Volume 10 Issue 12

December 2010

December Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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Major Trip Reports.…


02/12/10 A Cold Day at The Stacks- Sunday 28th November 2010


Often when arriving at Porth Dafarch all your thought and attention is nervously focused on the sea conditions and what they might be like further out in the races, however this Sunday morning the thick covering of snow on the slope down to the beach ensured that our only thoughts were of whether we would be able to get the cars back up if we dared to drive them down.  In the end we decided not to risk it and drove back to Trearddur Bay, this later proved to be a wise choice when the compacted snow along the coast road froze up like an ice rink as the winter sun went down.

The extra bit of paddling from Trearddur took no time at all and we were soon playing in the eddies and overfalls of Penrhyn Mawr before rock hopping our way along the coast to South Stack, more fun here and then on to explore in and out of the huge caves at North Stack.  Our lunch spot in Parliament House cave was shared with an obstinate adolescent seal and another group of paddlers, amongst which was the film maker Justine Curgenven, who’s excellent 'This is The Sea' series of films many of us have been enthralled and inspired by.


Returning to Trearddur we were treated to awesome views over to the snow draped mountains and along the Llyn Peninsula.  The extreme cold had generated unusual atmospheric conditions giving rise to a phenomenon known as ‘inferior mirage’ which created the effect that the end of the Peninsula and Bardsey Island were floating above the horizon, see the photo, weird!!


An excellent trip, and one that in the right conditions has something for everyone to enjoy, though perhaps next time when it’s a little warmer!

My paddling companions were Tim and Will, you can see more cracking pictures on Will’s Blog at http://runswithaxes.blogspot.com/

Brian Green  More photos…..

23/10/10 Membership Renewal

Membership renewal is due on the anniversary of the date that you joined (ie you always get a full years membership). You will receive an email informing you that your membership has expired.  To renew, just log into your account via the members tab / page and click Renew Account.    Click here for instructions on how to renew……. 


If your membership has expired you will still receive googlemail group emails but will not be able to access protected material via the website.  Effectively, you will be a web only member.


02/12/10 Club Paddles - Click on the main club calendar for an updated list of paddles and events.
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.



Weekly pool session at the Kingsway Leisure Centre - Widnes. 20+ boats and paddles available. Click for more information. Pool time 9 to 10 pm. Please arrive for 8:30pm to get ready. Coaching for beginners, improvers and more advanced. Click here for more information....


Canoe England Coach Conference - 4th & 5th December 2010 Click for more......


River Goyt - Easy river trip - ideal for developing river skills - coorindator Helen Siertsema


Weekly pool session at the Kingsway Leisure Centre - Widnes. 20+ boats and paddles available. Click for more information. Pool time 9 to 10 pm. Please arrive for 8:30pm to get ready- Coaching for beginners, improvers and more advanced. Click here for more information....


Sea Paddle and Christmas Nibbles Llandudno Beach Cafe - Contact Brian Green


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...... Paddling Gear, the good, the bad and the ugly - Ian Bell / Keith S


Weekly pool session at the Kingsway Leisure Centre - Widnes. 20+ boats and paddles available. Click for more information. Pool time 9 to 10 pm. Please arrive for 8:30pm to get ready. Coaching for beginners, improvers and more advanced. Click here for more information....


River Dee - Farndon to Chester. Contact the coordinator Dom Buckley


Liverpool CC Christmas Dinner and Social - Liverpool Marina Club - Coordinator Theo Gaussen Click for more details.............


Weekly pool session at the Kingsway Leisure Centre - Widnes. 20+ boats and paddles available. Click for more information. Pool time 9 to 10 pm. Please arrive for 8:30pm to get ready. Coaching for beginners, improvers and more advanced. Click here for more information....


Boxing day paddle on the sea at New Brighton - Coordinator Dave Collins



Weekly pool session at the Kingsway Leisure Centre - Widnes. 20+ boats and paddles available. Click for more information. Pool time 9 to 10 pm. Please arrive for 8:30pm to get ready. Coaching for beginners, improvers and more advanced. Click here for more information....



Sunday Morning Session at the Docks - coordinator Dom Buckley


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...... Sea Kayaking film - Keith S



VHF Marine Radio Course (1 day) for Club members - Coordinator John Worswick


Div 3 Polo tournament at Stockport pool - Why not come and support our team coordinator Dinny Davies



Sunday Morning Session at the Docks - coordinator Dom Buckley



Sunday Morning Session at the Docks - coordinator Dom Buckley


Div 3 Polo tournament at Stockport pool - Why not come and support our team coordinator Dinny Davies



LCC Ski Trip to French Alps - Limited places so contact the Coordinator Kirk Williams


Div 3 Polo tournament at Stockport pool - Why not come and support our team coordinator Dinny Davies



Easter Scottish White Water (Open Boats and Sea Kayak) - Club trip to Fort William - Coordinator Theo Gaussen



35th Annual Scout & Guide Training Weekend at Bala - Some BCU courses available to members with pre-requisites - BCU Coaches from LCC usually offer to help - Coordinator Alison Bell


Whitsun Half-term week Scottish Sea Kayak Expedition - Led by Ian Bell Coordinator Frankie Annan


2011 - 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.


The London Triathlon 2011 - Kayak Safety Cover Team - Coordinator John Worswick


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.

28/11/10 Sunday Moring Marina Session 28th November 2010

Our garden Max/Min thermometer reached -7 on Saturday night and the weather reporter on the radio on Sunday morning said that -17 had been recorded in Mid-Wales; not really really cold but not too bad for November and certainly cold enough to get us out of bed early enough to defrost the car before setting off the marina to join Karl Leungsangnam for a warm-up paddle. Our drive from our house in Hoylake takes us along the beach road and the view of Hilbre Island with the snow clad Carneddau hills in the distance made Caz and me wonder if perhaps we should have headed for the hills rather than the marina; never mind, you can’t do it all!


Seven of us turned up and got on the water on a beautifully crisp day with light winds and a perfect blue sky. True to form, Karl arrived in his sandals with his bare toes poking out Brrrrrr. It’s not his tough guy nonchalance that impresses me so much as his keenness. Like all of the other coaches in LCC, he cheerfully gives up his time, even on freezing cold mornings, so that wobbly paddlers like me can enjoy some welcome coach cover. I would have taken my hat off to him but my bald head was far too cold!


It didn’t take long to warm up and the Albert Dock seemed to be buzzing with tourists or perhaps locals getting in some early Christmas shopping. The only other paddlers on the water were two dragon boats that had their own competitive thing going on and barely noticed us as they raced past.


After a couple of hours and a couple of miles someone started talking about how good the carvery lunch is at the marina. Spookily enough and without much discussion, we all slowly gravitated towards the slipway so we could get out before the icefloes trapped us until Spring. I had so much gear on and by now was quite warm so just before we got out completely I decided to try yet again to roll – did I succeed?  - Did I  x%***!!”


Thanks again Karl for a very pleasant session on the water and a more than satisfactory Sunday lunch ;-)


Karl, Don, Steve, Jo, Stuart, Carole, Pete  More Photos…..


28/11/10 Club session at the Docks in the freezing temperatures
Despite the very low temperature, -5 degrees at the dock session today, seven brave paddlers turn up to enjoy a paddle around the dock. All very well wrapped up to protect themselves from the cold.  With the sun shining it only took a minute or two before we all felt warm enough to enjoy a couple of hours paddling around the dock. We finished off with a nice roast dinner at the marina bar. I plan to have some more Sunday sessions after New Year.  Watch out for news of these or check the calendar regularly.  Karl L


23/11/10 Club Expedition to Alaska (Crossing Prince William Sound form West to East) – Awesome  (Part 2)

Ever since the clubs first expedition to Alaska in 2008 a group of us had been planning to return in order to cross from Whittier to Valdez using sea kayaks hired from Tom Pogsons Alaskan Kayak School based in Homer.   8 of us completed the journey returning on the Alaskan State Ferry to Whittier on the 29th August.  The group encountered 9 black bears, a humpback whale, Northern (Steller) Sea Lions, numerous harbour seals, sea otters and bald headed eagles.  We nearly got trapped in the ice of Columbia Glacier and paddled through the inner lagoon of Shoup Glacier. 

Brian Green, Theo Gaussen, Frankie Annan, Ian Bell, Mike Alter, Chris Franks, Kirk Williams and Keith S


Day Six – Flent Point to Columbia glacier Terminal Moraine

After a night of rumblings and large cracks as the ice flows outside our tents moved with the currents and lumps of ice the size of houses cracked and split under their own weight at the tide left them high and dry on the beach we packed up putting all our spare clothes on to paddle through the ice towards the Columbia glacier terminal moraine.

As we followed the left hand shore towards the glacier the ice became thicker and we wondered if we would get through.  After an hour or so we found a small cover with running water and decided to pull in for elevenses (it was only 10.00am!) and fill up with water as this may be in short supply on the gravels of the moraine.  As we neared the old moraine ridge the ice became a solid wall, it was clear we were going no further.  All of the ice carved from the 2km wide glacier had backed up against the moraine ridge and only on high tide did some of the blocks have sufficient depth to flow over the ridge which formed the lagoon and on out to sea.  We decided to explore the surreal landscape and head up over the massive mounds of debris to try and catch a glimpse of the mighty Columbia glacier.


From a high point several members posed for photographs with a sea of ice as a backdrop.  The Columbia glacier has retreated an incredible 9 miles since 1980.  After a while watching the distant ice front we returned to the moraine and decided to camp next to an esker (fossil blocked stream bed which ran underneath the ice and is now visible as a sinuous ridge of fine glacier deposits.  Frankie was feeling the cold but agreed to the idea despite the prospect of another cold night; the cold air falls down the surface of the glacier and is know as a katabatic wind.

We were a little worried as the area was frequented by bears and our stash of food (triple sealed in air tight bags) might prove of interest to them in the night.  In the end we were not troubled and slept well on the very flat campsite. 

Brian Green. More Photos of day 6…….


Day Seven – Columbia glacier Terminal Moraine to Long Point (via Long Bay and Schrader Island)
 After a cold night (the enormous Columbia glacier creates a strong katabatic wind – the heavier, colder air rolls down the length of the glacier) we woke to a glorious morning (strong sun and mist over the water) to paddle out among the ice flows heading round the corner to Long Bay.  We paddled past some grounded pieces of ice.  These towered over us and creaked and strained under their own weight.


In long bay we passed several sea otters and headed across a small bay to find water.  As we closed on a small stream we saw our first black bear.  As we landed he scampered off into the under growth.  As we filled our water bottles we found numerous signs of his alfresco dinning, piles of bear poo, discarded salmon heads and bones and the flattened vegetation surrounding the stream.  We had elevenses (now a daily highlight) and chatted about the mornings paddle.  However, we kept at least one eye nervously on the shrubs behind in case our friend returned.


We explored the rest of the bay, creeping up on every stream mouth, in the hope of seeing more bears but were unsuccessful.  We landed on Schrader Island to dry off in the afternoon sun displacing the local inhabitants, several sea otters.  They happily played and fished around us until we headed off to find a campsite on Long point. This was a long, stony beach with just enough room for a line of tents above the high tide mark.  Again we excavated tent platforms in the shingle.  Later that night the tide came to within a few centimetres of our tent door.  This was extremely worrying as we were at the top of the beach and we were returning towards springs.

 Keith S. More Photos…….


Day Eight –Long Point to Elf Point
This turned out to be a very interesting day.  Upon rounding Long point we headed over to where a stream flowed over the beach to fill up with water for the day.  Two black bears were wandering around the river delta, fishing for salmon. We watched for a while before they wandered into the undergrowth at the back of the beach.  We landed our kayaks and started to fill our water bottles.  One of the bears then began to wander towards us following the stream picking up several salmon on the way.  This was our first on land encounter and we nervously held our ground.  The bear came to within 50m before lumbering off behind some isolated ice blocks


We headed back past our campsite at Flent Point and paddled out into the bay to cross the ice flows which seem thicker that normal.  After a mile or so the ice became thicker and thicker and we needed to follow each other single file. Near the middle we wondered if we were ever going to get through, the Bergy bits had to be prised apart by the lead kayak and currents and wind could have meant that we would become trapped in the moving sea of ice.  After several nervous moments Ian thought he could see a way through to more open water.  Before long the ice thinned and we could paddle to Elf point, our intended campsite for the evening.  This was a steep stony beach with a floor of pine needles under trees at the top of the beach; this would make for a more comfortable night than the usual bed of pebbles.    Kirk Williams.


Seeing as the day had been so good so far, the crossing of the ice was fantastic, and we weren’t all in the mood for sunbathing, three paddlers ensured they had a spare tent and food to last the day, and then headed off back to Columbia glacier via the East flank of Heather Island. As we paddled up to the terminal moraine, the weather could not have been more different to our first approach, I had my sunnies on, and it was amazing how little ice there was compared to our morning escapades.


Reaching the edge of the ice, even though 8 miles from the glacier on a moraine dam that is 5 miles wide, the glacial melt could be seen acting as a river and we had to use river skills such as ferry gliding from behind grounded ice berg to grounded ice berg to make our way in, where we met with an amazing view of the sea of ice behind the dam and a group of tourists who had been power boated out from Valdez for a couple of hours sea kayaking and lunch at the margin of water and ice. The guide said our trip sounded “Awesome”, but I’m not sure if that short paddle and lunch was worth $230 each – ouch!  A quick brew stop, Hershey chocolate tastes of vomit, and its back to meet the others and catch up on the last of the suns rays.

Mike Alter. More Photos of Day 8…….


Day Nine – Elf Point to Sawmill Bay
“Get In!!!!!!”

Was the shout from Keith to Kirk, Brian and myself as we paddled around the point. Although in the eddy behind the reef, we would soon be head on into the full flow of the ebbing tide as it surged around one of the crux points of the trip so it was sensible to follow the advice.


Careful planning had been necessary to ensure that there was a good weather window as we rounded the point, as had been the case at several other key points. The geography of Prince William Sound ensured that the point was exposed to the full fury of any Pacific swells coming from the south west, and there were no landings for 10miles as we began the entry into Valdez Arm. Fortunately, the weather goods were kind and we breezed into the sound, but all too soon we found ourselves battling into a head wind to make our way towards Sawmill bay, our camp for the night.


With no landings for the first 10 miles, we were headed for Surprise Falls, and what a surprise it was as the falls were not visible until the very last minute.  Just as we got there a Bald Headed Eagle soared off on its powerful wings to hunt for its prey. Once there it was time for lunch, but I must admit to expecting to see a bear at any moment due to the vast number of salmon patiently waiting at the bottom of the falls for the tide to come in and make their ascent upstream that much easier.


It was then off to Sawmill bay where there was an official campsite for the night, and some used the opportunity of warmer water to go for a swim – avert your eyes Frankie. We all decided not to use the tent platform, there were a lot of midge in the woodland near the platforms, and instead decided to camp beside the metal bear cache, near the waters edge.  The evening was full of the sound of salmon jumping out of the water and sploshing back in, or jumping out of the water and landing with a thud on the shingle beach.


Mike Alter. More Photos…….


Part 3 of the Alaskan Trip in next months newsletter.



22/11/10 Clitheroe, Edisford Bridge to Ribchester, De Tabley Arms. 9 miles Sunday 21st November
After scraping the ice off my van, loading up and an early start, a group of 16 met up in Clitheroe at 9.30am.
To my surprise there were 15 kayaks and only me in my open canoe. I thought there would be more open boats and was hoping someone would be able to help me perfect my poling technique (or lack of).
The shuttle was 20 minutes away and 9 cars needed to be taken to the get out. This was fine until the car park we were supposed to park at was boarded up and ring-fenced. So we abandoned our cars down a country lane and piled into a van for a return to the start. Only this van had just one seat for the driver. So nine of us jumped into the back of this van that had no windows, no lights.  It did have carpet gripper rods as cushions!. So this is what it is like to be kidnapped. " Where are we? I hope we don't crash!"
We launched around 11am and the water was low. The kayaks seemed to get on better with the rocks, where I seemed to smack them with my paddle on every stroke. The river was calm but the weather was good and everyone was chatting, I had a cup of tea wedged in my yoke.
 After lunch I decided the rocks were too annoying so I did some poling. It was amazing, showing how good my balance was and how my fine control was really helping me keep perfect lines with no wobbles or anything going wrong at all. Everyone was super impressed. So I decided to show them how good my dry suit was by jumping in the water. (nothing to do with balance!)
After a rather easy going trip paddling 14 miles we arrived in Ribchester at 2.30pm and got ready to drive home.
A great day out for a river novice with numerous small and easy rapids. 
Paul Harwood     More photos………..

21/11/10 Hilbre Island Sunday 21st November

Today six paddlers (karl, Mark, Brian, Chris, Ian and Alan ) met to begin the early
journey to Hilbre Island, West Kirby. We met at just before 0800hrs to arrange the proposed route and were on the water by 0820hrs. A calm day, although cold, with good visibility and great company made the outbound journey enjoyable as we spotted plenty of seals around us especially one which seemed to follow Ian most of the way.


Brian was a little nervous about going around the island but I assured him he would be Ok, so he and I went around successfully with Brian overcoming his fear to play on the surf. As we joined the rest of the group at the main beach at Hilbre Mark went for a little swim to test his new dry suit.


On our return journey we surfed the waves created by the high NE winds. As the days pictures will prove that a few paddlers needed to take a rescue or two after getting wet which then became an ideal opportunity to try various re-entry techniques. Chris and Ian then decided to have a cigarette, which delayed us slightly, so as we arrived back at the slipway we had to drag our boats 20ft through the Dee mud with the lack of water.


Again a great paddle with great company was enjoyed.  Thanks Karl.    More Photos……


15/11/10 Halloween Night at the Docks

Around 30 club members turned up, some in outstanding costumes for the paddle up to Albert Dock and then a social at the Marina.


Full report to follow… but please send in any photos – email website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk


More Photos from Halloween……


Justin Cooper and Jim Slater

15/11/10 Overnight Bivi on Peel Island on Coniston – 13th to 14th Nov


With the thoughts of Swallows and Amazons in our minds encouraged by Keith’s posting on the calendar and even though the trip was some four weeks later than previous trips, 17 of us sped up the M6, enjoying great views of the Lakes, towards our put-in destination at Machell`s Coppice. Even though the Swallows had long since gone south to warmer climates and the last associations the Island had with Amazonian weather was sometime back in prehistory.

Most arrived at the packed car park on time, despite some difficulties approaching from the southern end of Coniston due to a road diversion. By the appointed 3.30pm and with Keith’s encouragement due to failing light, a collection of sea kayaks, opens and plastic boats took to the water, Ian, Chloe and Declan were first away in their open and approach and flew down the lake giving the rest of us someone to chase. Halfway down a squall rolled in over the surrounding fells and quickly engulfed to fleet paddling straight into it. The wind rose and the rain hammered down, the waves grow to mountainous proportion, or that’s what it felt like to me, a newcomer battling to make way in the middle of the lake with my eyes tightly shut, in panic or to keep the rain out, I’ll leave it to you to decide. The rest of the fleet seemed to take it in their stride and the squall fortunately soon passed to leave a pleasant evening and we all made it to the Island with the last of the daylight.

Once ashore, the camp was quickly erected, a collection of tents for the wise and upmarket and tarps for the hardy. Dave picked the penthouse suit with fine views over the lake and Gary slung his luxury hammock under his tarp. Soon Keith’s faithful BBQ was lit and with the encouragement of the team huddling round burst, eventually into life. By midnight (or was it only 7pm) the first sizzling of sausages and burgers filled the night air. John, Matt and Phil intrigued onlookers with their custom made burgers specially designed to fit snugly into rolls before the kids took over the cooking while the adults looked on, happy to just munch on their efforts. As the night wore on, Steve Bond arrived after paddling up the lake in pitch dark using the smell of cooked sausages as his navigational aid and worrying two swans’ enroot and quickly delivered his, still frozen sausages to the kids for cooking. With feeding out of the way, the BBQ was turned into a camp fire thanks to a contribution of wood that was brought.  The light and warmth of which greatly cheered to camp in the occasional drizzle shower. While the kids ventured into the darkness for a mystery walk around the Island the adults regaled each other with tale of survival with Ray Meyers and Pete tried to add a bit of twitching to the group about the collection of live owls he and Caz had seen in the garden centre in Ambleside before some unknown voice added from the darkness that garden centre was full of `owld` people, well we are a Liverpool club and the camp burst into laughter. Despite the conditions, an enjoyable night was had by all and a contented team retired to their sleeping bags before the weather took a turn for the worst. Those unable to sleep were treated to a lightning display and large thunderstorm that disturbed some of those asleep and the following heavy downpours that continued through the night.

The next day dawned bright and clear, the wind had dropped and the lake flat and placid with views of the fells all about covered in a fresh dusting of snow. Following breakfast we struck camp and were all back on the water by 9am for an excellent paddle back up the lake with the fantastic vista of the southern fells in their late autumn grab and early mantle of snow. Most choosing to make straight for our put-in site while Pete and Caz Thomas, John, Matt and Phil Pegram decided to stay on the water and enjoy the day and visit the Bluebird Cafe in Coniston for breakfast.

Despite the time of year, it was a great trip, fantastic location made all the better by the great company. If you haven’t been, look out for the next trip, and if you’ve been, see you next time. Another LCC success.  Steve Gille

More photos……


The Bluebird Café
Some of us paddle over to the Bluebird Cafe at the top end of the lake for a `bacon butty` but this looked under threat as we approached. The cafe was apparently trashed by the big floods earlier in the year and is undergoing a major refurbishment. Fortunately they were managing to operate out of a portacabin and the butties tasted just fine.


Keith S, Matt Pegram, Declan Richards, John Pegram, Nicky Pyper, Phil Henderson, Nicole Pyper, Dirk Pittaway, Steve Bond, Steve Gille, Gary McFarlane, Pete Thomas, Ian Richards, Carole Thomas, Chloe Richards, Phil Pegram and Dave Collins

09/11/10 This is Canoeing Preview
Dougie Down the PetAround 20 of us managed to squeeze in to the smaller of the two lecture rooms at the Marina to see a preview of the latest DVD from Cackle TV.    Click to see a 4 minute preview……..

We saw Kevin Callan fondly known as “Mr Canoehead” talking about his passion for canoeing and wilderness at Algonquin’s Barron Canyon.

Scott MacGregor taking his 4-year old son down Algonquin’s Petawawa river in October, freezing temperatures and 3 nights camping. Dougie Down Pet.

Karen Knight, 5 times National Champion in Interpretive Freestyle Canoeing, performed her stunning freestyle routines in an open boat in the film Canoe Dance. 

Ray Goodwin and his trusty dog Dillie take us canoe sailing on Bala Lake and paddling and poling on the river Dee at the Nomads site.

Dave Rossetter takes us on one of the classic British canoe journeys, across Scotlands rugged & beautiful Rannoch Moor.  Their 3 day adventure took them down the River Tummel to the east coast.  Lots of white water and seeing Justine and Barry Shaw pin their open boats across the river.

Riding the Moose – Top Canadian whitewater canoeists ripped it up on the Moose and Independence rivers in New York state, running a series of beautiful and challenging grade 5 waterfalls and slides.  I didn’t want to be there with two blades!

The next Monday Evening talk (every 2nd Monday of the month) is on 13th December – Paddling Gear, the good, the bad and the ugly.  Ian Bell, Dave Reynolds and Keith S review their canoeing kit.  More information…….

09/11/10 Emma`s Boat Found in Runcorn

We are glad to hear that Em`s  much loved Grey/ Fuchsia (Pink) kayak has been found by Runcorn police and will be returned shortly.  Please be sure to either lock kayaks to roof racks or take boats indoors, even if left for a short time.  There have been 3 or 4 thefts from roof racks to club members over the past 3 years.  Likewise, if you buy a stolen kayak you will loose your money so please be careful when buying from eBay etc.


07/11/10 Dock training session Sunday 7th November
A dozen of us in all sizes of kayak braved a cold and frosty start to practice techniques at the docks in the first of Dom's weekly technique sessions. We set off from Coburg Dock for a warm-up paddle to Albert Dock with clear blue skies and still air, making perfect skyline reflections in the water. Every now and then, we'd pause for a rolling session or to just admire the architecture. There was plenty of time for rolling and seal launching (with or without paddles) to the cheers of onlookers. Luckily the water was quite warm - and incredibly clear in parts.


We ended up at Coburg Dock again for some final rolling, edging and bracing practice - and even paddle float rescues. We all learned and improved our skills & confidence in a friendly, safe and relaxed atmosphere.  Thanks Dom!




John Maddock   More Photos……………………



03/11/10 Loch Awe in Scotland – 3 days camping
It seems as if their were few punters to explore the wilds of a Scottish loch in late Autumn but myself (John Pegram) and Matthew fancied the 3 night canoe camp challenge laid down by Ian Bell. 


 Having never canoed camped before we had some sorting out of equipment - Matthew was going to use his Knarlie river boat - it was air bags out as we loaded each side with mini depth charges of dry bags - he managed to store all his equipment + tent poles and tent inner - my Fusion gave more space with it’s hatch in the rear - Food for 3 days, (I used soup bags mixed with pasta meals, this made a tasty pasta stew for only £3 a meal - this saved on water as we had to carry all our fresh water) clothes, outer tent + footprint, cooking equipment and 2- 3/4 length sleeping mats.


Tips on equipment - were not experts but we learnt a bit - Use small 10/15 L dry bags lots of them far easier to pack - ‘sacrosanct’,  sleeping bag and 1 set of dry clothes, these never have a chance to get wet, only unpacked in the tent - have a separate dry bag for the outer tent and foot print, inner stays dry, be creative with the packing - the 2- 3/4 mats fitted behind my foot rests up in the front - trangier, days food, gas + equipment behind my seat for easy access - we used collapsible bowls and mugs and a spork each - we didn't have dry suits, wearing wet suits not an option -  we used inexpensive base layers, so layer up - gortext is ok but throw a cheap PVC kag/ trousers over everything and don't be to bothered about being trendy it will shed most of the rain – above all, enjoy !! Ian was using his open boat which he expertly packed with large sacks which he could move about to trim his boat –


We left Sunday the 24th in the morning and met up with Ian at the 'Little Green Wellie' cafe and camping equipment shop at Tyndrum - this is some 20km east of a possible debarkation site but due to campsites being few and far between we ended up camping here for the night. 

With a clear starlight sky we new it might turn a bit chilly - on our return from 'Paddy’s Bar' having had a Guinness and a Venison burger toped with Haggis and melted Brie the ground was frosted with an ice covering. The next morning the tent was rigid with a layer of ice, the temp indicator in the car registered -3.5C at 8am! Still we had a good nights sleep. Ian had a guide book that gave options of access and launch sites – having decided on a course of action we headed of for North Point (215048 map 50), this involved negotiating various turns on very small C roads we arrived at the gates of what we thought was the hotel on the map, after driving for 5 mins through pristine grounds we came into view of what seemed to be a stately home with a Ferrari sitting out the front. Undaunted we walked into the lobby sporting artifacts from a bygone empire, logs burning in a massive fire place and us! Having asked very politely we were given permission to leave our cars for the next 3 days and use their boat house and slip way to alight upon our journey – nothing ventured, nothing gained!


The autumn had arrived much earlier; the trees were in various shades of auburn, bright blue skies and almost flat calm water that gave a mirrored reflection across the loch. The first thing that hit me was the shear size of these lochs, more like inland seas. We were however 5km north of our intended starting point and it was about 11.30 as we set of. Our intended camp site was 20km away and with little wind it would be a straight paddle all the way. The boats were handling very well despite their loads, plus I had never paddled my boat before. I was under an illusion that open boats were slow we were doing are best to keep up with Ian as it tracked seamlessly through the water. After 1.5 hours of paddling we reached North point and stopped for a brew. (I had just converted my trangier to gas – very impressed) and something to eat. The intended island campsite with its ruins was still a distance away but we set off – Loch Awe is a long ribbon of water dotted with islands that host castles, burial sites & ruins, incredibly beautiful but each headland seems to be a regulation hour or so away, but we made steady progress. 4 o’clock approached and the light was drawing in but the Castle rock could be seen in the distance, an hour’s paddle so we thought so we paddled on. It was well worth the effort, there is something magical about pulling your boat up onto a rocky gully into the remains of a castles keep, the imposing walls rising above (111974 map 55). We found a great campsite position with a panoramic view and sorted ourselves out for the night. The tent outer was still frozen and as I pulled it out of its dry bag huge piles of ice and snow fell out, it had clouded over a bit so it was a very pleasant nights sleep despite it rained heavily.

The rain had cleared up by the time breakfast was consumed and packed away, but the cloud base was very low and the loch had transformed it self into a misty grey scene suitable for the filming of the hounds of the Baskervilles. It was great to have Ian as our mentor, with out him I would not have had the confidence to set out on such a venture. He was much more efficient than we were in sorting out his stuff but very gracious as we took time to load all our gear back into our boats; even so were back on the water by 9.45. Setting of, horizontal ribbons of mist were clinging to the sides of the loch effectively painting a wash of grey across sky and water as our boats cut their own furrow, sounds muffled; we were very much in our own world.


Even though we had paddled 20km their was still 10km of loch left – we decided to paddle south for an hour or so and then turn north so that we could reach the hamlet of Dalavich (128970) by 1pm, this was a trip of 11km. There are a couple of fish farms on the loch; the one at Rubna (096968) was situated by the mouth of a stream so ensuring the salmon had a constant flow of fresh water. The construction of these floating farms was interesting – large gas pipes about 2ft wide and 50ft long were capped off and used as floats, these were linked to each other to form perimeter fences and floating pens. Floating Jetties were also made this way coupled with the modification of a tyre squeezed between the pipe and the wooden platform both being held together by a steel U band – might be a solution for our proposed new pontoon.


One reason for this trip was to carry out a ‘recky’ for future groups, the hotel we launched from was a God send but to turn up with a large group of paddlers was not an option. So landing at Dalavic was important as this was going to be the most favourable option. All along the loch there are idyllic boat houses for fishing parties but Dalavich consisted of a small shop, village hall and 20 or so wooden clad houses, its isolation however, lending itself to a good place to leave cars and a slip way to launch from.


The rain by now was fairly consistent and we wanted to paddle far enough up the lake so that we were able to explore the numerous islands and castles at the north end on our last day. As we left the cloud base had dropped further and the wind increased, at least it was behind us giving some assistance. We paddled on for another two hours and began to look for a suitable campsite, the foreshore was quite boggy and it was only when we found a small headland (204022 map50) jutting out into the lake with a small rocky outcrop could we break camp; by now we had covered a total of 41km in two days of paddling. The conditions had now deteriorated so it was a case of pitching the tents, securing the boats to a nearby tree so they would not blow away and cooking our evening meal under a wind battered tarpaulin. The wind and rain continued through out the night, the wind often sounding like a jumbo jet taking off out side the tent. Having good equipment is so important, having every confidence in the tent, stove etc meant these conditions were challenging but also was a great adventure.


The morning faired no better, by now all our gear was saturated apart from our dry set, our tents had done their jobs and despite the conditions we were in good spirits, I must admit I was loving every minute. The wind however, had created a 2 foot’ish rolling swell that was forming white caps in some places. This caused us a little challenge as the waves were coming diagonally across us. We had to clear the next two head lands before gaining their relative shelter, this resulted in two hours of surfing, cutting back out into the centre of the loch and then surfing again, we did not want to be driven into the bays only having to paddle back out with breaking waves hitting us side on to our canoes. Matthew did really well here as he was at the edge of his paddling experience, a few ‘encouraging’ words from Ian got us round the final headland. I was amazed how stable Ian made the open canoe look in these conditions. The morning was metered by a series of squalls that caused marble sized holes to be pierced into the surface of the water and then bluish skies would break through, the loch transforming within minutes into its metrological split personality. We paddled on for another 10 kms returning towards our original launching point, ironically blue skies treated us to our final moments of the trip. As we drifted around the headland we intuitively parted and found our own space in the bay, having time to drink in the view of islands dotted with castles and the amazing adventure we had just had on this 51km – 3 day canoe & camping expedition. Many thanks to Ian Bell for setting this up.  John Pegram

More photos………

02/11/10 Division 3 canoe polo

Our opening tournament this year saw us back in Division 3 after winning Division 4 north last year.  We adopted an attacking open playing style and only lost one game on the night (this was a penalty awarded late in the second half).  We are currently 2nd behind our local rivals Manchester A but still have the rest of the season and 3 more tournaments to play.


Special thanks to Katie for running the table all night - (it would be really good if some other spectators could help out for at least a few games each at the remaining tournaments...)


Note: It seems that the polo committee have changed the points system this year - 3 for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss and -1 for a no show.

I've also added a tournaments sheet to the results workbook showing which teams are playing at which tournaments.


See all the latest rules click here……  Dinny Davies  

More photos………





01/11/10 Hilbre Island trip - Sun 24th October report
 Today nine of us (seven sea kayaks, one 16 ft sit-on-top and a sea surf boat) decided to take a journey to Hilbre Island. With a high tide at 1230hrs and a very slight wind, even if a little cold, the conditions were great for an easy trip. After us all keeping a close eye on our "swimmer of the year 2010" we soon approached the main island in just under an hour. This is where some paddlers decided to take a break, after checking for birdlife, on the main beach and some had a great idea to head further around the island.

Only four paddlers were soft/brave enough to tackle the journey (Peter, Bob, John M and Myself ).  As the easy, flat water soon turned into BIG waves and a very confused sea. Peter led the way through the reported 10 footers and skilfully mastered the waves and the surf past the far slipway. It was here that he insisted that we should practice our rescue skills and immediately capsized to test my quick thinking. This rescue consisted of a quick tow to safety away from the rocks to a safe area (which Peter thanked me for).  He continued on his journey by portaging over Hilbre Island and back to the beach to join the others.


I then also took the opportunity to practice my rolling techniques in sea conditions. Firstly a SCREW ROLL then a C to C and finally a PAWLATA were all practiced whilst waiting for John and Bob to join us. I even had enough time to practice a roll out of my boat and test my new Lomo paddle float which is well recommended even though after getting back in twice I was immediately dumped back in by the monster waves. John Maddock insisted he should practice his rescue skills so we worked on our roly poly re-entry techniques (thanks John ) before joining the rest of the group at the beach. At lunch we shared coffee, jokes and future swimmer of the year nominations.


A relatively calm return journey was enjoyed by all.  A great trip with great company and team work to get everyone loaded. We all went for a relaxing coffee at the local bar and discussed future journeys and the need for good equipment. 


Paddlers =  Nicky Pyper, Bob Giles, Alan Runswick, John Maddock, Mark Moore, Ivan Franklin, John Worswick, Peter McComasky, Karl Tattum.

Thanks all for a great day. Karl.  More photos………..



23/10/10 November’s Newsletter Published
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