Volume 11 Issue 04

April 2011

April Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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27/03/11 Liverpool Marina Festival – 9 days of paddling to open our summer season.

Liverpool Canoe Club is offering 9 days of paddling at the beginning of May as part of this festival.  We hope that many club members will get involved and come down to support the club and get on the water to paddle.  All events are held at the Liverpool Marina.  If you do not have a boat or want to get non-members on the water then our come and try it sessions would be ideal (these are open to members of the public).  If you want to try out the latest Pyranha boat then the demo evening will undoubtedly be very popular again this year.


LCC Marina Festival Programme
Friday, 29 April Liverpool Marina Festival - LCC will be running come and try it sessions (free) from the slipway at 1.00pm and 3.00pm Click for more.........

Saturday, 30 April Liverpool Marina Festival - LCC will be running come and try it sessions (free) from the slipway at 1.00pm and 3.00pm Click for more.........

Sunday, 1 May Liverpool Marina Festival - Tour of the docks for club members.

Monday, 2 May Liverpool Marina Festival - LCC will be running come and try it sessions (free) from the slipway at 1.00pm and 3.00pm Click for more.........

Tuesday, 3 May General Club Night - Liverpool Marina Harbour Club Car Park 6:30 for 7pm on the water start to 8:30 (or Dusk)

Wednesday, 4 May Pyranha Demo Evening - Liverpool Marina Festival - open to all club members

Thursday, 5 May Canoe Polo Training (several plastic polo boats are available at the Marina) - Contact Dinny Davies if you want more information.........

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

Friday, 6 May Introductory / beginners course for new members (4 sessions) Click for more information.......

Saturday, 7 May All day  BCU Lifeguards Training Weekend - Part of Liverpool Marina Festival - Click for more information.....

Sunday, 8 May All day BCU Lifeguards Training Weekend - Part of Liverpool Marina Festival - Click for more information.........

more details»  copy to my calendar

27/03/11 Another LCC Sunday on the sea 20th March 2011.

Driving over from Liverpool to West Kirby in the Sunday morning drizzle I was very P3200087.JPGglad that Ian had sent that email on Friday asking if anyone fancied a trip to Hilbre.


From the meet up point, 11 LCC paddlers got on the water and headed out into the emerging sunshine and blue skies. The drizzle had cleared somewhere between the tunnel and the West Kirby, leaving a slight breeze and the promise of mild weather. Most of the P3200088.JPGgroup elected to go round the Island and experience the lumpier water, lots of big smiles to be seen as everyone successfully paddled through the slightly confused waves.


Pete T was very pleased with the feel of his new boat (a lovely new North Shore Atlantic in yellow), though like everyone else he elected for a break on the small beach rather than more playing in the waves. After a brew and a bite we headed back to shore in slight seas, the journey was completed in no time and everyone headed off to Sunday afternoon activities.


Thanks to Ian for looking out of his window at the sea on Friday and afternoon & organising a very pleasant Sunday morning on the sea.  Frankie A


27/03/11 How the club works.

Liverpool Canoe Club prides itself on efficiency to allow all to paddle as much as possible and not be bogged down with administration or a plethora of rules.  Consequently many club members are only too willing to help out where they can, whether coordinating a paddle, doing a write-up to encourage others, or to help run courses or activities etc.
1/ There is a Question & Answers section for any queries you may have in the information section of the site.
2/ Membership runs for 365 days from the day you first made payment.  You should receive reminder emails if you do not renew by this date and you will not have access to the protected areas of the site.  While you do not loose out if you renew early, if you renew late you do not gain credit for any missed days (This is similar to renewal of BCU membership – ie if you renew a month late you only get 11 months membership)
3/ Full membership gives you 3rd party insurance for all club activities and free use of club boats at the dock and pool.  We want to try different types of paddle sport or boats as this will improve your paddling.

4/ If you need to borrow club boats for trips these can be booked via the website.  A small fee covers wear and tear.  The boats should only be used by club members and not private trips or paddling (ie the paddle should be announced via the website as an informal paddle)

5/ Coordinators are there to offer advice or information to members enquiring about a paddle.  You should contact these individuals if you are not sure about the level of experience needed for a trip.
6/  Our main method of communication is via the googlemail group

26/03/11 Our new polo Goals

Again many of our club members rallied together to design, source , build and position the new goals in our warm-up area in Coburg Dock.  The design had been fine-tuned over the past month or so by John Pegram; Sam Godsell and Chris Turner sourced the scaffold tubing and clamps for free.  John Young and his brother Karl welded the goal frames and Ian Bell donated the netting.  Our team met this morning to start building the innovative, free standing goals and 6 hours later positioned them in the dock. 


Many thanks to all those involved including: John and Matt Pegram, John and Karl Young, Dave Collins, Theo Gaussen, Sam Godsell, Chris Franks, John Worswick, Keith S and Stuart Haywood and friends from our affiliated club, Liverpool University Canoe Club.


If anyone is interested in playing canoe polo please join us for practise games (currently Thursday evenings 6:30 to 8.00pm) 

Click for more on Canoe Polo…..


More photos…….

26/03/11 Sea kayaking in Norway – Monthly canoe talk by Alastair Randall (L4 coach)


Last Mondays talk was well attended with over 25 members present.  Alastair illustrated two multiday trips paddling on the West coast of Norway from SogneFjorden.  It was a fascinating insight on how to put together an expedition and to the wonders of paddling such a wonderful coast.  We were left really wanting to paddle in Arctic Norway and the only thing stopping us was the difficulty of getting there now that the Newcastle to Stavanger Passenger ferry route was cut in 2009.  If anyone has any ideas on its logistics please get in touch.

Upcoming monthly talks……

24/03/11 Sunday Paddle at the Docks 20th March – Albert Dock


10 o’clock kick off for paddling at the dock and the weather had definitely improved from the last month or so with practically no wind and warm enough to get quite sweaty with gentle paddling.  Steve Bond was co- coordinator and took a group of about 10 around for paddle to the usual places within the dock.  The going was soft with some sheltered places allowing the water to look like glass.   About half way through the paddle, Steve kindly press ganged me into writing a small piece describing the events of the morning .


First of all what was noticeable was a young lad by the name of Regan, I believe, who despite having some difficulty keeping up with the adults, kept going through out the paddle. I am sure there was some frustration but Regan kept going. So well done to Regan.


Upon arriving at the marina the car park was full and it was evident that quite a few sailing boats were on the Mersey.  We set off in a group and made our way to where Fred used to give the nation the weather bulletins all those years ago and stopped there for a light snack and split off into little random groups, i.e. girls in one and boys in another.


Peter and I spoke to a skipper of a concrete hulled sailing boat that he had built some 45 years ago and was renovating the inside. The vessel looked quite tidy and he was very happy to divulge the history of the craft. A labour of love and it seems his mistress.

We then moved on our way back to the other end of the docks were some group members split away and the rest of us carried on and caught view of some very nice boats. It was at this time that the sailing boats from the Mersey came through the lock gates under their own power in single file while we waited against the dock wall gently bobbing about exchanging niceties to the occupants.


We then paddled back to the marina and so ended our little voyage.  Liverpool were playing Sunderland so a coffee which normally followed was deferred till the next time.


Finally, some advice, it is generally a good idea that when you lock your car that you ensure that one of the doors is not left wide open as you go into the marina to get changed as this negates your car being locked. If that had been my car we would still be bickering about whose fault it was.  Not a bad morning.  Tom Mccomasky


18/03/11 Coniston Paddle Sunday 13th March


Weather forecast was overcast with winds of 6mph and gusts of up to 26mph; well it was the 13th after all! We arranged to meet at 10am and sure enough all ten of us made it on time.   Firstly after dodging the cars trying to safely navigate the road from the car park to the shore without damaging our kayaks which measured anything from 8 to 18ft,we successfully got ourselves on the water and headed in the direction of the newly refurbished Bluebird Café. 

Bacon butties and Cumberland rolls were the order of the day, we managed to put our orders in just before two packed tourist coaches pulled up, who said it was the 13th?  After we were fully recharged we headed in the direction of Peel Island.  I’m sure everyone on the coach with a camera took pictures of our flotilla heading southward.


I reckon it is about 4 miles to the Island from the Bluebird and we were heading into the wind, our only saving grace would be having the wind to our backs on the way back.  The sea kayaks had the easier time pushing into the wind however the smaller craft had to have greater effort to force against it in order to keep up.  

At Peel Island we all stretched our legs and unpacked our flasks and sandwiches and made the unanimous decision to continue to the end of the lake before turning homeward, looking forward to having the wind at our backs.   Time was getting on and the promised winds suddenly ceased making it a bit more challenging for all, the younger ones, Matthew and Matthew done very well to keep up considering their age, lack of wind and the type of craft they were paddling.  We all arrived back at shore as a group with the more experienced ones offering words of encouragement to the others.


Depending on who you talk to or which web site you look at the lake is either 5 or 5.5 miles long, I prefer the latter which makes a distance of 11 miles we paddled, however an even longer distance was paddled by the ones who decided to zigzag! 


We set off at 10:30am and finished at 4:30pm but the hardest part of the day was definitely the part when we had to get changed in the back of our cars in the car park.  For some, a slight detour on the way home to have some haggis and chips.   Peter McComasky


17/03/11 Sarah Hooper Talk Tuesday 12th April

As part of our series of monthly canoe talks and presentations we have Sarah Hooper coming down from the Lake District to give a talk on her amazing trip to Canada last Summer.


We have booked the downstairs main function room and need to fill as many seats as possible.  Tickets can be purchased in advance for £4.00 or may be available on the door (£5.00)

To make a purchase or find out more click here…..









17/03/11 Paddling in the docks


The Club runs many sessions over the summer months from our base in the Marina. We have a fleet of boats that can be used by club members free of charge.  A swipe card is required to gain access to the changing rooms and showers and to both the access ramp and boat storage. These are available for a one off fee to the marina (£11.00) Click here for details……

Club members often arrange their own paddles and the club has a docks licence for 7 days a week (9.00am to dusk).  If you want to arrange or coordinate one of these extra sessions you do need to comply with the clubs risk assessment and British Waterways guidance.  In short, please arrange an informal paddle and put it on the calendar by emailing brief details to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk



17/03/11 BCU Two Star Assessments at the Docks Saturday 12th March


Five of us spent the day training and being assessed for our two star.  The morning involved a trip to the Albert Dock in open boats.  We had to demonstrate a variety of manoeuvres solo.  Upon our return we went doubled up and had to rescue the empty canoe.  Roy and Andy were told that it was impossible to capsize in the X position. You guessed it, Roy fell over backwards taking Andy with him.  They then had to perform an unplanned “all in” rescue.


In the afternoon it was back to kayaks and as well as performing a number of strokes we had our wet session.  We all passed and are now looking to attend the BCU Lifeguards training weekend at the docks on 8th-9th May.


More Photos……….

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.



Informal trips arranged by club members are circulated by the club`s Googlegroups email system.

08/03/11 River Lune: Terradatyl Nests, Bizarre swims and Broken Paddles. 5th March 2011


Eight members of LCC signed up to paddle the River Lune on Saturday 5th March.           Roy McHale, Chris Murphy, Michal G, Paul Harwood, Keith Scott, Mark Garrod, John & Ben Cooke and new LCC member Ste Hitchen all arranged to meet at 10am at the Burton in Kendal services for the paddle. Everyone got there on time and after a few of us had spent a small fortune on coffee and breakfast and Keith had persuaded some poor guy in a Land Rover to hand over his hard earned cash for an old purple coloured kayak  (Keith you’ll have to teach me that Jedi mind trick someday). 

We all set off up the M6 to Junction 37 and the put in just below the “Crook of Lune Bridge” near Beck Foot. Now the UK Rivers Guidebook gives this section of the Lune a grading of 3 with some grade 4 rapids but after the torrential rain we had had during the week we all agreed this was a grade 5+ river equal to the Zambezi in volume ....back to reality eh...to be honest the river was a bit low in places and for the first mile or so the art of rock dodging was taken up by the group but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves as we picked a line through the shallows. Soon enough the river deepened and the going got easier. The river then narrowed as it went through a gorge with a few nice rapids to contest. Everyone in the group successfully managed these and we continued with our journey. The River then flowed under an old disused Railway Viaduct the river here was quite slow moving and we stopped to admire the architecture of the bridge.  This is when we spied the Terradatyl nests. There was two nests in total they looked abandoned but we decided to move on just in case one of the flying Lizards returned and was a bit peckish.

The next major obstacle is when the river is forced between two rocks then drops a few feet down I’ve heard some say that there is a magnetic rock on this rapid which causes paddlers to capsize but again all the group managed it with relative ease. It wasn’t long after this that the first unplanned swim of the day occurred. As the river flowed slowly under Lincoln’s Inn Bridge, Chris Murphy, yeah that’s right folks the very same Chris Murphy who on the way home from the pool session only last Thursday night had said he couldn’t remember the last time he has had to swim on a river capsized his boat. A bizarre scene then unfolded as Chris unsuccessfully tried to right his kayak in the 18inches of water or so of water where the incident happened. His fellow paddlers all rushed to his assistance but Chris decided to bale instead and trudged to the bank. The look of love for his fellows as he waded to the shore was captured superbly by Paul Harwood’s camera (see photos). Later when I questioned Chris on what had happened he said “I was stuck on a submerged triangle shaped rock when Ste Hitchen rammed me from behind”. By the glint in Chris’s eye I seemed to get a feeling that that statement had been spoken before and not wanting to uncover anymore of the Murphy/Hitchen relationship I quickly paddled down to the Strid section of the river with the rest of the group.

It was at this point that Mark Garrod gave the signal to “eddy out River left” this must have been lost in translation as Michal started to go down the Strid backwards. He went down the first drop into the Strid in reverse then pulled off a roll before making the bank. Once we were all on the bank we surveyed the rapid and after some discussion decided it was a bit too tricky to run in such low water due to a large rock that splits the river into two very narrow channels. To make up for this disappointment a few of us did a few seal launches off a high rock into a deep pool, jumped in from the same rock and swam the Strid instead once this was done we continued on our way.


It was on the next set of rapids that the second unplanned swim of the day took place new member Ste Hitchen snapped his paddle in two when his low brace hit a rock. With about a mile of the paddle left to go this could of been a problem had it not been for Paul “Grey owl” Harwood who took up the challenge to paddle to the get out at New Killington Bridge with a single blade. After we’d got changed we went to the nearest pub “The Head” for a game of pool some food and a pint. On reflection a great days paddle thoroughly enjoyed by all. Roy McHale More photos……….

07/03/11River Irwell Paddle 27th February 2011


7 paddlers set off to run the Irwell from Ramsbottom down to the Burrs site near Bury.  Justin, Jim, Ben, Neil, Theo, Al and Andy were present.  It started well as all managed to negotiate the steeply banked get in, complete with a new fence just to make life harder!  We all went successfully through the concrete slide. Relative new comers to moving water, Al and Andy, had a slight wobble as they hit the main river channel, but, superb low braces meant no swimming was required. (Yet!)


The river levels were low meaning that several large rocks hindered progress. After weaving through the rocks we passed over two drops, the second of which caught Al a little unaware resulting in the first swim of the day! All back in our boats, we turned a tight corner. Al took the meander a little wide and had a run in with a rather large overhanging tree, resulting in the second swim of the day!! To his credit he jumped back in his boat and we all powered on in an effort to warm up. All had good fun on the water, in particular Theo and Ben who seemed to find great pleasure in even the smallest play waves! All passed over the 15 foot weir (the size of which grows every time I tell this story!) and then we all ended a good days paddle messing around surfing on the waves.


I would like to thank all of the paddlers for their instruction and support during the paddle.  I seem to learning something new all the time.


Andy Wrigg


06/03/11 Chris Fletcher’s raid on “Dog Island”– Loch Lomond 25th Feb 2011


Nine adult members and two children ventured north of the border to Loch Lomond. Chris Fletcher’s meticulous planning was soon found to be wanting as the campsite at the head of the Loch had no record of any booking for us or anybody else for that matter as it was locked up. Fortunately the owners were accommodating and opened up for us.


Apparently, when Chris enquired next day, Agnes (real or fictitious) knew all about us and all faith was restored in Chris (?).


Saturday morning was taken at a leisurely pace as we all drove down to Luss for the put in. Fishing permits were obtained and talk of the different merits and tastes of the various fish that were going to be caught ensued. The weather was kind to us (as it was all weekend) with a bright sunny but slightly cloudy day.


We paddled east to explore around the islands whilst dodging a couple of rain showers before our final assault on “dog island”. It was decided to pitch camp on the tail of the dog. Landing was achieved with no resistance and the tents were erected. A campfire was soon started.


Dermot then put his fishing permit to full use whilst Tony and Chris opened a tin of tuna.


The campfire was a struggle so Dave Collins set about providing kindling for the fire until this came to an abrupt end when he sliced into his finger with the blunt end of a Ray Mears certified knife. Finally the fire took hold and we waited for the fish to arrive, the fire died down, the fire was re-ignited and we waited for the fish to arrive. Dinner that evening consisted of jacket potatoes.


After heavy showers during the night, Sunday was an even better day than Saturday. The loch on the lee of the island was like a millpond.


We explored the South of the island and found two glorious beaches, the latter of which was fully deserving of a stop off for a coffee. These places were noted for future reference and were named as the underbelly and snout of the dog.


We left the renamed and more affectionately called Corgi Island and headed back to Luss. The paddling at this point got more difficult, but we were all soon back at the jetty


As my first overnight trip with the club it was superb. There are plenty of opportunities for overnight camping trips in this location and hopefully this will become a regular destination for a club trip.

Steve Bond


More photos……..


06/03/11 Canoe Polo – Division 3 North


Our Canoe polo side played their last Division 3 tournament last night and won 2, drew 1 and lost 1 game.  This puts them 7th overall.  It is a shame that we did not win our game against Morpeth as this would have put us 5th but they were far sharper on the night.

We intend to enter several weekend tournaments over the summer (See the calendar for details).  If you would like to play polo please contact Dinny Davis (A team) or Paul Harwood (B team).


If you want to receive emails from our polo google group about events and training please click here to sign up…..


Photos from Tournament 6…….



01/03/11 The Frozen North or The Wrong End of The Mersey?


Having fallen for Keith’s masterful ruse contrived by Keith and Steve on their drive down to Llandudno, it would appear that my “local knowledge” is vital to the writing up of the trip down The Mersey. I’m not entirely convinced of the need for local knowledge since, far from being able to point out any local beauty spots (yes, Manchester does have them), paddling that section of the Mersey is much like walking in a railway cutting.


Keith, Steve, your duping may have been a mistake, as I must now dispel the belief that the great adventure of the year was the trip to Alaska. Forthwith, the title of intrepid paddlers of the year will go to the group Helen S took down The Mersey in minus 7 C.


The first challenge was to get to Manchester. This confounded a few brave souls and we were under the impression that John was still driving round and round the M60 until he turned up safe in Llandudno.


The next challenge was to ferry the cars to a nearby get out whilst the rest of us ferried the kayaks down to the get-in. Unfortunately, the kayak shifters in the car park were distracted by a lesser spotted Mancunian grizzly bear who chose to sit on the kayaks to eat his bacon butty. The brave kayak shifters, aware of the danger one can face not allowing these creatures their breakfast waited for the car shifters to return and move their own kayaks. Mancunian bears being a little shy of motorised vehicles, the bear hot footed it into the woods leaving the lads to face the wrath of the car movers…… (sorry, it’s the painkillers after my knee op).


Whilst we put in our mix of river boats, opens and my sea-kayak, a couple of locals paddled past us, heading upstream in a K2, which looked like great fun.

Snow on the ground and icicles hanging from the bridges, we followed The Mersey  as it gently meanders down through some beautiful parkland (Fletcher Moss in Didsbury, Chorlton Meadows) none of which you can really see from the river. The gentle buzz of the pylons, a heron and a grey wagtail kept us company for most of the route until we reached Northenden weir. A fairly impressive weir (to me – my first river trip in a sea kayak),  I was a little anxious that my boat would hit the bottom and I’d be stuck on the weir for the day. However, we all made it safely down and stopped for a little light refreshment. Standing out on the snow proved somewhat chilly, so we ate quickly and headed back to the boats.


Helen and I chose to warm up with some fairly swift paddling and were surprised by how long it took the others to catch us – I mean, Helen is quick and I was in my sea boat, but, they really were taking a while….. Eventually they caught up with us with a rather soggy looking Spud. Ben having instructed her in the ways of playing in a weir and braking in. Spud continued to enjoy her trip and didn’t complain at all about how cold she must have been – wet and having taken a few layers off at lunch when she was “too hot” – they make them tough in Norn Iron.


12km down from Burnage Rugby Club is the perfect get out – Jackson’s Boat – a pub! We paddled on past Jackson’s boat and encountered some more wildlife in the form of a dead Canada Goose floating in the water – no doubt having flown into one of the pylons. Keith then found us a new get out at TGI Fridays. Some great improvisation with a couple of towlines made light work of shifting the boats up 2 hills! Especially light for those of us that stayed at the bottom! The handy local was my dad, who turned up to pick me and my boat up and ferry the lads back to the original get out where the cars were waiting to be de-iced!


A bloody good day out was had by all. Thanks to Helen for organising it. It may not be scenic, but it was good fun, and now we know where the pub get out is…..I look forward to the next trip.  Kathy Morton      More photos……


01/03/11 March’s Newsletter Published
Please open it by clicking this link March’s Newsletter…… or via the website   More Archived Newsletters…..


If you have forgotten your password click here….. to have a new one emailed to you. (Please note that some ISP`s may block our automated system so please contact membership@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk if you have problems)


The newsletter has now become so large it is not practical to email it to everyone as it may clog up your inbox.  In addition, it is mostly read online and therefore displays better using your browser as it adjusts to fit your screen size no matter if read on a mobile phone or full TV sized monitor.   (You can still print it if you wish!)