Volume 13 Issue 5

May 2013

May Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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Major Trip Reports.…


29/04/13 April Photo of the Month Competition


Liverpool Canoe Club April Photo Competition Winners

Congratulations to Darren Bohanna for his winning photo:

“Michal Giezgala in Glen Etive, Scottish White Water Trip.”



Runner up submitted by Fiona Wrigg:

“Chris Murphy at Glencoe Ski Resort”


Runner up Keith S :

“Easter Egg Hunt at Junior club“

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

29/04/13 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 website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk 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.

28/04/13 Seven have fun at Hilbre


I’ve been sea kayaking for nearly 4 years but I still hadn’t managed to paddle to Hilbre, despite only living down the road in Chester. So I was delighted that I finally had the opportunity to do the trip with Liverpool Canoe Club – my first trip with the club. I’d met Brian the week previously on a North West Sea Kayakers meet, which was handy as he had ascertained that I wasn’t a ‘muppet’ and I got the go ahead to join the group.


It was a windy day (about Force 4 apparently) and we were soon paddling into some decent waves – this was going to be fun! We lost sight of Brian and Rob in their double sea kayak for a few minutes as they couldn’t resist turning around to have a surf. Once re-grouped we headed towards Hilbre, seeing the odd seal on the way. Dave got stuck into surfing the larger waves formed between Middle Eye and Hilbre in his Delphin, but was disappointed when they soon died away....oh well, time for lunch for anyway.


After lunch in the warm sun and shelter of the beach at Hilbre, Brian /Rob, Dave and myself decided to brave the race around the top end of the island. Dave had switched his Go Pro on so we tried to keep smiling (or grimacing) while heading out into waves that were getting pretty large – Dave later commented that it was the biggest he’d seen it out there. I was getting quite excited – ‘whooping’ when going over the top of one wave, only to let out a girly scream shortly after. I quickly pulled myself together and paddled harder into the waves. Eventually we turned around the top of the island and onto the trickiest part - coping with the large following sea. We all stayed upright and I was relieved to stop paddling so hard when we re-joined Pete, Carol and Nicky part-way down the other side of the island.


 I thought that was the exciting part over, but the return journey was to prove quite eventful. It was surf all the way back and numerous capsizes ensued. At one point there were 3 in the water (Carol, Pete and Dave) behind me, so I paddled back to lend a hand – only to see Nicky go in again further ahead! Most of the capsizes seemed to be in about 2-3ft of water, but getting back in and emptying in the middle of the waves was tricky. I was most impressed with everybody’s rescue skills - Nicky’s self-rescue being particularly effective - which was useful as our leader had disappeared off into the distance in the double (I think the ship-like turning circle of the Aleut 2 had something to with that).


Anyway, we all landed safely after a cracking paddle, one of the most fun paddles I can recall, and retired to a lovely cafe in Hoylake. Thanks to Brian Green for organising and to everybody for being so friendly and entertaining - I’ll be back - supposing you let me after reading this!


Helen Marriott    More photos……

28/04/13 “How to teach the roll” Coaches Seminar held at the Kingsway Pool last Monday

Each quarter the club hosts a coaching seminar for its coaches and paddlers interested in developing their coaching from all around the region.  This time the topic was how to teach the roll.  We had 5 sessions in all.  Session 1 looked at the use of a dry rolling session, developing connectivity and hip flick using a rolling mat.  Session 2 looked at different ways to introduce the roll (Screw roll vs put across or C to C vs extended paddle roll).  Session 3 investigated the varying types of roll and how to demonstrate them. (Pawlata, Screw, Steyr roll, Reverse Screw, Storm roll, Back deck roll, Hand roll, no hands roll, trick rolls)


In session 4 Dave used his bag of tricks to get people to try different paddles – ultimately moving on to a stick or pole to roll from.  We also had single bladed paddles, 3 surf skis and an open canoe to try rolling.  These all required a different technique and were ideal to practise and perfect a roll.


Session 5 looked at the use of the pool for rescue practise.  We had time to look at a standard X rescue and variants (Using playboats or low volume kayaks) and later to try an all in rescue.  We compared the various approaches - getting into a flooded boat with airbags and perform a standard X rescue to using the upturned kayak to empty the boat.


All in all the interaction between our coaches proved invaluable and although short on time, these coaching get together`s provide for an excellent learning and development vehicle for coaches in the region to progress their coaching knowledge.  The next one will be in June.  More Photos…….

Dry rolling in the Cafe

How to teach the roll

Single blades and various craft


Coaches attending:

Stuart Earnshaw,  Daniel Byrne,  Adrian Bell,  Tolly Robinson,  Fiona Hunt,  Rachel Schneiders,  Liam Chambers, Stuart Stobbs (Apache Canoes),  Colin Smith,   John Pegram,  Matthew Pegram,  John Cooke,  Ben Cooke,  Stuart Toulson,  Ruth Edwards,  Mike Alter,  Stuart Conway,  Steve Swallow, Dave Williams,  Andy Peers, Keith S, Dave Reynolds, Steven Bond, Keith Jackson




22/04/13 Sea Kayaking Rescues with Matt @ Kayak Essentials – 21 April 2013

Following on from the excellent Sea Kayaking Rescues and Swim Around Anglesey talk last Monday evening, Matt an LCC member who operates as Kayak Essentials with Nick Cunliffe had kindly offered a free sea kayak rescue session as follow on for any LCC member who was interested. This was not an opportunity to be missed!


So, on a grim Sunday morning, lots of LCC members met at a cold and wet Liverpool Docks, eager to throw themselves into the course – quite literally. Luckily most people had dry – or in my case not quite dry – suits, as Matt got us off to an excellent start by having everyone practice deep water rescues. Sliding the boats across the decks the right way up was a doddle, and all members found the roll onto the back deck and into the boat an easy way out of the water. Top tip, keep centre of gravity low when getting in!


Right, we could get in with assistance, now its time to do it without help. Ian Bell kindly volunteered (twice) to demonstrate a re- entry and roll – Brrrrr! And then it was Matts turn to show us how to capsize, empty and right your boat whilst you are in the water, then scramble onto the back deck and slip into the cockpit. The capsizing was a doddle, the emptying was easy, the scramble was a little tricky but doable once I sorted my PFD out of the way, however riding the boat as if it was a shire horse was positively uncomfortable. Given how easy Matthew Pegram found this task, me thinks its time for the LCC to offer Yoga / Pilates classes and for all paddlers to work on their balance.


A quick brew stop to warm up was immediately followed by a rapid cool down as Keith led us back into the water to practice some extreme polo goal rescues. This involved much coldness, lots of pulling on ropes and a great deal of team work – but we managed to rescue the goals from the bottom of the dock. Thanks to everyone who helped.

It was then back into Sea Kayak Rescue mode, as Matt showed us the best ways to tow fellow paddlers – I was really impressed by the method that utilised a bight in the tow rope – and how to use the tow line as an anchor in various rescue scenarios.


All in all, a fantastic day that finished off with most attendees visiting the bar for a post session warm up and chat, superb!

Thanks to Matt for organising such a great day. And to anyone who paddles on the sea, as a leader or member of a group, I cannot recommend the Sea Kayak rescue DVD enough. It shows not only how you can complete a rescue, but also how a pro active person in the water can make the rescuers job so much easier.


DVD can be bought or downloaded here – www.kayakessentials.co.uk

Future Courses and Events (From Kayak Essentials)

3 Star Training and Assessment 2 days £75
4-5 May and 1-2 June 2013

Essential Sea Kayaking Week – Scottish West Coast combining both an incredible trip with training in either 3 or 4 star 23-28 June 2013 £375

Anglesey Sea Kayak Festival

19-21 October 2013

2-3 days £100 - £150

Storm Gathering Scotland – Oban

9-11 November

2-3 Days £100-£150

Mike Alter
      More Photos……..

22/04/13 National League Division 4 North Canoe Polo Results




 Score Draw

 No Score Draw


 Goals For

 Goals Against

 Goal Difference












White Rose C










Liverpool CC B




















Liverpool CC C










Manchester Wildcatz C










Glanford Warriors










Durham Uni




















Manchester Wildcatz D










Well done to everyone from all teams who have taken part, and a massive congratulations to Singrays who completed the whole season with out loosing a single game, sorry I couldn’t be there at the last tournament to give you your medals.
Thanks to everyone who has helped me out throughout the season.
Scott Gibson


22/04/13 Canoes on the Dee. Carrog to Llangollen. 20th April 2013

The weather was unbelievable; in a good way. 17 degrees, clear, sunny skies and almost no wind. Hundreds of camera wielding tourists all around. They must have heard that Liverpool Canoe Club were sending the most stylish and graceful paddlers out. That's right, the canoes were out.
Nine paddlers including a seven and an eight year old arrived at the festival ground car park in Llangollen on time with six canoes. No one knew what to wear. There was an assortment of shorts, trousers, wetsuits and dungarees. The weather was so good. The plan, the latest version, was stuck to and we all got changed and made our way up to Carrog with the boats. Gail Byrne even came along so that every car was left at the get out. Even the shuttles are done with the grace and style that a canoeist deserves!
Andrew and Keith, Harvey and I, Dan and Megan were all tandems, and Mike, Steve and Steve were all solo. We got on the water by the bridge at Carrog and immediately started to surf the small waves that were there, it was fun from the start as we headed down towards whatever was to come. Small riffles and bumpy sections were separated by lots of flat and occasional waves that we all surfed on. The kids standing up and laughing at the same time. There was a river wide small wave that had five boats on all in a row at one point. It looked really cool seeing such big boats lined up.
We stopped for lunch on a sunny bank where Harvey and Megan were more interested in throwing branches that got bigger and bigger into the water. Keith, being true to himself did not bring any food
and scrounged yet another free meal for himself. After we were refreshed, we set off to paddle more rapids. The problem for me this time though was that I was now the bow paddler and Harvey was in the back. It probably looked as though I wanted to do an ender as the weight difference was so great. I somehow missed the rocks and slipped down a drop. I put my foot down. I had to swap positions. A quick position change and we were back to being safe.
We all managed to get down the last rapid safely except Steve Rose who had a massive wobble but somehow managed to stay the right way up. At Horseshoe falls we got out on the left and made a quick portage to the canal. The group stopped to have a look at Serpents tail { a grade 3 section of the Dee where all the water narrows down a channel on river right with a few bends in the lower tail}, but that will be another trip, hopefully in the coming months. The canal fed us to within 20 yards of our cars in the Eisteddfod Music Festival car park.  Amazing, the best finish to any trip I've ever been on. I will definitely do this trip again.
It would be great to see more canoes on the water. There are plenty at the docks to use on club nights. So get practicing, they really are the most versatile of boat out there and are definitely fun with friends.
Paul Harwood          More photos…….


21/04/13 Back On The Water


Having spent the best part of three months in enforced inactivity while recovering from knee surgery, I was gagging to get paddling again as soon as possible. We were already in Spain to do some annual maintenance on our little sailing boat so what better place to take a weekend off from the chores and enjoy some sun and an opportunity to explore a new area. A good sea kayaking / sailing friend, who lives in Barcelona, drove us up to Cap De Creus national park, which, in the sailing pilot, is described as “the most dangerous headland in eastern Spain” !


The region is in the direct path of the Tramontana, a fierce offshore wind that often develops within minutes and can blow at up to f10 for days. We knew from previous experience how this can happen as last summer we sailed the 600 miles from Barcelona to Corsica and back in some very large seas and winds hitting 40 knots for 24 hours in the region of Bay de Lion, where the Cap De Creus peninsula is situated. The winds are caused by a funnelling effect between the nearby Pyrenees and the Maritime Alps and they spill out for hundreds of miles through the Toulouse Gap into this part of the Mediterranean. Conditions in the area are further complicated by a massive temperature gradient between the mountain tops and the warm sea and even warmer land fringing the coast. It’s not a place to be caught out in a sea kayak but fortunately for us during our visit, although the winds were gusting f5 or so by lunchtime, we found good shelter by hugging the rocky coast.


As is the case with many places in the Med, wild camping is illegal and if you choose to take a risk, your gear and your liberty can be taken if you’re caught. If you’re still inclined to try it then camp, or preferably bivi, in very remote spots well out of season. Land discretely at the end of the day, don’t light any fires and evaporate as the dawn comes up, leaving no trace of you ever having been there. After driving around and exploring the gems of Cap De Creus, we chose to stay a night at an official campsite on the outskirts of El Port de la Salva. Fortunately the season hadn’t really kicked off so the place was very quiet.


Next morning we met with Marc Martin who runs Sea Kayaking Spain and also Sea Kayaking Barcelona, a very pleasant and knowledgeable guy who is Nigel Dennis’s agent in the region and who speaks very good English. He delivered 5 brand new composite boats for us. I think they had just been used a few times during the “V Symposium” that was held only a couple of weeks earlier in nearby Llançà. Marc gave us a mixture of Explorers, and a Romany Surf for Carole and he also supplied decks, paddles, towline etc., all for 40€ / day each. Our friend from Barcelona had his own composite Wilderness Systems Tempest 170, a very nice boat.


We were on the water by 10, a leisurely start I know but we made plenty of use of our hired kit and by the time we had got off again around 4ish, we had done quite a bit. I was chuffed to little mint balls that my knee had survived the experience. Without the “thermal shock” that we know too well in home waters, it was a real pleasure to practice rescues and rolling at various times throughout the day; at least one of which was done for real!


A very pleasant interlude and there’s lots more to do besides kayaking (walking, cycling, diving, kite surfing etc.) so we would be happy to help organise another trip to the region if anyone feels the urge.


Where next? We will probably be kayaking HERE later this summer. For anyone who enjoys paddling in warmer conditions than we’re used to oop north, we’ll let you know how it goes.

Pete T, Carole T, Steve G, Don B (and Steve F from Barcelona who organised the whole thing)  More Photos……



19/04/13 Running Waterfalls Written by Tyler Bradt Kayaking waterfalls

Every waterfall is unique. Running falls with consistent success means tweaking your technique to suit the drop. The strategies outlined here have seen me safely through over 15 drops in excess of 70 feet.

The art of running waterfalls lies in an intimate communication between you and your kayak— having a poised sense of boat angle in freefall. Maintaining boat angle at the point where the waterfall’s lip becomes vertical and you enter freefall is crucial to a successful outcome.

I like to enter freefall with a neutral, nearly straight body position. Depending on how I left the lip, I will adapt my body position and the speed or delay of my tuck to maintain the right amount of boat angle. The sensation is of a balancing act. The goal is to make sure you’re tucked safely to your front deck when you land in the pool below, protecting your body against the force of impact.

The most straightforward drops are those with lips that gradually transition to vertical. Oregon’s 70-foot Metlako Falls is a perfect example of an easy, rolling lip. On falls like Metlako it is actually important to not do too much—the waterfall sets your angle perfectly. Ride down the lip with a neutral body position—using a stern rudder to control side-to-side angle as necessary—and slowly begin to tuck as the waterfall becomes vertical to maintain a good entry angle.

It is usually a very bad idea to run a waterfall when your boat might connect with a rock at the lip. My definition of a shallow lip waterfall is when the river goes over a shelf just deep enough for a kayak. Sahale Falls, another 70-footer in Oregon, extends over a 30-degree shelf for 15 feet then immediately drops to vertical. This waterfall is more difficult because you can’t simply tuck at the lip. To avoid boofing as you fly off the shelf, you must delay or slow your tuck and let the bow drop so you are reaching full tuck as the boat becomes vertical. A strong sense of your boat angle and knowing how your body’s position affects this angle is the crux to running waterfalls of this nature.

Waterfalls with tight lines demand more precise placement and concentration to put you on the correct spot at the lip. My descent of Washington’s 186-foot Palouse Falls had a tricky thread-the-needle line between a pitching hump on the left and a kicker into space on the right. The lip at Palouse was one of the most difficult I have ever run—I lined up with a rudder and held a stationary stern draw to stick the right to left orientation of the lip. Lining up the lip is the most intimidating part of running waterfalls—it is very important to have good points of reference at the lip so you know exactly where you are dropping over. I usually spend more time scouting the lead-in to the lip than the actual drop.

Whether the drop is categorized as deep or shallow lip, rolling or abrupt, your reaction as you begin freefall is critical. Visualization plays a very important role at this stage. Visualize sticking the line, then focus on this image until it is embedded in your mind. When you are running the waterfall there is no space for conscious thought about right or wrong reactions—they must simply happen in immediate response to the present situation.

Visualization is also invaluable when deciding which waterfalls to run. If I cannot visualize myself running a waterfall successfully, I won’t attempt it. My best advice is to start small and work up to larger drops—nothing can replace personal experience.

Tyler Bradt hails from Missoula, Montana, and began kayaking at age six. He enjoys long walks on the beach, wine by candlelight and watching sunsets. [He also holds two waterfall world records]. This article originally appeared in Rapid, Early Summer 2010.

16/04/13 "Safety in a Sea Kayak and Adventure Swimming"  Last nights talk from John, Nick and Matt was something special

Over 50 people turned out to hear about last summers adventures.  Matt opened with two chapters from their recently released DVD on Sea Kayak rescues.  These gave us a taste of the quality of the footage, especially the shots from above when rescuing kayaks near to breaking waves and cliffs.


Sea Kayak Essentials Vol 2. This resource focuses on sea kayak leadership, safety and rescue.   View online clips……..


Matt Giblin is following the talk with a practical session at the docks the following Sunday where he will run through some of the skills discussed in the DVD on the water.  Book your place on the course now……..



Adventure Swimming

Then came previously unseen video of John and Nicks incredible Adventure Swim Challenge.  123km swim around Anglesey over 4 days with kayak support.   This journey is difficult enough in a sea kayak but to swim it!


Welcome to the Anglesey Swim Challenge! John and Nick are aiming to complete 120km of open water swimming over 5 days to raise as much money as possible for 3 immensely deserving charities: SANDS still birth and neonatal death, MacMillan Cancer Support and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute.

Nick Cunliffe is a sea kayak coach with Kayak Essentials, based in North Wales and working with clients through the UK and overseas.  A passionate enthusiast for Anglesey's amazing coastline, Nick is convinced that this swim challenge will be the toughest outdoor adventure of his life!

John Jackson is a Physiotherapist who specialises in Orthopaedics in Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, North Wales.

The pair met over 10 years ago, through their work in the outdoors. Their passion for adventure swimming started around 5 years ago and has found them more and more immersed in the sea. These swimming adventures have not been isolated to the UK; they have also taken it abroad. Anglesey remains their most challenging and exciting playground.

They both wanted to raise money for charities close to their hearts and so was born the idea of the Anglesey Swim Challenge. The total distance of 120km will take them through some of the UK's fastest tidal waters. The boys hope to achieve their goal in 5 days of hard swimming, spending over 8 hours a day in the water.

More monthly talks at the club………..                  More information from Sea Kayak Essentials website………

16/04/13 Thursday night paddling with Karl and Paul in the Bay








Click here to see the YouTube Clip……


15/04/13 Surfing at Crosby. Sunday 14th April 2013
Surprise, surprise, Cilla's seen lots of surf in your eyes. And Our Graham saw a lorra lorra waves at Crosby today.
I think Brian's words of doom must have put a lot of people off the surf today, saying that it would be flatter than the docks. But, 5 brave souls including my 8 year old brave son turned up at Crosby for a
bit of a beating.
The wind was blowing 38mph and gusting at 45mph, it’s always twice what is predicted, and Karl, Michal, John, Harvey and I were dressed and ready for action. Karl, John and Michal entered the water and immediately they were blown to Hightown whilst having fun in the waves. It took them almost 60 minutes to paddle back! I however walked in the water to help Harvey learn the skill of paddle like **** into waves taller than you, learn how to blink and blow the waves out of your nose and face and progress forward into a gale.
Harvey wasn't to impressed by this and when I turned him so he could surf back to shore he was immediately flipped upside down. He banged to signal that he wanted a rescue. I flipped him over and we tried again. Same result. It shocked him how hard this was going to be. Confident Harvey had lost his bottle and so we went to take shelter behind a log. He volunteered to be photographer but instead discovered that anything orange on the beach would smash if you threw it hard enough!
Karl, Michal and John were distant specks near the mouth of the river Alt.
I jumped in my boat and immediately flipped. I forgot I was using the paddle of the Kings and had no left hand side but no need to worry as I rolled and braced myself for the wind. The waves were quite big, higher than my head at times and It was fun to see windsurfers there getting airborne flying tens of feet in the air. it was good and I stayed by Harvey and went back to see if he wanted another go. He said yes.
The waves were smaller now. So he fancied another try. The waves smashing straight in to the face is a feature of playboats and he didn't like it. I turned him round and he surfed back to the beach upside down. He jumped out and said he was done and was going to smash some more bricks.
Karl, Michal and John were nearly back now and had resulted to walking back along the beach.
The waves were hitting the sand bank and were getting quite steep, and the effort it took for me to get to them was immense. I only made 2 really big waves, but I'm sure I was airborne for a moment. Its amazing the feeling it gives just having a couple of good waves. Worth all the effort of battling through the waves and the wind.  More so with a canoe paddle. I can't wait for another surf session.
Oh look, here come Karl, John and Michal now.
Paul Harwood           More Photos………

10/04/13 Membership page(s) and Contact Details updated

08/04/13 Scottish Easter White Water Trip (Scottish Skiing Trip)

Friday – River Garry

Everyone woke early and where raring to go to what could have ended up the only decent river of the trip due to freezing temperatures and low water levels.  We headed in convoy to the river Garry.   This was my second visit as I was on the trip 2 years ago which would have been my first real white water experience.  I remember writing in the write up then ‘I had a great sense of impending doom’.  This time it was a mixture of excitement and butterflies.


We where expecting the car park to be rammed due to the lack of water and where greatly surprised to actually be the first ones there.  A plan was set up and we made are way to the upper get in.   Sophie and Kathy provided bank reassurance as they joined us at the middle bridge.  This was to be my first run of the top section so I was exited and nervous.  I quickly joined Keith’s group and after a short warm up we headed down.  Now I don’t remember much so I’m sure Michael’s account will be more interesting as it was all a bit of a blur.  There were two features at the start which really woke you up; talk about a slap in the face!  As we paddled down the icy water was rammed up your nose and felt like giving your brain a rinse.  We all paddled well and were in high spirits.

We sat at a play wave for a while in the sun and watched the brave or stupid have a play while the rest of the groups caught up.  We then continued down the river.  When you get down something the sense of oh my god I’m alive and that was great is amazing and makes you hungry for more.  By this time everyone was struggling to keep their hands warm but the adrenaline was pumping.  Now after spending all winter at the pool, trying to roll; I at least wanted to attempt one if required and my time had come.  On the last feature before the bridge I think I made the “rookie mistake” of stopping paddling.  This sent me over.  I tried to roll.  It was not quite there but luckily Ian was near by to give me a nudge and a pull.  I just managed to stay in my boat.   Fiona was close behind me and managed to pull off a perfect roll.


The group was buzzing as we got off the river for a bite to each and to regroup.   It turned out to be a really sunny day.  After lunch, Sophie and Kathy joined the teams and we set back off down the river.   The first main feature was something hard.   I remember last time we portaged here but everyone was up for giving it ago this year.  The group all made it down with ease.  Sophie followed Roy, who took an interesting line, and receive a loud cheer as they both made it down safe. 


The next section had to be one of the funniest moments of the trip.  It was a rocky area with boulders just peaking out above the water line but due to the speed of the flow were quite difficult to spot.  Kathy had unfortunately had a falling out with one of them and was out of her boat.  Picture the scene; Kathy sat like “Humpty Dumpty on his wall”, perched on a rock in the middle of the river looking around as the group passed her on either side as she wondered what to do.  After a short while she realised she would have to make a break for it and continued down to the eddy to reunite with her boat.    Sophie had also left her boat and had clambered through the trees down the river bank to appear still smiling from ear to ear at the same spot.


We continued along taking in the lovely Scottish scenery to the end of the river.  Here there was a small drop with a clear tongue to follow, when I went over again I didn’t quite have enough speed and went over into the bubbly waters.  I remembered that Darren had said to try and set up and wait first before rolling.   I took his advice.  It was a great feeling when I popped up to a cheer as I had achieved my first roll ever on moving water!!!


After that was a corner rapid which meant paddling into the wall and allowing the flow to carry you round which was fun and exhilarating to finish the river.   Later a small group heading back to the top for a second run, which ended drama free and seemed in record time.  Another great day on the river.


Thanks everyone.  Sarah Gille  More Photos…..


Saturday – Skiing at Glencoe 

Report to follow…………..

Scott Gibson  More Photos…..



Saturday – River Awe 30/03/13.


The day started with us watching the rest of the group get ready for their first day of skiing on the hem hem, white water kayaking weekend! After the shuffling of kayaks from car to car, we were ready to set off into the crisp, clear, atmosphere of a Scottish morning.  On the sixty minute drive to the get the barrage at the pass of Brander, conversation in the car moved from how we’d all got into kayaking, to other outdoor activities such as climbing, which we would be putting into practice the following day in Spean Gorge.


The expedition started with the first strenuous activity of the day, donning our kit, followed by sliding the 5 kayaks down the 10 meter slope, Kurt at the top, Tom at the bottom and me in the middle, trying – but quite probably failing to be - the slightest bit helpful. Stuart and Ian managed to skilfully avoid this task, by shuttling the cars to the take out. I am glad to say that this was the most scraping that had to be done during our day on the Awe, which had retained a good water flow despite the generally low water levels across Scotland this weekend.


When Stuart and Ian had returned, we were ready to go. After the 3 man job of getting my spray deck on properly, the next hurdle was to avoid a repeat of my eddy swim the day before on the Garry. Disaster successfully averted, things had started well!  After hacking-off the obligatory fisherman we came to the first rapids, Tom and Kurt cruised down these with effortless style and ease as I (with an equally effortless style and ease) bashed into pretty much every visible boulder.  We spent some time taking turns to surf at the bottom of this rapid, before we eventually moved onto the next phase of the river, under the shelter of the impressive and magnificent mountains on either side.  With a great deal of guidance from Stuart, I navigated the next few rapids with minimal scraping and crashing, and no swims.


As we entered a narrower stretch of river we came to a brilliant narrow rapid through which the water flow had picked up pace, ending with a stopper at the bottom. I bravely chose to walk round this, immediately regretting my decision as I plunged my feet in the ice cold water and slipped (again, with effortless style and ease) over the rocks to the bottom, passing Tom and Kurt returning to run the rapid again.  After some ferry gliding practice with tips from Ian, we ploughed on under a variety of bridges in various states of disintegration. As the river began to widen again we came to the final rapids and were spat into the Thames like flat water for the final stretch of river.  Here I began to pontificate about the spectacular views, as everyone else looked forward to the end of the less fun stretch of water and the second run.


A quick, slick and impressive loading of 5 kayaks on to one car, and we returned to the get in. Forcing ourselves to leave the warmth and shelter of the motor, we re- slid the kayaks down the bank and ran the river again.  The repeat journey was similar to the first, except for me manning up and running the narrow rapids instead of walking them, and Tom practicing his open kayaking skills on the final stretch of water. We made it to the take out- again no disasters swims or even near misses, hauled up onto the bank, we were done! Stuart and Ian set off to fetch the second car from the put in.


As the three of us waited, Kurt, Tom and I received some very odd looks from day trippers who had come to admire the panoramic views of Loch Etive only to be greeted by the bizarre sight of us peering out from a storm shelter, hoping every arriving car was Ian and Stuart on their return!


Tired, cold and very happy we returned to Kinlochleven after another successful day!


Paddlers: Stuart Toulson, Kurt Toulson, Ian Gornall, Tom Gornall, Sophie Steventon


Sunday – Skiing at Aonach Mor


Report to follow…………..


Lucy Stuart   More Photos……



Sunday – Spean Gorge


 A different way to spend Easter Sunday, in the Highlands of Scotland. At 8:30am (ish) the intrepid paddlers set out for Spean Bridge. With the sun shining and the tropical temperature of 0.5C at the get in point at Spean Bridge

Shuttle done we split into three groups lead by Ian, Nicky, and Darren. Although the river levels were low Ian did assure every one that there would be enough water to run the gorge, although the grade two paddle down to the gorge would be a bit of a bum scrape and walk, he was right about that.


The first notable feature was the 'Fairy Steps' a straight forward grade 3 series of steps. Some intrepid members ran this more than once.


Moving on down the river through some twisty narrow rapids we came to 'headbanger`. Ian said we would know when we had arrived at the rapid when we saw a shingle beach on river left. It was a bit of surprise to see it some 3 metres above the river. This rapid is a definite portage. After a look at the syphon and the rapid, it was time to get back on to the river by a small seal launch about 1.5m high some opted for the slightly higher about 3-4m. 


We soon arrived at the 'constriction' but with the low levels this meant another portage, this time climbing out of the gorge. A good lesson in team work. Back across a large and yet another portage again the river level making the rapid impassable.


The last rapid in the gorge shaped like an elongated 'S' down a slide, proved to be an good lesson for us all in keeping a clear line of sight. Following Mark and Kurt down I went round the 90 degree left hand corner at bottom only to hit a tree trunk in the main flow and to bounce into a boily eddy next to Kurt. I was soon followed by everybody else with varying degrees of success in passing the obstruction. Stuart helped by lifting boats and paddlers over the tree. After this we had what seemed like a long paddle out on the flat water at the bottom of the gorge.


I can only speak for myself; this was mine and Tom's first trip to Scotland and was a very enjoyable experience. I want to return to paddle this river with a little bit more water.


Thanks to Ian for his expert guidance on the river and to every one else who made this trip a day to remember.


Ian and Tom Gornall     More Photos…..


Monday – River Etive

Another early start and people awoke in various different states some feeling slightly worse than others. As levels were so low there was only one option left the River Etive – Triple Falls and Right Angle Falls. After a slow departure from the bunkhouse we all met at the get in for Triple Falls basically the morning was to be a park and drop. 

First we were up for running Triple Falls.

“You won't be surprised to learn that there are indeed three falls here in this superb rapid. The first two have to be run together (the second may have quite a stopper in anything less than low levels). The third drop is a four metre plunge which really clears the sinuses and gives 'down time' if the river is flowing well....” UK Rivers Guidebook

Levels were so low and the state of tiredness led to the numbers quickly dwindling and only a few remained. Keith, Kurt, Tom, Stu, Cathy, Michal, Darren, Sven, Olivia, Will, Scott and Mark. On bank support and photographers Adam and Ian stood by.

An eager group were already on the water when I arrived after watching the team run it once a decision was made and on with the kit. I will be honest in saying that in the current level triple falls didn’t look like a challenge, as there was only one line down each of the drops. After watching a few people make it look nice and easy apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought that it looked easy as Cathy ran the second drop backwards (was it intentional?) who knows but it did look good.

Next we quickly put the boats on the roof and drove down to Right Angle Falls.

An awkward right angle drop around a rock dog-leg leads into a small eddy on the brink of a long fall. There is much potential for a pin at the right angle and it can be tricky to get out so bank support is essential. A capsize in the eddy is not advisable! The fall itself is the largest and most scary to this point. The drop is about 20 feet and can create what can be a severe boil at the bottom. The unwary can get into quite a bit of bother here and rescues are not overly simple. We had to deal with a swimmer with a dislocated arm here (don't run the fall with arms outstretched!). Boofs are painful here(!)” UK Rivers Guidebook

Half the team headed down as the others did what they do best and faf! After all were ready I headed down and I had seen pictures of the drop before but still in the flesh it is pretty intimidating. This wasn’t to be an issue as all the team styled it and this was my first proper waterfall and I can definitely say it won’t be my last.

Videos from the falls can be found on the LCC Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/liverpoolcanoeclub

Fantastic end to the best LCC trip I have been on.

Thanks  Mark Young    More Photos…..




Chris Murphy, Fiona Wrigg, Kirk Williams, Lucy Stuart, Paul Flaherty, Mark Young, Darren Bohanna, Sven Till, Olivia Rowe, Roy McHale, Adam Carey, Nicky Pyper, Scott Gibson

Michal Geizgala, Keith S, Kathy Wilson, Sarah Gille, Ian Bell, Ian Gornall, Tom Gornall, Stuart Toulson, Kurt Toulson, Will McCormack, Sophie Steventon


08/04/13 The Paddler Magazine is now available FREE online


ThePaddler ezine

April 2013

ThePaddler March 2013 issue 6

March 2013

ThePaddler ezine Jan 13

Feb 2013

ThePaddler ezine Dec 12

January 2013

ThePaddler magazine Nov 12 issue 3

Dec 2012

ThePaddler.co.uk magazine October 2012

Nov 2012

ThePaddler.co.uk magazine issue 1

Oct 2012

07/04/13 The Wyre Light & King Scar

With sunshine and light winds I decided to take a trip out to the old Wyre Lighthouse and on to King Scar.
Low water was at 15.45 so I was on the water for 14.00. With the wind blowing from the North West I was hopeful of a little surf when I arrived at the Light but my hopes were dashed. Even the bow wave from a ferry leaving Heysham was poor! The Wyre Light was designed by Alexander Mitchell and was one of the first screwpile lighthouses. It was Built in 1839 and destroyed by fire in 1948 and has stood derelict ever since. These days it looks to be held together by Barnicles and Bird Poo!

King Scar is thought to be the remains of Portus Setantii, a Port built by the dominant tribe in the area before the Romans arrived!
(A little history for those interested)

After paddling to King Scar and playing about in the small waves I headed for an old Trawler Wreck that is revealed at low water.
By now the tide had turned and it was an easy paddle back to Fleetwood.

Dave Blake   More Photos….

06/04/13 Junior Club Easter Egg Hunt

With the junior club running at Broadgreen Pool this Easter it was decided to run a series of team games for Easter Egg prizes instead of the usual Egg Hunt in the docks.  12 juniors competed in two teams with a series of relays and races in the pool.  The final competition, Jeannette had brought along about 150 multicoloured balls.  These were released into the pool and the juniors had to collect them from their kayaks and return them to the pool end to be counted.

In the end both teams had two wins each so shared the prizes brought by Jeannette and Joanne.  We plan to follow this event up with the Junior club moving outdoors to the dock from the first Tuesday in May through to the last Tuesday in September. 

In addition Peter and Richie are running Youth Development paddling on a Saturday Morning at the docks.   (You need to be dressed for the weather in April but hopefully it will warm up by May).  Parents are welcome at both sessions to either watch or preferably to paddle as well.

Many thanks to Steve, Keith, Mike, Jeannette and Joanne for running the junior sessions.   More Photos….

05/04/13 Liverpools iconic Yellow Duck sinks in Albert Dock

Duckmarine sinks in Liverpool's Albert Dock (photos: Roger O'Doherty)Last Saturday (30th March) Tourists were evacuated from one of Liverpool’s iconic Yellow Duckmarines after it sank in the Albert Dock.

The colourful bus-boat started to slowly sink while full with passengers on Saturday afternoon.

People on board were moved onto a pontoon in accordance with safety procedures. The amphibious vehicle then sank as it was being towed away.. “They got a tow boat to try and pull it onto the slipway but they were going quite quickly and it unhinged.

“The water was up to the level of the windows.” The Yellow Duckmarine is a familiar sight around Liverpool city centre – driving passengers through the heart of city before splashing into the Albert Dock.

Sales manager Paul Furlong praised the crew on board the boat for their professionalism.  He said: “The incident was unfortunate and happened towards the end of the tour.

Read more: Liverpool Echo

05/04/13 Scottish Easter Sea Kayak Trip

John, Brian and Victoria arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning at the Silversands Bay campsite Arisaig. The only plan was to enjoy the Easter holiday paddling and wild camping on Scotland’s west coast.  We woke early after a cold night had breakfast, packed the boats and made plans for the days ahead.  Drawing on Brian’s knowledge of the area and the favourable conditions we decided to cross over to Eigg, wild camp and then on to Rum. Take the ferry to Mallaig and paddle back to Arisaig.

The crossing to Eigg was about 12k there was little wind and a calm sea.  The journey took about two and a half hours and was uneventful except for having to dodge a CalMac ferry two thirds of the way across.  We stopped for a cuppa and then went north hand railing the coastline until we found a suitable place to spend the night.  We stopped at a beach in the Bay of Luig with a strip of flat grass and set up the tents, after a hearty meal we lit a fire and settled down to mull over the days paddle.  Brian was becoming immersed in the local culture and was starting to talk with a Scottish accent.  The temperature dropped after the sun went down and another cold night was spent in our tents.


Easter Sunday on Eigg Vicky had brought chocy eggs, cool.  The wind had picked up force 3 to 4 but it was at our backs and we had a following sea for crossing the sound of Rum.  The sea was choppy and confused but with Brian McGreen looking after us we crossed safely and without incident.  After a short break huddled in a 4 man bothy we carried on to our next camp.  We paddled into Loch Scresort surrounded by common seals and pitched the tents near to Kinloch Village.  After a slap up meal of chicken tika and rice we spent a very pleasant evening drinking beer and chatting in front of a roaring log fire in the great hall of Kinloch Castle.   By now Jock McGreen was conversing quite happily with the locals in their mother tongue although we were having difficulty understanding him. After a bit of exploration of the Village it was only a short paddle to the ferry terminal for the sailing to Mallaig.


The ferry docked at around 6pm and after a 30 min portage to a suitable get in we were off again on a beautiful early evening paddle back to Arisaig. We stayed close to the coastline to avoid the off shore winds and watched the sun setting behind Rum.  Jock McGreen of the clan McGreen’s homing instinct was spot on and we arrived back just after dusk.


Great trip, fantastic scenery and good company.  Thanks to Brian for his organisational and shepherding skills and Vicky for the custard and use of her VW van (got to get me one of those).


Brian is now thankfully back to normal.

John Worswick  More Photos……


04/04/13 Angelsey Paddle

I had to pick up my new boat from Summit to Sea on Anglesey on Friday so it would have been rude not to stay and paddle. I had been hoping for surf but knew there would be little chance of any with the Easterlies. I headed for Borthwen at Rhoscolyn and launched onto a calm sea bathed in brilliant sunshine. Just a shame the easterlies made it dammed cold.   I had a nice paddle to Trearddur Bay and back exploring the caves and gullies along the way and paddling out to Rhoscolyn point on the way back to meet the locals :D

I love the new boat (Delphin 150).   It’s comfy and fits like a glove and turns on a sixpence. I went out again on Saturday when a large swell was rolling in and managed to find a few surf waves Just what I bought it for!

Dave Blake     More Photos……..