News items or reports on club activities should be sent to email@example.com
42 competitors had entered this
In the end the race had to be held in Liverpool Docks. This proved the correct course of action as winds topped 40 knots from the SW at 1.00pm
We had a course around two buoys we travelled the full length of the docks, 1 lap to simulate the distance for the Little Eye Race (4km) and 2 laps for the Hilbre Race (8km).
It was interesting to see washing hanging (surfing the bow wave of a competitor) in sea kayaks. The event proved very successful and some even talked of a similar event in the docks for everyone perhaps next year.
This year, club member Mike Bell, made 5 fantastic trophies
for the winners of each category.
He also makes fantastic carbon paddles including the Formby Finger (a
Sunday 30th September 2012 Run in Liverpool Docks because of Gale force winds
Full list of all results and times......
Hilbre Race (8km in Docks)
Little Eye Race (4km in Docks)
Paul and Harvey Harwood
1st Lady Kayak
Stephen & Regan Bond
Next Race is Sunday 22nd September 2013 (HW
Liverpool 1:31pm BST 9.3m)
Race Start time 1:00 pm
01/10/12 September Photo of the Month Competition
from the Outdoor
Friends swimming through the rapids at
Runner up Jon Maddock:
“Nathan playing on the Café Wave – Pyranha Paddlefest”
Runner up Jon Maddock : “Camping under the stars” at
Not found your photograph ? – see all the entries for this month………..
30/09/12 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.
White Water Kayak Expedition to the Sayan Mountains, Siberia,
The reception I received from
most people when I first mentioned back in mid 2011 that I fancied going all
the way to
The expedition itself consisted
of a 10 day self-supported kayaking trip down two of the remotest rivers in
The second river was the Biluti
which is a tributary of the Kitoy. The Biluti is a low volume creek that
is revered by Kayakers in
During the expedition I kept a dairy to remind me of the exploits that we got up to. The following is exerts from the dairy describing the trip and how I was feeling at the time. So if any of you are vaguely interested in garlic, fish, tinned beef, vodka or even a bit of white water kayaking, if might be worth a read. I hope you enjoy the account and the photos, Roy McHale.
Friday 10th August.
The eve of the trip sees me
frantically running around getting together the last bits of kit I need and
packing them away ready for the journey. I get to bed late and oversleep but
still manage to get down to
Saturday 11th August 2012.
After around a ten hour flight
plus a two hour wait in
Sunday 12th August 2012
The following morning we were
picked up from the hostel at 9am and go to the lock up where our kayaks had
been stored. There we load our kayaks with the equipment and clothing we are taking
with us and we are also introduced for the first time to the other members of
the expedition. The crew is 10 strong and consists of Tomass Marnics (Latvia),
Xavier (Belgium), Andre (Czech Republic), Vasiliy, Gresha, Max (Russia) and
Myself, Alex, Peter and Andrew from the UK. We load the boats onto a truck which
heads off to the put in while we get some last food supplies and also quite a
number of bottles of Russian Vodka for the trip. Then we set off on a six hour
drive to the put in on the
Monday 13th August 2012.
The following morning the
rations were split out equally between each paddler. Breakfast and evening meals on the trip
were cooked on an open fire but all you got for
Lunch was one Snickers bar per day. After breakfast we began the long first
full day paddle with loaded boats.
At the start of the trip the
Tuesday 14th August. The
The following day the river was joined by a number of tributaries which made it deeper, faster and more interesting and after an hour of paddling we entered the upper canyon and came across the first major rapid of the trip. This was the first rapid we had scouted Tomass explained the line and then ran the rapid successfully. The rapid looked scary but the portage wasn’t nice either so I decided to go for it I capsized quite near the top rolled up somewhere near the middle then capsized again before rolling up at the bottom Alex from Cambridge ran the rapid too and did the same after seeing both Alex and I mess it up Max, Sava and Andrew decided the portage was the better option.
The rest of the canyon had some excellent grade 4 white water rapids which certainly kept you on your toes as we left the upper canyon behind the rapids were mainly large wave trains all the way down to the campsite for the night which was located not far above the upper canyon of the Motkin gorge which is one of the test pieces of the trip. The campsite this night was probably the best we stayed at both for the beautiful scenery and for the fishing. I went down river a few hundred meters to fish and ended up catching 10 fish my tally was added to the rest of the fish which had been caught mainly by the Russians Vasiliy, Gresha and Max and after our main evening meal which was a dish of pasta, garlic and tinned beef we all got stuck in and cleaned and gutted the fish. The larger fish were seasoned with garlic, mayonnaise and pepper and then wrapped in tin foil and roasted in the embers of the fire, the smaller fish were either boiled and made into a soup or salted and left for a few hours before being eaten raw because we had caught quite a substantial amount of fish. Even the livers, stomachs and any fish eggs that were found while gutting the fish were saved cleaned and fried up and served with a sort of homemade coleslaw made from cabbage, mayonnaise and garlic. I know that this fish offal starter sounds disgusting but I must say it was quite nice, much nicer than the fish head delicacy I tried later in the evening. During the whole evening neat Vodka was being passed around freely I think Max was still celebrating his birthday. At one point I’m handed the cup of vodka and some of the raw salted fish I eat the fish then drink the Vodka I suppose it was a bit like a tequila slammer but more fishy.
Wednesday 15th August the Upper Canyon of the Motkin Gorge
A fantastic day paddling on
amazing white water. I started feeling
nervous, probably due to the amount of vodka/fish slammers I’d drank the
night before but ended up really enjoying the run and paddling really well. The river here was fast and high and we were running
the pretty continuous grade 4 rapids through the canyon for most of the day.
Paddling a loaded boat in that type of water is tiring though and by the end of
the run my arms and shoulders were really feeling
it also because a loaded boat is much heavier you need to make technical
decisions about what line you’re going to take a lot earlier than you
would with an empty boat so it’s mentally taxing too. All the rapids on
this section of river we read and run from our kayaks apart from the last which
we got out and inspected as Tomass said it was more difficult than the rest but
to be honest it didn’t look much different than anything we’d been
running all day. There was a definite line that needed taking though and we
watched as Tomass ran it. I ran the rapid smoothly the last drop had a sticky
hole beneath it that I managed to punch through with no major problems apart
from being fishtailed slightly. The next section of river was “Rapid 47
” which is a grade 6 section
and a mandatory 2 kilometre portage it was our first experience of carrying
fully loaded boats on our backs through the forest and it was hard especially
going up the steep hills but I made it ok. That night we camped in between the
upper and lower canyons of the Motkin gorge the setting of the camp was
beautiful and without any light pollution the amount of stars in the clear
night sky was unreal. The vodka had run out so we drank black tea before
getting a reasonably early night. The lack of Vodka and early night was
probably a good thing as the
Thursday 16th August - Lower Canyon Motkin Gorge.
We awoke to rain I got straight
into my dry suit so my clothes didn’t get wet. After a breakfast of beans, tinned meat
and garlic we put on the river and within 50 meters of the campsite we’re
straight into class 4/4+ rapids with no chance of a warm up after 30 minutes or
so of this we eddie out and inspect a major rapid there’s a drop that you
need to run then about 10 meters downstream there is a large stopper that you
need to avoid I’m feeling tired after yesterday’s paddle and
portage and don’t really fancy running it but the portage over the large
slippery rocks would be horrible so I decide to give it ago. I break out of the
eddie and approach the drop I miss time my boof stroke which results in me
capsizing in the churning water below. The powerful water doesn’t make
setting up for the roll easy and the approaching stopper is in my mind so I
pull my deck and swim luckily both me and the boat miss the stopper and end up
in a eddie at the bottom of the rapid where I can empty my boat and sort myself
out. Alex runs the rapid after me and does the same after watching both me and
Alex swim Max,
Since I’ve been home loads of people have asked me did I enjoy the trip and the answer is always a big “YES”. It was an overall amazing experience that someday I would love to be able to do again. If anyone is interested in hearing more about the trip I’ll be doing a talk about it on Monday 10th December at The Liverpool Marina Bar. You can also watch a short film that was made by Tomass called Siberian Summer which shows the rivers that we we’re running click here http://vimeo.com/48600923
25/09/12 Anglesey Weekend
Number 3 Outdoor Alternative, Rhoscolyn
I finished work early and got home for 3:30pm. A quick trip to the local Co-op to get our food for the weekend. Bombed home to throw all our gear in a bag. Ten pairs of underpants, one pair of socks, no deodorant, 4 towels, leaky bottle of shower gel, 14 T-shirts, no trousers, and no coat. Load up van with only two boats this weekend, nearly no paddles, but all our wet gear. One tent, 2 sleeping bags, remembered pillows and duvet this time and we were packed. No. Forgot cooker, gas, pans, and Oh no. I've forgotten to get
As you can tell, this is a boys trip with no help from Kate.
We left home at 4:30pm and set off over the
We got to Outdoor Alternative for 7pm and Daz and Paul W are there to help
We were woken at 5:30am by Karl, Brad, and Keenan. It was cold. Only 2 degrees Celsius but a cooked breakfast and a shower soon sorted that out. We all decided that we were going to
Four Mile bridge is a great spot for learning how to break in and out of moving water. A great place for practicing your rolls and just a good safe place for messing about in boats. A jet of water is forced through a narrow bridge when the tide comes in and when the tide goes out the jet goes the other way creating an almost endless stream of moving water. There are two large lakes each side of the bridge.
Sam, Sam, Mike, John, Kieran, Karl, Brad, Phil, Harvey and I met up and quickly got in our boats and through the shoot of water. It wasn't long until the body boards came out and we were going through the bridge on those. This was followed by swimming through the bridge and just having fun.
here that I had my first accident. I was messing around in my C1 canoe when I
capsized. No big deal I'll just roll up. I must have flexed more than my spray
deck allowed and it peeled off me leaving me hanging out of my boat. Karl was
on me fast with his camera to remind everyone to vote for me for swimmer of the
year. Genuinely, I did not pull my deck but Karl didn't care.
Later, Karl was just coming to the side and he just seemed to fall in. (I dived on his boat, flipped him and held him upside down.) My camera was ready and now I had a picture to remind everyone to vote for Karl.
More swims through the shoot and more messing about with the kids and it was time for lunch.
Keenan, John and Hong Kong Dave were a little scared and decided to go fishing instead.
After lunch we headed down to
It was here that Karl had a little accident of his own. He was just climbing back in his boat after seal launching
The weather was fantastic all day. Sunny, blue sky and no wind at all. The sea was still warm and calm. Frankie and picked a good weekend. We arrived back at the campsite just as the barbeques were being lit. We showered and plonked ourselves 3 inches from the fire. We had a dinner of 8 sausage butties and a 15 portion cake and went to bed.
Paul Harwood More Photos…….
Sea kayak paddle on Saturday Fun In The Sun
After Friday nights socialising I woke on Saturday morning with a banging hangover.
At least the sun was shining and after a Bacon butty and a
couple of coffee’s it was time to go paddling. We made a quick pit stop
The plan was to paddle from Cable bay to
We all landed on a small sandy beach and enjoyed lunch in the glorious sunshine.
It was hard to believe it was September. There haven’t
been too many days like that this year. I’ve since found out that the
word Llanddwyn means
After lunch we set off back with a few of us heading to the near by beach where a decent swell driven surf had been spotted earlier. I arrived there first along with Brian Green who promptly caught a wave and sped rapidly towards the shore. Not to be outdone, I followed suit and was soon charging towards the shore and whooping like a 10 year old. Others soon joined us and the next half hour was just pure fun and a couple of swims LOL.
All too soon we had to head back to
It was going to be climbing on the rocks and crabbing for us today.
It had been another fantastic weekend. We did all three Anglesey weekends this year and
Sea Kayak Rescues - Sunday
The sun rose on Sunday morning to another dry day. People crawled out of their tents looking a little blurry eyed; was this effect of the paddle from Cable Bay to Llanddwyn Island and back again or was it just another excellent Barbeque and a few beers !!!!!
There was a
good turnout at the meet, some went to
Keith and the others started with an equipment talk about waist, deck and snatch tows and the pro and cons of all these. Much discussion centred around whether to be with or without a float at the clip end of the line. The best conclusion was to take them out of the packet and try them on the sea!!! After a little more discussion we decided we would divide up into 3’s and practice tandem tows. We headed out to the old life boat station and this turned out to be a race!!
For the second leg we headed out to Rhoscolyn Beacon finding out all the pros and cons of all the different tows. It was quite lumpy going towards the Beacon so we sheltered behind the outcrops for a little while to regroup. In no time at all the wind had picked up, possibly the top end of a force 4, and the tide was heading to Holyhead at some rate of knots. This proved quite a challenge for some of us and the third leg around the Beacon was cut short – time to get back to the beach through the small overfalls for some lunch.
After some hot tea and coffee and some excellent homemade cake Keith demonstrated an excellent “X” rescue; the only thing was that this was on the sand and not on that wobbly water stuff. We therefore got back onto the water to practice “X” rescues; first in the lee of the island and then in the much rougher water off the bay. Later the group experimented with sling or stirrup rescues, a ladder self rescue, all in capsize with two people in the water rescuing each other and trying out paddle float self-rescues. Everybody had a go at everything !!!
After all this hard work but great fun we all paddled back to the beach with big grins on our faces. A pretty good day by all. Don Brooks More photos………..
Five paddlers arrived on a sunny but not so warm Wednesday evening at Chester Weir. Keith was there, as he always is, and was joined by Gavin, John, Ben and Paul. The water levels weren't too high and all four steps were visible. Last time I was here there were no steps and just two large waves. I had come in my C1 canoe again and was hoping to have a bit more fun. The water felt cold, but decided to have a practice roll to get my bare arms and T-shirt clad body used to the temperature. a large group of about 20 were there from the Scouts so we let them pass and then we descended on to the steps. Gosh my boat is very edgy and the boily water made me feel quite vulnerable on my off side but what am I here for? Some fun. I plopped down the steps and saw that the bottom one was a small hole. I'm going to side surf that one.
I went back up to the top to find Gavin and John had gone down the steps on their heads, but were safely at the bottom practicing ferry gliding with the scouts. Keith was trying to cartwheel and ender his boat. I actually saw Keith capsize. Were my eyes deceiving me? I tried a little messing about in the top pour-over which saw me flipped. Keith T-rescued me, and then I went down to the bottom step and dropped in over the edge sideways for some side surf action. I was happy for a few seconds thinking "Look at me, look how cool and stylish I am in my canoe!" when I let my back end turn into the pour-over and I think I backward looped into oblivion with rocks scraping round my head, my spraydeck peeled off my boat (on its own!) and I swam with style to the side.
We practiced breaking out into the current, and trying to catch the waves, and I practiced my rolling and you know what? It was FUN.
Paul Harwood More Photos………………………
Our new `C` team headed down to Trentham Canoe Club at the
weekend to play their first tournament.
After many training sessions at the docks using our pitch the team
managed to win their first game 4-2 against Pendle Paddlers, lost the next two
We are always looking for new players with plenty of boats, paddles and helmets to use. Just check out the calendar for polo sessions and come and join us.
The “C Team at their First Tournament
4 on 2 Marking!
17/09/12 BCU 4* sea leader training
After thinking and talking about 4* training for months on Saturday I met up with 5 other LCC paddlers and Nick Cunliffe at 9am at Summit to Sea in Valley. The day started with a discussion in the back room of the shop about what we each wanted to gain from weekend.
Following some discussion about the syllabus, the weather and planning we all headed to Treaddur bay to get on the water. No one bought anything in the shop. (I felt a bit bad about that)
Once we had the boats organized and the dry suits on, a short carry from the car park to the slip way saw us on the water. The theme of the day was a journey with lots of role-play and some skills work. Communication was key and Nick facilitated the day in a way that made everyone feel comfortable contributing.
The mornings forecast had been for a westerly 3-4, that was due to swing south westerly and pick up to 5-6, as we made our way around the coast it certainly felt like it was picking up, and conditions were interesting enough to keep you on your toes and induce some feelings of sea sickness (good job I took those travel sickness pills in the morning).
As we moved along the coastline we are all asked to take
turns leading in groups of 3 and think about what leadership skills and
decisions you may need to make. Porth Diana, Raven’s Point, and
Porth-y-garan were well used throughout the day. Over lunch we discussed what
we had learnt that morning and quizzed Nick about his swim
We landed back at Treaddur amazed that it was close to 5pm
as the day had flown by. We camped
overnight and after a meal at the Paddlers Return, I got to see Jim K’s
Next morning after a huddled chat in the back of Nick’s
van looking at the conditions in
Thanks to Brian G, Steve B, Jim K, Pete and Caz for joining me and to Nick for an excellent weekend. If you are interested in any of the courses that Kayak Essentials have offered to LCC drop me an email.
17/09/12 Rhos to the Ormes Head
Perhaps the fact that the golf was cancelled should have been enough to tell me that the wind was strong. Then again, perhaps the gale warnings should have got passed the "I want to paddle!" filter. But regardless of how strong the wind was, there was no way I should have ended up being stopped by the New York Police Department when I was only planning on going around the Ormes - my navigation isn't THAT bad!
The day dawned, bright and breezy as I made my way to Rhos
to meet Fiona for a trip around the Ormes. Plan was to go with the ebb, into
the wind, around both Ormes and finish at
Cars shuttled, we launched on what was a nice day, with a bit of breeze. We made excellent headway to the Little Orme, here we met two SUP boarders who I must admit had me a bit worried as they were so far of shore without PFD's, and then carried on into the first tide race. Wind against tide let to some interesting conditions, but Fiona just powered straight into and through them as if they were not even there! I think she was enjoying herself in the lumpy stuff, and we provided good entertainment for the local cruise boat who brought the tourist thrill seekers over to come and take some photos.
Across Llandudno bay the wind didn't let up, so with there
just being the two us we decided to give the Great Orme a miss and landed for
lunch close to the pier. No problems, a short walk to
Car collected, there was time for a quick brew before heading home. It was then that the trip became more and more curious.
Driving home, I knew that a bridge was closed for repairs.
So, being unsure of the diversion route I carefully followed the diversion
signs - and ran slap bang into New York Police Department road block! Ehhh?
Whats going on? Did I follow
A great day in the lumpy stuff. It's always fun to push the adventure zone when is safe to do so, it makes the comfort zone that bit bigger.
Mike & Fiona + Seamus the driver
Nominations for Paddler of the year, Junior paddler of the year, Volunteer of
the year and swimmer of the year have
just been posted on the website.
Each year the club asks for nominations for our four Awards. Members can vote for each category by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with their vote for each. Awards are then presented at the clubs AGM on second Monday of October – 8th Oct 2012.
Click to see the nominations……….. Please send your votes in NOW
16/09/12 Agenda for AGM 8th October 2012
2012 End of Year Accounts….. Click for More.....
Evening Paddle –
After a day of constant rain and grey skies, the clouds broke up and the rain stopped as we met for a gentle evenings paddle on the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
Only four of us braved the wind, Keith and Phil in their Pyranha`s, Ben in his Perception sit on top and me in my brand spanking new, shiny red, North Shore Atlantic RM. We got on the canal at the Scarisbrick Arms (now called “the Gastro Bar and Grill”) around 6.45pm and headed ........ well I don't know what direction we went in, all I know is we had the wind in our faces! This obviously wasn't going to be a problem for me in my super duper 17 foot sea kayak but I feared how the other three would manage.
Apart from the odd man walking his dog and a man fishing, we had the canal to ourselves and were soon out of earshot of any traffic noise. It soon became apparent that this paddle was more about 'pub spotting' to Keith and Phil than anything else. Before we knew it, Keith told us it was 8pm and so we turned and headed back (probably because he knew there were no more pubs to see rather than the lateness of the hour!).
It was much easier with the wind now behind us, but with
another 20 minutes of paddling left, the light went and we were all so well
prepared that no-one had a torch and so we ended the paddle in complete
darkness. My amazing
A lovely quiet and relaxing paddle until a duck calmly glided out of my way and went straight into the nose of Phil's boat and then underneath it! As it flapped about and screeched a bit, it flew off to Phil's 'Are you FLIPPING blind?' shout. I think it must have been deaf as well because it didn't answer him! But I have never seen such kindness and concern shown by a grown man towards a duck, it was truly heart warming to witness.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening paddle, with good company, in
another beautiful part of the
Nicky C, Phil F, Keith S and Ben James Photos……
PS we headed North towards Burscough (past the Ship Inn and Saracens Head)
14/09/12 Donation to the club from Warrington Dolphins Swimming Club
The club has just received a cheque
from Warrington Dolphins Long Distance Swimming club in appreciation for the
help given by club paddlers to help provide safety cover for their dock swim
event on 4th August.
They were invited for buffet at the Blue Bar afterwards.
Club paddlers were: Chris Turner, Dermot Miller, Peter Massey, Steve Lewtas, Peter Stone and Kirk Williams.
Well done and thank you.
14/09/12 Monday night talk – “Raasay and Rhona Sunny Skyes”
It was great to see so many people interested in sea kayaking there. Pete Thomas took us through the mechanics of a sea kayak trip with everything from logistics to future trips. His candid summary of the team was very interesting. We then viewed many excellent photographs taking us through the journey, campsites and displaying stunning views of the Cuillin of Skye.
Ian Bell then went through what equipment to take on a sea
kayaking trip to
John Pegram then took us on a virtual journey with his short film of the expedition taken with both his waterproof camera and a “GoPro” mounted on the deck.
The club holds talks on paddle sport on every second Monday of
the Month at the
After an early finish it was a quick dash home to collect Keenan (12) and Bradley (8) to make the short journey to Crosby Coastguard Station to meet other LCC paddlers and enjoy the late afternoons surf at the sea. John H was first to arrive and was dressed for action with his body board under his arm ready to go. We were soon running down the beach and jumping into the surf and I felt a little left out as I was the only kayak on the water at that time but soon noticed that walking up the beach was Wayne L with his boat on his shoulder.
"What's the score Karl" he asked.
"See a wave....paddle like crazy....lean back a little...then forward ...and away you go" I said.
"OK mate" and off he went to catch the first monster.
Well his first attempt was a forward 360 loop face first into water followed by a short swim back to the shore as Keenan, Bradley and John couldn't control their laughter as he passed.
In our smaller boats we need to lean back a little as you
catch the wave................
Soon more boats arrived on the water paddled by Steve Rose and Dave D who both enjoyed a good couple of hours in the surf. Steve and Wayne began splashing the children as they passed so Keenan and Bradley decided to retaliate with a rugby tackle on Steve as he tried to exit the water and Bradley chased Wayne, who ran screaming with his boat on his shoulder, up the beach back to the car park then jumped into his car soaking wet and drove away.
A great evenings paddle right on our doorstep.
14/09/12 River Tryweryn – Pyranha Fest 2012
Full report to follow………… Lucy Stuart More Photos……..
09/09/12 Googlegroups Message board and Emails
The club uses googlegroups email system to communicate with
its members – are you getting all the information?
We have now introduced an automatic sign-up page for all the message boards and email groups within the club. If you have changed your email address or want to re-join one of the groups you can now do this yourself by entering your email address. Go to the message board page for more information…….. You will need to use your username and password to prove you are a member.
09/09/12 Club Expedition to
clubs` expedition to
Tom Pogson (opposite) delivered and collected the kayaks in
Pete Thomas, Carole
Thomas, Debbie Hughes, Vicky Howell, Steph Long, Frankie Annan, Keith S,
Kirk Williams and Ian
The flight out and getting to Whittier
Garry, our driver from Go Purple Shuttles
With all the increases in fuel prices the flights seem to have gone up by about £50 each year to around £1100 this year. 5 of us booked flights together leaving from
Wash and showered we went down for coffee and jumped on the Go
Purple bus, now purple after Gary had decided that we needed a bigger van to
get the 9 of us and all our gear and food to Whittier. We just had time to sort some of our
gear before being met by Tom Pogson with the boats. We had plenty of time to pack, re-pack
and launch opposite the Ferry in
Day Two (Saturday) –
Decision Point to
first night camping in the Alaskan wilderness while trying to get used to the 9
hour difference on
Soon after departing our campsite on
Decision Point, we faced an open passage of about 15 kilometres ESE in the
at the northern end of Culross Passage to observe the ritual break of
“elevenses”, a decision was made that the weather was good enough
to head on further and paddle down the exposed eastern side of
Instantly the chase was on and led by Keith who was spinning his paddles like a man possessed, the rest of us did our best to keep up and catch the whales. It was as if they knew of our presence early on and as we headed towards them they swam off in the opposite direction. Without noticing it, we had sped out past the north eastern point of the island and into the wide and exposed sound where the wind and swell had picked up significantly. A few of the team dropped out of the chase and stayed closer to the shore while the rest of us were in hot pursuit. The whales had us on a string, as soon as we got close they headed further offshore until we were reluctantly forced to give up. And so the team was split; six of us far out from the shore while three remained hugging the coast.
Our inshore group looked on in amazement from a distance and I commented that it would be funny if one of the whales surfaced close to them and gave them a surprise. No sooner had the words left my mouth than a couple of whales did exactly that, causing Debbie or Vicky to scream in shock. But the whales meant no harm and just showed signs of inquisitiveness.
Carole and I have seen probably over a hundred whales while sailing but this was certainly a rare and privileged experience. I had never before had such intimate contact with these powerful animals and I’ll never forget this time spent in their company. The whales would probably have let us watch them play for hours but it was time to leave them and head further south towards our campsite for the night. It was raining but none of really cared.
destination was a small isthmus close to
our campsite we glided onto the shingle beach to discover we would not be alone
that evening. There was a couple of tents and smoking embers in a fire. A
chainsaw and a rucksack lay tucked close to a rock. There was no sign of people
but it was obvious that they hadn’t gone far. We discussed whether or not
to stay but it had been a long and tiring day so we decided to set up our tents
and tarp and await the return of the others. While emptying our boats we saw
our first bear of the trip who was swimming the short distance across from
As our stoves roared and cooked our own food, the original occupants returned by boat. They were two families and I greeted them saying that I hoped they didn’t mind us sharing their space for the night. One of the women curled her lip and was clearly put out by our invasion. Realising that we had no intention of moving on, she and the rest of her friends and family accepted us and began to chat. Ian was even invited to share their roaring fire in the rainy evening but by then I was already in my sleeping bag dreaming of whales.
Approximately 38 Kilometres
To read more about the expedition and see the write-up develop go to the major trip reports page at the top of this newsletter or click……..
4/09/12 Conwy Ascent – 25/08/2012
The plan was to paddle from
A quick drive to the get in,
luckily the car park had spaces despite the major golf tournament going on, and
with the northerly wind blowing the flooding tide rapidly upstream, three LCC
paddlers (Mike, Mark and Aid) decided the plan was still good. We launched, a
quick stop for a photo and to help a fisherman whose line had been sucked up a
jet ski, and then it was off on the incoming flood towards the bright lights of
We zoomed towards the town at about 12kph without paddling, being careful to give the moored boats a wide birth, only pausing whilst Aid decided to give some entertainment to the crowds at the Conwy quay. Then it was time to practice break outs, break ins and ferry glides on the strong stream that had set up under the bridge. Mark did really well in his pencil like racing machine!
Play over, we carried on up stream for another 11km, dodging the water-skiers and taking time out to investigate the streams that fill the Conwy. We even managed to spy a kingfisher, its azure coat gleaming on the overcast day.
All too soon it was time to return, fighting the wind that was now in our faces. The calories were being burned! So we put them back with a quick stop to refuel on golden syrup cake and coffee. Aid even decided to do his eco warrior thing, and collected a discarded fishing net to take back.
Back at the bridge we had time for more play in the jet under the bridge, before the final run to the cars.
A great day, and definitely a lot safer than a trip around the Orme. But that will wait for another day.
Mike A, Aid M & Mark More Photos…….
I had had a thought about going to Hilbre, and then 5 min later an email had arrived from Karl suggesting a trip to Hilbre. Perfect, saved me the effort of organising, so cheers Karl!
The day dawned well as we all met at
We set off, Meg being female was multitasking, she had to paddle, be chief seal spotter and had been designated team photographer. That’s a lot to do as well as enjoying her first trip out to Hilbre.
As always, we were paddling against the tide, and whilst the
sea kayaks sliced through the waves with ease, the Spud was like a battering
ram. Riding up each wave and then slamming down to create a wall of spray onto
the front paddlers face. I
don’t blame her for stopping paddling and looking sideways to catch sight
of the numerous seals that were bobbing around. All too soon, or maybe not for Dan, we
reached the Island and decided that rather than head to lunch on the beach we
would brave the tidal race on the back of the
Thoroughly wet, but smiling and still looking for seals, we headed for the beach and lunch.
Refuelled, we launched just as the tide was reaching high
tide, and so decided to go for another trip around the
A great trip and a lesson learnt. If you get to Hilbre but are too tired to face the tide race, stop, have lunch, and as long as you are near to high tide then go around.
Cheers for organising, I have never been twice around the
Mike A More Photos……..
3/09/12 Bala Wild Camp – Aug 2012
“Shush, we ain’t here, you haven’t seen us, and we are most definitely not camping!” It was time for 7 to go on another adventure.
The plan was set, three adults, three opens and four young kids who had to go on their first wild camp. After much humming and haring, we decided that for the first time, we would play it safe and go somewhere local that had options to bale if things didn’t go quite as planned (ie the weather was nasty) – so Bala lake it was.
Next, how to involve the kids and get them into the mood of wild camping on their own. Simple, we gave them a suggested kit list and a blue barrel. Strict orders, thats all you can have for the overnight, you decide what you take – put the essentials in first and any space left over is for luxuries / soft toys etc. So, after much more humming and haring, its great watching kids decide what they actually think is important, we were all packed and set off on our adventure.
It was a lovely summers evening as we launched from Bala’s sailing school. Not a ripple on the lake as we glided up towards the other end, seeking out a place to quietly spend the night – somewhere the warden would not spot us. No where looked suitable, so we headed up the river that fills Bala until we found the perfect spot. Food cooked and ate, tents up and then bed. Fantastic.
Morning was not so fantastic, heavy rain and wind driving into our faces. But despite the weather the kids managed to be up, packed and ready to go that would go down well on an LCC sea kayaking trip. Even Keith would not have been complaining!
Everyone paddled hard, but we got to the put in, dried
off and were just putting the last boat on the roof at about 9.30am when the
Then it was off to the Tryweryn to greet the LCC members who were coming out to play.
A great paddle and a great wild camp – but you have to be careful, you never know when the warden will be around to collect.
Mike et al More Photos………
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