News items or reports on club activities should be sent to email@example.com
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/
include a high quality, embroidered LCC logo, VAT and delivery to a club
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
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
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
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.
series of talks - "Hairy Lemon and a Stoney"
Paddling the cataracts of the
Mondays presentation by Hannah Draper, Stu Haywood and Theo Gaussen on their
paddling holiday to
We have a now well established series of talks at our base
25/11/11 How to book a pool
We use the large 8 lane Kingsway swimming pool in
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.
24/11/11 River Lune Trip
Sunday 20th November 2011 Version 2 “the single blade
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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………..
Colour coordinated paddler!
Click for More.....
18/11/11 Caledonian Canal
On Saturday 23rd
October 2011 ten of us met up in
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
The final stage was to catch the
bus back to
Steve Bond More photos…..
The Washburn play wave
Video of Nathan Forward Looping on the Washburn……..
13/11/11 The Washburn – 13/11/11
9 LCC paddlers met on the M58 to travel together
to The Washburn in
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.)
Today a small group of
paddlers met to begin the journey to
decided to stick with the paddle that we know, as
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.
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 :-
Phil, Isobel, Martin, Rob, John B, Nicky, Sian, John, Avril, Paul and
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!
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
09/11/11 Camaes Bay to Brickworks photos
An old boiler!
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…..
On Sunday 19 paddlers met to start the journey
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……..
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
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.
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.
wind was really blowing now, the lock keeper mentioned a force 8 was expected
but we were entering the second cannel system and
The weather is so localised, even the sky shone blue as we paddled the man made cannel and linking
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
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…..
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
This sent alarm bells
ringing. I am a keen kayak racer and had not heard of this event. On returning
home I googled ‘
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
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
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
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.
30/10/11 The Quest for Half Term White Water
As what seemed like
half the club headed up to
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
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
Fiona did well
on the first few drops before swimming, and her day ended soon after.
Next up was
A long but great day out!!!
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