Volume 11 Issue 11

November 2011

November Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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Major Trip Reports.…


28/10/11 "Hairy Lemon and a Stoney" Paddling the cataracts of the White Nile.  A talk / presentation by Hannah Draper, Stu Haywood and Theo Gaussen.   Monday 14th November 2011 (7:45pm for 8:00pm) at the Conference Suite - Liverpool Marina

Click for directions and map....

As part of our monthly presentation / talk series, Club members; Hannah, Stu and Theo will be visiting our base at Liverpool Marina on the evening of MONDAY 14th November when they will give us an insight into their trip to Uganda earlier this summer and paddling the remaining stretches of the Upper Nile.  Click here for more information and to book a seat …..

Click for more Monday Talks.......

28/10/11 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.


28/10/11 Liverpool Canoe Club`s AGM and 2011 Awards
About 60 of us met at the main Conference centre at the Marina for the clubs AGM.  Minutes from last year, motions and club key representatives were all dealt with very quickly.  Dom gave a vote of thanks to our hard working secretary of 3 years, Brian Green. 

The club then presented the 4 main awards of the evening (hand carved paddles made by Mike Bell).  Click for more…..

Fiona Wrigg being presented Paddler of the year by our chair – Dom Buckley

Hand carved paddles made by Mike Bell

Regan Bond being presented Young Paddler of the year by our chair – Dom Buckley

The members then helped themselves to a finger buffet and caught up on things before the team from the Alps gave a presentation of their trip.  More Photos……


The Clubs` 2011 AGM Minutes of the Meeting Click here……      


26/10/11 Liverpool Marina Car Parking Permits
Members are reminded that they are only entitled to park their cars in the Marina car park if they are using the facilities or if they are out canoeing. One of our members recently left their car in the inner car park for almost 18hrs whilst they were off somewhere else.  The Marina is NOT to be used as a free car park and you will be challenged and risk being clamped or towed away if you are abusing the system.  In general you should always display you car park permit which comes with your electronic swipe card.


Billy Cosh & Dave Murray – Marina Manager / General Manager.


23/10/11 Congratulations to all who were either nominated or won one of our Awards at the AGM
 Full historical record is available by clicking here………



Paddler of the Year

Junior of the Year

Volunteer of the Year

Swimmer of the Year


Fiona Wrigg because she has achieved a lot going from beginner to very good paddler in less than a year since joining the club.  She paddle the Ubaye race course (grade 4) in the Alps this year and is a keen river paddler.

Regan Bond can often be seen paddling his boat at both the docks and the pool.  While it is a playboat he is still able to self rescue by climbing in over the stern.

Chris Murphy Running the pool and developing the LCC clothing range both of which have brought well needed funds into the club.

A swim on the lake - Mark Garrod thought it would be a good idea to try John Cook’s little Biscuit on the lake.  He thought it would be a good idea to film his technique !!! he set his camera rolling and attempted his next trick which unfortunately ended with Mark upside down. ……... A very unexpected swim had occurred, strenuously denied for some time with Mark promptly deleting all the footage.

Other Nominees

Brian Green & Michal Giezgala

Jake Massey, Jack Gille, Chloe Richards & Declan Richards

John Smith & Peter Diamond

Justin Cooper, (Roy McHale & Andy Wrigg), Chris Murphy &Helen Siertsema


22/10/11 Coniston Bivi
 We all met up in Matchell`s Wood car park in what turned out to be the best day for some weeks, no wind, blue skies and the sun just about to set over the old man of Coniston.


It was immediately obvious that we had brought too much equipment for one night and one load carrying kayak. Thank goodness we got there early as it took us about 35 mins to eventually pack everything in (and on!) the kayak.


The weather couldn’t have been better if we had booked it. A warm, sunny evening with still water. The reflections of autumn on a mirror lake, just made the paddling superb for those of us that prefer a more sedate paddle. Travelling towards Peel Island was a pleasure. A mixed group of 17 of us in 16 boats (one very heavy tandem), from Grandparents to Grandchildren, the conditions put everyone in a good mood (even Jake didn’t moan about the amount of paddling; although Regan did have a go about being too hot on several occasions!).


It took about an hour to arrive at the island only to find someone had beaten us to it and there was already 12 youngsters camping there. Still we managed to find plenty of space and set up our own camp consisting of several small tents and a large bivi for the more adventurous of us. Pretty quickly, two BBQ`s were set up and we were settled in for the night. 


Jake, Jack, Regan and Declan went and did what boys do best. Explored the island with their head-torches and pen knives (whittled sticks could be found everywhere). The children had a ball on the island with Chloe occasionally joining in. For Jake it was a big adventure and a superb introduction to kayak touring.


Later on in the evening we were joined by Steve Bond who had done his best to clobber a bat on the way around the lake (it had hit his boat on top of his car). He had stored it overnight in his car to recover and I think he left early the next morning to make sure it hadn’t ripped his car to shreds once it did recover (after some ribbing about it the previous night).The weather held until we went to bed and then it rained overnight. Those under the bivi woke up to a very wet ground and found themselves in their own mini lake (thank goodness for bivi bags).

Next morning the weather was a repeat of the evening before and the lake was at its very best once again. We had a slow paddle over to the far side of the lake to use some public toilets and actual running water. Then it was another fantastic paddle back up the lake to where we set off. This is were me and Jake said our goodbyes and made our way over to the car park whilst the rest of the group continued up the lake for an extended breakfast at the rebuilt Bluebird Café.


We had a fantastic time and Jake can’t wait to go out again with the club. Superb company, good laughs and extremely well organised (special thanks to Keith for running a cracking family paddle).


Peter and Jake Massey                                                 More photos……


Sarah Gille, Steve Gille, Jack Gille, Jude Jones, Nicola Corbett, Ian, Chloe and Declan Richards, John Pegram, Matty Pegram, Avril Banks, Keith S, Steve Bond, Peter Massey, Jake Massey, Jeanette, Regan and Steve Bond, Anthony Vaccaro



20/10/11 Synchronise the club calendar with your phone or computer.


Many members create an account with Google using their own email address and then sync the club events with their phone.  Full instructions are available on the web. http://www.google.com/mobile/sync/

Any new events or paddles are automatically added to the calendar on your phone.

Alternatively members can click on the calendar tab / page of the clubs website to view all the events.  There are several views to choose from.

20/10/11 Division 4 Canoe Polo

We finally left Liverpool at 3.30 and were a little late to our first tournament in Division 4 in York. We asked FOA to Referee for us as we were supposed to ref the first game.

We literally ran into the pool, jumped into our
boats and were in our first match within 2 minutes of arrival. Harassed was an understatement. Despite this we won the first match.  We are a new team and learned a lot from the tournament but unfortunately lost the other 4 games.  Some were very close though.


After the tournament the team headed out for a meal before returning home eventually getting back to Liverpool at 2am.


Darren Bohanna

Tom Morris

Will McCormack

Paul Harwood

Michael Burrows

Scott Gibson


More photos……..

14/10/11 LCC Stickers now on Sale

Club stickers are available to purchase from the club shop.  We can post them out to you.  Click here to preview and order………..

12/10/11 The Clubs AGM

Minutes of the Meeting Click here……      


10/10/11 The Caledonian Canal – Fort William to Inverness

We finished swim support at the Great Scottish British Gas event in Strathclyde Country Park on the Saturday, there was an excellent turnout from Liverpool with about 10 of us offering our support.  After a good night’s sleep we left Glasgow at about 8am on Sunday 25th September, and it took about a further two hours or so to get to Fort William, we stopped of at Morrison’s for some last minute supplies. 


Neptune’s Staircase was about a further 10 minutes away which is the start of the Caledonia Canal. It is a collection of eight locks hence its name.  At the top of the staircase there are several buildings, one of them is the toilet and washroom block which is accessible via a key you can either buy for about £6 or rent, once bought it will fit any of the British Waterways facilities within the UK so it’s well worth having.

At the top of the locks we unpacked the car and loaded our kayaks, how will all this gear fit into such small spaces?  Four man tent, several changes of dry cloths, a couple of sleeping bags just in case it gets too cold or one gets wet, several days’ worth of food, all necessary cooking gear and capacious amounts of water.  Unloading the car was easy the challenging part was loading the kayaks in order to get the balance right and trying to keep everything dry during the torrential downpour that had just suddenly started, welcome to the great changeable Scottish weather.


OK, all the packing now complete so we got changed in the toilet block and then went to the lockkeepers office to inform him of our journey, however no one was in so we informed the Coast Guard on our VHF radio instead.  We had agreed to let them know each time we finished for the evening and again when we would start off the following day.  Although we had two radios we decided it would be best to keep them both switched off until we needed to use them, which would help us to conserve battery power.


On getting into the water the first thing we noticed was new lower landing stages had been fitted in readiness for new Canoe Trail to be opened in 2012.  We easily put both boats in the water and then boarded them, either John had suddenly put on a load of weight or we had been a bit optimistic with what we took.  John took off first which was a pity as he missed the hilarious view I had of his boat dangerously low in the water.  I quickly followed and realised the effects of not balancing the weight correctly, never mind, skeg down.


The rain backed off a bit and the sheltered canal made pleasant paddling.  Starting at midday put us off as we were hoping to have a full days paddle and finish up at Fort Augustus, probably a little too enthusiastic.   We got to the end of the first part of the canal in good time and headed into the openness of Loch Lochy.  I put my skeg further down in the hope I wouldn’t veer off the right too much. The captives of the fish farm eagerly greeted us by jumping about as we passed, they probably thought we were there to feed them.  As the Loch opened out the weather took a slight turn, however we kept a steady pace and the rain and wind decided to challenge us once more.


It was now obvious we would never reach Fort Augustus this day, so we decided to head for the camping facilities at South Laggan Lochs, situated at the end of Loch Lochy, a total of just under 30km.  We ended at about 5:30pm due to the torrential wind and rain, getting out of the water was just as challenging as there didn’t seem to be a low landing stage as promised on the Canoe trail.


Both boats out and wheels on, Coast Guard contacted, and we thought it best to advise the lock keeper of our arrival, of course the lock keepers house must be the well-kept white cottage we walked our boats passed, so we thought it best to give him a knock.  A shocked young lady answered the door in her dressing gown, I immediately thought it was an unusual place to put a door, she was on holiday with her partner and had just got back indoors after being caught out in the rain and said she didn’t mind us camping.  As we walked past the end of the house we noticed the low Canoe landing stage which was in a waterway to the rear, note in diary to remember next time.


We decided to pitch our tent at the end of the toilet block as it helped to hold back the wind, considering the state of the weather we were told the lock keeper wouldn’t mind.  We unloaded our boats and secured them next to the fence.  A tough decision was made whether we should break out our stoves and cook in the dire weather or would the calling of the Barge/Pub be put to the test?  It’s rude not to try strangely named beers in new places, and with the reputation of all future kayakers on our backs, meant we had to give it a good go.  At the end of the meal we headed back to the tent and hung our wet gear up in the shower rooms taking advantage of the warmth.


That was the end of the first day and we felt we had earned our beers as we had done so well with our paddling, lets hit the sack!  I waterproofed the tent in the summer so why was it water logged?  Surely not pitching so close to the hill (see photo). Morning time we got up early, about 6:30pm, had breakfast then put the tent away and carefully loaded our boats with a bit more effort on correct balance.  We dragged our kayaks up the canal road and realised we could wheel them straight onto the walkway and directly on the low landing stage.  The new walkways have the ends widened at an angle like a funnel which allows us to wheel boats to and from the water without having to lift them over the hand rail.  If you’ve managed to take this trip before you will know how much easier and quicker this is.

A quick call to the Coast Guard and we managed to start off at about 8am.  Along the short sheltered canal and onto Loch Oich, the weather took a pleasant turn with the clouds disappearing and the sun made a welcome appearance.  We managed to arrive at Fort Augustus at about 1pmand thought it would be a great idea to have our lunch at the canal just opposite the shops.  John cooked chicken curry and chicken tikka with rice which was closely scrutinised by a curious old lady.

Before wheeling our boats to Loch Ness we had a look around to the visitor centre which gave John time to buy souvenirs.  Two more kayaker’s arrived and we found out that one was the driving force behind the implementation of the Canoe Trail, the other a photographer.  They were looking at camping sites along the banks of Loch Ness so they could place picture in their new brochures.


Off we went at 3pm and as promised informed the Coast Guard of our intention to head towards Foyer.  According to the information I had, Foyer was a place you can camp and has toilet facilities and a shop. The weather at the start of Loch Ness was pleasant with high hopes it would stay that way.  I must have taken too much food and water out of one side of my boat because I was continually veering over to the right again, never mind skeg down again.  As we proceeded I could faintly hear John singing, what was that song and who was Shaun?  


It was too good to last, we realised the wind was getting stronger when white tips started to appear on top of the waves, we stayed to the right of the Loch which was good for me as my boat wanted to go that way anyway.  Weather permitting the general rule seems to be to keep to the right of the Loch as there are more areas to camp at than the left bank which very close to the road, so a good get out place but a bad camping place due to the road noise. The closer we got to Foyer the worse the weather got and we were starting to feel a bit tired, again in the background I could faintly hear someone singing something about Shaun and sheep!  Unlike other places along our route Foyer wasn’t sign posted all we had to go by was John’s waterproof sat-nav.  We stopped at a small place that had a few boats and sheds and quickly realised this was not Foyer, we went a little further and turned into a sheltered bay and decided this was the place we would spend the night.  The ground was flat and ample space for the boats and the tent.  We managed to talk to a couple of people out walking dogs and were told we were allowed to camp.  There was a road not too far away but far enough so as not to be disturbed by the noise.   The water in the bay was calm as opposed to a little further out with the waves still having white tops on them. I think we paddled close to 30km so we both looked forward to the rest, John made the food whilst singing Shaun the Sheep and I contacted the Coast Guard and set up the tent.  We crashed out at about 8:30pm due to all the fresh air and paddling.


Final day with only a further 30km to go, we started off in good spirits with both of us singing Shaun the Sheep.  We quickly left the shelter of the bay and had to put our heads down and concentrate on paddling and staying upright.  The wind and rain was hitting us from the left rear and was continually pushing us into shore, going straight and avoiding rocks was the order of the day.  Tiredness quickly came back on us and sheer determination and strong winds carried us forward.  I quickly got bored with Shaun the Sheep and the words “are we nearly there yet” kept coming out.  Towards the end of the Loch we passed another fish farm which is over on the right hand side, it is surrounded by pipes which just stick out of the water so are only just visible when you’re right on top of them.  The worry was that the strong wind and barely visible pipes would make us unstable, however we got over them easily enough without any problems. 


Dores is a small village which to the untamed eye looks like the end of the Loch.  Getting on the shore was easy especially with the wind behind us, getting back off would be a lot more challenging.  There is a pub, the Dores Inn, which also sells hot food and there a curious looking caravan which is converted into a shop, and looks like it could have come straight out of a Scooby Doo film.  The shop was closed but signs outside revealed the owner packed up his job, girlfriend and house in order to keep a look out for Nessie and his only support was from the sale of mini monsters which he manufactured and sold in his make shift shop.


Due to the wind and the waves coming onto the shore we decided it would be safer to wheel our boats as far as allowed and look for a safer launch, it still looked like would be too challenging to get in so we decided to take our boats through the small woods to get in from the side which would hopefully be a bit more sheltered.  The wind and rain didn’t let up as we entered the water proceeding towards the canal, the Loch was narrowing which had the affect of funnelling the wind into a smaller area.  The water was lumpier and I think both of us had sensations of nearly capsizing.  The wind was still trying to push us into the bank and it was a hard tiring battle to keep straight.


Loch Dochfour is at the end of Loch Ness and leads directly into the canal which runs parallel with the River Ness, you have to be careful as at one point there is an extremely long weir with water running from the canal into the river.  When we arrived in the canal the wind became noticeably lighter, partly due to the shelter of the trees and also the many bends. Fantastic, we had arrived at Inverness in good shape and ready for the real challenge that lay ahead, which was retrieving the car from Fort William.  If your ever in the middle of nowhere and need directions the best advice is to ask a local, unless it’s a woman with a highly strung dog and you are wearing a bright yellow dry suit, and it’s a Tuesday!  “The bus stop? Yeah just go down those steps over there and past the houses, follow the road round to the left and turn right after the bend, blah, blah, blah.  I lost interested when I realised our boats wouldn’t fit through the gate and the stairs would be a bit of a challenge.

Plan B, get to the other side of the road secure the boats and I’ll find the Train Station and Bus Stop to get back, John will mind the boats.  After getting changed behind a sub-station and securing the boats John found out the best directions, “Just follow the signs to the town centre and when you get to a round a bout keep to the left and the road will take you there”.  How simple was that? Should have asked how far!  I arrived at the round about and went to the left.  You know when you have a niggling in your mind when you think something isn’t just right, well that’s how I felt.  I walked over a wide bridge and could see the town to my right was all lit up, surely I was on the right track?  Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I asked a passer by who confirmed I had gone the wrong way and should have gone right at the round about, never mind I now had fresh directions to get there.


I found out the only way to get to Fort William by train would be via Glasgow and would take about five hours but was told there is a bus that would take me directly there and I should hurry to the bus station just in case I miss the last one.  It was only a couple of minutes walk and virtually next door to the train station, I approached the ticket office and noticed the closing time was 7:45pm; it was now 7:35pm so plenty of time.  Oh no, the door was locked and I saw the cleaner trying his best not to look up or be distracted by my banging on the door. Surely the day couldn’t get any worse?  A bus pulled up in the rank so obviously the driver would be able to assist, wouldn’t he?  He said he wasn’t from around here and perhaps I should ask at the office, what kind of help was that?

OK plan C, don’t panic, read the time tables on each of the bus stops.  I got to the penultimate stop and eureka the next bus to Fort William would leave at 20:15 and arrive at 22:10, I read it several times just in case I had made a dreadful mistake, with my luck anything was possible.  As if on cue a bus arrived at 7:45pm and after questioning the driver he confirmed it was the correct bus to get me there. During the journey I could have done with some sleep but with my luck I probably would have woken up as the bus pulled back into Inverness, so I inserted the match sticks into my eyelids and stayed awake.  My luck had now changed and surely nothing else could go wrong.


After a long two hour drive I arrived back at Morrison’s Supermarket, all I needed was a Taxi to get me back to the car which was left at the bottom of Neptune’s Staircase. Taxis were rarer than hen’s teeth so I ended up having to walk back to the car which took about thirty minutes.  The drive back took another two hours.  I managed to get back to where I’d left John and the boats and he told me of his encounter with the local Police who has mistaken him for a vagrant.  In order to keep warm John had bivvied in his bright orange bivvy bag for a couple of hours. At 1:30am the car was loaded and we set off to go home, after a couple of stops at Service Stations to wake us up we eventually arrived back at my house at 8:10am.  John loaded his car and left for his home shortly after. It was a long couple of days with us both desperately needing sleep, the trip was fantastic and I would definitely recommend it to anyone and wish them luck with the weather as well as we had.  Peter McComasky and John Worswick


More photos…..


08/10/11 Kayak Safety on the Cross Mersey Swim 20th August 2011
11 paddlers met at Monks Ferry on the Wirral to help escort the 49 swimmers back across the
River from the Albert dock.  After a short briefing with the other rescue teams (a number of fast inflatable’s and escort boats) we headed off to paddle across to the start in the water by the dock wall next to the Albert Dock Complex.


The event was timed to coincide with high tide but as usual we had to wait a short while to let a couple of large boats through.


As the swimmer set off we spread ourselves out to watch different sections of the field.  The wind and weather were ideal and conditions relatively flat.  47 of the 49 swimmers made it across without needing to be lifted.


A small prize giving followed before we all headed for home.


More pictures…………..




06/10/11 Hilbre Island Race
It was a glorious sunny Saturday, the temperature was nudging 29*C and spirits were high for the inaugural Hilbre island race. We all met up at Race Control at 1230pm and were on the water for 1320pm for a mass start. Both race categories of race starting together. 19 boats were registered for the main race and 7 for the Little Eye Race. There were a mix of boats, 21 Sea Kayaks, 3 double Sea Kayaks and 4 extremely stylish people in 2 Canoes. At 1330pm Fiona Wrigg, the race starter, fired the starting gun and deafened herself!
We were away. Everyone set off at high speed apart from Michael Alexander and myself. We were in a canoe and we don't normally do tandem. We went left and more left and when we paddled on the left we still went left. Already I was losing sight of the faster boats on the horizon. Time to sort ourselves out. We started going straight and eventually caught up with Andy Wrigg. He decided to stick with the Little Eye race and quickly powered away from us thinking he might win the race. Unfortunately for him he couldn't keep up with our President, Dom Buckley or Martin McCoy who stormed into an uncatchable lead. Well done Martin for beating such speedy paddlers.
The main race was on and coming up to Hilbre Island  I could see Colin and Brian in their canoe close behind John Bunyon. I couldn't believe their stroke rate and they were about a mile ahead of me. i was hoping it would be rough round the back of the island, that way Michael and i might catch up or overtake some capsizers. The sea was as flat as a flat thing and no such luck for us. We swapped over on the far side of the island. Michael in the back and me in the front, to try and improve our straight line tracking. We were worse. We definitely travelled twice the distance than anybody else during the race with all the zig zagging we were doing. I think the race was won by the time we got to the Middle Eye. Asking the rescue boats for a tow back was very tempting.
Finally, we were at the end. It took us 1hour 17 minutes, the fastest in 51 minutes. Not too bad, only 26 minutes behind.
Keith, the race organiser held a presentation for all the winners and a certificate for all the entrants. It really was a grey event and I can't wait for next year.
Paul Harwood

05/10/11 Coaches Seminar held at Liverpool Canoe Club – Monday 3rd October 2011

On Monday evening coaches from several clubs around the region met at the marina to discuss how a How to use different boats to enhance paddler progression.  We started with using a single blade in our normal kayaks.  This was a little unnerving at first and put most of us `outside our usual comfort zone`.  We experimented with different strokes and reflected on the type of boats used to introduce novice paddlers.


We then tried a variety of boats, sit on tops, doubles, sea kayaks, wavehoppers (plastic wild water racers), playboats, surf ski, and squirt boat (very low volume playboat).  As the BCU moves towards developing a variety of paddling skills this was an extremely useful session but was also great fun.

After getting changed we all had a go on the paddling machine which is on loan from the BCU NW region.  We tested our skills on the 100m sprint with some powerful demonstrations.  It was interesting to note the change in styles when the muscles ran out of oxygen.  John Pegram put in so much energy that he broke the Ferrell holding the paddle shaft together!  This was soon fixed and the competition continued.




04/10/11 River Tryweryn Photos released – finally 4th September 2011

Some of you have been asking for these photos of the paddling on the river Tryweryn back in early September.

Keith S  More pictures……

02/09/11 Has the Hilbre Race whetted your appetite for distance Sea Kayaking ?
The Performance Sea Kayak web site details various UK based records, challenges and events undertaken by sea kayakers. For some, the challenge rests in setting a fast time whilst overcoming tides and the elements, for others it is just about completing the challenge.  Go to http://www.performanceseakayak.co.uk  for information.

The next challenge is the Swellies-Extreme Sea Kayak Race on 29-30th October from our friends at sea kayak essentials (Nick Cunliffe) http://www.kayakessentials.co.uk/

02/09/11 Liverpool Canoe Club – Social Calendar Dates
Monday 10th October 8:00pm Club AGM, Light buffet, Paddler of the year presentations and talk from the French Alps Team Click for more……
Halloween Party and Paddle, Sunday 30th October from 6:30pm Click for more information….. You need to be in Halloween dress
Christmas paddle and social – Sunday 4th December Llandudno and meal in the Beach Cafe on West Shore More information……..
The club is again holding its Christmas Social there again this year on Wednesday 21st December.  Click for more information and to book…….

02/10/11 Hilbre Island Race 1st October 2011

The weather was just about as good as it gets, I hope you all had a fantastic race.  The results are now published on the clubs website along with any photos we have (Please send in any more if you have them).

Next years event will be on Sunday 30th September 2012
9.1m tide with a start time of 11:30 am.


Many thanks to all involved and especially

Helpers / Time keepers

Rescue Kayaks

2nd West Kirby Safety Boat

Keith Steer

Danny Byrne


Steve Dodgson

Carl Leungs

Ian Bell

and Crew

Fiona Wrigg

Dave Reynolds



We would welcome any feedback both positive or constructive and hope to make next years event even better.  A donation was made to the 2nd West Kirby Safety Boat from the event.  Comments or photos to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk


 Saturday 1st October 2011
 Full list of all results and times......

 Hilbre Race


 Little Eye Race


 1st Kayak

 John Bunyan

 1st Kayak

 Martin McCoy

 2nd Kayak

 Adam Caris

 2nd Kayak

 Andy Wrigg

 3rd Kayak

 Nicholas Price

 3rd Kayak

 Dom Buckley

 1st Double

 Colin Smith & Brian McNulty

 1st Double

 Stephen & Regan Bond

 2nd Double

 Margaret Huyton & Mary White

 2nd Double

 Hazel & Bill Savage

 1st Lady Kayak

 Frankie Annan

 1st Lady Kayak

 Pauline Bett

 2nd Lady Kayak

 Avril Banks




02/10/11 Conwy Ascent Race Report – June 2011 By A.Caris

On the morning of the 18
th June I was very apprehensive. This was the day of my first ever competitive sea kayak race. Having raced general purpose kayaks before in races such as the Tyne Tour and the Mersey Descent, racing river boats was familiar, but this was virgin territory for me. I have raced a few self-propelled boats of different types (creek boats, rowing boats, rafts and dugout canoes to name a few) before and love the feeling of moving a boat as efficiently as possible through the water. I had only recently heard of the Conwy ascent, a 15km (9.5 miles) up-river race with one class for all single kayaks that starts at the mouth of the Conwy. JoomlaWorks Simple Image Rotator

I had been desperately scrabbling around for a sea kayak to use for the race since the end of May and someone from Amathus Dragon Boat Racers put me in contact with someone from Liverpool Canoe Club who told me to speak to the marketing department at Pyranha kayaks. On the Tuesday before the race Pyrahna contacted me to offer me the use of a boat! Happy days indeed.

I had one training session with the boat on the Mersey, going out an hour after low tide from Rock Ferry boat ramp and paddling down past Liverpool docks against the incoming tide. The tidal range was 8.7m, which meant a lot of water coming in the opposite direction! By the time I got down to level with Seacombe ferry terminal (about 1.5 Km, but against the tide) the tide was ripping in. I spent 20 minutes paddling as fast as possible just to maintain position and not moving forward an inch! Full racing speed. My presence mid-river probably came as a shock to the cruise ship that was trying to dock at Liverpool; a surfing sea kayak on the incoming tidal race in front of the Liver Building on a Thursday lunchtime is probably not the norm. Still, was a great way to get to know my new boat, an old carbon fibre ‘Cetus’, and see how it handled in tricky conditions. It was a real joy after about 75 minutes to turn and paddle very swiftly with the current back to the car; the boat seeming to glide effortlessly in contrast to the really hard-graft paddling I had been doing against the tide.

On the day of the race the weather forecast was good, with rain expected in the afternoon. Personally I wanted lots of wind and rain as this would be more detrimental to the performance of the K1s and the white water racers (WWRs) than for the sea kayaks, which all race together in the same group. However the weather during the race turned out to be cool but dry. The ‘Le Mans’ start, (everyone starts on the beach together), was due at 12.05 just after high tide, resulting in little help from the tide after the initial section and the possibility of a downstream current towards the end of this up-river race.

The presence in the race of Ian Tordoff, the Conwy ascent course record holder and the former holder of the fastest time across the English Channel, meant that the winner would undoubtedly have to be a worthy winner. I JoomlaWorks Simple Image Rotatorlooked at his boat and gear (including winged blades) and decided that anything under a minute a mile slower would be a good time, and half a minute a mile would be excellent. Twenty seven paddlers lined up for the start of my category; the horn went and it was race on! The fastest, but least safe way of starting is to jump in the boat, push off into midstream and then do up your deck while already drifting in the current. However failure at this would lead to a swim and everyone had just witnessed two of the favourites for the K2 class go for an early swim and lose a good two minutes to the race leaders.

Knowing the importance of a good start I decided to gamble and as soon as the horn went I grabbed my boat carried it to the sea and jumped in pushing off as soon as my feet were in. The current was in two places, mid stream and river right. We had been briefed that the currents merged on the river right after about 400m. Most people went for the river right, but I followed Ian into the central stream assuming he knew best. However it proved to be the wrong choice as by the time the currents merged the leading group of around 10 paddlers were already about 30m ahead. After about 5 minutes of trying to match the lead pace my stroke was becoming increasingly erratic as I was trying to match a really fast pace. I realised that the best tactic would be to run at my own pace and try and pick up time at the end of the race; so I dropped off the back of the group.

Instead of focusing on keeping up with the leaders I tried to settle into a good rhythm concentrating on maintaining an early catch and short strokes, using my legs and abdomen as much as possible. The boat felt very heavy (it weighs about 24kg) but I have to say it moved beautifully in the water and held a good line even when moving across currents or eddies. I soon realised that one of the WWRs was sitting on my wake and enjoying a free ride. Rather than trying to outpace him I hoped that he would come and take over at the front and we could chop and change sharing the workload – Tour De France style – which after about 15 minutes he duly did. By this time the leading group of about 10 people could only be viewed at the end of each straight and any thoughts of winning had long gone. However I was still racing against the clock and working at 100%. Every race is taken seriously - no slacking has got to be the rule as you never know what is round the corner or past the next rapid.


Coming round a tight bend after about 35 minutes I saw two of the leading racers just floating mid stream and another six people at the side. One of the K1s had gone in about 90 seconds earlier after having collided with a sea kayak whose wake he was trying to ride; a simple error that flipped his very fast but unstable boat over. His group had all stopped. Good sporting spirit prevailed as all racers present stopped until we were sure he was safe and all people who had been assisting him were ready to continue racing. Everyone had stopped except the two race leaders who had been about 15 seconds ahead and were probably not aware of the incident behind them. I only waited about15 seconds before racing was resumed. This time I was able to stay with the lead group for about 20 minutes, all of them serious club paddlers in high-end boats, before I could no longer maintain the gruelling pace and a group of us got separated.


The final stretch of the race was agony as every muscle in the body was utilised to keep the boat speed up. While grunting and groaning my way upriver trying to maintain good technique was my key focus and I was pushing hard for a strong finish. When the finishing line and the final straight came into view, two of us, a WWR and me, went head to head in a full power ‘give it what’s left in the tank’ head-to- head sprint. Down the final 300m straight we battled. Eventually I gradually managed to pull about half a length ahead, his resistance crumbled, and he reduced his power in the closing stretch. I was a full five seconds ahead of him when I crossed the line.

JoomlaWorks Simple Image Rotator

The body felt broken but I was really happy to find out that I was less than six and a half minutes behind the winner, Ian Tordoff, who had clocked 01.05.27, whereas I clocked 01.11.51 finishing a very creditable 7th. So I was well within my minute a mile target, giving up about 35 seconds a mile to one of Europe’s top paddlers. I was also really happy to see that everyone who beat me had used a special racing boat and winged paddle combo. The old Cetus had done me proud and I would like to thank everyone at Pyranha Kayaks and the Kayaks Northwest crew who helped me with the boat. Its speed definitely surprised many of the other racers who had been making some disparaging (and very amusing) comments about its competitiveness pre-race.


Conwy Ascent Race Report – June 2011 By A.Caris 4 Also the organisers of the 2011 Conwy Ascent race, Dyffryn Conwy Paddlers, must be thanked for the very well organised events they have been running since 1999. As well as the race there is also a tour, with safety provided for all levels. Don’t miss this event next year whether you are a paddler like me who wants a chance to race some of the top talent around, or whether you fancy a gentle paddle up what was a stunningly beautiful river; the Conwy Ascent offers something for all paddlers. All in all paddling the Conwy Ascent race was truly a great experience and one I would love to repeat.

If you are a competent paddler and would like to experience paddling on the river Mersey then feel free to contact me at plumpbunnykayaks@hotmail.co.uk

More information at http://www.dcpaddlers.co.uk/conwy_ascent/


02/10/11 Anglesey Weekend No.3 - "Tidal Waters"  23rd - 25th September -

The weekend started for some of us on Friday afternoon and evening, arriving at the campsite the LCC group could be found sitting by Dave L’s van, over a bowl of scouse served up by Tony D it was good to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. Peter M seemed to think I am some kind of domestic goddess and asked for chocolates on his pillow and his sheets turning down as I left the social circle to get some rest in preparation for the paddle on Saturday ………….


I like some other’s opted to stay at home on Friday night in a comfy bed and drove early on Saturday morning to Anglesey.


With the forecast from “Wind Finder” 2knots southerly both days with a band of rain moving across the country early Saturday, So with quite and empty roads I set off.


As I reached Conway with the sunshine on the Great Orm happy days the rain has passed through!!! I started to cross the Menai Bridge when if front on me Anglesey was covered with thick black cloud then the rain hit the window screen!! It didn’t look like it was going to be a pleasant day on the sea.


I arrived at the camp site which looked like the rain hadn’t stopped all night to find Pete and Caz sitting in their galaxy sheltering with a flask of coffee I knocked on the window to say “Hello” and got soaking wet !!. By that horrible horizontal rain stuff.


Looking around at the tents the zips the went up and went down just as quick, but low and behold the rain started to ease up and people started to come out of their tents with hot steaming tea in the drizzling rain, discussing plans for the day, the Surfing guy’s were going to Borth Wen and the rest of us would head to the North side of the island.


It was decided to paddle from Point Lynas to Cemaes Bay so when finally when Frankie cracked the whip we sorted out the cars and kayaks we set of to Cemaes to drop two cars off, after a bit of head scratching and swapping of boats we got going to point Lynas but on the drive there thinking “Oh Boy what side of Lynas are we launching from East or West as there are pretty big over falls at Point Lynas but much to my relief we went to West to Porth Eilian.


Our cars filled the small round about at the bottom with all our cars and after unloading the kit Dom seemed to get another job pushing a Gentleman in a wheel chair down the slip to watch crazy people going kayaking Dominic informed the gentle man that we were all trained Athletes!!! Ha Ha!!!


Finally we got going on an ebbing tide coming in from Liverpool than Ian shouts “Turn right instead of left “Oh Boy I think we are going to have a play in the over falls”, Frankie has had  a flash back to the storm gathering last time but much to my relief being on a neaps tide it was pretty much flat so to the disappointment and joy of the others we started heading west but quickly realizing that there was more west in the wind  so we headed to the shelter of the cliffs.


From Point Lynas hugging the coast and actually having some sunshine I would say a good temperature for paddling in. After about 3k we reached Amlwch Port Ian decided we would go in and have a look as we turned in the wind hit us straight on as the wind was getting funnelled in through the dock entrance.

(In early years this was a major copper port it is said that HMS Victory copper plated hull gave the fleet move ability and out manoeuvre other ships)

It was around lunch time but with all the fishy smells we all decided to push of onto Bull bay passing south of East Mouse hugging the coast once more with abit of cave exploring on the way, finally reaching Bull Bay.

 We all pulled out and found nice comfortable rocks to sit on to eat our lunch . It looks like Ian is on a health kick with a tub of fresh fruit salad!! Brian and Chris had the MSR burning away but to the delight of Pete and Caz sampling hot marmite these guys are well organized with there plastic cups and some one shouts “There will be an empty vending machine some were “( You can get coffee/ soup from the pound shop and Home and Bargain just to let you know )so after being fed and watered we set of with gusto hugging the coast once more and a bit of rock hopping and much to the delight of Pete spotting a dolphin like they always do lifting everyone’s sprits just as Porth Wen started to open it looked like the lobster pots buoys were over taking us “OH No They weren’t !!  ”If you stopped paddling we were going backwards at some rates of Knots thank God it was it was only a neaps tide. (It was here that Pete Caz and I were sunning our selves on the beach a few years ago when we were anchored in the bay when a group of kayaks came in and Caz said “That looks like fun” and that is  were it all started!!) Looking into Porth Wen there were about ½ dozen yachts anchored and heading on to the next headland GraigWen this is the start of the National Trust very inspiring view The boys and girls were in and out of the rocks again and now being at the most northerly point of our paddle rounding the corner Brian Chris and ………….decided they would go a shore to make another brew (Plastic Cups) and then  to go back to the start with the wind and tide with them now at middle mouse to our beam at this point Frankie leading the way digging in paddling hard as there were over falls to over come now with wind and tide against us but if we were a bit earlier it could have been wind over tide !!!!  Had Ian got the timing perfect so we were not in wind over tide situation or is he just jammy I will let you decide for your selves? Now we can see Wylfa head in the distance we were just about there but turning the corner it took along time to get into Cemaes Bay much to the delight of us all big smiles what a fantastic day it turned out to be after a very wet and windy morning


What a great bunch of Guys to be with on such a lovely day


Total Paddling 12 to 13  kilometre for the rock hoppers and for Helen 15plus she did like going out to sea and I think she did a lap of East Mouse my money is on her for the Hilbre island Race


Thanks for every body’s company a really good bunch, technical advice as well thanks Brian looking forward to the next time


Back to the camp site for bar-b-que can it get it better!!!

Don Brooks


Yes you have spotted the omission – the weekend coordinator failed to get a volunteer to write up the exploits of the surfers and rock hoppers, but they were all smiling when we got back …………………..


Back at the campsite the BBQ was expertly lit by team work with lots of input from those sitting round observing. Another helping of scouse as a starter provided a filler whilst waiting for the coals to reach cooking temperature. John and Matt P did a great job of ignoring most of the ‘helpful’ advice and cooking got underway. An array of food found its way onto the BBQ, from homemade pork sausages purchased from the campsite to very nice looking kebabs, plenty of banter and chat about the days activities with a smattering of discussion about future plans, and birthday cake (complete with candles!) for Brian made a very pleasant evening.


Sunday started windy and dry and after packing up tents most of us headed to Borth Wen for rescue skills practice.  After short slog into the wind to find a little shelter we started with some edging and turning, whilst the little boats did some rock hopping, exploring and surfing. The plan was to look at some paddle skills, towing have a break and the get into the rescue practice. The strengthening wind made staying on the water and not been blown back to the beach hard work. After a break in the car park to refuel out of the wind we headed back out to get wet and rescued. Thanks to the Ian and Keith’s coaching skills ‘getting wet’ wasn’t as bad as expected.



After rescuing and being rescued we gradually trooped back to cars and packed up and headed back to Liverpool, some of us made the usual stop at the Red Boat for ice cream and sorbet.

Thanks to everyone who came along on the weekend, it was great to see so many people and to meet some new club members, see you all Anglesey 3 2012!

Frankie Annan  More pictures……

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