Volume 12  Issue 6

June 2012

June Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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Major Trip Reports.…


31/05/12 Wednesday Evening Paddles start again on 13th June after the Whitsun holiday break (School holiday)


Wednesday Evening Local Paddles Meet for 6:30pm for 6.45pm paddle off
If you have any suggestions for club night venues please email the websitel



Tide (Liverpool) BST

Map of Location


High Tide: 7:30 PM 7.4

River Alt - Cosby to Hightown and return (Meet by Coastguard Station) L23 8SY


Low Tide: 7:05 PM 1.8

Chester Weir and River Dee flatwater section above CH1 1SD


High Tide: 5:29 PM 8.0

River Weaver (Runcorn Canoe Club) WA7 4XT


Low Tide: 7:07 PM 1.0

Chester Weir and River Dee flatwater section above CH1 1SD


High Tide: 5:30 PM 7.5

Bridgewater Canal - Runcorn WA7 1JH


Low Tide: 6:08 PM 2.0

Chester Weir and River Dee flatwater section above CH1 1SD



Summer holiday break


Low Tide: 9:20 PM 2.0

Chester Weir and River Dee flatwater section above CH1 1SD


High Tide: 5:41 PM 7.1

Leeds / Liverpool Canal Scarisbrick Arms L39 7HX


Low Tide: 8:46 PM 1.1

Chester Weir and River Dee flatwater section above CH1 1SD


More information and updates click the venues page on the club site………….

31/05/12 May Photo of the month Competition



Liverpool Canoe Club May Photo Competition winners


Congratulations to Steve Bond for his winning photo

from the Pembroke Bank Holiday Weekend. 

“Tony Bennett checking out a blow hole in one of the small caves.”

Runner up Steve Gille: “The Kari-Tek Midwest Symposium”


Runner up Mike Bell: Steve Bond in “the Surf at Crosby

Not found your photograph – see all the entries for this month………..


31/05/12 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.


31/05/12 Liverpool Canoe Club – Whitewater Safety and Rescue Course.  26/27th May 2012


12 LCC paddlers arrived at Paddlework’s play/training spot on the River Dee in Llangollen bright and early on Saturday morning. It was to complete the 2day Whitewater Safety and Rescue course. For some it was a chance to brush up on old skills and for others it was to learn new ones and as part of our 4* Whitewater Leaders program.


Day One - Saturday

The course was run by Jules Burnard from Voyageur Coaching and Chris Evans, a level 5 coach along with Kevin who was developing his coaching skills. Jules discussed with us what are paddling experiences were and what we wanted out of the course which made for a great course which was tailored to our specific needs. We went through kit issues and it seems most of us may be replacing some parts of our safety kit. (Especially Anthony, who needs to make a final decision on a new BA!!)


All too soon work with throw lines (Thanks for the shot straight into my face Roy!!) and the different methods of getting people into the bank and towards the end of the day began some live baiting. This involves being attached to a line via your BA and jumping in to rescue people or kit. Some people got a little bit too friendly doing this. Especially Fiona who seemed to think the idea was to jump on the swimmer rather than just grab them!!


I would just had the coaching was it was time to hit the water and start swimming through the rapids. The hilarity of shouting “swimmer” soon wore thin as we got bashed and bruised through the rapids!! I was wearing my new drysuit but in the 28 degree heat I was not so sure it was a good thing!!


The course was very much about preventing bad situations occurring but obviously dealt with how best to tackle them as well. First task was to try different methods of swimming through the rapids and then how to make it to an eddy and self rescue. Let’s just say if you are unlucky enough to be swimming in a river and you hear one of us shouting “feet up, feet up” it is not to make sure that your shoes are still attached to your feet!


We looked at communication from the bank and boat before attempting to rescue swimmers from the boat. This had some of us following a little too close to the swimmer and nearly running them over in our kayaks. It was very impressive to see Mike and Ruth attempting the skills in their open boats. They did a very good job of showing us what the boats were capable of.

We did a lot of first rate and would highly recommend the company. Jules has a specific interest in Open Boating but will cater for all needs as displayed by this course.


Paddlers Andy, Fiona, Paul, Chris, Roy, Adam, Justin, Sarah, Keith, Anthony, Mike and Ruth.



Day Two - Sunday


We broke camp early on the second day and after a painfully slow breakfast at paddle works we reported for duty on the bank. Day 2 started where day had left off with more live baiting, only this time with the emphasis on "vectoring" (someone pulling on the line at right angle which increases the speed of the rescue with minimum effort). As yesterday, we dove in to the water to grab a casualty as they floated past and some rescues were more polished than others (sorry about pulling your hair Fiona!). However everyone managed to rescue their casualty and were pulled in to the eddy before they went over the drop.


The next thing we looked at was releasing ourselves from our safety harnesses on the BA's. To do this we were each attached to a line and lowered into a wave below a drop and held there. An air pocket formed thanks to the water diverting around your head and shoulders and you could stay in the wave quite comfortably for a few seconds, until you grabbed the quick release, and floated off downstream. Everyone managed to stay in the wave for a while with the exception of Andy who for some reason pulled his release after a nano second sending Jules flying backwards into the river as a result.


The third task was chasing and recovering a runaway kayak. You would think we would have been good at this, as we have had plenty of practice, and indeed most people managed to right the kayaks and push them into the eddy with ease. Unfortunately one (brand new!!) boat managed to evade the clutches of the rescuer and floated off downstream. After an exhausting bank scramble I recovered my kayak and rejoined the group ready for the next training topic. This one was all about rescuing pinned boats and was really interesting as Jules took us through different techniques using lines and karabiners to create different load ratios on the kayak/canoes. Again the idea was to maximise the pull on the boats with the minimum of effort. We all had a go at setting this system up from scratch and most people did very well with only a couple of mishaps. (Sorry about standing on your foot Fiona!).


After lunch we continued rescue techniques but this time attempting to get a stranded paddler back to the right bank and also transporting people and kit from one bank to another using slings and cow tails and lot of brute strength. To do this we set up a diagonal line across the river made up off two throw lines and saw how much easier this was compared to going across the flow at right angles. We also spent some time on techniques on retrieving paddlers who had become trapped or pinned in midflow. Finally we finished off the day taking it in turns to river lead and eddy back down to the centre.


The two days that Jules, Chris and Kevin put together were informative, fun and really, really useful. I lost count of the number of times we were shown something really simple that you just wouldn't have thought of before. Hopefully we will all be better equipped to deal with situations if they happen in the future, but the overriding theme of the training was to prevent accidents occurring in the first place.


Paddlers as above. Thanks to Jules, Chris and Kevin and Andy for organising the event.


Chris Murphy  More photos……….


25/05/12 What Sailing Boats do to Canoeists and Why – Last Mondays talk by Adrian Mould

Many of us were intrigued by the title and wanted to hear what Ade was going to talk about.  His very professional presentation looked at sailing a big boat, how the wind restricts its movement and the rules of the road.  We later learned how big boats raced around buoys.  The basic message was “keep out of the way”.

The next of our monthly talks is on Monday 11th June at 8:00pm  Click for more information  'Sea kayaking in Alaska………….' - Chris Franks

24/05/12 Anglesey Weekend Number 1 - 18th to 20th May.
C:\Users\Katie\Desktop\Anglesey weekend\P5190300.JPG

Saturday  5am. "Dad, get up. I want to get there for Seven." At 7am we leave after Harvey has beaten me out of bed. Harvey is very excited. This is our first time camping. Away from Mum too. I'm excited, but scared. We normally do 4 or 5 star hotels; this is going to be fun though.


At 9am we arrive at the beautiful Treaddur Bay. This place is stunning. I haven't been here since I was 15 and I wouldn't have appreciated it then. Harvey is impressed with the turquoise water. "It is like it's a foreign country."


Tyn Rhos campsite. What do I do? Where do I go? Fortunately there are 20 plus kayaks on car roofs, and Keith is there to direct us to the perfect spot. Sheltered from the wind, by an empty caravan. Keith laughs that I have no idea how to pitch a tent. Once the tent is up though, Harvey wants to spend all day in it. But No. We are going to Four Mile Bridge. Four Mile Bridge is a great little playspot. The tide comes in and the water shoots out of a narrow bridge under the road creating some fast flowing water with a wave and loads of boily water. There is lots of flat water around this so you don't have to worry about the flow if you don't want to. When the tide turns it goes the other way so a whole day could be spent there if you wanted to.


Harvey is a little wobbly with the sharp rails in my modified surf kayak so he jumps into Sara's tiny S6F playboat and he finds it a bit more stable if not harder to stay in a straight line. He wants to go down through the shoot under the bridge. It looks quite scary to me. But Harvey has no fear, so I carry his boat over the road and let him go first. He just glides over the two waves and eddies out with no trouble at all. We do this 4 or 5 times and loves it that Dad capsized and he didn't (I was showing him how to roll.). He says it’s easy, "It just goes down and down again.”


At 12pm Harvey wants to go to the tent. He settles for lunch in a cafe. He loves eating out and socialising. We eat with Dom, Jim, Mark and Ivan. After lunch we go back to the campsite. We're going for a bike ride. We cycle from the campsite to Treaddur Bay. Harvey is peddling at 21mph in 1st gear downhill. His legs are going so fast his feet are falling off the pedals. We stop at every beach along the way. We are looking for the best beach for sandcastles. We settle for the main beach and spend all afternoon building a birthday cake, eating ice cream and playing on the swings.


We watch the life boats go out on a rescue and pick up Safety Steve from the RNLI shop. We then head back up towards the campsite and stop at the beach shop. We buy a crab line and the lady laughs at people who put bacon in them. "Crabs don't eat bacon!" We pick sea urchins, sea snails and sea slugs off the rocks. Harvey squeals when slug guts, puss and goo squirt him in the face. We climb the rocks, and try to catch crabs. No bites, although a monster crab is lingering next to the bag.


We get back to the campsite around 6.30pm as the sea kayakers are returning from their trips. Harvey and I set up for the night. Tables, chairs, Kettle, The tent is organised to perfection with Harvey's Dragons all lying down in our sleeping bags. We play catch and football till our stomachs can't hold out any more. We join the BBQ for sausages and burgers. Harvey is loving the social side of the club. Eating and sitting around the campfire (BBQ) listening and chatting. He liked it when we sung Happy Birthday to Steve Gille and the cake that followed. We played football with Keith and we had to pass in equilateral triangles, and L shapes. When Sara joined us Harvey bossed us into perfect squares. If you passed badly "Do it again!"  We went to bed as darkness fell.


4:30am. I'm sure a crow is on my tent cawing and flapping its wings, sheep are bleating, birds are chirping. I just want to sleep.


7am.We are both awake and need the loo. Why are they so far away?


Breakfast - Variety cereal with milk eaten out of the cardboard box with a spork. Harvey loves the weirdness of this. We pack up the tent and too much gear to put away, then off to Treaddur Bay.


We're going rock hopping. This could be a long trip so rather than pushing Harvey, we go in our inflatable kayak. Harvey doesn't paddle. He lets me do all the work and soon we catch our small group. Going in and out of the rocks is great. I've never done this before, and seeing the cliffs this close up from the sea is fab. I just hope I don't get a puncture.


Harvey wants to catch some crabs, so we collect some guts, puss and goo from the waterline and lower our bait. It gets snagged in a rock and it is completely stuck fast, nearly capsizing the boat as we try to release it. With tears in his eyes we cut the line and catch up with the others. After a couple of hours Harvey and I race back to the start. We eat burgers and ice cream, not in that order, and sit in the sun waiting to go home. Anglesey has been great. Our first camping trip was fantastic and we can't wait for the next one.


Paul and Harvey Harwood


More photos……….

4 Mile Bridge – Saturday


After a cold, wet windy night on the campsite, we little boaters headed to 4 mile bridge for and early start on the water. Would love to name you all but I have no idea who everyone was - I’m also just assuming they were all in the LCC!


Although we got to the jet when it was a little large many enjoyed going through the tunnel again, and again and again! How many times did you eventually go through Mark? 18? Some followed this by swimming through the tunnel – not sure it was quite warm enough for that! Mat took on the tunnel backwards, and aced it and the jet - bad luck the last boil got hold and dunked you in so close to the safety of the pool. Thanks for taking the first swim - it took the pressure off the rest of us!


Dom pulled off his first roll on the move – nice – and Harvey showed us all up by bobbing totally un-phased in a tiny little play boat. As the mean jet died off the hardy ones amongst us stayed on, Sarah and Chris perfected a silky smooth technique to cross the jet, while the extreme launchers hit the café. Jim I think you and Amanda lead that group, while the rest picnicked on the beach waiting for the tide to turn.


After lunch back on the much more friendly out flow, for the few dedicated 4 mile bridgers, while the others went for an alternative location, they say they paddled but I’m sure they went in search of ice cream to round off their lunch!   Jenny Brown  More Photos….



Trearddur Bay to Rhoscolyn (Borth Wen)  - Saturday


Arrived at the campsite Friday night to find the majority of LCC members at the bottom lower end of the site. A few had opted for the higher more sheltered ground as the forecast was not good so we also opted for this, which turned out to be a good choice as Nicky had brought her caravan (tea Wagon) and supplied us with endless cups of very welcome tea. Thanks Nicky. As the rain started, the pub, conveniently located on the campsite, called for a nightcap.


The rain hammered down all night but stopped in time to encourage people to emerge from their tents early next morning. The 4 Mile Bridger’s left first to catch the tide, followed by a more relaxed sea group heading to Trearddur. Putting in close to high water, we paddled in and out of the rocks heading for Borth Wen. A pod of Dolphins joined us briefly but when they realised we weren’t going fast enough to give them a bow wave to play in, they headed out to sea.


With the wind in the north east it was a sheltered paddle and we soon arrived to have lunch in the shelter of the dunes at Rhoscolyn where it was pleasantly warm. We were met by Brain, Bev and Chris who were just putting in and the sounds of Brian, giving Bev forward paddling advice, could be heard across the water. It must have been good tuition as Bev was out in front the following day.


Arrived back at low water to a bit of a carry, coffee and cakes, and headed back for the evening BBQ. The circle around the BBQ kept enlarging as more arrived. Pudding was a very nice 60th birthday cake for Steve, arranged by his daughter Sarah. As the temp dropped the circle shrank as some drifted to tents and some to the Pub for a warm. A fire log put on the BBQ brought the temp back up for those that stayed a while longer.


Carole Thomas


More Photos….






Stanley Embankment - Sunday

Early Sunday a little bunch lead by a keen Sara headed to the monstrous Stanley – actually it wasn’t the mean man eater I was expecting, just a big bouncy wave the put panic in the heart rather than fear in the stomach. Chris chilled on the side working on his tan waiting for the wave to calm before dipping his toe in and mastering the up-scaled 4 mile bridge. Sara was quickly on the wave bouncing in the foam. A few hints from a local child and she was spinning like a pro! I made it out of the eddy more than once which is a big achievement for me and even remembered to breath and not shut my eyes! Before we came off for some lunch in the sun, Sara insisted we all did 3 rolls each side. This was not a problem until we weren’t allowed to set up and I found myself waiting to have a paddle passed to me while hanging upside down. As the bubbles rose out my nose I found myself wishing Pete had given me one of his ‘no return snorkel devices’ that he was inventing the night before in the pub. What an excellent weekend – hope to see you all on the next camping trip :0)  Jenny Brown More Photos….   Movies of us on the wave…….


Trearddur Rock hopping  - Sunday


Sunday dawned with blue skies and the early darters left to catch the wave at Stanley while the rest packed up and headed to Trearddur for another paddle along the coast. Mixed boats with the kids darting in and out of the rocks having great fun. Eventually the longer boats pulled ahead and after a lunch stop we ended at a small tidal race at the headland before Borth Wen, some then headed back and others stopped to play for a while and go on to the beacon before turning back.


The sun was out and it had warmed up so we finished the day with an ice cream and a great cup of coffee at the Red Boat.


A most enjoyable weekend, thanks Frankie for coordinating


Carole Thomas



More Photos….



John Young, Pete Thomas, Carole Thomas, Nicky Corbett, John Worswick, Pete McComasky, Frankie Annan, Jenny Brown, Chris Thompson, Chris Drew, Dom Buckley, Helen Bolister, Peter Massey, Paul Harwood, Harvey Hardwood, Brian Green, Bev Phillips, John Pegram, Matt Pegram, Don Brooks, Steve Gillie, Helen Partridge, Helen Partridge + 1, Martin McCoy, Keith S, Sara Bergqvist, Al Grantham, Catriona Hare, Catriona Hare +1, Rebecca Lawson, Julian Lawson, Sarah Gille, Mark Moore, Ivan Percival, Jim & Mandy Slater, Dave Groom + Shaun, Danny & Michael, Vicky Howell


16/05/12 Kayak Surfing at Crosby Sunday 13th May.


Karl Tattum suggested surfing on Sunday at Crosby……..


A handful of die hards turned up to surprisingly good surf.  Although normally wind blown the beach at Crosby is sandy and provides a good wave with winds from the West or North West.  The water warms significantly as it washes over a sun warmed sand.  The only hazards are the Antony Gormley's Iron Men (useful for slalom training) or a dumping wave at high water springs.

Iron Man on BeachAnother Place consists of 100 cast-iron, life-size figures spread out along three kilometers of the foreshore, stretching almost one kilometre out to sea. Contractors spent three weeks lifting the figures into place and driving them into the beach on the-metre-high foundation piles.




Steve Bond, Dave Blake, Steve Bond, Mike Bell, Brian Green

Click for more photos……



You Tube Video of the session by Dave Blake………



15/05/12 Wild Water Swimming and Gorge Walking - River Tryweryn 12th May.


Having a day to spare I decided to try out wild water swimming at the Tryweryn this weekend. I hired a Kayak from LCC and organised eight paddlers as my safety crew. Instead of entering the river from the bank I elected to paddle into position using a kayak and launch myself at two designated places on the river. As the first location loomed, (Bala Mill Falls) I expertly steered the Kayak into position and pulled off a quite remarkable exit from the boat to commence my first swim which turned into a gorge walk as well. Excellent this was going well.

I had to wait a couple of hours before I could get in the water again, this time choosing a particularly nasty part of the river to add to the thrill. My decent down Fingers was amazing, my only regret was that I was pushed into an eddy before I could swim down NRA wave and Chapel Falls. Still better luck next time.


Many thanks to the safety crew who collected the swim launch vessel from somewhere near Bala Town.   Chris Murphy


PS I think I inspired a couple of people from the safety crew as they got into the spirit and joined me for a swim. I will let them tell their own tales as one of them in particular has been waiting a couple of years for this opportunity! If anyone wants to see me in action, to help with their wild water swimming techniques in the future, I am only too pleased to help out. Just follow me down a river on a club paddle and wait. It wont be long!


Follow-up advice to help with wild swimming

Well, after finding this email informative I was a bit disappointed that u never took the opportunity to help fellow LCC members by describing some of Ur techniques adopted on the day. .

So I thought I would help you out Chris by using my experiences !! Obviously techniques used during this difficult type of swim vary depending on which sections Ur running. I will share how I negotiated the 'Graveyard' stretch so hope this is of use guys. . Firstly I launched into the top drop backwards from a small Eddie on river right. Before I started my swim I decided it might be a good idea to get a better view Of the river bed from my boat. . After closely inspecting some of the larger rocks I decided I'd seen enough and launched into my swim !!! I started off head first down river initially before adopting the more trusted 'feet first' technique (less exciting if u ask me) After continuing to closely inspect several boulders that inhabit this well known section I performed a few tumbles and acrobatic moves and decided I'd had enough. . And allowed Nathan to assist myself to the rivers edge grudgingly !!! Although one of my shoes had other plans and decided it hadn't finished and continued downstream.


I wiped the blood from my face and got back in my boat straight away (well several minutes later once my head stopped spinning) and decided to carry on. I was contemplating another swim thru Mrs. Davies Bridge but due to the concussion and searing pain developing in my left shoulder I got out after negotiating ski jump and called it a day !!!     Keith Scott


More Photos……..


15/05/12 Pembrokeshire Kari-Tek Midwest Symposium 2012


Between May 5th and May 7th Kari-Tek held its second sea kayaking symposium in Tayvallich a small village with a few houses, a few B&B’s, a campsite, a pub (good beer) a shop (basic general store) and a cafe (great cakes) situated at the head of Loch Sween on the Argyll coast. The event has a real focus on providing quality coaching sessions in the right conditions for learning. With one coach to every six participants and aimed at beginners to improvers. The three days are split into six, two and a half hour sessions covering various topics such as; Boat trials, kit, trip planning, forward paddling, edging, recovery strokes, rolling, towing, rescues as well as guided trips and the obligatory opportunity to buy. You get the picture? Well that’s the end of the sales pitch.


After an uneventful journey north on pleasant Friday, Don and I arrived at the campsite and set up camp before settling down in the warm sunshine for a pre-dinner beer or two. Helen had travelled up earlier in the week to enjoy fine weather and a chance to explore the area We just had time to clear away dinner before heading to the village hall, the hub for the weekend, to register and sign up for the sessions we had decided to do prior to arriving. Seemed pretty straight forward but turned into a more taxing process, not helped by our pre-dinner drinks. But eventually after much crossing out and scurrying between lists, we were booked onto our chosen activities and retired to the pub to sample what was on offer (excellent pint) and get to know some of other paddlers before heading back to the tent for the night with stars overhead and a bright moon raising. By 5am when I ventured out of my winter bag for a constitutional, I was met by sub-zero temperatures and everything frozen solid that sent me scurrying back into my bag before I froze too.


 An early start had us moving the boats from the campsite to the village playing field next to the hall. The field was full of sea kayaks when we arrived, there were around thirty or so demo boats representing most to the main manufacturers and all available to everyone to use or try and all very informal, in addition to some sixty individuals boats. By 8.45am we had all gathered for the daily informal briefing before meeting our respective coach for the morning sessions. With the weather fine, the sea calm and the wind light by 10am we were all on the water and heading off with our coaches. The morning sessions lasted till 12.30 pm when we stopped for lunch and the opportunity to chat or in my case rest on following days. The afternoon sessions lasted from 1.30pm till 4.30pm which gave everyone time to try boats talk to others about their boat or kit or get advice from coaches or others from the industry about anything to do with our sport.


Sunday and Monday followed a similar pattern although the fine weather took a day off on Monday and it rained for most of the day, the wind got up too and the sea picked up a chop. Disappointing some might think but in fact it gave us an opportunity to progress under more testing conditions.


The coaching was excellent; all the coaches really seemed to know their sport inside out and were able to improve the paddling skills of everyone who took part. Whether it was your technique, your posture, your boat, they would point out your weakness and work with you to improve. Their inputs weren’t just confined to the water, everyone was only too pleased to be of some help at any time, be it, during their lunch, in the pub, in the showers or at their tent. We certainly felt that we had improved over the weekend, although I did get progressively knackered.


The ceilidh on Saturday night provided an opportunity to let learn the finer art of Scottish country dancing followed on Sunday evening by a quiz night. As most headed for home on Monday evening, we had a celebratory meal in the pub and finished the night in the company of one of the coaches.


Although the coaching was superb, I couldn’t finish without a word on the scenery. Loch Sween is very scenic and home for a diversity of wildlife, osprey, beavers, otters and seals inhabit the lock and the water teems with life. So we couldn’t leave without a morning paddle across the loch on a pristine day to visit one of the lochs gems, the Fairy Isles. Stunning is all I can say other than “we’ll be back”.


Steve Gille    More Photos……….


09/05/12 Pembrokeshire Club weekend (May Bank holiday Weekend)

5 foot surf and sunshine were promised so we all duly met up at Pencarnan farm campsite near Whitesands Bay and St Davids.  Saturday brought lots of sun but a strong northly wind which had dropped the temperature by 8 degrees or so.   It was flat calm so the short boaters went to look at the Bitches tidal race and followed leader Jenny on a 9 mile trek to Porth Clay and St Davids where some had two lots of homemade icecream!  We made it back to the campsite all in one piece but some had a few blisters after all the arduous ascents.  The BBQ was great but temperatures soon plummeted when the sun dropped below the horizon.  Those that did not want to keep moving by walking to Whitesands Bay and back retired to the relative warmth of their tents.


Steve Bond, Tony Bennett, John Worswick, Carole and Pete Thomas, Sara Bergqvist, Keith S, John and Matty Pegram, Neil Moult, Jenny Brown and Chris Thompson


Pembroke Trip Saturday 5th May – A Ford in a ford


After a five and a half hour drive to Pembroke and letting a Tom Tom do the nav for the very first time ever, one of our team, who will remain nameless for the sake of sparing him embarrassment as apparently he used to consider himself a half decent navigator, drove through a shallow ford and managed to separate a tyre from its rim when the car hit a hidden rock. To cut a long and boring tale short, paddling on Saturday was delayed by a few hours as the car had to be taken on a low loader to Haverfordwest just to get a new tyre! If you too have one of these cars with no spare wheel, no jack and just a bottle of foam to repair a puncture, this could happen to you …. especially if you’re daft enough to drive through a ford just because the satnav told you to!!!


Fortunately the journey to get this all sorted gave Mr X (who drives a black Ford Galaxy and paddles a yellow Atlantic rather badly) the opportunity to see what conditions were like along the coast. To get out of the biting north east wind, five sea paddlers eventually decided to put in at Newgale surfers beach and then head west along the sheltered rocky coast line. This was by far the best choice as the northern side of the peninsular was positively Baltic and the rest of the group, who had hoped for surf in their play boats, settled for various blustery walks along sections of the Pembroke Coastal Path.


The sea boats, launching close to low water, soon found some fantastic rock scenery and fortunately the sun helped dry out Steve Bond who early on in the trip had decided to go snorkelling and test the waterproofness of his camera as a wave, possibly the only bit of surf of the whole day, hit him and flipped him over. Recovering with peals of laughter, Steve was none the worse for his dip and we all continued towards the cliffs to explore what’s been described as a gem of a coastline in a recent Ocean Paddler write-up. Despite it being close to Spring tides, the route we had chosen was largely out of the stream so at no point did we have to battle the fast currents that we had seen running through the sounds and off the headlands.


There’s something about rock hopping that appeals to the inner being. Maybe it’s the idea that getting people to follow you through ever tighter gaps and ever darker caves might result in the satisfying sound of someone else’s fibreglass being scarped on the sharp rocks and barnacles or maybe it’s something that brings out the child in us as we play around among rock pools containing interesting creatures and marine growths. Anyway, it was a great opportunity to practice lots of different pour-overs, gently swirling eddies and reflected waves and we just couldn’t get enough of the fantastically contorted and colourful rock architecture. Carole, who had only just sold her boat to someone swore blind that she never once touched a rock or added another scratch to the hull of her Avocet. Hopefully its new owner will be satisfied with the condition of the hull once its delivered to them on the coming Anglesey meet. ;-)


After a few hours and a short lunch on a secluded beach we turned around and rediscovered the coastline but this time, covered by more water, more caves and arches were revealed. Both Steve and Tony kept everyone fascinated by the number of birds and seals they managed to spot with hawkeye precision and Tony even managed to keep his hat on as a blow hole forced a powerfull jet of compressed air and water directly at his head. Arriving at our launch beach close to low water, the sand we had walked across to put in was now completely covered and only a very steep pebble bund remained as a get out. Fortunately no fibreglass was lost in the effort to land here but a couple of people may have lost a bit of dignity as they attempted some acrobatics as the waves and rounded pebbles swept their feet away and dumped them unceremoniously in the water.


 With all of these ideal conditions you might have thought that we could cover perhaps 25 NM or so in the afternoon but in reality we were afloat for 6 hours and only managed to paddle about 7 very detailed nautical miles. By the end of the day we each said this trip was one of the most satisfying that we had ever done. Returning to the campsite with happy glints in our eyes we sat down with the rest of the team to enjoy the first BBQ of the season in what felt like a sub-zero wind-chill.


Paddlers - Steve Bond, Tony Bennett, John Worswick, Carole and Pete Thomas  More Photos……………



Sunday 6th May – Fishguard Arches and Stacks - The Long and The Short Of It


Waking up on Sunday morning to a sunny sky with very little wind was a pleasant surprise after surviving a very cold night in the tent dressed in all of my clothes. When is this summer going to get going?


 As the 5ft surf still hadn’t materialised the Surf Shorties and Sea Longies decided to paddle together along the coast from Fishguard towards Dinas Head. Following a quick visit to Tesco to replenish the BBQ stocks we all put in at the quay across from the ferry terminal, a good car park right next to the beach with toilets, cafe and only £1 parking for all day.


The shorties all shot off first leaving the sea kayaks to catch up! The plan was to paddle east to explore the coastline and although there was no surf, what little wind there was blowing along the coast created a bit of a confused sea in places where it met some currents circulating under the cliffs and headlands.

Just as yesterday, although perhaps not quite so scenic, the rock features gave us lots of opportunities to practice fancy strokes to turn tight corners. Hardly a wrinkle was left unexplored and as we paddled further and further we were rewarded by some very impressive caves and arches.


We all paddled in and out of almost everything we came across under the towering cliffs, with nesting guillemots and razorbills and lots of wild flowers(the sea pinks were in full bloom). One arch was so photogenic that most of us had to paddle under it three or four times as the budding “Photo of the Month” photographers fought to keep their cameras steady in an effort to get the best shot of us in the slightly wobbly conditions.


The Lunch stop was decided by default as one member of the group landed quickly for some necessary relief.


The temperature was still a tad chilly and soon the long boats decided to warm up with a fast paddle to Dinas Head. The shorties decided to have a slightly longer break and then head back in time for a cuppa in the cafe.


 5 of us, the same sea kayak palls from yesterday, set off across the bay to Dinas Head. With the sun trying to come out the cliffs were spectacular with folds in the rock forming semi circles and even the seals came out to play; one nearly jumping out of the water to get a better look at the kayaker that had nearly trapped it in a cave.


We ventured around the headland until doubts about the state of the tide caused us to eventually turn back, this time following the coast around and into to Pwilgwaelod where it was rumoured the Old Sailor’s Inn was open. I think some of us thought we were in for an extended stay judging by how far they carried the boats up the beach and out of reach of the rising tide. After a refreshing pint, a sit in the sun and chats to walkers passing by, we followed our route back to Fishguard to land easily on the beach close to high water. The cafe was shut so we headed back to the campsite where the BBQ was just being lit.


A pleasant and much warmer evening than the night before followed, with Tony’s witches cauldron adding welcome heat and focus to the proceedings and Neil’s big bag of kindling kept us going until the rain started and sent us scattering to our tents.


In the dead of the night a wily badger apparently attempted to get into Neil’s car out of the torrential rain that fell throughout the night. It didn’t quite make it but managed to open the boot and create a goldfish pond!! Luckily the rain stopped by get up time, so we could pack the tents and set off in search of the elusive surf. Hopefully Neil’s steamy windows cleared by the time he started the long drive home.


More Photos……………


Monday 7th May – Whitesands Bay surfing.


With the strong winds overnight and going round to the South West we hoped for a swell to develop.  In the morning we could see the other end of Whitesands Bay and it clearly had a larger wave than Pencarnan beach below our tents.  Steve and tony announced that they were going to drive around to paddle in the surf.   The rest of us packed up and followed them. 


Although small (2-3 foot) there was a defined swell with reasonable sets.  The seven short-boaters took to the water to grab as many waves as we could.  Steve and Tony declined to join us and went to the café with Pete, Carole and John.

There is so much to do in the area and we will certainly be back next year for the bank holiday weekend in May.

More Photos……………


08/05/12 Photo of the month – April Competition



Liverpool Canoe Club April Photo Competition winners


Congratulations to Fiona Wrigg for her winning photo from

Stanley Embankment.  Nathan Marsden performing flat spins on the first wave.


Runner up Phil Fawcett: “Junior Club Easter Egg

 Hunt during the Pyranha Go Canoeing Days”



Runner up Mark Garrod: Kathy Wilson

running “surprise ledge”, River Spean”


08/05/12 A day out with Kayak Essentials……..


When Kayak Essentials, Nick Cunliffe and Matt Giblin offered me the chance to go out paddling with them on Saturday I didn’t think twice about saying YES. This was a chance to see how a sea kayak DVDsinstructional DVD is made.

So I met up with the guys at 9.30am at McDonalds in Holyhead, being a good dietician I only had a coffee before driving round to Soldiers Point to get on the water.

As we were packing the boats a group from the sea symposium arrived, at least 15 boats, Matt and Nick were quick to find out where they were heading and sure enough we were all going to be on the same bit of water. So we quickly got on the water ahead of the group and headed off to find a spot for Matt to get out and film us doing rocky landings. The great thing about going out when the guys are filming an in instructional DVD is that you get the instruction, so I got to see how the towline could be used in the precarious rocky landing situation.  I am pretty sure what happened as I went in for my landing will be in the DVD, so I will let you all see what happened in Sea Kayak Essentials Vol 2 which will be on sale later this year www.kayakessentials.co.uk


After being filmed heading in and out of a bay, I had my first experience of the overfalls / tide race at North Stack having never before paddled round the Stacks with that much tide.  What was more impressive than the tide race was the fact that Matt got the camera set up, on the rocky shore line to film us, all I had to do was follow the line that Nick took and not crash into all the people that were playing in the overfalls. Easier said than done, as it seemed like every boat wanted to sit in my way. Lunch followed in Parliament Cave after a bit of exploration to look at climbers while Matt and Nick got the camera back in Matt’s boat and off the rocks. Lunch was rather busy as there were at least another 20 people from the sea symposium in the cave. After lunch we reversed our journey back to Soldiers Point without any filming opportunities, still a very pleasant paddle in the afternoon sunshine.


So thanks to Nick & Matt for the invite, I am looking forward to seeing and learning from the new the DVD.




08/05/12 Junior Club night for our younger paddlers

Every Tuesday throughout the summer the junior club runs alongside the General club night.  We always provide at least one club coach to oversee the paddling of the junior session.  Most now know each other quiet well and develop their skills with an emphasis on a fun and games style of learning.  Parents are welcome to wait in the coffee bar or paddle either with the youngsters or with the adults.  Minimum age is about 8 with most over 13 choosing to paddle with the older paddlers and the rest of the club.

The first session was saw us paddle around into the bay to play some games and then return via the tunnel!!  We have a variety of smaller paddles, kayaks and buoyancy aids for juniors




08/05/12 Parkgate paddle Saturday 5th May

Short notice Sea Trip on Saturday the 5th began with all paddlers arriving in plenty of time for a relaxed start at West Kirby.

The 9.5 metre tide allowed a round trip of 20 km to Parkgate with no stops. The light winds produced some good conditions for reflection photographs.

The first part of the trip was a gentle bimble along the coast with the Clay cliffs of Thurstaston producing picturesque new red faces while they constantly erode as the tide washes away the base and presumably dumps the clay as mud at West Kirby.


There were several bird sightings of, well, birds. The Swallows were back and having great fun in flocks. Lots of Waders and a few Oyster catchers, Curlews and Knotts.  The boatyard provided the photo with Shelldrakes Bistro at the bottom of Banks Rd in the background (for any Google Earthers out there).


I met a couple blokes in the gutter with a jammed rowing boat at the absolute limit of rowing boat navigation near Parkgate which we jiggled about so I could pass. They seemed quite happy passing the time until the tide changed with a case of Cider in the warm sunshine. One of whom had done the back from Point of Ayr on a sit on top.

The gutter narrowed further into a wriggly shallow ditch where I had to switch to a split to get steerage (pushing from the banks). Then it widened out where it had been dredged to about 2 metres from around the Old Baths car park all the way into Parkgate. Fast progress was made with the flood showing no sign of slackening off.


The tide now floods into Parkgate for about an hour after HW as it fills up the new anti mosquito ponds. I turned into one of the pond entrances to make slow progress back to the open sea against the last 30 minutes of the flood.   With my split, which left 10 km to do in 90 minutes against a chilly North Easterly to get the last of the water at West Kirby.

I made it back with water to spare after a good work out, but failed in the trips main aim, because I didn't find any Samphire (resembles tiny shoots of asparagus) to collect for the Sunday roast...


Adrian Mould, Watch tapper...


PS would be prepared to put on this trip again as far as Heswall with a group if there was any interest.    





08/05/12 Hilbre Island Sunday 6th May.


Today fifteen paddlers met to take the short trip to Hilbre Island at West Kirby although not all paddlers set off together. We split into three groups .....1, those who arrived on time 2, those who were late 3, those who were extremely late 4, and Martin McCoy.


I knew we were going to have problems as at 1015 I arrived ready to go at the slipway only to see Adrian Mould (who had paddled up from Thurstaston) tapping his watch in disgust as the water had all ready arrived and only three paddlers were ready to go so after ten minutes of his tutting and pacing up and down the slipway we decided that the first group of ready paddlers should begin the epic journey as some paddlers had dared to bring their play-boats.


Wayne, Charlie, John and Graham left as the next group and quickly caught the others even though it was Charlie's first trial of a sea kayak. Steve Rose and Mike were last to arrive ten minutes after the set off time and then spent a further ten minutes getting dressed but then Mike fell into the water whilst trying to get into his boat and wasted more time as we had to get back on dry land to help him empty his boat.


The water was flat and the sun broke through the clouds and with a slight tail wind we were soon at the island to catch the others and around the island we went with a few large seals following which sent Graham flying past us screaming something about the size of their teeth.


As we arrived at the beach Steve was disgusted to find Paul and Harvey had eaten all the burgers from his beach barby and had left Wayne to cook the remaining sausages, Steve vowed to get revenge and he surely did as after Paul sailed away he smashed his frying pan on the rocks into a new shape "that'll teach him "he said. Martin had joined us for lunch at the island as he had arrived late but made the journey in a record time of just fifteen minutes.


With only a little wind on the return journey we were soon back at the slipway in time for wrestle-mania in the water as Paul, Harvey and Mike began their 'who could get the wettest ' competition.


Paddlers in order of arrival for future reference:- Adrian Mould, Mark Pawley, Peter Massey, Karl Tattum, Tony Orton, John Allerton, Graham Hudson, Paul Harwood, Harvey Harwood, Sam Godsell,

Wayne and Charlie Littler, Steve Rose and Mike and Martin McCoy                             More Photos……………



07/05/12 “C Team” Fun Polo

6 members and Keith S (think he wants to be selected for the squad) of the new "just for fun" "C team" played polo on Thursday at the Marina in the club goals. We are all about learning through play. This means we won’t be paddling a couple of laps of the docks as fast as we can for fitness before we start!! We had a great time, learnt some of the rules and then broke most of them with our over enthusiastic play!! Paul Harwood and Karl Tattum's polo crew were definitely worried by our skills. I could see the fear in their eyes as they got off.


A few of the team were conspicuous in their absence. However I will not be drawn on whether Kirk, Nathan and Sven have fallen out with the C team management and are currently sunning themselves on a beach in Argentina!!


If you fancy a friendly game get yourself to the docks on a Thursday or on any of the other polo sessions on the calendar.




30/04/12 May 2012 Newsletter Published
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