Volume 12  Issue 5

May 2012

May Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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Major Trip Reports.…


30/4/12 Coaching Seminar – 1 and 2 star standardisation. Monday 23rd April

Last Monday Liverpool Canoe Club held its quarterly coaching seminar at the Marina.  All club coaches were invited along with coaches from other clubs in the North West Region.  Fortunately we had a group of six willing students to demonstrate a number of the key strokes. Each had a racing bib with a number on to allow for easy identification.  After performing the skill for a few minutes the coaches discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, finally coming together to get a consensus on the minimum standard for each skill with reference to the published assessment criteria.


Many thanks to all involved:

Volunteer Paddlers


Coaches Names


Coaches Names


Coaches Names


Nicola Corbett


Ian Bell


Anthony Brockway


John Pegram


Gerry Sykes


Keith Steer


dave williams


andy wrigg


Gerard Reilly (Open boat)


dave reynolds


Stephen Swallow


Jim Slater


Graham (Hudson).


Dave Cook


dom buckley


Mark Garrod


Matty Pegram


Steve Bond


keith jackson




Kathy Wilson


Matt Giblin.


Roy McHale





For more information on 2 star paddling see the BCU coaching video of standards……….
For 2 Star Test Syllabi…..

The next coaching seminar is on Monday 16th July and is entitled “Open Boat Skills Workshop for Coaches”.  It will involve a variety of skill stations from basic to advanced (including lining and tracking, poling, compound stokes, basic trim and Jams)



30/4/12 Summer is here, we have moved all the boats and paddles etc to our summer venue at Liverpool Marina.  Click here for a map and details……..


Over the summer we will be following the same pattern as in previous years.  All midweek sessions start at 6:30pm, Sundays at 10:00am and last approximately 2 hrs.

Mondays  Canoe Polo game – all invited (Lots of plastic polo boats to use)

Tuesdays – Junior Club returns – Parents must be present (on the water or in coffee bar) but a club coach will run the session on the water.

                  General Club night – All welcome – Opens or kayaks available from the racks.  General skills or trip to Albert Dock


Thursdays -  General Club night – All welcome – Opens or kayaks available from the racks.  General skills or trip to Albert Dock

                     Polo game – all invited (Lots of plastic polo boats to use)


Sundays (Check calendar to confirm) – Club session for those that are competent to paddle with in a group.  General skills or trip to Albert Dock


For other events and paddles check the calendar on the website.


Some general points to make life easier.
All paddling at the dock MUST be on the calendar – If you are competent and can ensure more than 3 just email it in.  Click here for Risk Assessment that we have signed up to……..
Please sign your name on the white board on the shed door so we know who is around, even if using your own boat.
Be careful when carrying boats, if in doubt use two people!  Do not block the pontoons as people need access to their yachts.
NEVER leave anything in the shed, especially valuables.  Lock everything in your or a friends car and take your key on the water (in a waterproof container)

If you use club equipment please ensure you take it in the first half-hour as the shed will be locked.  Always secure all bungs and footrest bolts securely as we loose far too many.

All paddles and Buoyancy Aids with zips done up should be stored neatly in the shed.  Spray decks hung up.  Try to feed security cable through end loops ready for locking as this helps greatly.
Please try to keep water off the floor in the changing rooms (Shower curtains inside tray, do not hang wetsuits and clothing to drip onto the floor)
If you use the docks regularly you are expected to have and use your own swipe card for all the gates and changing rooms.  Buy one online and it will be posted to you……..
We always meet in the coffee bar after a club night – please join us if you can as this is where all trips are planned
You must be a full member to paddle with us.


31/03/12 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.


30/4/12 The River Tees 28.04.12

We had a decent amount of rain during last week and there was talk of high-ish water levels in the lakes so because of this a very late decision at the pool on Thursday night was made to go to the lakes for a paddle. Unfortunately everything had run off by Saturday morning so we hadn’t much choice it was either the Tryweryn or the long drive over to the Tees. We decided on the latter and 6 of us drove over to Teesside to complete the run.


The Tees had been “hugh” on Thursday according to Rain chasers but it was running low by the time we arrived. We did two sections of the river the first section we did was Barnard Castle to Whorlton Falls. This is a nice scenic run the main feature on this section is Abbey Rapids which is a nice grade 3 rapid that is located in a small but very scenic gorge this rapid is classed as a grade 4 in higher flows. Last time I ran this section I saw an Otter in this gorge but unfortunately he didn’t appear today. After Abbey rapids there is quite a bit of flat water until you reach the get out which is up the steep and wooded left hand bank.


We then headed up river approx 12 miles to do the most popular section which is High Force to Wynch Bridge. This section is only very short but has some great features on it. There are a few small drops and rapids to warm up on before you reach a grade 4 rapid called “S-bends” (it’s also called dogleg or salmon’s leap falls, confusing eh) All ran this well with no drama. Approx 200meters or so below this is the main features “Horseshoe fall” and “Low Force”.


Horseshoe fall is a drop about 3 feet high into a pool. It has a nasty tow back even in low water and the first time we ever came to this section of the river last year we witnessed a kayaker from another group who had swam being re-circulated and he was held in this tow back for quite a while until he was rescued by one of his mates, it was quite sobering to see but I think the memory of that incident had faded with time because we all decided to run it. There were no swimmers today and everyone styled it. Next up was low force which is a 10 foot waterfall into a deep churning pool again everyone had a good time running this fall and a few of us climbed back up to do it a few more times.


The Highlights of the run were Fiona’s 1st white water combat roll and Fiona styling Low force

The Low point was Paul Flaherty’s swim on his 2nd go down Low Force (this is classed as a low point because I followed Paul down Low Force and pulled off probably the best boof stroke of the day unfortunately no one witnessed this perfectly executed stroke as they were too busy emptying Paul’s boat) This ill-timed swim definitely deserves a nomination for swimmer of the year in my opinion. Boot beer for Paul.


After Low Force there a few more nice rapids to run until you get to the get out this is on river left. Paddlers included.  Andy Wrigg, Fiona Wrigg, Paul Flaherty, Keith S, Sara Bergqvist, Me and Ade.

Apologies to all for not advertising this as a club trip it was a very late decision to go and we felt was too short notice to put out an email to all the club. We are planning a trip this weekend look out for an email from Andy Wrigg.

Roy McHale.   More Photos…….


30/4/12 The Tryweryn Sunday 29/04/2012


After the torrential rain over the last few days, and the guage at Mile End Mill rising from 6 to 12 it was decided that the Dee was too high, and therefore another venue was required.

This lead to 7 members coming to the Tryweryn for 10ish on Saturday morning. We started off doing the Lower Tryweryn.

"How many swims is Paul going to have today? I reckon twelve." Said Sam who had been elected river leader along with Justin. As usual I had decided to bring a weird and wonderful craft with me for today’s adventure. My very small Whitewater canoe. Everyone else were in conventional river running boats apart from Wayne who had a tiny playboat. Wayne has only ever been on the Goyt before and was quite apprehensive, but luckily Mike Alter was on hand to give lots of help and generally calm Waynes nerves. We got on just below Chapel Falls and almost immediately Wayne was having a jumble sale. Quickly, Mike Burrows rescued him and Wayne was back in his boat
and not put off.

We all played in the wave by the campsite and practiced side surfing, ferry gliding, and breaking in and out of the current. Obviously as I was in a canoe I looked way cooler than the rest of us side surfing in that wave. That was until I dropped my edge into the current and my chine caught and flipped a la washing machine. I so nearly rolled my canoe, but Mike was happy rescuing me and nearly making me sick in the process.

We went down the river and Steve, Sam and Justin played in every wave, I missed every left hand eddy and did a few eddline and rock spins. Some of these resulted in some swims for me. I was able to roll fully once, Mike T-rescued me twice, and I self rescued a couple of times with the help of my swim lines. At one point I was paddling with my boat full to the brim. This made it very heavy and the canoe lurched from one edge to the other.

Wayne was slightly beating me in the swimming stakes, but somehow managed to pull off a no handed, one hand on the paddle banging on the bottom of his boat with his other hand sat upright roll. He was very pleased with himself, and was wandering how to get this new style recognised by the BCU. Swimming doesn't worry me at all. If I'm not swimming I'm not pushing myself hard enough. i just want to canoe when on a river. The size of the waves doesn't worry me. they can be higher than my head and I'm not bothered. Its the bloody rocks that get me every time. They drive me mad. What I have learned from this trip is that I definitely have to get more confidence in my offside paddling whether it be left hand eddies or breaking out from river left. I have also got to improve my forward speed. With my lack of commitment from my offside, my forward speed didn't carry me into the eddies, hence the spins.

At Bala Mill Falls Wayne and Steve got out to run the Leat. I was going to run the falls, but everyone put me off. "You'll die!", "You'll get pinned.", "You'll get really injured." Were phrases that were mentioned. That put me off and I went to the Leat. Mike Burrows had the worst swim of the day here, just before I had got out of my boat. He capsized failed to roll completely and had to pull his deck off and everything!

If you have ever been down the leat, you'll know how narrow this channel is. I'm sure it would be as safe going down the falls. There is no room for you to move your paddle, there are jagged rocks sticking out all over the place, and if you flipped, I think it would be really difficult to get out. So next time I'm going down the falls.

Back to the top, Justin, Sam and Mike met Chris Murphy who had been patiently waiting for us at the Chipper to run the top section. I was feeling like an old man with sore hips, thighs and shoulders, so I had a curry in the cafe whilst they went down. I got some good snaps of Justin going down fingers with style. Who says he always swims here?

Paddlers of the day were: Mike A, Mike B, Sam H, Justin C, Steve R, Wayne, Chris M, Paul H


27/4/12 An Orme and a Half Sunday 22/04/2012


Driving along the A5 last Sunday morning towards Llandudno, it became obvious that a major chunk of LCC were heading out to one wet destination or another. We saw quite a few of the Stanley Wave contingent heading for Anglesey and also caught up with a number of sea boats heading for the Orme.


Eventually arriving at the Orme’s west beach a dozen or so LCC paddlers were hopeful that the weather would improve from the sombre slate grey skies hanging over the nearby hills. Tony Bennet, who arranged the trip, assured us that he had booked sunshine by lunchtime. Heading off towards the overfalls off the north west corner of the Orme and following the spring flood, we were all a cheerful and chatty group until we heard the shout “swimmer” from somewhere near the back. Most of us by then were right in the middle of the overfalls where it was not quite so easy to spin round and go back to help but thankfully the situation was very quickly dealt with and we all continued on into smoother water. It was great to be out again after an enforced absence of six weeks of inactivity while I recovered from a minor op. I was glad I didn’t have to rescue anyone or be rescued as I was still a bit protective of my healing wound. Ian Bell too was glad of not having to rescue anyone as he was recovering from bruised ribs sustained while enjoying the Scottish white water trip a couple of weeks earlier.

The paddle eastwards under the towering cliffs of the Orme was magical and the conditions improved all the time with sunshine, a following wind and quartering sea keeping us all happy.


Arriving just after high water at the east beach we stopped for a short lunch and were joined by Chris Fletcher who had decided to give the paddle a miss but whose van proved very useful later on as he was kind enough to act as taxi driver for some of us.


The main party paddled off back around the Orme, taking advantage of the ebb while three of us, myself, Carole and Don, decided to explore the Little Orme.

Most of us ended up at the West Shore Cafe at the end of the paddle where we started to make plans for Pembroke and other trips.

A great paddle and thanks for Tony for organising the sun and getting the top of my bald head crisp for the first time this year.


Tony Bennett, Chris Fletcher, Ian Bell, Steve Bond, John Worswick, Alastair Randall, Don Brooks, Carole Thomas, Pete Thomas, Mark Pawly and at least one others whose names I didn’t catch....... sorry!



27/4/12 Climbing Mount McKinley Talk by club member Michael Alexander   Monday 16th April

Club member Michael Alexander, who ran several beginners and introductory courses for us last year, gave a talk on his quest to climb Denali (Mt McKinley), the highest mountain on the North American Continent.. It was great to see how to put together an expedition like this and hear about all the decisions that had to be made along the way.


The 2011 Denali Quest Expedition is an unguided and independent expedition, who are attempting Denali by the West Buttress Route arguably one of the more straight forward routes on the mountain. However it will require great physical effort, sound judgement and skill in mountaineering practices, patience, acclimatisation, and a bit of luck.  Denali is one of the last great wilderness expedition challenges left in this ever decreasing world. At 6,194 metres it certainly isn't the highest mountain in the world, being dwarfed by many Himalayan and South American peaks. However it's Arctic environment, extremes of diurnal temperatures, hard storms, and it's great height above the Alaskan plain, make it a severe testing ground. Not only for personal strength and will, but for teamwork and friendships. There is a huge burden on logistics and equipment, nothing can afford to go wrong.


The 6 man team flew into Anchorage and then drove out to Talkeetna, A frontier town known as a 'happy drinking town with a mountaineering problem!' From Talkeetna they took a ski plane for a 45 minute flight to the mountain. It is possible to walk to the mountain but this takes 5-6 days, the team are subscribing to the Alaskan adage 'fly and hour or walk a week!'. The Base Camp (at Kahiltna) is at around 2,200m.  Michael described the journey along the four mountain camps before the decision to push for the summit.


In all they spent 23 days climbing the mountain and were totally self-contained pulling their equipment on small sledges behind them.


More information from their website……..        More talks at the Marina…….


24/4/12 Stanley Embankment and Surfing – Sunday 22/04/2012

12 LCC members met on Anglesey to try a bit of play boating in the wave that forms under the A5 road bridge heading over towards Holyhead. The best time to get there is a couple of hours before high tide. As the tide comes in it forms an excellent play wave that reaches its peak at high tide.


A few of us had brought our little play boats to truly look the part. Even Roy had borrowed a small Pyranha recoil from the pool to squeeze into.


The wave looks very intimidating to the developing playboater!!  A few of us watched as Nathan and Keith make it look very easy before giving it a go. Once on the wave it was very friendly. It was easy to straight surf and flushed you out as soon as you made any mistakes. (Of which there were many!!) A large wave train after the wave and a fair amount of boils in the water made rolling difficult but generally ok. It did result in a fair few swims but it was very safe as it flowed out into a large area of flat water. Plus we always had Mike Burrows chasing after any stray boats!!


The more you got on the wave the easier it became and I along with a few others started doing flat spins on the wave. Some successful, some not so!! You could always tell the good ones from me as I started squealing like a small child when I completed it! (Not cool!)


Half way through the session we were joined by an upside down boat coming through the tunnel which had a person in it, Michael Alexander (LCC coach) who grinned as he came flying through before capsizing and rolling about 3 times and another of his mates who was more successful. Keith had earlier mentioned that it gets a bit pushy in the tunnel as the tide rises and it was not a great idea to come through nearer high tide. Good shout Keith!


Everyone did well and even Fiona managed to surf the wave looking very cool despite vowing not to go near it when she first cast her eye over it. She nearly managed her first “real life white water roll” but was knocked back in by the boils.

When the wave died we packed up and went chasing the surf. We found some near Cable Bay and had another hour playing in the waves while the more sensible ones lay in the sand dunes catching a little bit of sun.



Fiona, Roy, Keith, Justin, Nathan, Mike, Neil, Nathan, Michael and his mates!      More Photos…..


21/04/12 Canoe England Go Canoeing Weekend at the Marina (14th and 15th April)


Canoe England Go Canoeing Days Hosted by Liverpool Canoe Club

14th - 15th April 2012

This was an extremely successful weekend with approximately 80 club members taking part each day.  The Pyranha tent provided a little bit of excitement on the Saturday morning when a gust of wind caught it and flipped it twice as it rolled towards the car park.   Matt and the Kayaks NW staff fielded a variety of technical questions all weekend, I know I am saving up for my next boat.  Some of the C team polo players had a practice game with a little help from Josh and other players; they were very enthusiastic but need a little more input on the rules and tactics of the game. 


On Sunday we saw the junior club take to the water.  Parents had set out a course for the Easter Egg Hunt which became very competitive as the paddlers progressed around the dock system looking for the yellow markers which could be exchanged for Easter eggs.  Colin Smith and Apache Canoes had several demo boats including Colin’s DW race boat. (This was a very tippy seated racing C1).  Frankie purchased one of the promotional flower pots in the shape of an open canoe.


Many thanks to all the members who either turned up to paddle or helped out over the weekend.  It was a great way to start our season outdoors.


Junior Club returns on Tuesday 1st May for the summer.  Parents must be onsite or on the water. Junior paddlers paddle with a coach.

Club nights return on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Marina from 6:30pm in May.  If you are new to the sport you are advised to sign up for one of the clubs introductory courses which will give you the confidence to take part in club activities.


More Pictures……….

10% off for members of Liverpool Canoe Club

15% off for members of Liverpool Canoe Club




Saturday 14th April 10:00am until 4.00pm

10:00 - 4:00pm

Free for club members

North West Kayaks with Britain`s largest Pyranha Demo Fleet

10:00 - 4:00pm

Free for club members

North West Kayaks boat fitting clinic – Bring your kayak along for expert advice on padding and fit

10:00 - 4:00pm

Click to book

Introductory Course No. 1 for Club Members - BCU 1 Star for those that complete the course.

10:00 - 12:00pm

Free for club members

Junior Club Polo

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Click to book

Come and Try it session (open to the public)

3:00pm - 4:00pm

Click to book

Come and Try it session (open to the public)

10:00am - 4:00pm

Click to book

Open Canoe Skills day for club members (Coach Rosie Diver)







Sunday 15th April 10:00am until 4.00pm

10:00 - 4:00pm

Free for club members

North West Kayaks with Britain`s largest Pyranha Demo Fleet

10:00 - 4:00pm

Free for club members

North West Kayaks boat fitting clinic – Bring your kayak along for expert advice on padding and fit

10:00 - 4:00pm

Free for club members

Apache Canoes Demo Boats Available to try

10:00 – 12:00

See Ian Bell when you arrive

Possible 3 Star Skill session (you must bring your own Kayak)

10:00 - 4:00pm

Click to book

Introductory Course No. 2 for Club Members - BCU 1 Star for those that complete the course.

11:00- 13:00pm

Email for place

Junior Club Easter Egg Hunt (Free entry) Email website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk

11:00- 13:00pm

Free for club members

Tour of the docks – Albert Dock and Liverpool Wheel

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Click to book

Come and Try it session (open to the public)

2:00 - 3:00pm

Free for club members

Try Canoe Polo

3:00pm - 4:00pm

Click to book

Come and Try it session (open to the public)

10:00am - 4:00pm

Click to book

Open Canoe Skills day for club members (Coach Anthony Brockway)

19/04/12 Scottish White Water – Easter 6th to 9th April

We all met up in Fort William on Thursday Evening.  The water levels were low and the group paddled several rivers each dayt, some easier at grade 2/3 and some a little harder at 3/4.  We stayed at the Wild Goose Hostel next to Neptune’s Staircase near Fort William.


Friday 6th April  River Lochy

We left our bunk house on schedule and arrived at the River Lochy in good time. The River Lochy provides a great extension of the Spean from the Mucomire power station. From the get on at Gairlochy we enjoyed the scale of the river Lochy, a large river even though conditions were very low. After four kilometres the popular River Loy joins on the right.  There were many small rapids and sweeps but the Lochy's first main event is the Toscastle Rapid (Eas nan Long).  The river drifts to the left through a small gap which follows into a rocky rapid. Paddlers have been known to capsize here, but all can be collected as it pools out below.   The first observation the group made on arrival was regarding water levels and as anticipated from information gathered in advance of the trip, levels were low.  As a beginner this information was music to my ears! 


At the ‘get in’ we paddled around whilst waiting for others to complete the shuttle run.  This ‘window’ was put to good use with a brief but beneficial coaching session provided by Mark Garrod on forward paddling.  As the river was wide with fairly long intervals between many small rapids I had lots of opportunity to conquer ‘the forward paddling technique.’  The second lesson of the day was how to handle moving water and with the course of the river providing lots of small rapids at intervals, I had plenty of practice.  I did acquire lots of useful advice on this subject however, I found the following two pieces of advice particularly invaluable firstly, ‘to lean forward’ and secondly to ‘follow somebody else’s line.’  So I would like to thank Dom Buckley for the first useful tip and Mark and Steve for providing some great lines.  Although I apologise now for not always following these lines, I blame the kayak ‘it had a mind of its own.’ 


Personally, I was feeling adequately challenged by the River Lochy but I good sense that the rest of the group were beginning to feel restless with the long paddle.  But atlas, as if on order the river provided the first main water feature of the trip.  Welcomed by all apart from myself!  I watched the individual paddlers drop down this feature and out of sight and I could feel the anticipation mounting.  However, Andy Wrigg read my mind and for armed me, with just the right balance of both technical instructions and encouragement to give me the confidence to attempt this feature.  On reflection, I’m really pleased that I took this opportunity to ‘give it a go’ as not only did I have a successful landing which filled me with a great sense of achievement but being the least able paddler of the group meant I got the loudest cheer!  Mission accomplished, but why then was I still drifting downstream when all the other paddlers were stationary.  Aha, the pennies dropped!  I now know the theme of tomorrow’s kayaking lesson: How To Cross An Eddy Line. Part One.


I would like to thank everybody who offered me assistance during the weekend which just about includes everybody on the trip.  Kathy W


Friday 6th April  River Arkaig.

After paddling the River Lochy in the morning, we were all looking forward to paddling something with a bit more excitement in the afternoon. Whilst having lunch in the farmfoods car park (the get out for the River Lochy) it was decided we were to paddle the River Arkaig in the afternoon. The River Arkaig flows from the Loch Arkaig to Loch Lochy and is only a short run, ideal after the long paddle in the morning.

We all set of after dinner in convoy through the narrow Scottish back roads to the get in. Whilst on our journey, we encountered a Scottish farmer in his Land Rover with a big trailer who must have been in a hurry or thought he was king of the road because he ignored the laybys to let oncoming traffic pass. So it was going to be a squeeze to pass. The first four cars passed without incidence but the farmer couldn’t wait any longer for the last car to pass and ended up hitting the back of Darren’s bumper. All five cars stopped and we all got out too inspect the damage done. According to the farmers words “it’s only a wee scrape”. A new rear bumper and a spay job, I don’t think it was a “wee scrape”. After duct taping the bumper up and exchange of details we set off again.

Once at the get in we unloaded boats and changed whilst drivers shuttled cars to the get out. Me, Roy, Nathan and Sven got on the water first and decide to paddle up the loch to a large waterfall we had passed a few hundred yards up the road from the get in, while waiting for the drivers to return. The large waterfall is part of a tributary called Gleann Cia- aig of the Arkaig, Me and Roy decided to venture half way up the falls to get a better look while Nathan and Sven took some photos at the bottom. The falls looked scary up close and you could really feel the real power of the falls with the noise, spray and wind it was creating. We joked about running it, but it’s a bit out of our league at the moment (Bomb Flow crew wouldn’t think twice, “BROWN”), but apparently a club member has ran this fall in the past. When we returned to our boats we looked across the loch to see that there was no one in sight at the get in, and so we had to do a bit of fast paddling to catch up with the rest of the group who had already started the river.

We finally met up with the rest of the group at the first small ledge drop and all had run this with ease. The next significant feature was a grade 3 drop that can go to 5 in high water. Just before the drop was an eddy on river left, where we all one by one tried to pick the best line down, any line took was a bit of a scrape until you hit the main flow down the two drops. All are group had no problems with running this except for young Mike Burrows when his deck unfortunately popped half way down the first drop. Mike did really well to stay upright and made it all the way to the bottom before having to get out to empty his boat. We stayed at the bottom of the falls for a while, whilst everyone took turns to play in the wave that was created by the falls. I ended up upside down at one point on this play wave and managed accidently to pull off a reverse screw roll which I’ve never done before in panic. With about a mile left to paddle we headed on down the river with a few easy grade 2/3 rapids to play on and practice our ferry gliding skills before we entered the Loch Lochy and the get out.

A good day was had by all, Thanks to everyone involved especially Roy who organised the trip.

Paul F


Eas nan Long (Torcastle) Rapid on the Lochy

Olivia on the bottom drop of the River Arkaig

Playing on a wave on the Arkaig



Saturday 7th April  “Return to the River Garry.”


Having seen the lack of water in Scottish rivers I was relieved to see that the River Garry was releasing water on the Saturday of our white water trip.  This river is very much like the Tryweryn in Wales with a more difficult upper section and an easier lower run. 


12 months ago it was the scene of my first grade 3 white water experience. I rolled four times and made it down as best I could!  I was keen to see if I had improved!  Having trekked up the path with our boats alongside the Upper Garry we finally made it to the put in.  This involved an interesting ferry glide across the river to avoid a big hole in the middle of the river.  I was tasked with leading one of the 3 groups.  We all ran the first feature successfully and picked up Dom below who was attempting his first descent of the Upper Garry and waited for the next group.  Fiona ran the feature successfully but then as she celebrated lost concentration and hit a rock.  Over she went and the first swim of the day was hers.  (Eye always on the prize Fiona!!) 


We continued downstream stopping at a great play wave before running the rest of the Upper section.  Dom did really well and made it all the way despite my getting in his way on one occasion!  Sorry Dom!  We picked up the rest of the group and continued down the lower section.  Kathy took her first swim and was relieved to find it was not to bad an experience.  She then did really well and practiced her skills down the rest of the river.   


A few of us decided to run the top section again.  It was here that we were to see the first swim of Mike Burrows river kayaking career as he messed up his line on the first feature.  Undeterred he got in his boat and carried on.  We played in the wave for a while before Keith uttered the words “we may as well run the whole river again”.  Sven and I debated who was going to tell Darren and Fiona who were waiting on the river bank and acting as our car shuttle.  Thankfully they did not mind and we blasted down the river.  Thanks guys!


A great day on the water.  Thanks to everyone concerned.  Andy W


Nathan on the play wave – River Garry

Mark on the last Rapid on the Garry

Fiona on the bottom Rapid of the Garry


Sunday 8th April  The Middle  Spean (Roy Bridge to Spean Gorge)


After some deliberating in the pub on the Saturday night about which river we were going to run the following day it was finally decided that the whole group would do the middle Spean to the get out at Spean Bridge then a number of us would continue on and tackle the more technically difficult Spean Gorge so at 8.30 the following morning we all set off from the bunkhouse in convoy to Roy Bridge (cool name for a bridge) which was the put on for the trip.


The get on to the river which is actually the lower section of the River Roy (cool name for a river) is down a steep slippery bank so after we had all changed into our paddling gear and whilst the drivers were doing the shuttle myself, Andy Wrigg, Nathan Marsden and Paul Flaherty set up a pulley system with throw lines and karabiners which enabled us to lower all the boats down the steep bank safely and by the time all the boats were at the bottom the drivers were back and we were ready for the off. 


Keith S and Ian Bell had decided to have a morning off from river leading and asked for 3 volunteers to lead groups down the river so myself, Andy Wrigg and Darren Bohanna stepped up to the challenge and the 20 strong group was split into 3 smaller groups. Darren’s group set off leading the way followed by Andy’s group with the group I was leading bringing up the rear. The River Roy from the get in to the confluence with the middle Spean is about a mile or so in length and it has one noticeable rapid which is blocked on river right by a large fallen tree so everyone had to take the line on river left to avoid the obstruction after this rapid the river passes through farmland inhabited by highland cattle until it reaches the confluence with the middle Spean.


The middle Spean flows through the same farmland initially then the river banks become steeper and wooded. When we did the river water levels were extremely low and to be honest the whole section down to Spean Bridge was mostly a bit of a scrape but the scenery was great and there were sections when the river narrowed and became deep which made it into a great club trip. The highlight of the section was a 2/3 meter drop into a nice deep pool which everyone run and made for a good opportunity to get some good pics not long after this drop was the get out at Spean Bridge.


The Spean Gorge

Once everyone had got to the get out at Spean Bridge Keith explained what the afternoons paddle would involve he said “this is a very technical run with severe consequences and no way out if you can’t hack it” (well it was something like that) and he asked who wanted to continue down into the gorge, 14 members of the party said they were up for the challenge.  I think from his expression he would of been more comfortable with a smaller group as the Spean gorge is a difficult place to retrieve boats and kit etc if someone were to take a swim but the 14 LCC members who had committed to the run were a capable crew and after a 20min lunch break we regrouped for the afternoons paddle. The 14 paddlers split into smaller groups and I went with the first group which was led by Keith and consisted of Helen Siertsema, Nicky Pyper, Nathan and Myself. Mark Garrod’s group that consisted of Andy Wrigg, Paul Flaherty, and Mike Burroughs came second whilst Ian Bell’s group of Darran Bohanna, Sven Till, Olivia Rowe and Kirk Williams brought up the rear.


At the start of the trip you immediately paddle under the Spean Bridge and as you pass under there is a river gauge on river right, the guide book says anything below 2 feet on this gauge makes this a grade 3/4 run today it was below 1.  For about the first mile or so the river was a gentle grade 2 and then the river narrowed and the banks got much higher and we entered the gorge. Due to the big build up the run had been given I remember feeling quite nervous as we entered the gorge and I think these nerves contributed to me capsizing halfway down one of the first rapids we came across which was called “Fairy Steps“ I ran the second part of this rapid on my head and my helmet has a few “wee scrapes” on it to prove this I managed to roll up ok in the pool below and was met by a few cheers from the rest of my group and a uni-group who had also just run the rapid. We waited in the eddie at the bottom of the drops while the other two groups from LCC ran it without incident. We gave the uni group some time to get ahead then we continued down the gorge with the groups staying in order and re grouping after each major feature.


There are quite a few named rapids on this section of river but I can only really remember a few these include the aforementioned “Fairy Steps” which is a series of drops that surprisingly resemble a set of steps. Then there’s “Headbanger” which is a drop into a boily pool, the pool has a nasty Siphon on river left which is dangerous when exposed and in low levels it is recommended that you portage the feature, in higher levels when the siphon is covered the rapid can be run and this is where it gets its name as the wave that leads you out of the pool can make you bang your head on the overhanging rock on river left. All the LCC groups got out and portaged Headbanger as the siphon was dangerously exposed we all got back on the river directly below the feature via an awkward seal launch from a slotted rock that dropped you at right angles into fast flowing water. A few LCC members had to pull off a well timed roll here there may have been one swimmer but I’m mentioning no names (I know what everyone’s thinking but no it wasn’t Mike Burroughs). There is also a feature called “Constriction” this entails a drop into a cauldron shaped pool. The water in pool is boily and churning and you need to quickly turn your kayak 90° to the right and edge your boat through the very narrow gap between two large rocks. If you hadn’t of guessed this narrow gap is what gives the rapid its name.


Not long after this the gorge begins to widen and before you know it the river become s flat and you are at the take out just below Mucomir Power Station.  In conclusion it was a great day everyone in the group enjoyed themselves and we had a good laugh paddling both sections of the river with the highlight for me being the gorge section. Roy McHale



Mioddle Spean

Roy Bridge




Monday 9th April  River Etive – Triple drop

Quite possibly the finest canoeing river in Scotland. The Etive commands cult status among paddlers. This is not a river to be recommended for beginners as it requires a good competence of technical paddling. Access is from the Triple Falls. This is probably the preferred access point for most as it marks the start of a truly remarkable stretch of river. From here to Dalness falls and slides of which most are paddleable are pretty much continuous. All the falls are grade 4 or harder and inspection and bank support would be recommended for all. This section is normally run in low water conditions and is most pleasant in late spring with the sun shining...after all those photos won't come out so well otherwise! In high water this section is very dangerous.


Triple Falls (Grade 4): You won't be surprised to learn that there are indeed three falls here in this superb rapid. The first two have to be run together (the second may have quite a stopper in anything less than low levels). The third drop is a four metre plunge which really clears the sinuses and gives 'down time' if the river is flowing well....  Needless to say with a large tow back after the second drop and with it raining heavily we stayed long enough to see a group of three shoot the rapid and then headed home.  It will be great to return in lower water.


Triple drop – The river had risen with the rain




Kirk Williams, Keith S, Helen Siertsema, Darren Bohanna, Steve Bond, Andy Wrigg, Roy McHale, Nathan Marsden, Paul Flaherty, Ian Bell, Tom Horrocks, Dom Buckley, Sven Till, Mike Burrows,

Kathy Wilson, Fiona Wrigg, Mark Garrod, Jim Slater, Olivia Rowe.   More Photos…….           Videos of the trip…….


13/04/12 The Club Messaging System


The Club uses the Google Groups Messaging System / Forum for communicating information to members.

You should have received an invitation to join the main group
LiverpoolCC@googlegroups.com when you joined the club Just send a message to LiverpoolCC@googlegroups.com and it goes to all in the club.

Once you have joined this group you should receive all the information emails about club events / local paddles / important club information etc. You can unsubscribe yourself at any time - see the notes at bottom of every email.

If you are not receiving Google Group emails or you change your email address.
Click the links below to add your email address (Password required)


Specialist Club Email Groups

Not receiving Google Group emails?

Message Board / website view of mail


General information, events and paddles sent to all club members
Click to join / rejoin the general group.......

LCC - General


Click to join the polo email group......

LCC - Polo


This group manages the clubs day to day activities
To view management decisions check out the management section on the information page.
Please send an email to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk if you willing to help run the club.
List of members....
Click to join / rejoin the general group.......

LCC - Guidance and Management


BCU Coaches are automatically invited when they join.
Click to join / rejoin the general group.......

LCC - Coaching

Small group who have the code for the shed, have agreed to oversee docks sessions and lock up afterwards.

Padlock code updates & Docks information. Please send an email to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk if you willing to take responsibility for locking up after sesions.
List of members....

No message board for this group

12/04/12 Devizes to Westminster Marathon Canoe Race

Stuart Haywood LCC, and Tolly Robinson LUCC


Stuart Haywood LCC, and Tolly Robinson LUCC, finished the Devizes to Westminster International canoe Race with a very good time of 24hours 26mins. This is a demanding race with K2 crews competing in one go timing their departure from Devizes to make the most of the tide below Teddington Lock.  Their boat was No. 373. Check out the results at:




Look for the 5 x Olympic gold Medal winner who retired from the race this year!  No 364


The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race starts in Devizes, Wiltshire and finishes just downstream of Westminster Bridge in London, opposite the Houses of Parliament. The race has been held annually over the Easter Weekend since 1948.


The race is 125 miles long and has 77 portages. The first 52 miles are along the Kennet and Avon Canal, the next 55 miles are on the River Thames and the final section is on the tidal portion of the Thames.


The race is a severe test of skill and stamina which produces a memorable sense of achievement for those successfully completing it. The non-stop version of the race is the longest non-stop canoe race in the world.


Race Classes

There are 5 classes within the event:

1.         Senior Doubles – crews of 2 adults who race non-stop from start to finish


2.         Senior Singles – adult single paddlers who compete over 4 days


3.         Junior Doubles – crews of 2 juniors who compete over 4 days


4.         Veteran / Junior – crews of 1 adult (over 35) and 1 junior who compete over 4 days


5.         Endeavour – a non-competitive doubles class held over 4 days


Senior doubles



First Name



+/- Time


Elapsed time







University Of Liverpool











Liverpool Canoe Club








Colin Smith from Chester was also competing in the K1 – 4 day race (He was in the winning open boat for the Hilbre Island Race last year)


Senior singles



First Name



+/- Time


Elapsed time














Stuart and his support crew are giving a talk on the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race on Monday 9th July 2012 at the Marina.  


04/04/12 Photo of the month – March Competition

Each month we will select the best photos submitted to the newsletter / website and celebrate them here.  (Idea stolen from the BCU competition!)



Liverpool Canoe Club March Photo Competition winners


Congratulations to Jonathon Maddocks for his winning photo from

the “18 foot  weir”, at the Burrs on the river Irwell.


Runner up Helen Bolister: “4 kayaks on

the beach, Skerries trip”



Runner up Jenny Brown: “Helen, Paul and Roy

running the Grave Yard, River Tryweryn”



04/04/12 Liverpool Canoe Club 2011 (Full Colour) Year Book has been published

Click here for more details and to buy……


Liverpool Canoe Club 2011 (Full Colour)

By Liverpool Canoe Club

View this Author's Spotlight

Paperback, 178 Pages




List Price: £31.24

Price £28.12

You Save £3.12 ( 10% )

Dispatched in 3–5 business days




This book is a collection of articles and stories written by Liverpool Canoe Club members about their exploits and ventures during 2011. This includes many journeys and paddles in and around Merseyside together with regular trips to Wales, Lake District and Scotland. Over 40 club members spent two weeks paddling in the Durance region of the French Alps in 2011.


If you paddled with us last year then you are in the book.


Lulu.com have a further “10% off mystery sale” on until 6th April so if you are interested in getting the full colour version order now.


Nb actual cost of book is £25.31 with all discounts + tax and delivery (£3.99)  =  £29.30



The black and white version is NOW available and is on sale for £9.99 + Delivery.







02/04/12 Synchronise the club calendar with your phone or computer.


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

Any new events or paddles are automatically added to the calendar on your phone.  This has proved the ideal way to keep up to date with club events.

Alternatively members can click on the calendar tab / page of the clubs website to view all the events.  There are several views to choose from (list, 4 week or monthly).








31/03/12 April 2012 Newsletter Published
Please open it by clicking this link April Newsletter…… or via the website   More Archived Newsletters…..

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


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