lunch with us, Darren Hale decided to catch his instead and had us marvelling at his fishing skills as he held one of the rivers inhabitants in his hands. (There is no truth to his claim however that he caught the fish in his teeth whilst perfecting a roll)

The day took on an unexpected turn after lunch when a game of football was organised using a ball that had been retrieved from the river on route. It was the Yellow and the Orange boats verses the Reds Greens and Blues in a match that started as one touch, developed into two touch and then descended into a free for all. There where lots of goals but the all important “next goal wins” was scored by the reds greens and blues. A special mention must go to the goal keepers Dom Buckley and Mark Moore who both won the man of the match awards for their teams after they threw themselves around with scant regard for their own personal safety.

Eventually the tide began to turn and we got underway for the return journey. This time the tide wasn’t yet giving us the same help that it had earlier and some of the paddlers in smaller Kayaks were feeling the strain. (Especially me!). Sally and James both enjoyed a helping hand at the end of towropes whilst the rest of us looked on enviously. At one point Daz had collected another couple of cheeky passengers and was actually pulling three Kayaks behind him before he cottoned on!

After another brief stop on a beach next to the Castle we pressed on into the wind and the ever increasingly choppy waves until we eventually spied the get out back near the car park.

Thanks to Daz for organising the trip and the weather, which helped make this trip into a cracking day out.

 

Paddlers:  Keith S, Mark Garrod, Daz Wilkinson, Daz Hale, Paul Wilson, Dom Buckley (Senior), Dom Buckley (Junior), Mike Buckley, Karl Tattum, Sally Orritt, James Orritt, Mark Moore, Ivan Franklin, Steve Thomas, Chris Thomas, Mike Parker, Mike Alter, Chris Murphy  More photos…..

 



13/04/10 A Bit of a Scrape on the River Rothay – Saturday 3rd April       

After four days of rain and a bit of snow we thought that the Rothay would be holding enough water to have a gentle little paddle.

 

How wrong we were! Although there were comments of 'I've done it when it was lower' we weren't told that those paddlers left with no bottoms on their boats that day.

 

It's a bit difficult to list the paddling highlights but I'll try:

 

We all turned up at the right time. That's about it really!

 

Even the thought of jumping out of our boats to have a half time ice cream was a bit of a damp squib - no-one had brought any money.

 

Then a bit of luck it started to rain - the more optimistic of the group, ok me, wanted to wait for the river to spate and was met with helpful comments such as 'that'll be November then'.

 

Back at the car park in Waterhead; even though it was a scrape everybody was in good spirit and thanks to Anthony V we headed for Stavely and a quick drink in a little brewery come cafe/pub. 

 

Many thanks to Sam G, Anthony V, Justin C, Phil Mc, Mark G, Nick C, Neil Moult and Jim Slater  More Photos….
 


11/04/10 River Lune (Upper and Middle Sections) Sunday 11th April
1
5 of us met up in Burton Services in the search of some water.  Thanks to all those who contributed to a good days paddling on the upper and middle sections of the Lune on Sunday.

It turned out to be another marathon trip, only this time the daylight hours were on our side. 15 members from FOA, LCC, and Manchester Uni CC arrived in the Lakes to find a glorious day but little water so the reliable Lune was the best option.

After we had split into 3 groups of 5, the 1st quarter of the trip was a battle to find the right line to avoid being beached, however there were plenty of exposed rocks to practice eddy hopping in the easy flow. I was beginning to think that it was going to be a gruelling / laborious trip only for the water levels to pick up as we passed the many tributaries that flow into the Lune making it more of a river trip rather than a scraping trip. With the 1st quarter out of the way we were able to play in the small waves and catch the various eddies down the usually washed out rapids. The river was barely recognisable compared to running it in spate when the whole trip takes little over an hour with few features to play with. After 6 ½ hours of play time it was great to see improvements in the personal paddling skills of the group as the day progressed. Practicing rolling in moving water came in handy later in the day as some successfully rolled in anger on moving water for the 1st time.

Sven Till & Darren Bohanna    More Photos…….

 

11/04/10 Chester Weir – Bank Holiday Monday
Mark and I went to Chester Weir for an evening's paddle on the Monday evening. Chester weir was high with a lot of water over the fish steps and a good stopper to play in on the main weir. Had a great evening trying to playboat with a constant stream of onlookers from the bank wowed by Marks moves. More information on Chester Weir…..  Theo Gaussen  More photos….

 

DSC_4014 by Dave P2001.11/04/10 Paddling in Cork
While in Ireland last week I went on a river trip with the phoenix canoe club, Cork. They were a friendly and capable bunch of Irish men and women. The river we did was the upper Bandon about 2 miles in length. It was grade2-3 and we ran it twice and the visitor from Liverpool had no swims.

The club has only been going for a few years but is very welcoming. If visiting cork you would be welcome to make contact via their web site and maybe go for a paddle.
See link to photos of the day…... Dom Buckley  The Phoenix Kayak Club - Cork

 

09/04/10 Canoe and Kayak Racks at our new base at Liverpool Marina

This summer we have the new facilities at Liverpool Marina; full members can purchase a swipe card which gives them free access to the changing rooms and showers, the secure area behind the club where our boats will be stored and to the pontoons for launching.  The card also gives 10% discount on all food and drinks purchased in the Harbourside Club.

 

Many thanks for all the help on designing and building the Canoe Racks at the docks.  Especially to Karl Young, Mark Moore, Jim Slater, Steve Thomas, Dave Collins, Steve Bond, John Young, Dom Buckley, Theo Gaussen and Mark Garrod and to all the others who have helped get them ready.  We have also constructed a large plastic coated shed to store all our buoyancy aids and paddles etc in.  It all looks great.  Click for details on how to order your swipe card.




07/04/10 Easter Sea Kayaking on Anglesey 3rd to 5th April

On Saturday April 3rd, five LCC members and our friend Will Herman from Northwest Sea kayakers (who had driven from Skipton) paddled out from Bull Bay Anglesey onto  a gentle sea, heading south towards Point Lynas. We paddled on to Dulas Island, and then headed towards the shore for a brief lunch break. It was then back the way we had come from, though rock-hopping more on the way back. The tide had turned by the time we reached Point Lynas and a few of the group paddled further out to sea to take advantage of the greater flow, another great day out with the club. We were out for over five hours, with no rain a few sunny spells and little wind. Thanks to everyone. Frankie A, Brian G, Theo G, Helen S, Will H, and I (Chris D).

 

On Easter Sunday, three of us paddled out from Moelfre, onto again a gentle sea, we went around Moelfre island and then headed towards Lligwy beach for a mess around in the gentle surf, we took lunch on a small beach at the south end of Lligwy which Brian was familiar with as he had had Scouting trips there in his youth. It was a pleasant surprise for Brian to discover that the canoe he had paddled then, was still lying there, full of water .We then rock-hopped all the way back, another great day out. Frankie A, Brian G, and I (Chris D)

 

Both paddles were of course followed by a visit to the Red Boat ice cream parlour in Beaumaris which Brian's brother Tony and his wife Lynn run. It was the usual satisfying ice cream and coffee. Tony and Lynn very kindly offered to let Brian, Frankie and I stay at their house instead of camping, which was most convenient. Thanks to everyone who paddled.  More Photos……..

 

06/04/10 Chasing Shadows - Loch Awe 27th to 31st March 2010

The run up to this year’s Duke of Edinburgh Expedition to Scotland was “interesting”. Less than a week to go and we had no trailer and not enough boats. Thanks to Brookbank we were able to borrow a trailer whilst awaiting delivery of our new one and they were able to supply our remaining boats from stock. Ian burned some midnight oil in getting the boats ready and Boots the Chemist must have done a roaring trade in remedies for all sorts of ills suffered by the Shadow Team. We were all set to go….


Saturday-
Saturday was spent travelling up to Portsonachan: Alison, Alistair and the Explorer Scouts in the minibus with the trailer and all the boats, Ian, Emma and myself in Ian’s car. We’d planned to meet Chris and Michelle there after they’d stopped in the Lake District Friday night. Steve and Jane arrived late via somewhere on the East coast. I think the navigator had got confused between Edinburgh and Erskine! After sitting down to a meal in a scene resembling the Last Supper we all retired to ready ourselves for the following day.
Saturday night snoring sounded like a 21 gun salute. There were only 18 of us but Chris, Michelle and George count double as they did more than their fair share. George, for those who don't know, is Steve's dog. Never in canine history has there ever been a dog that can go to sleep and start snoring so quickly or so often!

Sunday-
The DofE team consisted of five: 3 in sea kayaks and 2 in an open boat. Nathan doesn't do kayaks so he'd convinced the others to take it in turns to partner him. With the kit ready and packed we sent off the paddlers then finished our own packing and were on water about 1030.
Chris not been well previous week and it was evident as soon as him and Michelle got on the water things were not right. Within about 400m Chris decided a 4-day expedition was not on and they turned back. This proved to be the right decision as he ended up spending the next few days feeling like he'd been run over by a truck.


With the Shadow team now down to 4, we headed NE in pursuit of the Explorers. Their task was to investigate the crannogs around the loch and Kilchurn 
Castle before heading back down the lake to camp overnight on Inishail at Black Islands. We decided to cut across towards the islands and observe them from a distance but the pull of a warm drink was too much and we landed on a beach just below Lochawe village. Village is a bit strong as it only consists of a pub (closed) a shop (not serving teas) and a smart hotel. Getting the ok to enter in paddling gear, we settled down in front of a blazing fire with coffee specially brewed for the endless stream of wrinkly coach parties. From our cosy perches we could see the DofE'ers wandering round the castle in the distance.
Warmed up, we headed back through a friendly local's garden, across the railway line and back afloat. The Explorers had since passed us and we headed south and down the start of the outflow of the River Awe. Although crossing at the mouth was only about 1km, Steve told us about how in the past it had taken him 2 hours slog to get across 
because of the strong winds. He should just paddle faster. We should have ignored him because our detour caused us to lose sight of the team for just long enough to enable them to paddle past Black Island (which we saw them do) then double-back on the blind side (which we didn’t) to set up camp. We continued SW chasing imaginary specks in and out of headlands and bays until we were back well within sight of Portsonachan.
Figuring we'd missed them somewhere we decided it was pointless camping so close to home so headed across the loch to the village hall. Alison had gone out to check on the progress of the walking team who'd been dropped off that morning at the south end of Loch Etive. The hall was locked up and deserted. By this time the weather had deteriorated and it was getting cold, wet, windy and dark. We lit a fire in the car-park to occupy us for the next few hours. Emma's cold had got much worse an she was putting on a brave face through glassy eyes and an ever increasing pile of tissues.

Monday -
Reluctantly Emma joined the list of casualties and the Shadow team was down to just 3. The wind had spun round 180' and from Portsonachan we could see the DofE'ers heading down the far side of the loch as we launched. We followed the south bank for 9km Before stopping to brew up. My MSR gave up the ghost here when the pump fell apart in my hand. An old gent approached from the local Loch-Watch to see what we were up to. Once he'd realised the upside of being Scouters outweighed the downside of being Scousers, he bid us good luck and went on his way. Loch-Watch had been set up after several tragic accidents over the last couple of years that had cost 3, 5, or 8 lives depending on who you listened to. Either way, it's kind of comforting to know that someone's there to watch you come unstuck!
Almost flat calm (before the storm) we straight-lined the dog-leg in the loch to arrive at Innis Chonaill (Castle Island) at the same time as not only the Explorers, but also Alison and Emma who were passing in the minibus. While the kids set up camp on he island amid the ruins, we decided to camp on the mainland 50metres across.
Through the evening the temp dropped as the wind stiffened to about F6 even in our relatively sheltered camp. By 2030 we retired to our tents. As the night wore on the wind turned in towards us battering the tarp. Steve was first to blink and crawled out of his tent to tie some bigger rocks on. I was fast asleep. Honest!



Tuesday -
By morning it was clear there was going to be no paddling today and the minibus reappeared to relocate me, Steve and Jane back up to the shelter of the village hall. The others were left to explore the castle ruins.
The weather at the north end of the lake was even worse and waves were regularly breaking over the top of the jetty next door. We all felt sorry for the kids at the castle as we supped our warm drinks inside. Ian had joined us by this time after his brief solo trip up and down Loch Etive to keep an eye on the walkers before they headed inland and South.
By mid-afternoon Alison and Alistair had already left to try and locate the walkers somewhere North of us when we got a call from the paddlers team to say they'd run out of matches and where struggling up get a fire going whilst getting battered by the wind. Ian, Emma and myself drove back down to the island and young Alex who had been going stir crazy was only too eager to make the short trip across to speak to us. He didn't realise how sheltered they were in their castle ruins! Reassured they were all ok, we headed home only to see hazard-lights flashing in the gloom. A damsel in distress with a felled tree across the road. No problem, Be Prepared is the Scouts motto, but Ian and I had both left our axes back at the hall. A quick call brought Steve down to meet us and the road was cleared in double-quick time. An hour later and we'd have had a long walk as the mobile signal packed in - aerial must have blown down.

About 10pm Alison and Alistair pulled into the car-park after they'd spent 5 hours trying to locate the walking group. An eventful trip, with tales of them playing curling with wagons and cars on the Oban road! The insurance company can breath a sigh of relief as her aim is good. The wind, by now blowing F8+ was relentless and every now and then the whole wooden building shook as the wind did it's best to relocate us.

Wednesday -
We nearly choked on our cornflakes at breakfast when Jane said she felt the earth move last night. Steve smiled. George snored.
Options were considered and a plan hatched for the paddlers to continue on their journey. Ian dropped a revitalised Emma and myself just north of the island of Innis Chonnell and he drove to the southern end of the loch with the trailer to paddle up to meet us. The Explorer group had spent 42 hours 37 mins (approximately!) marooned on their island and were only to keen to leave. Em and I gave them half hour head start then continued ourselves. They hugged the coastline while we headed out midway to take advantage of the breeze on our backs determined to catch them up by the time we stopped for lunch. Emma did her best metronome impression with a strong steady paddling rhythm and we rapidly gained ground passing them before our intended lunch spot. We waved as they went past and shortly after continuing we spotted Ian approaching. The end of the lake was calm and sunny but still very cold. Everyone was pleased to have finished especially in such challenging conditions. 

However, Alex's challenge wasn't quite over as he'd promised to attempt a roll in his sea kayak. After a bit of persuasion he agreed to give it a shot and was only just beaten after several valiant attempts at hand rolling it


Kevin

 

Shadow Team: Steve Patterson, (Captain) Jane Roberts, Chris & Michelle Turner, Emma & Kevin Donnelly.

Substitute: Ian Bell

Manager: Alison Bell

Mascot: Double-O Duck

 

 

01/04/10 Anglesey North Coast Sunday 28/03/10

Sunday morning saw 5 LCC sea kayakers head along the coast road into Wales in search of sun & sea. Plan A was to paddle from Cable Bay to Llandwyn Island, but after a call to Holyhead Coastguard for the latest weather and the report of a south westerly 4 plan B was agreed upon. Brian G, Frankie A, Helen S, John Y and Chris D met up at Porth Eilian and paddled off around Point Lynas, avoiding the tide and waves, we paddled around to Dulas Bay. Along the way Chris decided to check if his dry suit really worked, with some rolling practice, a few more followed, by number 6 we had established the dry suit was definitely dry!  A visit to Ynys Dulas wasn’t on the cards as the tide and wind had a few ideas about the direction of our paddle.

 

 After lunch at sunny spot on the beach we had a pleasant paddle along the coast, around Ynys Moelfre before landing at Moelfre.  The day ended with a drive to Beaumaris and a post exercise recovery snack and drink (coffee and ice cream/sorbet) in the Red Boat . Here’s hoping for more of the same over Easter!  Frankie A

 

Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit31/03/10 Bowron Lakes Canadian Circuit Slide Show and Talk 22/3/10
Ian Bell presented his talk which followed a trail around the Bowron Lakes near Whistler in Canada which he undertook in 2006.  It was a fascinating insight into how to plan and carryout a multiday expedition using an open boat.

 

Bowron Lake Park is a large wilderness area situated on the western slopes of the Cariboo Mountain Range.

 

The world-renowned Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit encompasses a 116 km chain of lakes, waterways and connecting portages. This wilderness canoe trip takes from 6 to 10 days to complete, depending on your time frame and skill level. For those looking for a shorter trip, the west side of the circuit can be paddled in 2 to 4 days. It is recommended that those who attempt the circuit have some wilderness canoeing experience.

More photos……. 

More information on the Bowron Lakes Circuit……

 

31/03/10 Nepalese adventure to Pokhara
The group managed to paddle 11 out of 13 days on their trip to Nepal.  Water levels were low (lack of snow this year) but there were four excellent sections.  The group paddled the rivers Trisuli, Modi Khola, Kali Gandaki, Marysandi, Balephi Khola and Bhote Kosi.  I understand that no one suffered major upset stomachs and we hope to see some of the slides at Phil`s talk on 19th April at the Marina Club.  Photos and full report to follow….. 

Dinny Davies, Andrew Menzies, Dave Ottewell and Phil Holland


29/03/10 April`s Newsletter Published
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