Volume 11 Issue 12

December 2011

December Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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29/11/11 Christmas Presents with LCC Logos on – Last chance to order for Christmas Delivery

The club has a number of clothing items with a LCC logo embroidered on them.  The items are extremely good value and a small proportion of the cost goes into the club funds.  Please order now to ensure they arrive before xmas.  http://www.liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk/shop/


Liverpool Canoe Club Shop

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Page last updated October 14, 2011 


Traditional Beanie Hat


Beanie Hat



Baseball Cap

T Shirt



Polo Shirt


Fleece Top


LCC Branded Hooded Top
Hooded Top

Softshell Top



2 X LCC Stickers





 Embroidered logo

Click to see logo on other backgrounds

All prices include a high quality, embroidered LCC logo, VAT and delivery to a club venue.
Currently the club can get these items at cost price. We have added a small profit (all of which goes to the club) onto each sale. Our margins are minimal so, unfortunately, once the logo has been applied to the garment, we are unable to accept returns. We will do our best to get the items to you as soon as possible (typically 1 -2 weeks).

29/11/11 The Lake District Weekend (Thorney How) 27th November 2011

Thorney How Independent Hostel….


Sunday morning - Troutbeck


After a great day running the Leven and Crake, 18 LCC paddlers relaxed over a nice meal and a few beers.  The plan for the next day was to run the Greta.  Keith and Sara arrived and began whispering that Troutbeck might be running with all the water around.  It was described as continuous grade 4 and similar to some of the harder stuff we had paddled in the Alps.  It had my attention straight away and by the way Roy reacted I was surprised that he did not go running for his paddling gear and straight to sleep in it just to be ready for the following morning!!


The river was narrow and fast following from the start. It was classed as grade 2/3 for the first km but the enclosed nature of the run made it seem a little harder!  We trundled down in formation  and when I saw Keith, Sara and Ian all bunching in an eddy, straining their necks around the corner I knew the 

more serious fun was about to begin. 


After this the grade 4 section was a bit of a blur.  It was very technical and required twisting and turning in amongst the rocks.  The river flowed and changed direction rapidly and it was exciting as we never knew what was around the corner.  Luckily Keith seemed to!!  The entire group was paddling really well.  Mark took a roll at the end of one feature but we had been discussing the merits of different types of rolls in the car on the way up.  He was testing the back deck roll apparently!!!!


I sat, alone, in the eddy at the top of a long boulder garden and watched as Roy got pinned against a rock and took a nasty swim.  This did nothing to inspire my confidence but I made it down, safely in my boat for now!


Keith had said there was a “sting in the tail” and little did I know how right he was!  It was a 2m drop on a funny angle.  Again I sat in the eddy, the last to go.  I had seen Keith and Mark nail it, Sara and Roy roll, Ian take two big high brace strokes and Helen swim.  Confidence was again low!!  Over I went and straight upside down!!  3 Roll attempts all hit the rock as the water kept pushing me towards it.  “Stay in the boat and wait for a T rescue” was the thought I had an hour later whilst sitting in the car.  In the moment I pulled the deck, swam to the side and waved goodbye to my boat! Gutted and annoyed with myself I then realised the only way out was to climb up the steep bank through thick over grown trees.  Not a pleasant experience.  I finally met up with the group 500m downstream to hear that Mark had an eventful experience rescuing my boat.  He was not so much stuck between a rock and a hard place as a tree and a kayak under water at one point!  Thanks Mark!


I think I did most of the river with my tongue hanging out (concentration face) and at about 150 heart beats a minute! It was a great river and harder than most of the stuff I had run in the Alps over the summer.  Or maybe just colder!


A big thanks to Keith, Sara, Mark and Ian for getting Helen, Roy and I down the river.  More Photos….


29/11/11 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.


25/11/11 Winter series of talks - "Hairy Lemon and a Stoney" Paddling the cataracts of the White Nile.

Last Mondays presentation by Hannah Draper, Stu Haywood and Theo Gaussen on their paddling holiday to Uganda was extremely well received by all that attended.  The size of the rapids paddled in tiny playboats was incredible.  Stuart revelled in the paddling technicalities, Hannah talked about the journey and facilities while Theo concentrated on his fear of lizards and snakes.


We have a now well established series of talks at our base at the Marina and if you have not popped down to experience one of the talks yet you have really missed out.  What ever aspect of Paddlesport you prefer you will be amazed at what you can learn from others an be entertained at the same time.  The talks have proved to be an excellent place to meet club members, talk over past and future trips.  Most are totally free and open to all.  Please check out our winter talks program and try to join us if you can.





25/11/11 How to book a pool session
We use the large 8 lane Kingsway swimming pool in Widnes on a Thursday evening 9.00 - 10.00pm.  The pool has been very popular this again this year.  To cope with demand we only accept bookings made online with paypal or a bank or credit card. The bookings for the following week open at 9.00pm on Thursday evenings.  Anyone who was too late to book for the current week should have first choice as they will be able to book a place while the others are at the pool.  You do not need to wait for the date or the list of names to be changed before you book!  Chris will do that when he returns from running the pool session and then add any members who have booked earlier that evening.  (The list should be updated by the following morning).


You can still book until all 27 places have been taken for that week.  Anyone who makes a booking after the list is full will automatically be refunded the payment.


The cost of the pool is less than the price of an adult swim at only £3.50.  We have 18 boats and paddles etc on the pool side for members to use but you can easily bring your own – provided that it is clean / rinsed with fresh water.  Many members pop down for a chat, to watch or help coach.  You would be more than welcome.


Click for more information and maps……….         Click to see who is attending……....       Click to book…….... 


24/11/11 River Lune Trip Sunday 20th November 2011 Version 2 “the single blade approach”
After hundreds of emails and texts from Chris to everybody, trying to organise lifts and boats for everyone, 18 paddlers arrived at Charnock Richard Services for an eagerly anticipated trip to the Lune. Six vehicles in convoy armed with eighteen boats made their way through the narrow lanes to the get in to find another 25 paddlers from Manchester University. This is going to be a busy day.
I was a little apprehensive going to the Lune as I had decided to take my very small very wobbly white water canoe. I had been to Crosby in the waves before but never on a river. The most dangerous part for me was getting into the boat on flat water. I was very aware of Andy Wrigg and his
new camera and "Swimmer of the Year" but, I was on the water, twitching a little but not upside down. This was good. A bit of paddling around the bridge and I was feeling good.
The group split into 3 groups. The A-Team consisted of Chris, Andy, Fiona, Paul, Paul, Sam H and Sam G.

The B Team was made from, Roy, Dom, Sarah, Graham and Stu.


The rear guard was made up from Darren's friends, Mike Burrows AKA the "Towed" and the "Sick Maker", Tom, Sven, and Liam (apologies as I think I have missed someone out!)
We set off first shortly after the 25 from Manchester. It was a bit of a bum scrape at first, but got a bit deeper as the drops started to appear. At the first rapid we came to we had to do a bit of a dog leg so not to hit the big rock in the middle. Everyone ran it cleanly, even me. No wobbles, no low brace. Phew. Andy was waiting with his camera. We even all went through Magnetic rock with no worries. Then came another Magnetic rock which was the actual magnetic rock. Fiona and I decided not to do this drop so walked round. We all practiced our ferry gliding here in the small wave and even did a bit of surfing. Sam said to me "Paul, you have a go!!" with a big smirk on his face.
Now, I can surf on the sea. On a river? I've never tried it. So here I go. Pryed, stuck my gunwale in the flow and flipped. Fell out the boat, and self rescued to the side with my swimmer lines. Andy said he'd missed it so I had to try again. This time on video. Same result. Tried again, nearly rolled it but same again. Fun!
Here, the B team caught up with us for a moment. Mike Burrows had been swimming. This was when he was trying to rescue Dom. fortunately Dom is OK, Mike didn't make him sick.
At the Strid, we all got out to inspect, apart from Sam the Treasurer. He decided to go down the rapid backwards, just before the Strid and practice
his roll.  What a show off!
We decided that the Strid was a little low and we didn't think that a boat would even fit between the rocks. It was at this point that Doms group caught up with us again. Dom was even more of a show off than Sam. He went down the first rapid backwards, then carried on through the Strid. Throw lines were held ready for the disaster that was surely to follow. But then out from the bottom the right way up came Dom, Roy and Mike the "Sick Maker". We were all perplexed that Dom had survived, and more so that Roy and Mike ran after him.
On we continued past Murphy's Rock. Chris had a small wobble at this point as he remembered the carnage that had happened here a year earlier but managed to remain composed enough to stay upright today. After a few more small drops, Fiona decided that she was going to practice a moving water T rescue. She did it! No swims today. Towards the end we went..... At the end, new member Sam wanted a go in my Prelude. He is an accomplished paddler and said he'd always wanted a go in a whitewater canoe.  After a very shaky few minutes he gave it back to me and said "I'm not going in one of them again!" He couldn't believe how I had survived unscathed in such an unstable boat. Neither could I!
Chris organised a great day out and a lot of fun was had by all. A few lessons learned, a few mistakes made but all arrived home safe and warm!
Paul Harwood     More photographs………..


24/11/11 River Lune Trip Sunday 20th November 2011

A group of us from LCC have been paddling white water regularly since we returned from the club holiday to the Southern Alps in the summer and the rivers we’ve been paddling have steadily increased in difficulty until grade 3/4 rivers have become our rivers of choice. We’ve been really happy in our own little world and didn’t really stop to think much about this until someone mentioned that the club only did either complete beginner courses or you had to be competent on grade 3/4 to go on any white water river trips. As a group we discussed this and we decided that it would be good to organise trips on lower grade rivers too so that paddlers who’ve had less experience on moving water, or paddlers who haven’t paddled on moving water for a while, could come along and have a good day.  Chris Murphy co-ordinated today’s trip to the Lune and he advertised it as an excellent introduction to white water. A few of us had done this section of the river a couple of months ago and all agreed that it was a lovely river without any major hazards or rapids that couldn’t be inspected first.


As a result 18 LCC members met up at Charnock Richard services on Sunday at 9.30 and a convoy of 5 cars and 1 van all heavily ladened with Kayaks, paddles and equipment headed up the M6 to junction 37. We were paddling the Beck’s foot to Killington Bridge section of the Lune. I personally haven’t paddled with such a large group of people since the Alps and it was nice to see so many LCC members out on the river.


When we arrived we all got changed up on the main road well away from the put in to cause the least disruption possible to the locals before taking the boats down to the river. A large group of paddlers were already waiting there and we found out later they were from Leeds University.  We chatted to a couple of them before they split into groups and set off down the river. Whilst we were waiting for the drivers to get back from the shuttle, people chatted, made final adjustments to their boats and gear and some got onto the water to warm up.


The river itself looked a lot lower than the last time I’d paddled it and at the put in there was a large section of the riverbed exposed that had been submerged on my last visit. To be honest I just expected an uneventful scrape down to the get out but I’m glad to say that wasn’t the case at all.


When the drivers returned we all got onto the river and due to the large size of the group we split into 3 smaller groups.  Chris’s group of 7 paddlers led the way followed by Darren Bohanna’s group of six. The group I was in consisted of Sarah, Dominic, Graham, myself and Stu Toulson, a level 3 coach who has recently joined the club after relocating from the North East. We let the first two groups go on down the river while we did a bit of practicing breaking in and out of eddies then we headed on down after the others.


The river was quite low in places but that made for good river reading practice and we had fun trying to outdo each other by picking the smoothest line. Sarah did well at this “pick the line” game and at one point paddled smoothly past whilst I watched stranded on a rock. After a while the river gets narrower and deeper and its banks become wooded and steep and before you know it your paddling through beautiful little gorges.  As we continued down the river it became a bit faster and we encountered some good constriction type rapids where the river is forced in-between rocks that are usually covered in higher water one of these was a mini “Magnetic rock” rapid which wasn’t there the last time I’d paddled this section. Some of these were quite technical and the group did really well and we run the majority without incident. We eventually made it unscathed to the real magnetic rock rapid Stu went down first and got out to provide bank safety I went next and eddied out just after the drop in case we had any swimmers but Dom, Sarah and Graham all run the rapid successfully.

By this time we’d caught up to Darren’s group and we continued down the river until we reached the run up to the “Strid” rapid which is arguably the main feature on this section of river. The Strid can be inspected by eddying out on the left bank and walking over  slippery jagged rocks to a vantage point around 6-8 feet above the rapid.  At low water right in the middle of the rapid there is a rock that becomes visible. This rock is usually submerged in higher flows but in low water it divides the Strid’s already constricted flow into two even narrower fast flowing channels, turning the rapid from a point and shoot type scenario into a potential pinning problem. I guessed this rock must be showing as Chris’s group were standing on the vantage point above the Strid and the large Leeds Uni group were carrying their kayaks across the slippery rocks on the river bank.  We gave our group’s the sign to eddy out river left and I stopped in a large eddy to chat to Darren Bohanna about the aforementioned rock when I heard the cry of “ahbejeezus” and turned to see Dom Buckley bombing down the river towards the Strid in his brand new Liquid Logic Stomper.  


Now I heard it said by some that the reason Dom was bombing down the river towards the Strid was because he missed the eddy above but I don’t think this was true. I’m pretty sure he decided to run the rapid because he felt it would be safer to run it rather than the portage across the slippery river bank. As he passed I looked at Mike Burroughs who’d been paddling in Darren’s group we gave each other the nod and followed Dom down the rapid. We all ran it successfully and Dom even got a big cheer from the Leeds Uni lot. Stu ran the rapid next then we all got out and provided safety cover for the rest of our group who all decided they wanted to have ago. After everyone else had run it we set off to the get out. The rest of the journey down was uneventful apart from when my deck somehow came off and I got a slightly wet bum I don’t know how it happened, I don’t think I’d put it on properly but anyway let’s move on from that incident. I’d like to say thanks to Chris for organising the trip, to Coach Stu for his welcome tips of advice and lastly to the rest of the paddlers in my group, Sarah, Graham, and Dom for making it such an eventful trip.

 Roy McHale     More photographs……….. 


A “boof

Single blade

Colour coordinated paddler!


Andy Wrigg          Click for More.....

18/11/11 Caledonian Canal Fort William to Inverness - October 2011

On Saturday 23rd October 2011 ten of us met up in Fort William on a campsite on the banks of Loch Eil to prepare for the journey between Fort William and Inverness via the Caledonian Canal.  The weather was very typical of the West Coast of Scotland, rain and wind all Saturday and into the night.   Dave, Steve and Dermot had the luxury of a cabin which was nice to come back to after some of us went to Inverness to leave a car at the end.  Many thanks to John Pegram for giving us all a lift back to Fort William.


When we arrived back we were greeted with a hot tea or coffee and very warm wooden cabin.  We were all in high spirits for the days ahead.  Well as the rest of us left the cabin, you felt a little chilled with the night air along with the rain, back to the tents.  “This is real camping”, said Chris, from inside his tent.


7:30am Sunday Morning.  You started to hear people getting stoves going and kettles boiling.  The sun was rising with bits of blue sky and before long we had all packed our tents in the boats and headed to the beach ready for the off.


So we all started to leave and off we all went in convoy, 3 opens, 2 sea kayaks and 1 sit-on-top.   It didn’t take long before we arrived a our first portage (piers); Zack & Jake were very eager to help with getting everyone’s boats and gear out of the water and up to the canal.  This was our first Lock, there were many to come.  We started to chat to the lock keeper who was extremely helpful.


“Have you got a licence?” he enquired “if not get one here, its free”.  We were also offered a British Waterways Key for £6.00, this would open all the toilets and showers along the way as well as on every other British Waterways Canal.  We paddled the short distance to Neptune’s Staircase for our second portage.  This was about a half mile uphill portage and again Zack and Jake were helping move everyone’s boats, barrels and bags to the top.  Steve and Dave sat at the top watching and enjoying their cream teas!  40 minutes later and the portage was completed and we were ready to continue on to Gairlochy.  The water for this stretch of the canal was calm with no wind or rain.


By now it was close to 5pm and we decided to camp under some large trees at the portage.  The tents were soon up, pots and pans out and meals on the way.  Those that had bought keys made use of the facilities opposite the lock keepers house.  In the building were toilets, showers, washing machines and drying room.  We quickly made this our social room as it soon started to rain.  Later it blew a force 6 but fortunately we gained some shelter from the trees which surrounded our tents.


Monday morning 6:30am.  We were up and on the water by 8.00am. The weather was kind with no wind or rain.  After about an hour of paddling on Loch Lochy we came across several Salmon farms, 2 were bigger than football pitches.  Chris remarked that “we could have sushi”


As we approached Letterfinlay Lodge Hotel the wind started to pick up.  It got stronger and stronger with the waves getting bigger and bigger. We surfed our way along but several of the opens seemed to have problems, not for Zack and Jake, they were having a ball.  As I looked around some of us were beginning to struggle with the wind and waves.  John Pegram was next to Dermot on the sit-on-top, I kept an eye on the two lads and Kathy (our only female member of the group); Steve and Dave were going well.  After a short while Chris and Tony shouted from behind, “we’re swamped”.  They had been surfing their fully laden open canoe when waves were breaking over their gunnels.  We all stopped just off the end of Loch Lochy to watch the two boys empty out.  It was at this point that I looked back up the Loch and saw its full size.  Miniature whirl winds blew across the lock and it looked wild.


After a few minutes to gather ourselves we continued on our way and arrived at Laggen Locks, this was a small portage but time consuming to move all the boats and gear.  The canal section did not take long to complete and we were soon on the scenic Loch Oich.  The weather had passed through and the water was like glass, we started to make up the time lost earlier in the day.  Some of the group even began to talk of making the chippy in Fort Agustus before the end of the day.  Another short portage and canal section and we arrived safe in Fort Agustus in the dark.  We soon found a patch of grass to put everyone’s tents on near to the now, obligatory British Waterways facilities.  Some of us had a shower and then we headed down into the town for the chippy meal.  When we got there it was closed!!  The sign read “gone on holiday back in six weeks.  Plan B, we did a quick tour of the pubs but none were still selling food as it was now 9pm.  Fortunately, one of the landladies offered us some soup and bread rolls, thank you Liz. Many thanks also to Dave for paying for everyone J


After being warmed by the soup we headed back to the tents, the wind was starting to pick up again. 

Dermot popped his head out of his tent and said in a strange accent “its going to be a blowy one tonight folks”.  It must have been that soup.


The next morning with Toms kettle boiling and the wind still blowing word went around that the weather forecast was looking bad.  A group took a walk down the flight of locks to take their first glimpse of Loch Ness.  Large waves and strong winds made for glum faces.  As the forecast suggested that it was only going to get worse all agreed to go and fetch the cars from Inverness.  Dave and Dermot took the first bus, Chris and I had to catch the second as I had left my keys in my tent and had to return to fetch them (School boy error!).  As it happens we all met up in Inverness and drove back together after first stopping for breakfast in Drum.


As I was driving I kept looking at Loch Ness, the water was only a little bit choppy.  No rain, that’s looking doable I said to myself.


30 minutes later and I was back at the campsite in Fort Augustus.  I wandered over to Kath Wilson and said I am going to do Loch Ness, do you fancy giving it a go.  The reply was immediate “too right I will”.  Within minutes I had spoken to all the group and asked would they mind if we gave it a go.  They all said go ahead; you two have the right boats for the conditions. [Sea kayaks were ideal for the fetch on the Loch]

We all packed up our tents and gear and it was not long before we were on the Jetty at the bottom of the Lochs and ready for Loch Ness.  All the group were there wishing us well and giving us a good send off.  Several Swans and Ducks pecking at any lose items on our decks.  Next minute we were off.  Cameras flashing in the gloom and waving to everyone, like we were some sort of celebrities.


After an hour of paddling we approached Invermarston and Fort Augustus was no more than a haze behind us.  Loch Ness as now like a mirror, no wind or rain and really quite warm for October.  Autumn was well upon us and all the trees has changed their colour.  Reds, yellows, orange and some still had a tinge of green left in them.  The scene looked like a post card.


As time went on we passed Foyers.  Kathy remarked that we were beginning to lose the light.  “Time to pick the pace up” I replied.


We approached Urquhart Bay facing Drumnadrochit.  The wind had been building and now delivered a good sized wave.  We were paddling with darkness all around.  Eerily we headed towards the shore; we knew it was there as there were cars with headlights guiding us in.  As we neared the shore we used the large torch to illuminate a small landing place on a shingle beach.   One end of the beach has a large rock outcrop which gave us shelter from the strengthening wind.  Tents up; it was time for some grub and a large mug of tea.  The wind eased, clouds melted away and left us with a fantastic view.  In the distance was a castle lit up like a Christmas tree, Boss!


Looking at my map I reckoned that we had paddled 18 miles.  “I think we could have pushed on a few miles further at a pinch” I joked to Kathy.  Her reply was abrupt and very unladylike!  We retired to our tents as we planned to be up at 6.00am


My alarm went off, kettle and head torch on as we packed up in the early morning darkness.  Not long after we were back on Loch Ness.  With the water like glass we made Tor Point in under an hour.  Soon after, we made it to Aldourrie Castle.  We could now see the end of Loch Ness and paddled swiftly on in the now bright autumn sun. 


Loch Dochfour, long and thin, led us away from the beautiful Loch Ness. We stayed left hand side to avoid the weirs which were on the right.  After a short paddle and a quick portage at Dochgarroch we were back onto the Caledonian Canal.  We were leaving the steep mountainsides behind and saw only low rolling hills.  We soon found the A82 which crossed in front of us.  With a little effort we climbed under the low bridge without having to get out.  15 minutes later we touched the loch gates which marked the end of our journey, 64 miles of the coast to coast Caledonian Canal.


The final stage was to catch the bus back to Fort Augustus to pick up the car.  On my return Kathy was asleep in her sleeping bag! We loaded the boats and gear and headed to the nearest chippy for some food and to call Chris Fletcher to let him know how we had done.


Steve Bond   More photos…..



15/11/11 The Washburn play wave

Video of Nathan Forward Looping on the Washburn……..


Jim Slater

13/11/11 The Washburn – 13/11/11

9 LCC paddlers met on the M58 to travel together to The Washburn in West Yorkshire. As we got closer to the river the weather came in and it got very foggy and damp. Undeterred we chatted to a very friendly man called Norman from the Washburn committee who explained the set up. In conjunction with the BCU, the committee has spent a lot of money improving the facilities and parking as well as adding a number of new river features. The river is continuous and fast flowing and in parts quite narrow. There are several good play waves down the course and a main grade 3 drop. Eddies are very small and make for great eddy catching practise.



After we got changed and sorted the shuttle we got onto the water and Sarah and Paul did really well brushing up on their ferry gliding skills. We then set of down the river catching eddies as we went. Every member of the group had a go at leading before catching an eddy and allowing the rest of the group to float past. All went well until swimmer carnage broke out!!! First Sarah went in (to test her new dry suit!!) which led to a mad dash down river after the boat. Then Jim went in trying to rescue Sarah’s boat! Chris and I chased the boats for what seemed like miles before a larger eddy presented itself and we received help from the kind Kayakers on the banks. Whilst this was going on Paul (feeling left out) also capsized but skilfully managed a self recue and get all his kit to the bank! All paddlers accounted for we continued to the get out and shuttled up for another run.

Jim and Sarah sat this one out. Jim became the official photographer as he ran down the river path trying to keep up with us!! The second run was ran cleanly by everyone. We even managed to stop for a play at various points of the river. I upstaged young Nathan by bringing out my famous shudder rudder (see photo’s) whilst he could only manage to do an aerial loop!!!! (very impressive Nathan, will you teach me?)  Paul got very brave and also tried to play in a wave. It didn’t go to plan and he capsized, however, he did manage to pull off his first ever moving water roll!!


A great day on the river thanks to everyone! (Roy, Chris, Sarah, Paul, Fiona, Justin, Nathan and Jim.)

Andy Wrigg  More photos…..        Video of Nathan Forward Looping on the Washburn……..





    Today a small group of paddlers met to begin the journey to Hilbre Island as forecasts predicted winds of up to 16mph. Initial thoughts were to head to parkgate and avoid the wind as we met Chris and Tony who decided to paddle over to the Greenfields market boat but were never to be seen again that day.


    We decided to stick with the paddle that we know, as Hilbre Island has many options and various ways to journey. Eleven paddlers arrived ON TIME to begin the paddle as soon as water hit the slipway which would give us one hour and thirty minutes to get to the island. With the ESE winds it would be easy to get to the island but we knew the return journey would be hard work against the wind. The outward journey  was completed in a remarkable thirty five minutes with help from the trailing wind and little surf whilst being followed and escorted by a couple of nosey seals.


    The far side of the island protected the group from the wind and also contributed to the lack of waves and the easy paddle around the far side of the island. As we arrived at the beach we met Paul and Harvey who had arrived late but still managed to beat us to the beach. Harvey, age seven, told me that he had done most of the paddling whilst his dad Paul had his feet out of the double kayak and eating all the cakes. Darren was a little late arriving at the island but we soon found out why; at the end of Daz's tow line was Mike Burrows who was a little scared of going around the island and preferred the comfort of an escort back to the beach. (Thanks Daz , what a hero).



Paul was cooking sausage and bacon rolls for lunch and very kindly shared with the group his wares from his portable kitchen. Unusually he had NO cakes. John wanted the perfect picture and made the group stand for a full five minutes before claiming to have the perfect shot.


    We left the island as soon as high tide arrived to ensure plenty of time for the return journey against the high wind. Everybody worked hard against the wind and returned back to the slipway in time to step onto hard ground (although Mike did take another tow). Coffee at the Ring O Bells ended another LCC paddle and gave Phil the opportunity to show off his two different GPS logs that monitored our day.


Average speed 2.89 MPH. Distance covered 5.89 miles. Although one did show our route to cross over the island rather than around it.  Also note the size of the birds at Hilbre on the map, I presume this is why its so important not too disturb them over the winter.


Paddlers were  :-    

Karl, Daz, Phil, Isobel, Martin, Rob, John B, Nicky, Sian, John, Avril, Paul and Harvey. (Although Harvey disputes that his dad didn’t actually paddle)    More Photos…….



Liverpool Canoe Club

Hilbre Island Trip, 13th November 2011


Paddled 5.8 miles

Average Speed 2.9 mph

Maximum Speed 4.5 mph


A Great Morning’s Paddle.

From OS Memory Map on an iPhone4. Note that OS Maps are drawn at low tide.


We did not portage over the islands!

Phil Brocklebank


11/11/11 New DVD on Expedition Skills

New Sea Kayak Expedition skills DVD by Rock and Sea Productions


Top paddlers present; picking the team, tents, packing, Food and hydration, injury prevention, first aid, wildlife safety, cooking, sanitation, and much more



Click to watch the trailer……








09/11/11 Camaes Bay to Brickworks photos


Sea Caves

The Brickworks

An old boiler!


More Photos……….


08/11/11 Halloween Paddle at the Docks

On the 30th of October at around 6pm, the Liverpool Harbour Club was attacked by a group of zombies, ghosts and witches preparing for trick or treating the next day. As there were top prizes for best costume and best boat, everyone had made an extra effort with the face paints and lights over their boats. About 17 of us set off towards the Albert dock, swapping our head torches for glow sticks and light-up pumpkins. After having sweets thrown at us by kids on the side we arrived to the Albert dock like a pantomime on water. We spent sometime chatting to people on the dock wall and sharing a tub of sweets (that ended up in my canoe for the paddle back!!). 


Back at the harbour club and still in our scary costumes, a few more joined us for food and prize giving. While munching on butties and sausage rolls, prizes were awarded for the best boat, best dressed junior paddler and best costume.


Jim slater wasn’t very well that night and looked a bit pale, therefore he won the best costume trophy donated by...    Anyway, a big thank you to Keith Scott who acquired the prizes from Pyranha and a friends shop http://equipyourtrip.com/  Both kindly donated prizes for this Halloween paddle. Unfortunately Keith couldn’t be there for the paddle as Emma thought that this day was the day little baby Oliver wanted to be born, so congratulations to you both!    

Thanks to everyone who came, although I had nightmares all night!!! 


Mark Garrod      More Photos…….


Fiona , Justin and Jo Fisher

Fiona and Andy Wrigg


07/11/11 Christmas Social and Christmas Paddle – Dates for your diary

4th December – Christmas paddle and Meal – West Beach Café, £14.95 Limited Places

21st December – Christmas meal and Social – Liverpool Marina, £17.95 30 places left


01/11/11 Division 3 National League Polo

Our `A` team attended its second tournament of the season last Saturday at the Stockport Pool. 


We drew our first game against Team Scotia, won three more games and played our best game of the evening against Tees Tigers B.  We were 2:0 down at half-time but managed an unexpected fight back and eventually drew 2:2 with a last minute penalty.  This places us temporally top of the league but many teams have 4 games in hand.

If you are interested in playing canoe polo we have plenty of boats you can use.  Go to the polo page for more information and contacts……

More information on canoe polo leagues…..

01/11/11 Hilbre Island trip 30/10/2011

On Sunday 19 paddlers met to start the journey to Hilbre Island and 21 paddlers arrived.


I knew a great day was to be had when I saw the many paddlers arriving with various boats and equipment all helping each other to get organised and ready. Nothing was going to spoil this day. Well nothing except the RNLI hovercraft that passed so close that it blew my sea kayak over on the slipway (see pics). Please donate to the RNLI when possible as you never know when they will be needed to upturn your boat.


We met two other sea kayakers on the slipway from Macclesfield Canoe Club, Alan and Roger, who took up our invitation to join the paddle to the island. We normally always start this trip with a group pre-brief to introduce the group and identify radio users, first aiders and a chat about group safety. BUT today as soon as the water touched the slipway Steve Bond rushed his boat to the water, sat in and insisted the pre-brief was held behind his boat as he was in some sort of a rush to get started.


Soon into the outward journey saw a number of seals join the group and they followed us for most of the way to the islands as we stayed together until the main island where we watched the first of two roll and re-entry demo's from "double dip Dave" and his team with the expert assistance from Pete and Carole Thomas.


Ten Paddlers decided to make the trip around the back of the island which was a little choppy due to the slight winds and we managed to catch the surf on the far side. Mike  H and Alan P asked to practice their deep water rescues with young Mike Burrows being in attendance to give his first sea rescue which was executed calmly and quickly with the assistance of Daz H (well done Mike). I directed the rescues by sending in Steve Rose to collect any stray paddles and Alan A with Martin McCoy were deployed to assist with any towing. A great team effort. Thanks also to Steve B for his words of encouragement.


As we arrived at the beach of the island we were met by Chris and Tony who had arrived late but managed to make it to the island just in time for lunch of Pete's "bus pass cakes" and coffee. A great return journey saw another "double dip Dave" rescue demo and a little surf to enjoy on the way.  A trip to the bar after for coffee and a de-brief with Steve B insisting that we don’t mention in the write-up of his being rescued by young Mike B (oh....its in now anyway!).


Another great LCC day.....................Karl Tattum   More Pictures……..


31/10/11 Caledonian Canal October 2011

The plan was to meet up at Morrisons at Fort William for 1pm this would give us time to set up camp and shuttle the cars up to Inverness – The weather was typical constant rain, black low level cloud and windy. Organising this is critical to this paddle – it’s a 64 mile drive and takes a good 1hr 20min each way. We eventually set off and got up to Inverness in the early evening, finding the British Waterways yard was not easy but having parked up three cars and locked up the trailers we headed back to the campsite. 

The Linnhe campsite was in a perfect position for doing this trip situated on the banks of Loch Eil we were able to launch onto the water about 3km away from the canals entrance. This was a beautiful sheltered inland Loch and well worth an explore at a later date. We soon approached the first loch gates and experienced our first portaging experience, having an open canoe is great for stowing gear but what you take you have to carry! It was soon clear that the boats would have to be emptied each time and all
the gear carried independently – this was time consuming and hard work but we all set too and with much huffing and puffing we cleared the sea Lock paddled up to the Neptune Flight and repeated the same process. To the purists it was worth the effort to truly do it sea to sea but having done it once I would suggest a get in at the top of the Neptune Locks and start from there – it was now 2.30pm and effectively we were starting the paddle for real.

We were a mixed fleet of boats and paddlers with three sea boats & opens and one sit on with equally different paddling experiences, the canal section gave every one time to get used to their loaded boats. We arrived at Garlochy Locks around 4.30pm, it was wet and grey. The portage was getting efficient and so we found our selves looking out over Loch Lochy the decision was made to camp up for the night – an opportunity to eat and drink the boats a bit lighter.

It rained all through the night but the morning was over cast but dry, Loch Locky some 10 miles long was calm but grey, a mirror image of the cloud base. As we paddled further down the loch, Meail core lochain rose some 907 metres to our left and being more exposed to the wind which was now gusting 4ish from our rear left quarter which was causing Dermot on his ‘sit On’ to weather cock, having no skeg to keep it on the straight and narrow. Catalytic winds is a phenomenon caused by the funnelling of weather systems down or through a mountain feature, it was clear by the patterns on the Loch’s surface that ‘stuff’ was going on with the waters surface, with this mountain range on our left we paddled through a series of very strong down drafts and gusts which lifted and sent water spirals across the Lochs surface, out of no where it would try to snatch your paddle out of your hand or make the water surface confused.

The two photos were taken between 9.30 and 11am and give a true contrast of the light conditions. This effect was minimised by paddling close to shore and so we continued to paddle up and along the right hand side towards the middle distance mark. As we got clear of the effect of the mountain the wind now had its’ chance to build a swell with some white caps this was compounded by the effect of the road on our right which was built up creating a vertical wall of rock. For the sea kayaks this posed no real problem, it was good fun to ‘run’ the swell to help us on our way but the opens did take in water as the waves occasionally broke over the sides. We stopped of for a lunch break at a small headland near a hotel which gave them time to bail out and give us all a chance to stretch the legs.

The wind continued and blew us down the loch towards Laggan where we portaged. There are some obvious landing pontoons adjacent the Lock used by the ships but this gives a long portage; when approaching the loch paddle to the left of the manmade rock pier then around what looks like a floating boat yard and right down to a grassy bank this gives a portage of only 100 yards or so.

The wind was really blowing now, the lock keeper mentioned a force 8 was expected but we were entering the second cannel system and Fort Augustus was our aiming point. With 10 miles under our belt and 10 more to go we portaged the lock which by now was a military precision operation, with every one working as a team; we entered a completely different world. We were completely sheltered from the wind as we paddled down avenues of green and bronze the water tranquil filled with reflections.

The weather is so localised, even the sky shone blue as we paddled the man made cannel and linking Loch systems of Oich. We made
good time, buoyed on by the prospect of civilisation and the amazing views, the miles slid by. Loch Oich is part manmade part flooded valley with it’s gentle rising grassy banks and navigation buoys narrowly spaced to ensure shipping stays in deep water, well worth a return journey. Time was marching on as we entered into the last cannel section with 4miles remaining. Steve Gille had lent me the British Waterways shipping chart which was brilliant ( isbn 0-86351-175-9 £4.50, I’ve bought you a new one) this shows enough detail to pick out all the main geographical features but more importantly gives detailed split distances, navigational buoys and hazards such as weirs etc, this meant that I was aware that their were two more locks to portage  on the manmade canal section – each portage would take us 35/ 40min to get all the boats through so effectively meant we were going to arrive at fort Augustus in the dark.

 The lights of Fort Augustus glowing in the distance the steady rhythm of the paddles pulling through the dark grey water with the white silhouette of my boat cutting a silent path – the perfect end to a days 20mile paddle through some truly beautiful country.

The camping area is up on the right opposite to the canoe landing stages by the toilet block – there is a grassed area behind a wooden fence. It is well worth purchasing your own Key (£6) the facilities are amazing, free showers, toilets and equipped with washing machines and tumble dryers all in excellent condition. Having sorted out equipment, showered most of the group helped the local community’s economy by going down to the pub, the landlady feeling sorry for the wind battered paddlers made soup and bread as a one off.

The Force eight was beginning to show it’s self by late evening so as we bedded down for the night it gradually grew. 2am – imagine sleeping in the central carriage way of a motorway with a 125mph train line on the other side. You got the deep earth moving rumble that the trucks would make coupled by the roar of an intercity going through a station without stopping. The wind was so strong I could feel the cold air being forced through the nylon mesh of my inner tent. The morning came with only Dermot’s Sit On being some yards away from where he left it the night before, it was still blowing with the weather forecast indicating that it would only build. The lock keeper also said the fishing boats weren’t going out. After some discussion it was agreed not to venture out onto Loch Ness – the bus was caught to Inverness and the cars returned.

However Scotland being what it is has it’s own micro climate and by the time the cars returned the weather had changed considerably for the better. Steve had decided that he would go on with the two sea boats. My car was in Fort William which meant I had no real option of getting back. I was tempted to paddle back to fort William but this would be alone and not the wisest thing to do. My boat and all my gear were shared around the remaining cars and we got back to Fort William and then returned to Liverpool that evening.


This trip has been a real taster of paddling distances on wide expanses of water, my boat a dream and an absolute pleasure, it’s been good to share the experience with the other guys – big thanks to Chris Fletcher for sorting out the logistics not always an easy task but one thing is for sure -  ill be back !!           John Pegram   More photos…..



31/10/11 Hilbre Island race report – 1st October 2011

Since June I had been trying to teach a friend of mine, Garry, how to kayak, but work schedules and/or the tides and weather had always conspired against us. The unseasonably good weather combined with very high tides at the end of September gave us the ideal opportunity to head out to West Kirby Marine Lake for some basic training. Garry had never kayaked before and the plan was to spend two days on the marine lake learning basic paddling and rescue skills before going on to the Dee estuary on the third day, either heading over to Hilbre or upstream to Heswall depending on the weather and/or Garry’s competence and comfort levels. Monday, the first day, went really well, and on the Tuesday we were really getting to grips with Eskimo rescues and the preliminary stages of rolling when I noticed another sea kayak on the lake. When he came close I asked him if he was going out to Hilbre as it was a perfect day for it. He mentioned to me that he was training for the race on Saturday. ‘What race?’ I politely enquired. “The race around Hilbre” he replied.

This sent alarm bells ringing. I am a keen kayak racer and had not heard of this event. On returning home I googledHilbre Island Race’ and got all the info I needed; only one problem - I don’t have a sea-kayak. Thursday evening, I still didn’t have a sea-kayak. Then I got a text from a friend offering to lend me his home-made boat for the race.

I went to pick it up on the Friday. It was beautiful; carbon fibre, about 5m long, no skeg or rudder but painted in vivid swirly orange and red. I brought it home, put it in the garden, tried to sit in it and couldn’t!! The cockpit was way too small and the seat was un-adjustable. After briefly considering and rejecting the idea of a double amputation of my feet and ankles the only option left was BUSH MECHANICS; A-Team style.


I went into the house returning a minute later to the amusement of my girlfriend and neighbours with an old piece of foam, four tea-towels, an old bed-sheet and some duck-tape. As the seat was a fixed mould plastic seat with a back-support I first had to completely loosen the back support, which I then taped to the seat filling in the arse cheek contours. Then I flattened the seat out using the tea-towels and the foam. I used the bed-sheet to provide uniformity and hold everything in place and then liberally supplied about half a roll of duck-tape to fix everything in place.


The end result was that I could at least now sit in the boat, albeit with no back support and when I put the deck on my knees were clearly visible as I had raised the ‘seat’ by about 5cm to accommodate my legs; highly unorthodox and definitely very unstable. However I had no time to test my beautifully sculpted creation on the water as I had to work on the morning of the race, meaning that the first time I tried the boat on the water was 15 minutes prior to the race start. It really was very unstable and incredibly uncomfortable. The only saving grace was that speed would give me stability (hopefully). The one thing that I hadn’t considered, but that became immediately apparent when I launched the boat, was that I had the turning circle of a medium sized oil tanker. Also when stationary I was in real danger of capsizing– having to apply a brace at all times. Not wanting to be told that I was too dangerous to race I tried to act nonchalant.


When asked to line up for the race start many other competitors were taking ages to get in line with the starter making damn sure that no one would start with an advantage, thus delaying the start. I was on the inside of the pack and due to the wind was rapidly drifting onto the seawall. Knowing that it would take me about three minutes to turn round to regain my position on the start line I became really anxious and literally begged the starter to start the ‘effing’ race, which he duly did just when I was really starting to panic as by now I was in very shallow water only about 3m from a sea wall.

As soon as the pistol went I was off like a shot, at last feeling semi-stable in the boat. I have some dragon boating experience and utilising a dragon boating race start technique I had a great start and felt like I was in the lead, however I didn’t turn round to check and it could have been merely an artefact of me being on the inside of the pack. The race route entailed going round the outside of all three islands (Little eye, Little Hilbre and Hilbre Island), returning on the inside. During the briefing it had been made clear that the most direct route may not necessarily be the fastest as water bodies  close to the islands would probably be more turbulent and chaotic, thus slowing the boats down.


After about 200m I looked around for the first time to see a few boats on a heading that took them much further out into the Dee estuary. Not wanting to gamble so early on in the race and not having paddled out to Hilbre for probably more than 10 months prior to the race (due to a strong off-shore wind Garry and I had taken the more risk-averse option and paddled down to Heswall on the previous Wednesday) I changed tack and picked a course that would intersect with the course taken by everyone else; when we came together I was in first place but only by about 2m. Another paddler, who judging by the quality of his gear I had already judged to be a serious contender, soon came cruising past me on the outside. I had a brief opportunity to jump on his wake, but after making a conscious decision to try to get used to my boat and find my own rhythm I let him go, thinking I would come back at him later – this soon became apparent to me that it was a big mistake as I watched him steadily cruise off into the distance putting more and more distance between our boats.


Paddling was a truly painful experience. My makeshift seat had no back support and therefore my legs had to be completely focused on locking me to the boat, not on moving forward. Furthermore I was slightly left heavy and I was unable to rectify this situation as I had no skeg or rudder to compensate with, and putting the paddle down to re-adjust my body position was not an option partly due to the fact that I was 100% committed to the race and partly because stopping and readjusting would have probably ended in a swim; not good for my chances of winning or my health, pride or reputation. Despite this the boat was moving beautifully through the water and I was managing to maintain second position. Despite distances over water being difficult to estimate, as we moved past the first two islands it seemed that the leader, John Bunyan, was increasing his lead with every stroke. Coming alongside Hilbre Island the sea conditions were beautiful, loads of birds were floating and flying around, seals were frolicking in the swells, but my only thought was this hurts, this really hurts, this really really hurts, god does this hurt!


Efficient effective paddling should be a whole body experience. When you remove the action of the lower limbs it places enormous strain on the upper body. The Hilbre race is about 8 miles long and coming around the halfway stage I was really feeling the pace. John had disappeared around the top of Hilbre Island and I had to negotiate the turn without ever having turned this boat tightly before. Safety had been provided in the form of an inflatable rib. They followed me closely around the headland, probably alerted by the fact that as I came around the headland I looked very uncomfortable and my ‘tight turn’ consisted of about 25 consecutive (ragged) sweep strokes on my left hand side. This was a very slow, inefficient and cumbersome turn that allowed the chasing pack to close the gap considerably. By the time I was back on line and in rhythm I was just a couple of boat lengths ahead of about three boats - two sea-kayaks and Brian and Colin in an open boat. Brian and Colin are current world champions in their veteran class and race very seriously. Added to which Brian is the guy who had lent me the boat (which was made by Colin!!).


Even though John was well over a minute in front by now and I was in a lot of pain (both my legs were threatening to cramp, as was my right hand and I had an ever increasing urge to vomit) Colin and Brian’s presence on my tail was driving me on. Even though I really wanted to give up due to gross discomfort, stopping was not a real option as the thought of people (particularly Colin and Brian) cruising on by and looking at me quizzically was driving me on. The fear of failure and looking stupid can be a very powerful stimulant.


Finding new reserves of energy from who knows where and trying to concentrate on maintaining an erect upper body posture (rather than my cramps, aches and pains and an increasingly worrying numbness in my butt and left leg), I managed to maintain a two boat length distance between me and the chasing pack, but was unable to increase my advantage. John was a good 200-300 metres ahead by now and had clearly won the race, but the race for second was going to go down to the wire.


Coming around the corner into the home straight I was honestly half dead and just wanted to finish this race (and probably my racing career), but the sight of my girlfriend and her sisters on the boat-ramp spurred me on for one final effort. I passed the buoy used as the start line in second placed and instantly relaxed only to be screamed at by the onlookers that I was not yet at the finishing line!! My heart was in my mouth as I visualised being overtaken right on the line, so I pushed forward hard again. I was literally screaming at the crowd “have I finished yet”. After I had gone another 30m it was signalled that my race was over, I relaxed just as Colin and Brian came up alongside. I immediately shouted “raft up” and very ungracefully flung my paddle and upper body on top of the front of their boat as this was the only way I could actually stop paddling without going for a swim. It later transpired that not only had I beaten them by 11 seconds but in fact they were in a different class to me so I would have finished second even if they had overtaken me. Still the satisfaction of having kept them behind me more than made up for not having won the race – John Bunyan eventually finishing nearly two minutes in the lead.


Making my way to the boat ramp I realised that I could not actually get out of the boat due to a combination of cramps, numbness and a pulled muscle somewhere near my hip. I literally fell out of the boat into the sea and lay in the soothing cool waters of the Dee estuary for a good 90 seconds, before the desire to stop Brian’s carbon fibre boat bouncing on the boat ramp revived me long enough to get out of the water and carry the boat up the boat ramp, where I then collapsed on the pavement. There, I spent the next 35 minutes being stared at by strangers before I mustered the energy to stand up again. A further 15 minutes were required before I regained enough musculature control to get changed into warm dry clothes!


All in all I was very happy with the result but I really need to invest in my own sea-kayak as not having the right gear is definitely hampering my race career. Well done to John Bunyan for winning the race and a big thank you to Liverpool Canoe Club and all the race organisers, all the people who gave up their time to provide safety cover, and especially to Brian for lending me his boat, and a big apology for the fact that he had to follow it all the way to the finishing line. It was an excellent event and another good experience for the fledgling Plump Bunny Kayak Corporation. I look forward to competing again next year.


Adam Caris   More photographs……

Race details and website for next year…..

30/10/11 The Quest for Half Term White Water


As what seemed like half the club headed up to Scotland for a variety of different trips, a few LCC members began the search for some new (to us) white water trips.  After checking out the new and improved rain chasers website we concluded our only option was the Kent running through Kendal.  Roy, Ant and I headed up on Wednesday and had a good day on the water.  The Kent would be a good river for improver paddlers as it runs through Kendal and provides an easy get out before becoming more technical as it runs through a gorge. 


After meeting a friendly taxi driver and completing the shuttle we set off through from the River Mint and scraped are way through to Kendal.  We provided some photo opportunities for the tourists on the friendly play ways before and met some friendly and not so friendly fisherman before the real action began.  The two main features are the L Shaped Weir and Force Falls.  All ran the Weir well although Ant decided to pick slightly the wrong line and ended up in the meat of the hole!!!  Next up was Force fall.  This was styled by Ant before Roy and I both rolled!!  I got stuck on a protruding rock right on top of the fall and fell vertically off!!  Not satisfied we jumped out of the boats to run it again, this time with more success!


Thanks go to Ant for being our river leader!


On Saturday, as river levels dropped further, 5 LCC paddlers took the long but very worthwhile trip to the Tees.  This was our second visit to the High Force section and we had decided to include the Barnard Castle to Whorlton section.  This proved to be a great decision and provided a great start to the day.  Roy, Chris and I took turns leading the river while Fiona and Steve took on everything the river threw at them.  This whole river is great for the developing paddler as all the difficult sections can be easily inspected and portaged if required.  Abbey Falls is the main drop in a beautiful gorge and a friendly photographer took some photos and promised to email them to us!!!   Steve had a good day and had enough by the time we hit the upper section, so 4 of us took to the water.

 Fiona did well on the first few drops before swimming, and her day ended soon after.  Next up was Salmon Leap Falls.  Having watched Chris go sideways over the middle drop and fight valiantly before taking a swim I was not so confident.  I hit the first drop and made the rooky mistake of presenting the wrong edge to the flow of water and over I went.  Another valiant effort ended in a swim!!!   As I stood on the bank emptying my boat a grinning Roy came to ask if I was ok.  I am not sure how sincere this was!!!!  Chris had hurt his side so our group was down to 2 as we came up to the main feature, Low force (3 meter waterfall).  Roy made easy work of the difficult Horseshoe Falls directly above Low Force although I think he only ran it to impress two lovely ladies out for a walk who were watching on.  We then both ran Low Force without the need to roll!!!!!

A long but great day out!!!


Andy Wrigg

28/10/11 November Newsletter Published
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