Volume 11 Issue 07

July 2011

July Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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Major Trip Reports.…

28/06/11 Kayak Safety Cover at the Liverpool Triathlon - Sunday 26th June 2011

Many thanks to the 40+ club members who helped out at the Liverpool Triathlon on Sunday (and the 3 practises in the weeks before)  We raised over £1360 for the club with a donation from the organisers for our help.  If you would like to help in future with safety kayaking please consider a Swim Event Safety Award (SESA course).  There are still some places on the Club run SESA course on 3rd July at the Marina…..

More information on kayak teams etc……


28/06/11 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.

 

28/06/11 Monday Night Talks
We have just finalised speakers for the summer season.  We have Nick Cunliffe, Ray Goodwin and Allan McDonald giving talks at the club for free this summer.  Click the links below to reserve your seat(s) now before they are all gone…….

19th September 2011 (3rd Monday)
Sea Kayaking - Nick Cunliffe (www.kayakessentials.co.uk)  Local Wirral man now working in North Wales
8th August 2011
Open Canoeing - Ray Goodwin Ray will have copies of his new book on Open Canoeing available for sale after the presentation. If requested he will gladly sign them for you.
11th July 2011
Merseyside Mountaineers & Explorers - Talk from the author Allan McDonald (This lovely book tells the story of Merseyside greats - Bill Tilman,

Menlove Edwards, Alan Rouse etc)

28/06/11 Upper and Lower Tryweryn - Sunday 26th June 2011

Eight of us met at the Tryweryn on a hot sunny Sunday morning expecting to be jostling among a throng of enthusiastic kayakers. Instead we found we had the river pretty much to ourselves. I'm sure that rafts outnumbered kayaks at one point.

Mike and Ruth A had already run the upper T and joined the rest of us below Chapel Falls for a leisurely warm-up on the lower section. There was a little bit more volume coming down the river than the 9 cumecs we expected, just enough to notice it though. At Bala Mill Falls John Maddock Jnr and I took the portage leat and arrived at the falls just in time to see the rest of the group effortlessly bounce through the whitewater onto the calmer section below. They all made it look so easy!

Mike and Ruth left for home, then after a quick shuttle and a bite to eat, five of us set off from the Chipper to run the upper section. The Upper Graveyard is always a nice place to play in the eddies and we ran it twice for good luck before dropping down into the main Graveyard section. We stuck close together and grouped before each section to check we were ready (and for me to learn which line to take). A great time was had by all as we flew under Miss Davies Bridge and swept down through the ski-slope. Eventually we all arrived safely in the eddy by the cafe wave, planning to drop down to the raft take-out or maybe go a little further on.

Unfortunately, that's where my luck ran out and not far below the cafe I went for a swim and a free back massage courtesy of the notorious fingers section. Thanks to the quick reactions of the rest of the group, my kit was rescued and we all got off the water - Thanks for your efforts folks - very much appreciated!

Thanks also to Helen for organising what was a very enjoyable day for all!  John Maddock   More Photos………

 

23/06/11 New Brighton, Perch Rock – Wednesday Evening Paddles

It was a little windy in the afternoon but had died down a little for 6:30pm.  We started off on lee of the prom but Darren still had a few problems as the surf broke around the breakwater and onto the beach.  A couple of empties later and we were off against the tide to get a feel for conditions. 

 

After about 20 minutes we turned and went against the wind to the lighthouse and braking surf.  This time, against a strong back eddie, we eventually rounded the post that marks Perch Rock and into the Bay on the North Side.   As the wind eased further a few large swells gave some interesting (and at times exciting) rides into the beach.

 

The water was incredibly warm but salty and the conditions proved ideal to develop our skills.

 

More photos…….

 

 

Next Wednesday we are paddling the River Alt from Maghull to Formby…….

 

 

 

21/06/11 The Merseyside Polo tournament

Our team got off to a great start winning their first game against Kingston.  We found ourselves in the top division and faced some good sides, most a division or two higher in the national Leagues.

 

Unfortunately the rest of our 9 games did not go to plan and we lost the remaining games.  Sometimes this was due to the oppositions speed and quality but sometimes we pushed too hard and simply gave away the ball to easily.  We ultimately came 1oth out of 10 in Division 1.

 

The tournament enjoyed some excellent weather and it was good to see lots of club members drop in to see what polo was all about.  The game is similar to basket ball with 5 players on each side with up to 3 subs.  The idea is to pass the ball down the pitch and score in the oppositions net which is 2m above the water.  If you are interested in playing the game email us at website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk or just join in on a Thursday night at the docks – any boat or helmet will do to start with.

 

More photos………

 

21/06/11 Chester Weir – Wednesday Evening Paddles

There may have been a little more water going down the Dee today than in previous weeks and we spent the evening paddling over the steps, put the nose of our boats into the weir slot to launch ourselves skywards or just practising braking in and out in the tail below.  We were joined by groups from Mould and Peninsular but there was still plenty of room on the steps and weir below. 

 

 

Next Wednesday we venture across to New Brighton to play in the surf or standing wave near the lighthouse.

 

 

More information and maps of Chester Weir…..

 

More photos………

 

 

 

21/06/11 The Great North Swim – Windermere Kayak Safety cover

A number of our members helped with the safety cover last weekend of the biggest swimming event ever to be staged in the UK.  The swimmers swam the equivalent of the distance between London and Sydney – and raise an estimated £1.5 million for charity in the process.

The three-day British Gas Great North Swim at Windermere in the Lake District, showcased an array of world-class elite talent with the best of British taking on the might of Germany, and attracted more than 10,000 entrants.

The open water swimming extravaganza got underway on Friday 17 June and continued right across Saturday and Sunday – with the one-mile elite races taking place on Saturday at noon (women) and 12.30pm (men).

Britain's Tom Allen and Germany's Isabelle Haerle produced impressive swims to secure comfortable victories at the British Gas Great North Swim at Windermere.

You can see the rafts of comments about just how great the kayakers were on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/greatswim

 20/06/11 The River Tryweryn Festival 18-19th June

Three members of LCC made the trip to Bala on Friday evening and pitched their tents in a field adjacent to Bala Mill Falls. We didn’t know what to expect from this event but after a quick look around we seem to have every prerequisites needed for a festival, namely, rain, midges, beer and like minded people. We even had two portaloos!

 

As we tucked in to the BBQ laid on by the organisers we got chatting to our fellow kayakers, some of which had made much longer trips than ours. There were a couple of members from Surrey Canoe Club, another four from Southampton Canoe club and a guy called Tim from Birmingham who, as far as we could tell, was the only open boater on the water at the weekend. After a few beers and a very poor joke telling session we retired to our tents in readiness for the mornings paddle.

After breakfast we drove up the centre have a look at the manufacturers stands. Pyranha, Big Dog, Wave Sport, Robson and Bliss stick all had boats to demo and Palm and Nookie were selling their stock as well.

 

After a quick walk of the upper section (Sam hadn’t paddled this before) we headed back to the campsite to get changed. We put on below Bala Mill falls and paddled the short section to the get out. We were met here by the minibus and shuttled back up to the centre. We put on above the chipper in the Top Hole and practised our eddying and ferry gliding. After Roy lost a fight with the chipper we decided to get out and put in on the seal launch above Graveyard.

 

The first run down the upper section was excellent and pretty uneventful except for a couple of rolls each from Sam and Roy. With Roy doing a fine job at river leading, we joined up with the Southampton paddlers after Chapel Falls and ran the lower section down to Bala Mill Falls. After a quick inspection and a sandwich, Bala Mill was safety negotiated by all, although I am now about 1 inch shorter as I came off a ledge and my bow speared a rock. Ouch! Then it was back to the shuttle to do another lap.

 

Needless to say the second running did not go as smooth as the first with three more swims, and a few must make rolls.(Amazingly, none involved me for a change, a fact made all the more remarkable as I somehow managed to run Bala Mill Falls backwards second time around.) Sam had also collected a nasty bump on his head, we had lost a paddle and we had to affect a pretty difficult boat rescue at one point. Plenty to talk about in the pub later!

We all made it back to the campsite in one piece and got ready for the evening meal. This took place in the Old School Restaurant and was followed by a photo slide show and prize giving for the various events run on the river that day. These included a photo competition, a three man relay run, a duo rolling comp and a bizarre event called eight ball, where four kayakers attempt to run from above the Café Wave to below the NRA wave whilst trying to avoid being blocked by the centre staff in huge black dinghies! As if running the river isn’t tricky enough!

 

Next, the seventy or so people in attendance were treated to an awesome film of an expedition undertaken to China by some members of the white water centre team last October. This included unbelievable footage of the rapids on the Yangtze River and also a couple of first descents. Full respect went out to these guys and they were more than happy to tell us their stories later over a few beers. The night ended, as most nights in Bala do apparently, with more beers in the Bull before we made our way back to the campsite.

 

The next day we went back up to the centre to take some pictures of the competitions in full flow and to haggle for Nookie merchandise before we left for home. The Festival is really well run and well worth the £25 ticket as it includes two nights camping, two evening meals, as many shuttles as you need and free entry to all the competitions. The three of us had a brilliant weekend and met some really friendly people and aim to return next year in bigger numbers.

 

Chris M, Roy Mc, and Sam G  More photos………


15/06/11 SUNDAY – Anglesey Weekend – Awesome days Surfing at Trearddur

 

Chris has just posted some awesome photos of the day back in May.  Click for photos……….

 

15/06/11 LCC Raffle at the Jim Krawiecki talk raised over £100.00

 

The raffle for a guide book, and several P&H caps raised £100.00 which was handed over to Sue Webster (Chairman RNLI Port Of Liverpool Branch)

Dear Liverpool Canoe Club. 
It was lovely to meet you all and Jim this evening.  We raised over £100 by the time I left, and was also donated a book by Allan Mc Donald from the Merseyside Mountaineers.

It was a lovely evening and the pictures were amazing.

I have attached a flyer for our event at Liverpool Football Club if you could let your members know.  The events are always a sell out and raises a good few thousand on the night.

Many thanks once again Brian for inviting me and please arrange a Sunday when you can get a group of people together for a visit to Hoylake Station.

Kind regards

Sue Webster

 

14/06/11 Sea Kayaking in Northern England & the Isle of Man - A talk / presentation by Jim Krawiecki

 


Last night saw about 70 people attend Jim`s book launch and slide talk.  It was fascinating to hear about all the possible trips along both the NW and NE coasts.  The mini films and video included gave an interesting aside to the proceedings.  This was a fantastic presentation which was well received by all.

Jim Krawiecki started paddling in any old kayak he could muster during the school holidays. He has since paddled (and swum) many of the exciting white water rivers of England, Scotland and Wales, as well as many of those in the French Alps.

A passion for sea kayaking combined with an interest in writing and photography, brought about the first comprehensive Guidebook to the Welsh coast, for sea kayakers. His first publication (Welsh Sea Kayaking co-authored by Andy Biggs) is a great success and has already gone to a reprint.

 

Jim lives in Manchester and is a prominent member of North West Sea Kayakers. He regularly organises meets and sea trips. So a sea kayakers’ guide to northern England was the obvious choice for an encore.

 


Northern England & IOM
Fifty Great Sea Kayak Voyages
BY: Jim Krawiecki
ISBN: 978-1-906095-29-1
EDITION: first
FORMAT:
272pp in full colour, 240x170mm, paperback / section sewn
PRICE: £19.99

Other Guides by Jim

 


13/06/11 Tryweryn Paddle Saturday 11
th June

 

A group of us met up on the river for around midday.  The river was on 10 cumecs (that extra cubic metre of water made some of the waves that little bit heavier than usual”. 

 

Most of us managed three runs, with many practising numerous techniques on the graveyard section.  Many thanks to Anthony K for his encouragement and coaching on the day.  We had lots of practise at breaking in and out.

 

 

 

Justin C, Neil M, Anthony K, Michal G, Sara B, Keith S, Chris M, Keith Scott, Roy M   More Photos……..

 

 


10/06/11 Free Digital copy of Ocean Paddler Issue #25  

As members of Liverpool Canoe Club you receive a digital copy of Ocean Paddler Magazine.  I found the article by Nigel Dennis on the Sea Kayaking Tragedy at Roscolyn last year especially interesting (Page 34).  As a club we need to consider the points raised by Nigel very carefully.  If conditions are likely to at all marginal a sheltered back plan should always be used.

 

The Menai Straits and Conway estuary provide ideal alternatives when travelling out the Anglesey and have been used many times in the past by the club.

 

 

 

http://oceanpaddlermagazine.com/3D-Issues/OP25-3D/

 

 

 

10/06/11 Wednesday Evening paddle – Runcorn Bridge  

A bunch of us met in front of the Mersey hotel under the Widnes side of the Runcorn Bridge last night.  Through a slight miscalculation the tide was not slack but was in fact ebbing about (There is only about 4 hours of tide this far up the estuary. 

 

With the tide running against the wind a number of standing waves were visible under the bridge.  Most of us took advantage of this and surfed for an hour or so.  As the tide eased we made our way up towards Spike Island and the Catalyst Museum.  There was a newly wrecked yacht on the mud bank and Fiddlers Ferry power station beyond.

 

It was a most enjoyable evenings paddle.  Next Wednesday we are at Chester weir.

 

 

For more accurate tide times go to http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast_and_sea/tide_tables/5/456/

 

 

More photos……….




07/06/11 Liverpool Canoe Club is featured in the next issue of Canoe and Kayak UK magazine
Canoe & Kayak - Britain's best selling Canoe Magazine

Canoe and Kayak UK magazine is running a feature on Liverpool Canoe Club in its next issue (July No. 124) which is on sale from June 9th.

 

Pictures of LCC members doing their thing on the water will also feature. Could you be one of them?  This issue will also ship with a FREE sea kayaking DVD from Cackle TV.  I have just ordered my copy via the Magazines website…….. 

Reading about the club from this perspective makes one realise just how successful it has been since a small group of us first muted the idea of a a new and different kind of canoe club back on that wet and windy night in October 2008.

Well done to everyone, old members and new, that have given so freely of their time, enthusiasm and commitment to get the club to where we now are.

I for one am certainly proud to be member of Liverpool Canoe Club.

Brian Green

 

07/06/11 Conway Estuary Paddle Saturday 4th June

19 paddlers turned up for the Conway trip.  If you were not there you missed out on a really good trip. As a group we varied in skills from beginners to experienced, and from this trip certainly got to know each other better and took home some good memories.

 

The Conway Estuary is an easy river to explore, with great sights along the way and an interesting get out point for lunch (I can only leave the photos to tell that story for themselves). We were lucky to have blue sky's throughout the day.  Those of us that didn't get covered in mud or stuck in the sandbanks certainly had a good laugh at those who did. (you know who you are!)

 

The last part of the trip does get a little draining, but the thought of that cold pint waiting for you at the end certainly motivated me.

 

I hope to see every one again on the next trip out, and for anyone that did not come, there always next year. Enjoy the photos.....  Darren Hale

 

 

Mark Moore has posted his photo record of the trip on YouTube – Click the link below to view the movie

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZYo9CyJ96I&feature=youtube_gdata

 

05/06/11 LCC Scottish Sea Expedition - Jura

Day 1: Loch Beag to Lussa Bay       23.7km

Day 2: Lussa bay to Craighouse –        26.1km

Day 3: Craighouse                               0km    

Day 4: Craighouse to Loch Tarbert –   34.8km

Day 5: Loch Tarbert to Luing –            39.3km

Day 6: Luing to Loch Beag –               5.4km

Total:                                                  129.3km

 

Some photographs have been posted on the site.  Click to view them…….

 

Saturday 28th May / Sunday 29th – A wild weekend in Oban

Oban – Gallanachmore campsite

 

Saturday morning its’ raining and the wind forecast isn’t looking too favourable, but hey I am on holiday! Meeting up at Brian’s talk turned to paddling options and the weather forecast over bacon butties provided by Brian. (sadly Brian couldn’t join us but made sure we set off fully fuelled for the long journey)

After padding and faffing the trailer was loaded with boats and Simon’s van filled with bags and people and the convoy to Oban began, only 2 hours behind schedule.

Apart the silver Clio that literally stopped on the bends on the way past Loch Lomond, the journey passed smoothly and at the “Green Welly Stop” a quick text to Helen kicking her heels waiting with John M in Oban had the campsite for the night organised.(£7.50!) Tents up on the Oban Caravan and Camping park we headed off to find an eatery – which Saturday evening in Oban for 11 people proved more difficult than expected.  I hear the curry was excellent but I was happy with posh haggis, neaps and tatties in the lounge bar, though John P did think they had served him a starter not a main course.

 

Sunday morning arrived wet and windy and waking to hear Keith calling a meeting under the tarp to discuss the days plans did raise some of us from our snug comfy tents so with little prospect of paddling, after meeting under the tarp preparations for the day began .An hour back asleep was great prep for contributing to the Oban economy, but first a visit to view the Falls of Lora in the wind and rain. Following this a party of us intrepidly explored Tesco and the outdoor shops of Oban and lunched in a cafe for shelter. Back at camp the discovery of the campers’ kitchen made for a pleasant evening cooking and eating with a little planning thrown in. This was now the Jura trip. The weather forecast and late start meant this was a better option. As I sit doing this write up on a campsite by the Jura distillery - good plan is the thought that springs to mind. Frankie

 

Monday 30th May – Is there any tide in the Sound of Jura?

Craignish Point to Lussa Point

 

Armed with an AA road map we waded through what smelt like the devil’s excrement with copious amounts of rotten fish thrown in (putrefying kelp), and after much balking at the smell we were finally on the water with the Paps of Jura in our sights. 

 

We crept down the west side of the Craignish peninsula with the tide pushing against our bows and the stiff breeze wafting against our salt matted hair and gleaming pates.

Our progress over to Jura was brought to an abrupt halt by a feisty little tide race that was steaming past the tip of the peninsula. At this point we took an extended lunch stop for three hours and waited for the tide to slacken off.  Much mooching, munching and boat spotting ensued.

 

Three o’ clock came and we were finally in business. The tidal stream had slackened and it was all hands on paddles.  The views across the sound of Jura were stunning with the spectacular Paps of Jura in the distance.  It took us roughly two hours to cross the sound in breezy yet pleasantly bouncy conditions. From near the top, north end of Jura we paddled down the calm and sheltered east side of the island towards the tranquil Lussa Bay where we camped for the night.

After all the initial stops and starts we were finally on our way and cooking with gas, so to speak.

 

Helen Siertsema

 

Tuesday 31st May – The Distillery

Lussa Point to Craighouse

Light was just dawning over the Sound of Jura as I awoke at 0520 so as to catch the early morning shipping forecast. Oh well, the report sounded favourable, and as I couldn’t hear any rain on the fly, it was promising to be a lovely start.

A quick breakfast, and then just as I started to take my nice dry tent down, along came a shower. Darn! The rain soon passed, boats were loaded and we set off for the second day of paddling, with a rainbow leading us on to journeys end. I wondered if there would be a pot of gold at the end?

The group zoomed along the coast, staying close in to try and catch sight of any wildlife. We were soon rewarded, a group of deer were foraging close to the sea shore, however, they were hard to spot as their colouring provided excellent camouflage.

Elevenses, which is more a state of mind than an actual time, was taken in a delightful old harbour. The sea wall steps providing a perfect sun trap of a pit stop, but all too soon it was away with the munchies and back on to the sea. From this point on, the scenery changed as we began to get sight of the Paps of Jura for the first time, and a change in the geology meant the coast line frequently was devoid of anywhere to land. Also we were now no longer in the lee of a headland, and the sea had changed slightly in character.

We reached a beach, perfect for lunch, but were advised that an even more perfect spot was only a short paddle further. This second beach was full of golden sands, protected from the increasing wind and had guaranteed perfectness. We paddled hard and soon arrived, to find a windy stinky, gloopy, knee deep landing through rank kelp. Nice! But we stopped anyway, we had paddled far enough!

Fully revitalised, we headed on. However someone decided that they needed to put reins on Helen just to stop here form running off. Her race was a picture!

With uncertainty over the next days paddling prospects, the group split. Some went to the shop, whilst others looked for a campsite. We touched lucky, very lucky! The small shop had an amazing stock, whilst the local hotel allowed us to camp on their front lawn. No charge, but donations gratefully received at the bar. NB, they also had showers and washing facilities that we could use.

That night I found my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a delicious venison pie in the pub. Fantastic!    Mike A

 

Wednesday 1st June – Any Port in a Storm

 

 

Woke up Wednesday morning to strong winds and rough seas meaning no paddling today and a forced stay at our campsite below the Jura hotel within the shelter of Craighouse bay.

 

Not a lot to do around hear other than a tour of the distillery or feed the midges some took the opportunity to dine in the Jura hotel we all had a drink or two in the bar, although not all alcoholic (in content I mean).  Thursday’s weather report promised to be good so to bed early for a 7am on the water start.  Although Glad of a safe haven I think we all will be keen to get paddling in the morning – Anthony Vaccaro

 



Jura is famous for raised beaches

The geology of the west coast (mostly quartzite) is cut by Tertiary dykes (volcanic intrusions of molten magma squeezed into cracks) and features numerous caves caused by past sea level rises that have eroded the coastline some 10 to 20m above its current level.  

 Jura is famed for its spectacular raised beaches.  Abandoned shoreline caused by dramatic sea level drops, some of these beach lines can be seen some 30 metres above the present sea level.  This island (and all of Scotland) is still rebounding from its last "Ice Age" where the weight of 2km of ice pushed it down into the earths crust.  This (isostatic) rebound is still happening today but the UK is pivoting and Devon and Cornwall is slowly being lowered into the sea causing many flooded valleys or “ria`s” along its coast (ie river Fowey and river Fal valleys)....   More information on the raised beaches of Jura……..

 

 

 

Thursday 2nd June – the Sound of Islay and the west Coast

Craighouse to Rubh an t-Sailein - Edge of Loch Tarbet 34.8km

 

It was with rested arms (storm bound in Craighouse for 24 hours - thank goodness!)  and full bellies (venison pies, sticky toffee puddings, apple pies and 16 year old malts) that we broke camp from our delightful spot, bathed in the gentle spice/honey/ peaty aromas of the Jura Distillery. We were all keen to get back on the water and following our master and commanders' (Keith and Ian - poetic licence only, don't let it go to your heads…) instruction we were on the water by 7am.

 

My boat considerably lighter now for having offloaded several tins of gin and tonic; the sun shining and the wind at our backs, we enjoyed a glorious paddle round the bottom of Jura into the Sound of Islay. Scenery to die for; seals playing alongside the boats, deer watching from the shore, cormorants drying their wings on the rocks, the conditions perfect as the tide turned to push us along to elevenses (flushing toilets and running water!) at the Feolin Ferry.   It doesn't get much more idyllic than this, I thought to myself. …..that was until Helen broke the magical poetry of the moment with her delightful pirate talk (this is on a need to know basis, suffice to say, the magic was gone, replaced with much laughter and hilarity…….).

 

We surfed out of the Sound of Islay on the Cal-Mac ferry's wake under the shadow of The Paps. Briefly exposed to the winds and big swell as we crossed the mouth of Loch Tarbet it was noticeable that Helen's usual position (20 feet out to sea from the rest of the pack) was wavering, her powerful strokes were no longer forging her certain path through the waves…..John M went to her rescue, only to find that her skeg had disappeared…. Thankfully, we soon reached the lea of Colonsay and everyone was back on a straight line through to our next idyllic wild camp at Rubh an t-Sailean.  Nearly 35 km under our belts, we set up tents and then spent an afternoon relaxing in the sun/exploring the headland.

 

John M set off as team photographer (thanks John) to capture more of the island's beauty and soon found a magical storm beech of flotsam and jetsam. Tony chose a pair of shorts to explore in, only to return covered in ticks, thankfully, he avoided the adders. The rest of us had the weighty decision to wrestle with…..when to cook dinner to avoid the midges vs lying around in the sun. I think we all timed it to perfection (other than my falling backwards off my cooking rock) and after washing up in the harbour with a seal for company, we all retired for an early night and well deserved rest, to be back on the water again at 7am. Another perfect day.    Kathy M

 

 

 

Friday 3rd June – Atlantic Swells and Corryvreckan Whirlpool

Rubh an t-Sailein to Luing Island

 

My day started a bit damp getting the dew wet tent stowed and getting under way a little too slow (sorry guys).  The seal, that had checked us into the little harbour we camped next to was breakfasting somewhere else, so off we went.

 

With pleasant following Atlantic swells we made excellent progress up the west coast. There were seals and deer right at the shore to enliven a morning that already had sunshine and blue skies. What would be next? I kept looking out to  deeper sea to the west hoping for a square silhouette on the waves. This, I understand, is the shape the basking sharks fins make when they are on the surface.

 

No sharks though. Then, John calls from the back of our group “I think there’s a dolphin here”.  Between us and the shore we are gifted with a pair taking a breath or two. A big one and a little one, maybe mother and calf. Thanks John, I’d paddle round the island just for that moment.

 

A sprint to catch the group up had me doing the cooked lobster in my drysuit, salopettes are the way forward.  A bit later, Keith and Ian lead us into a lovely sheltered bay for a nice long lunch in the sun with a couple of nice yatchs and the opportunity to see what Corrievreckan looks like in flow.

 

Yes, big impressive standing wave. Then we see the high powered tourist boats ferry gliding in front of the wave.  Their motors sounded big and yet still being challenged by the flow. Glad we waited for the slack water.

 

Mind you, an elderly gentleman, who had escorted us into the bay in his aluminium dinghy and tiny outboard tells us that it’s possible to make passage using the little refuges and a locals knowledge of the eddies and currents. He wasn’t crossing, but he did leave  well ahead of us. Motoring close to the shore and puttering away round the headland.

 

Much preferred our leaders plan and later cautious departure, up the south side of the strait to the east end and then after a good look, across we went. Big eddies some more than fifty feet wide pushed and pulled us in a weaving path. Good that these were just the ghosts of the forces when the tide was in flow.

 

Then we were across.

 

The bothy camp site on Scarba was a bit too exposed and small, so we made a second little crossing with an oblique following sea to the next island, Luing.  This wave pattern was a new challenge, Helen had fun without her Capella’s skeg. I certainly learned improved technique with my Thatcherite (as in, not for turning) Icefloe.  Stable and sea kindly the boat looked after me, really well. Might not use a wing paddle next trip though, ahem.

 

Wild camping again, we were visited by some locals. Seems John had pitched next to a favourite scratching post for the Angus herd sharing our accommodations and we were between them and their evening drink. They were gentle, though, and left the tents alone.

 

Last night,the two pleasant nights in the haven at the Jura hotel meant a lovely big dinner as the sun went down beautifully,  we even drank some of the wine I’d hauled round all week!

 

Amazing day, great sights, the best company. Lifetime memory.

 

Thanks everyone.  Paul Hanley

 

 

The Corryvreckan is the third largest whirlpool in the world, and is on the northern side of the gulf, surrounding a pyramid-shaped basalt pinnacle that rises from depths of 70 m to 29 m at its rounded top. Flood tides and inflow from the Firth of Lorne to the west can drive the waters of Corryvreckan to waves of over 30 feet (9 m), and the roar of the resulting maelstrom can be heard ten miles (16 km) away.

more information……

 

Saturday 4th June – a short hop home

Luing Island to Craignish Point

 

Having run the 'tongue of the Corryvreckan tide race; breaking out into the Sound of Lung we were left with a  45minute ferry glide across to Lung Island. That evening it was time to reflect on a week of paddling and enjoy the setting sun surrounded by water and amazing panoramic mountain views. We were also joined by the resident Angus herd who seemed to know the tide times as much as us as they munched their way through the camp and cross a small inlet exposed by the low water - the bull being most impressive. John`s tent narrowly missed being mistook for an expectant heffer!

As we sat around our stoves cooking our evening meal (to the sound of I've got some broccoli left does any one want some) I carried on stirring my pre packed soup and pasta with an inward chuckle. The weather again transformed the view as a blanket of cotton wool cloud enveloped the landscape blotting out the whole of the isles of Scarba and Jurua leaving us isolated on our little island. Wind had been the main adversary of the week coupled by the tidal streams and tide races. This was my first sea trip and the first time out in my sea kayak, it was simply a fantastic experience. The combination of venturing out on an adventure/ journey where you had to be self sufficient, thinking through the strategy of where and when to paddle, being part of the ever changing scenery that was simply stunning and mesmerising all combine to make this the complete package. This trip has impressed upon me the importance of a sound knowledge and understanding of tides and water conditions, this is a sport where I have only begun to scratch the surface of all the skills and experiences that there is to learn; that's what makes it so appealing.

We all zipped up our tents encouraged by the chilly wind and incoming rain ready for a 7am start. We woke up to a clear sky and the stillness of an early morning slack water, 7am had been an significant number as it corresponded to high or low water, the crossing took no more than an hour or so with relatively flat water for most of the way; for most of the time we were immersed in our own thoughts reminiscing on the weeks events and experiences. Eventually I began to recognise some familiar features, namely the stone boat house and slipway the point of our departure some 6 days ago. Thankfully the tide was still high so we could paddle over the kelp field that we had to negotiate on the first morning we had reached Craignish Point and the end of a great sea trip - thanks guys for making this happen and being part of a great group of people. John P

 

Ian Bell, Keith S, Frankie Annan, Mike Alter, Paul Hanley, Simon Howlett, John Pegram, Kathy Morton, John Maddock, Helen Siertsema, and Anthony Vaccaro        Click for more Photos….

 

 

05/06/11 SEA KAYAKING FOR SOFTIES – Sea Kayaking in Menorca

Four salty seadogs from Liverpool Canoe Club set sail from Barcelona recently and headed for Menorca for a sailing and sea kayaking holiday.

 

Just 24 hours later and in very pleasant conditions, we sailed onto a vacant mooring in Fornells half way along the north coast of the island. This was to be our base for a couple of days while we hired some sea kayaks from a beach-side shop. The rates were reasonable and included boats, paddles, buoyancy aids and spray decks. Even though this was early in the season, some of the boats, entry level Easkey and Dagger sea kayaks, were already showing signs of salt corrosion on the seat and foot peg adjustments and would have benefitted from some fresh water TLC. I guess this is part of the risk when hiring gear. I took my own 4-piece Lendal paddle but the others in our little team got on just fine with the basic fixed feather blades included in the hire price.

 

Menorca is in the Balearic chain of islands and has Majorca and Ibiza as close neighbours. It’s a very understated island with low impact developments dotted very sparsely around the coast. There are many remote beaches and sheltered coves and it would be easy to bivi unnoticed if you wanted to do a multi-day circumnavigation; especially in May which is before the crowds begin to arrive. With careful planning it would also be quite easy to get water and supplies from the various villages along the way. There are many interesting sea cliffs and caves all around the island and quite a bit of wildlife. There’s also a footpath that circles the whole island and lots of cycling routes, bolted climbing routes, diving and sailing opportunities.

 

Having sailed in the Med for many years, our experience is that in general it’s a mostly benign place in the summer and even though storms do occur, the air and sea temperatures are so pleasant and the water so clear, coping with rough conditions is made much easier and it’s a good place to develop and improve sea kayaking skills, although don’t go there if all you want to do is paddle in tideraces. Comfortable night temperatures also make light-weight camping a pleasure and part of your “must have” kit should be a mask and snorkel and perhaps a small pair of fins. I know it’s a long way from the kind of rough-tough sea kayaking that many LCC members seek out but for us, Menorca provided a very pleasant experience which we plan to build on in the not too distant future.

 

Our sea kayaking was over far too soon but while sailing around the island, we saw many enticing areas that made us want to go back and we discovered a number of places where kayak gear could be hired:

http://www.diacomplert.com/es/index.php

 

http://menorcaenkayak.com/

 

http://www.sportskayak.es/es/index.htm

 

 

Click HERE for a trip report written by a team who circumnavigated the whole island in 2006.

 

Pete and Carole Thomas, Steve Gille, Don Brooks  More Photos from our trip………….

 

 

 

28/05/11 June’s Newsletter Published
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