Volume 12  Issue 9

September 2012

September Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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02/08/12 August Photo of the Month Competition

 

Liverpool Canoe Club August Photo Competition Winners

 

 

 

Congratulations to Steve Gille for his winning photo

from the River Thames Holiday Week. 

“Group members getting a lift in one of the many locks.”

Runner up Anthony Vacarro: “Châteaux Queyras Gorge”

 

Runner up Carol Thomas : Pete Thomas practicing rescues in the Menai Straits”

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

 

 

02/08/12 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.

 

 

 

02/09/12 Saturday 1/9/2012 Surfing Crosby "Swimmer Dave"

 

On the way we were treated to the sight of Dave Nolan making his way to Crosby on his motorbike but dressed in all his canoeing gear including his BA, wetsuit and motorbike helmet. Now judging this years weather then I am sure this is the most suitable way to ride your bike.

We met at the beach next to the Crosby Coastguard Station at 0900hrs and wondered whether the tide would ever reach us as it looked so far out but just as we had finished our coffee and got changed the water was ready and waiting.

 

Various watercraft was taken to the shoreline with Ben and James and their two man sit-on-top / Nicky and the enormous Robson Moonster / Bradley (age 8) with a bodyboard and a range of surf style kayaks and their paddlers made it look like the start of the Wacky Races. Bradley was first in and straight out to find the waves followed by Nicky who had a few great runs before deciding to nominate herself for swimmer of the year but the competition was fierce as today Dave had made the journey from Preston to compete and his tactics of finding the biggest dumping waves to sit in and be trashed seemed to be the best way to get in the swim.

 

Dave N, John and Peter had their own competition in the S6f and from what i could see the rules were to fill the boat with as much water as you can as quickly as possible and return to the beach with your boat upside down and the paddler floating alongside.  Another Dave Joined us on the water with his two sons Mike and Sean who showed everyone how to 'flip a 360' and 'run the waves' but their father insisted he demonstrated the rules of the swimming games and how to compose oneself whilst in the water. John confiscated Bradleys body board for his next demonstration called "surf the six inch wave" and with his paddle managed to get some good speed. One of the Daves needn't have brought his boat as he did more swimming but I have sworn not to tell which one.

After a good two hours fun in the surf practicing our skills John treated us to a hot chocolate from his cooker in the back of his car.

 

Although not the best waves you may find for kayak surfing but Crosby is on our doorstep and if we get the wind in our favour then a great mornings surfing with friends can be had.

 

Paddlers were :- Dave N, Dave (Preston), Dave with sons Mike and Sean, Nicky, John, Ben, James, Karl and Bradley T.           More Photos…….

 

 

02/09/12 Crosby Surfing Saturday 25.08.12

"i'm not scared. Not even a little bit." Said Harvey. It's his first time surfing on his own and in his new boat.. We arrived at Crosby coastguard station to find Dave and John waiting for us. They have been playing Murderball with us on Thursdays and this was their first time on lumpy water. Karl turned up with Bradley and Keenan. They had brought some bodyboards and a kayak. Graham and Steve arrived next and we were complete. Harvey was telling me that I would look an idiot in my C1 canoe. In fact, I actually looked amazingly cool. He just doesn't recognise it yet being only 7 years old.

We all jumped on the water on the stroke of 3-30pm and I helped Harvey out as it was quite windy and the waves were about 2.5 feet high. (Head height for a 7 year old.) As I was pushing Harvey out, the waves were slamming him in his face and by the time we were ready for take off he was sinking. He jumped out, I emptied the boat, and he jumped back in. I shoved him when the perfect wave came along and he hooted with delight, "I'm surfing!". Then he had his first capsize. The first of many. He loved it. Dave seemed happy doing blunts and getting air and reverse paddling, in his mind, as he stayed close to the shore and Steve was finding his S6F fun but slow in the waves.

Brad and Keenan were body boarding and helping their Dad get back into his boat after a small accident when he accidently fell out of his boat, and Harvey joined them so Karl could show him the perfect swimming technique. I jumped in my C1 (canoe not car) and it was great fun. getting slammed in the face and nearly sinking with its slicey ends. Its fun paddling with one blade in choppy water but a real challenge to get any forward speed. I even managed to fall over and roll in the waves.

Graham, however wasn't so lucky. He went over by the force of a 6 inch wave and got stuck in 6inches of water. The poor chap bailed out and had the walk of shame back to the beach. A contender for swimmer of the year I think.

It was great fun and the waves just got bigger and bigger. The kids were having fun swimming rather than kayaking and the sea was warm. Well that was what Karl told me anyway. But Harvey appeared to stung by a jelly fish on his hand. It was red and itchy, but the huge oversized dressing and bandage from my vans first aid kit seemed to help. It started to swell later on, but by 8pm was almost gone.

It was a great day out and Crosby is so close. All that water on our doorstep. Yes, they may not be killer surf breaks, but it is fun. Keep an eye out on the weather because there could be some more Crosby trips coming.

Paddlers: Paul, Harvey, Karl, Bradley, Keenan, Steve, Graham, Dave, John

 

15/08/12  Club AGM and Paddlers of the Year

Each year the club asks for nominations for our four Awards:

 

·        Paddler of the year (club member who has made the most progress or achievement in paddlesport)

·        Junior Paddler of the year (Junior member who has made the most progress or achievement in paddlesport)

·        Volunteer of the year (Club member who has given their services to help the club)

·        Swimmer of the year (Club member who has enjoyed an interesting out-of-boat experience)

 

If you have any suggestions for any of the 4 categories please send them in with a brief description of why they should be nominated. The awards will be presented during the clubs AGM and buffet which is to be held on Monday 8th October.

 

Send an email to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk

 

Previous Award winners at http://www.liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk/members/poty/Record%20of%20Paddler%20of%20the%20Year.htm

 

 

15/08/12 Sad News about club member Andrew Egan.

 

Tragically I have just had a phone call to say that Andrew Egan, who coached with us at the Kingsway Pool and the docks, sadly passed away last night. Our sincere condolences go to his family and to all that knew him. He will be greatly missed by all that paddled with him.

 

There are no further details as yet but we will try to pass on any funeral arrangements etc when known.

 

15/08/12 Donations to the club.

 

 The club has recently been given 7 rotobats from Crosby Scout and Guides.  While well used these boats will be useful for the pool or to play canoe polo in.

 

In addition the kayak safety team which provided cover for the Liverpool Triathlon back in July raised £1500 in the way of donation to the club for their services.  This donation each year goes a long way to keeping membership fees very low.  Well done to all.

 

 

 

15/08/12 The London International Canoe Polo Tournament         10-12th August 2012  

 

The “A” team headed down to Danson Park, home of Meridian Canoe Club to compete in the 14th London International Canoe Polo Tournament.

 

We were entered into Division 3 but our first two games against Cardiff and St Albans Ladies were probably our hardest all tournament.  We lost both narrowly as we learned how to play together.  

 

Our next 4 games were won easily progressing to the 5th / 6th playoff place against our friends “Welsh Warriors”.  This was a close game but with the Welsh team having a 2:1 lead we had to go “five out”.  This is man on man marking to try and gain the ball to get the goal back.  Two or three minutes of frantic paddling and several chances eventually saw them score their 3rd goal putting the game out of reach with less than a minute to go.

 

All in all the London Tournament is probably the most friendly and best run tournament to attend.  The family friendly park environment, onsite camping and BBQ tents etc led to a great weekend.

 

I certainly will be back next year.

 

The Team :  Dinny Davies, Phil Holland, Darren Bohanna, Keith S, Josh Cook                 More Photos…….

 

 


15/08/12 The Tryweryn – Bala        12/08/2012
  

We arrived at the river to overcast skies and a slight hint of rain, which seem a world away for most of the group who had just got back from the Alps that week where it had been blue skies and clear water. We split into two groups and set off down to the get in for the lower part of the Tryweryn.  As we headed down the bank to the river I felt slightly apprehensive with this being my first proper white water river and with not going to  the Alps I just wanted to get out on some water.

 

The Tryweryn probably isn’t the best river for a novice paddler but I felt confident. I would be ok with the group of paddlers that were taking me out on the river and who, between them, had lots of experience on this river.  As we started to get into our boats the lads in my group was giving me encouragement and lots of advice which is great but a lot to take in.  I think Andy realised this and just before setting off told me if I only take in three bits of advice today it should be this; keep paddling, keep hold of my paddle and let go of the boat if I went for a swim and so off we went.

 

The river was surprisingly faster and had lots more rocks than I had expected but I tried to take on board the advice I had been given.  I tried to follow the line of the boat leading me down the river, which was easier said than done.  We ran sections of the river where I thought I paddled well and other parts not so well.  At one point I thought about applying for the next Olympics in the open swimming category but on a positive note I’m sure it is all good experience. As we got to the end of my run I was getting tired and frustrated at not doing better but pleased with my 360 spin on a big rock and dropping in backwards without swimming, which of course I meant to do ( not ).  Another couple of smaller rapids and it was time for me to get out before Bala Mill falls where I was told to meet the group at the other side.  This was sound advice.  After looking at it from the top, I got back into my boat and we paddled down the final part of the river in one big group to the end get out.

 

Most of the river went pass me in a blur as I was concentrating on paddling and trying to stay in my boat.  Some of the members in the group asked me if I enjoyed myself and I did but probably not as much as they did as some would have big smiles after a section of the river and my smile would be more of relief that I had made it down in one piece and with all my kit.

 

We stopped for a bit of lunch and I went to get changed as the rest of the group where going to run the upper part of the Tryweryn.  I don’t think is any place for a novice paddler with a section of the river being called the Graveyard. I watched from the side of the river as rest of the group eddy hopped down the river which was amazing to see as they made it look so easy and even if they did go over they were rolling back up as if nothing had happened/  Andy and Paul had a bit of a play in some of waves in front of the café where a small crowd had gathered  to watch them, but they looked pretty tired probably from rescuing me on the lower part of the river in the morning and then it was  time for everybody to get out and get changed.

 

 I would like to thank everybody who expertly rescued me when I had some swims and then had the patience while I emptied the most of the lower part of the river from my boat and most of all for keeping me safe on my first big river trip.   Hope I will see you all on my next big river …...Gavin.    

 

The group: Andy, Fiona, Paul, Chris, Sarah, Mark, Lucy, Dom, Helen, Darren.    More Photos…..

 

 

10/08/12 “Reel Paddling Film Festival ~ hosted by Liverpool Canoe Club in association with RAPID MEDIA, Ontario Canada

 

We are hosting the only UK showing for this world tour of best short canoeing and kayaking films of 2012.  This will be similar to the Crosby viewing of the “Banff film festival” last November.  We will be showing all 5 category winning films along with a selection of 9 other short films. (14 films in total covering all aspects of paddle sports. This is a must see for anyone interested in paddling.

 

It is at the marina on Monday 12th November with a maximum of 100 seats.  Tickets are £9.00 (in Advance)     http://www.liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk/film/


For more information of the world tour and short previews of the films http://www.reelpaddlingfilmfestival.com/

 

 

 

09/08/12 River Thames Paddle 2012

 

Thames Locks MapI’d been contemplating the idea of paddling the Thames for some time after watching Griff Rhys Jones repeat Jerome K Jerome’s book ‘Three men in a boat’ and Karl cemented the idea on the clubs Windermere meet last year, although no time frame was discussed. At the beginning of 2012 with club members already planning trips to Alaska and the Alps, it seemed that a Thames trip would provide an adventure for those seeking something a little less ambitious and sit nicely in the clubs calendar. Don signed up and we set about putting a plan together. Two useful sources of information are the Environment Agency website and Nicholson Waterways Guide 7 (River Thames &the Southern Waterways), both proved to be invaluable both at planning and on the water. You need a license to paddle on the Thames, covered by your BCU membership or bought from the lock keepers. (You need to carry it as you are asked to show it) With the country under drought orders and river levels very low, our plan was to put in at Lechlade and paddle to Teddington Lock, a distance of 117 Miles, over nine days, camping along the riverbank. With the dates agreed as Saturday 28th July to Sunday 5th August, we posted an invitation to members to join us and Karl and John signed up.

Of cause, thing don’t always go to plan, so with the wettest May, June and July on records the river levels were extremely high, in fact, for the previous two weeks prior to our trip the river was effectively closed to boats of any description and it was not until the Wednesday before that the river levels were such that we made the decision to go.

Saturday morning two cars sped south towards Lechlade Steve and Don in one and Karl and John in the other arriving at lunchtime for an afternoon paddle to Tadpole Bridge, some 9 miles downstream and our first camp. This meant driving to the campsite and leaving a car there before returning to our start point with the other car, to be collected later. Unfortunately, the Trout Pub campsite is no longer open and so John and Steve spent a fare bit of time looking for an alternative, eventually settling at the Swan Hotel at Radcot Bridge some 6 miles and 3 locks from our start. Shuffling the cars each day was both time consuming and expensive in terms of both mileages and fuel and we all agreed that a better alternative was to position cars at both ends of the paddle. It was 1520hrs before we got on the water and 1900 hrs when we arrived at the Swan for a meal and refreshments before turning in. Following our problems with the campsite at the Trout, we decided that we would, for the rest of the trip, phone ahead to reserve our 3 pitches, something we were glad to have done due to a lack of places to wild camp and a shortage of pull out places along the river, particularly in the upper section were the banks are steep and high. We didn’t book our campsites, due in part by the river conditions over the preceding weeks but all felt that pre-booking campsites was worth doing.

 

Sunday morning, following breakfast we decamped and were on the water by 1035hrs, Johns OS maps came into use and we were treated to regular position updates throughout the remainder of the trip, some even pretty accurate. By midday it was raining but the weather improved in the afternoon as we paddled the 12 miles and 2 locks to the Ferryman Inn, our day’s camp, arriving at 1620hrs  to enjoy the inns hospitality (and very good too).

Monday,on the water at 1045hrs for an eventful day afloat, Don and John went to the rescue of a sheep that had fallen into the river and assisted a local boat who was trying to rescue it, well that’s what we thought he was trying to do, then, Steve and Don had a near miss when they got caught by the strong current from the weir below Eynsham Lock. But it was generally a nice 11 mile and 5 locks day’s paddle to Oxford Sea Scouts campsite almost in the centre of Oxford arriving at 1545hrs. This site has no facilities and but was free and Steve and Karl made use of the nearby Go Outdoors shop for upgrading and forgotten kit and Karl feasted on excellent fish and chips obtained nearby while the rest of us settled for camp food for a change. John entertained us having first a bird in his tent (a chicken) then ending up with a cat but by 2000hrs it was raining and we retired to beds, it continued to rain hard all night.

 

Tuesday, after a night of torrential rain we managed to breakfast and decamp while the rain held off and were on the water at 0850hrs before it started again and continued throughout most of our 12 mile and 5 locks day. From Oxford the Thames Valley widens and the river passes through more open countryside offering greater views and occasional beaches to pull out. Karl decided that his boat was slower that our sea boats during the day and swapped to test his theory with John. Whether it worked or not? I leave to the reader. The upshot was that by 1425hrs we arrived at Clifton Hampden campsite after 12 miles and 5 locks to dine across the road at the Barley Mow Pub (it’s now franchised pub) but very nice.

 

Wednesday, on the water at 1010hrs after another very pleasant night on a dry morning to paddle the 7 miles and 2 locks to Riverside campsite, Wallingford Bridge. On the way, Karl demonstrated his skills at various paddling strokes and on arriving at 1230hrs, negotiated a special rate with the site saying that we only had small tents and our three could easily fit into one of their pitches and therefore we should only pay for one £15.00 pitch. IT WORKED!   Karl and Don rang ahead to book our camp on the Marpledurham estate and got directions and pass code details, unbeknown to John. The rest of the day was spent in Wallingford, a nice town where we stocked up with supplies in the local supermarket and enjoyed coffees in one of the street cafes. That evening John, Karl and Don set off to reposition a car at Marpledurham. On arrival, Karl found the appropriate gate with private notice and jumped out of John’s car, after a short while fumbling with a lock the gate swung wide and Karl (The Cat) waved John through with contented satisfaction. John, (oh ye of little faith) on the other hand felt reluctant to break into a stately home and fearing the consequence and refused to go further even as Don (The Fence) sped through the gate in Steve’s car. But eventually he was talked into proceeding and a pleasant night was had by all. Although it was rumoured that John kept look out through the night and his running shoes on. Just in case.

Thursday, on the water at 0810hrs for a pleasant 12 mile paddle past 3 locks to join the cars at 1250hrs at Marpledurham.

You’ve probably noticed that we recorded the number of locks we passed each day, this is because they do add to your overall timing and so, to digress for a moment here is some basic lock information. The locks can be used by all craft including kayaks and canoes, in the upper part of the river, they are manually operated; those in the lower section are electrically operated. All the locks are manned during most of the day and when the lock keeper is away, they are self service. Everything is on the lock to operate it with instruction and both types are very easy to operate. Although there are limited facilities for kayaks to portage around locks (something I was a little disappointed in), the water levels across each lock is relatively small thereby making their use by kayaks very safe even when sharing with pleasure cruisers and you don’t need to carry shore lines.

 

Friday, on the water at 0905hrs for the longest paddle of the trip at 19 miles with 6 locks, Karl set a couple of hours earlier so as not to hold the rest back but had to operate the first few locks on his own before the lock keepers came on duty at 0900hrs. John, Steve and Don waited until the lock keepers were working and then set off. The day was sunny apart from the odd shower and we stopped for a break on a beach beneath a bridge that proved to be an excellent spot recommended by the last lock keeper. A leisurely lunch was later enjoyed on a park in front of the Museum of Rowing in Henley and we spent a pleasant hour chatting to visitors keen to know what we were up to. Lunch over, it was back on the water to finish our days paddle at Hurley lock and rejoining Karl at 1550hrs who had been there most of the afternoon. The lock along with a couple of others offer camping facilities and Hurley has a tearoom too where we spent the afternoon chatting to visitors and supping tea, it’s a must stop place. There is a footbridge off the island that gives access to parking and two pubs, one of which provided our venue for refreshments and our evening meal.

Saturday, on the water at 0905hrs after a great night ashore to paddle the 11 miles and 4 locks to Bray Lock. Although as bright day, the wind had lifted causing us to hug the windward bank and cut across corners as the river snakes it way towards London. By 1610hrs we had arrived at Bray lock and used trolleys to transport our laden boats up the road to our campsite. We had paddled 90 miles and as we were driving home on Sunday, wondered if there was a possibility of paddling a little further to cross the 100 mile mark. Unfortunately, because of possible parking restricting due to the Olympics and a lack of information about possible get out points, it looked as if the only way to find out was to drive the route and see for ourselves, something we didn’t relish having to do with a bad weather report for Sunday. The dilemma was solved by John and Karl, who, having been nosing around the site, found a sign for a local B&B just next door that were offering ‘Full English Breakfasts’. It was a non-starter, the breakfasts won hands down and before we could change our minds John shot off to book our morning feast. Before breakfast Sunday morning, the boats were emptied and loaded onto cars and camp dismantled ready to leave, Steve Don and Karl were heading back home, while John was going over to Cambridge to stay with some friends. By the time we finished a great breakfast it was raining and we headed for the road for a drive back in torrential rain most of the way. Good call lads.

 

It had been a great trip, exploring new ground in good company, we had leant a lot about the river and despite the weather either side of our week and the typical mixed English summer weather during the trip, we all felt that it was something worth doing and next time reaching Teddington. Maybe next year?

 

The Team. Steve Gille, Don Brooks, John Pegram and Karl Leungsangnam.  More Photos…..

 

08/08/12 A Couple of Stacks and a Chicken ~ 05/08/2012

 

We just can’t seem to get enough kayaking in at the moment so when Ian Bell cryptically suggested a paddle “somewhere in North Anglesey”, Caz and I signed on right away. Meeting Kirk for a fry-up breakfast early on Sunday morning in the Bangor services, the four of us plot hatched a plot to paddle Penrhyn Mawer and then the Stacks and back.

 

This was a first for me and Caz and everything I’ve seen and read about Penrhyn Mawer suggested that it’s a great trip but best to do a gentle introduction to it, perhaps at neaps, before committing to a Spring tide paddle. SO..... there we were, four of sitting at its edge three hours into the flood on a 9.1 meter tide! It was in full force and the sight and sound of it made my right foot shake uncontrollably on my foot peg. Massive green waves built instantly out of nowhere then crashed into spectacular white crests with a noise that sounded like a jet taking off. What the heck was I dong there!!??

 

It was going to be some hours before this famous tiderace died back and we couldn’t sit there for that amount of time so what were we to do? Although Ian and Kirk might well have survived the passage through and enjoyed playing in it, Carole and me are far from ready for this level of water so it was decided that we all paddle through the Chicken Run, a small channel to the side that is generally less of a committing challenge. Paddling towards it, Ian first, followed by Kirk, then me and then Caz, it began to look like an event horizon on the edge of a black hole. There was no way back and the 100 meter passage looked like some of the steep white water pictures sent back from the Alps recently. Were we playing on the Rab Wave on the Durance or were we on the sea off the West of Anglesey? Before I could philosophise on this for long, a huge bull seal popped up high out of the water right in front of me. Inquisitive to watch Ian and Kirk who had just paddled over it, the seal had its back to me so I shouted at it at as loudly as I could manage so it could hear me over the roar of the overfalls. I know seals don’t really have shoulders but within a couple of nanoseconds it glanced over its left one and, with an astonished look on its face, it saw me heading towards it at a rate of knots then dived quickly before my pointed bow sealed its fate and sealed mine. Within these few seconds Carole had almost cannoned into me when I dug my paddles in to swerve to avoid it. Maybe next time the passage through the race might be slightly less eventful!

All of us emerged into the calm eddy on the far side with wide smiles beaming on our faces and headed off in the direction of South Stack.

 

The scenery along this part of the coast just gets better and better and is commonly considered to be among the best paddles in the world. Passing South Stack easily we cut in close to the shore to explore some of the rock caves and enjoy some tasty rock hopping in the swell that was creeping in. Rock cliffs towered above and it was great to be so close and observe a variety of sea birds who were observing us as we paddled past.

 

An hour or so passed unnoticed and we were soon paddling past North Stack. We cut back round the off-lying island to play in the slight overfalls that were set up by the dying flood tide but a lunch stop was called for and Parliament Cave beckoned. The landing there wasn’t all that easy and had to be timed to avoid the slight surf crashing on the rocky cave bed.

 

It was hours after our fry-up breakfast so I was grateful for a bit of lunch and it looked like the seal that followed us into the cave was waiting for some tit-bits. Tough luck! I had enough of seals for one day so wasn’t sharing a crumb.

 

Before heading back out for our return to Porth Dafarch where we had put in earlier, we did a bit of beachcombing and among the usual detritus that we unfortunately see on beaches all over the world, Ian found a some real treasure; a boat fender lying close to what looked like a bomb! Closer examination revealed that the bomb was probably an empty gas pressure vessel so Ian moved it out of the way and claimed the fender for use by his Scouts. Paddling under the bridge linking South Stack with the main Holy Island, the tourists crossing the bridge probably looked down and thought Ian had a highly technical piece of paddling kit tied to his aft deck.

 

Penrhyn Mawer is mostly a pussy cat on the ebb so we passed easily through and were soon enjoying a cup of tea in the sun back at Porth Dafarch.

 

A great day paddling through some fabulous scenery in equally great company. Thanks team ~ Ian Bell, Kirk Williams, Carole and Pete Thomas

 

Pete Thomas  More Photos…….

 

07/08/12 A Quiet Hilbre Paddle – 4 August 2012

 

Although we live in Hoylake and Hilbre Island is quite literally on our doorstep, Pete and I haven’t paddled there alone yet. We’ve always been in the company of other club members and that’s been great fun but this weekend we thought we might sneak off and do it just by ourselves.

The forecast for Saturday was reasonable so we arrived at the West Kirby slipway to get ready about half an hour before the water came in. It might have been a bit naive of us to expect to have the place to ourselves. As we unloaded our boats we heard a loud hello and turned to see LCC member Mark Pawley’s smiling face. He and a few friends had also decided to enjoy the delights of Hilbre. We got to know Mark quite well during our recent Scottish expedition and he’s great company so all six of us left the slipway in company and headed out towards the Island.

 

It wasn’t long before we were the subject of interest from the seal population that we always meet on this paddle. We should probably recognise most of them by now as we had met them time after time on previous trips but this time there appeared to be more, many more. They popped up all over the place, touching some of the boats and surprising us with their loud snorts and splashes from behind. They followed us right around the island and seemed genuinely interested in being close to us.

 

The overfalls at the North end can be an interesting challenge to even the best paddlers but today they were about the most benign I’ve ever seen them. I normally paddle through as quickly as possible but this time it was great to play in them for a while. Mark even had time to show off by sitting in them while balancing his Greenland paddle on the top of his head!

 

Stopping for lunch on the pleasant sandy beach we were joined by Ade Mould who had just missed our departure from the slipway. So now we were seven.

 

After quickly downing our snacks watching a nearby thunderstorm head in our direction, it was all too soon to paddle back to West Kirby on the falling tide but not before some rolling fun and games near the Island and, entertaining the people walking around the West Kirby sailing lake, these continued even when we got back to the slipway.

 

Very enjoyable trip and different every time we do it. Thanks for your company folks.

 

Carole Thomas   More Photos………..

 

 

03/08/12 The Club Alpine paddling holiday 2012   (Part Two) Day 8- 10

Further updates from the campsite at L'argentiere-La-Besse.   All the photographs………..

 

28/07/12 Upper Durance - Day 8 Saturday

We met up in the Raft lay-by on the N94 just on the outskirts of Briancon. 4 groups of 4 or 5 headed off down the river which while low was icy cold.  Numerous little rapids led out of town and down to an island with a tree across the left hand channel.  Most took the right channel but there was room on the left, the rafting companies had used a chain saw to cut up the main branches.

 

The main series of rapids gave lots of bouncy water and numerous opportunities to practise breaking in and out.  We pushed on past the usual get out by the bridge and on down to the barrage at Prelles.  The new (2012) guide had photos of the dam and warned that if you saw it you had gone too far.  We slowly made our way down river past a number of fun rapids with large boulders.  Around the last corner the water calmed and it entered the barrage.  We took out immediately and carried our boats up a small 25m long path to the waiting minibus.  Andy could not help having his photo taken to illustrate the barrage – see opposite.

 

More Photos………

 

 

 

28/07/12 Upper Guisane - Day 8 Saturday

 

We arrived at the car park around half twelve for some lovely lunch in the rain, (which was followed by some people having a trip to the “star wars” toilet). After the guys got back from the shuttle (that took ages !)  We got onto the river; Myself, Stuart, Tony, Mark and Sarah led down the gnarly river by Mark.

 

The first section of the river was a mix between wave trains and boulder gardens which put everyone’s dodging skills to the test. At this point there were no swimmers, no carnage and no bruises, but we all thought they would happen sooner or later. ( Hopefully not to them.)

 

Before we knew it the “S Bend” Rapid was upon us, which didn’t really fit in with the rest of the river and felt a bit out of place. Everyone eddied out to take a look and inspect the line they were going to take. With a blow of a whistle Paul and Mark whizzed round the corner to show us ‘rookies’ how it’s done. Paul went first and took the right line and just scraped the big boulder on his way down. Mark went down the left side which seemed a bit more of a rock bash, with cheeky little high brace thrown in at the end. A few people did a portage around the rapid, but most of us stormed on.

 

Roy then decided to go first taking the right route and fly over a massive boulder catching some air on his way. Everyone else took all different routes down, Chris then decided he was a bit warm and fancied a little dip for a few meters and got out in the next eddy feeling fully refreshed. I was the last to go down; after watching everyone go down I couldn’t decide which route to take and went right, then right, then right, then right and then left with a close scrape on the big boulder and continued straight down until I found a little eddy to have a stretch out.

 

The rest of the river was mainly the same as top but with some amazing scenery on the way down and few ‘bonjours’ from the locals as we carried on down the river. With the get out round the corner everyone seemed relived to call it a day after a long course of paddling in the French alps.(ahhh).

 

Kurt Toulson     More Photos………

 

29/07/12 Lower Durance (The Sunshine Run) - Day 9 Sunday

We set off from St. Clement in three groups. I was with my dad, Keith, Lucy, Cathy & Stuart.  Unfortunately the river was quite low compared to previous years but there were still a good few waves.  In hardly anytime at all we arrived at the seal launch place.  I and a few others got out to jump into the river from a small river cliff 3 times; it was fun but the glacial water was a bit of a shock when I went under.

 

At last we arrived above the Rabioux Wave and I was pressured by Keith to give the wave a go.  I agreed to run it but with repercussions if I didn't make it….. I had the right line coming up to the wave but I think I paddled too much or too little because as I hit the lip of the wave I capsized...thus earning myself 10€.  Well that was the bright side.

 

After a short crêpe break for me and a play on the Rabioux wave for the others we set off again. I really like the run down to Embrun because the waves are big and bouncy which is great fun.  It was a little tiring towards the end as my legs were going numb and my back was hurting but I tried more to focus on paddling rather than the pain :p

 

We arrived at the get-out below Embrun bridge and it smelt like dead fish but other than that I was happy to get out.

 

Over all I like The Sunshine Run but I think next time I do it I'll skip the Rabioux Wave.....

 

Emily and Mark Benson     More Photos………

 

29/07/12 The Gyronde - Day 9 Sunday

 

The afternoon trip for day nine was the Gyronde, to run this river the paddlers split into two groups according to paddling experience. The more experience paddlers get in was nearer the top of the river and the less experienced paddlers waited further down the river by the toilet block for the experienced paddlers to run the top section.  The groups for the rest of the river had been determined before paddling commenced, therefore once the paddlers were reunited again they split into two groups of mixed paddling experience.  After a successful morning paddling, I was beginning to feel more confident with the basic paddling strokes and this narrow river with fast flowing water was the perfect opportunity to practice.

 

This middle section of the river had a rock garden therefore I found using stern rudder really useful to weave between the boulders.  After passing through several of these rock gardens we came upon a weir, were we promptly portaged to inspect this feature.  The conditions were relatively difficult with lots boulders visible due to low water flow therefore it was decided that only the more experienced paddlers should run this feature, the less experienced paddlers had a very short portage before another easy get in. 

 

Soon after the Gyronde was completed and we came upon the transition into the campsite Slalom course, having never run this slalom I was feeling slightly apprehensive.  However, after lots of words of encouragement from the rest of the group I found myself following Keith’s line down the course.  Having mastered the first top two waves I was beginning to believe I was going to have a successful run, but unfortunately the last wave hit my kayak side on and I lost balance and took a swim.  With the fast flowing water and few eddies I found it difficult to swim out of the flow.  However, somehow I managed to swim the side and walked down the side of the course were I met all of the other paddlers at the end. 

 

Overall I had a really enjoyable day paddling.

 

Kathy Wilson     More Photos………

 

 

30/07/12 Upper Ubaye - Day 10 Monday

The day after the night before!!!

The previous evening the team had decided we should have a group meal in the old town of Brianson, we had split in two in order to get a table and both groups had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

 

So it was decided in order for certain members to recover, a late start would be in order…….at 08.00 the convoy departed the campsite.  Although doing her best to smile Helen was feeling the effects….we feel your pain, we feel your pain!!

 

When we finally arrived at the put in the sun was blazing and spirits were high. Having split into three teams myself, Kurt, Sarah, Mark, Tony and leading us in his Gok wan shades, Roy!!!   The first task was to descend a 6 meter shale bank with boats having to be lowered on ropes and slings.

 

River levels being low it was a bumpy ride on a gentle gradient with mainly gravel banks through pine forests.   As the morning wore on and headaches cleared, we arrived in the outskirts of Jausiers, our take out and lunch stop.

       

 

Stuart Toulson            More Photos………

 

 

30/07/12 Ubaye Race Course - Day 10 Monday

We arrived at the Get in of the race course around 1pm for our second attempt of the river. Everyone was ready to begin the adventure spot on 2pm; Our group Myself, Stu, Mark, Tony and Sarah. We were lead down the river by Roy (who did a very good job until he jinxed us by creating the team name “The no swimmers” and a minute later half the group went for dip.

 

As we reached the eddy at the bottom of the rapid and getting the swimmers back in their boats, Andy’s  group came storming around the corner after running the line of the ‘Germans’. Andy’s leadership skills were starting to get ‘reckless’ (as quoted by Roy). The next feature we reached was a jump in, were paul went all out to show some of his skills when it comes to jumping off a rocks and won the diving competition with a front summersault scoring a ten from Andy.

 

 

   Kurt Toulson            More Photos………

 

1/08/12 August 2012 Newsletter Published
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