Volume 13 Issue 8

August 2013

August Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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29/07/13 Day 08 Sunday – Upper Guisane


Having awoken to another glorious alpine morning, it was welcome news that we would be starting our day paddling the Upper Guisane. Lucy, Mark Young, Theo and I had arrived the previous evening and I for one had not managed to develop my ‘paddling wings’.


The river itself starts at a gentle grade 2 with magnificent mountains on either side.  It has some features to help you get warmed up with a few of us practicing our eddie hoping. Approx 5km in and the first major feature was encountered, S bends. The groups all got out to inspect the 300m rapid and it was decided that we would run S bends in groups of 3. Keith, and Daz positioned themselves mid rapid giving them the best position to take photos and in Darrens case confuse oncoming paddlers with suggested lines!


My group was led by Olivia who, as always, gracefully negotiated the rapid making it look much easier than it was. Olivia was closely followed by our esteemed chair person Fiona who having perfected her roll decided that she would show off with a roll mid rapid to prove to the group that she has indeed left the swimming group of which I am a frequent member.  I followed down some way behind and having no idea what line to take (as there was no one to follow) somehow managed to ignore Darren’s guidance and survive upright. All members of the group successfully negotiated the rapid which was followed by a short lunch break and for some a spot of sun bathing. We then reformed into slightly enlarged groups and made our way to the get out, which is also the start of the Lower section of the river summarised by Stuart; what a great start to a great day.


Sven Till                  More Photos……………..



29/07/13 Day 08 Sunday – Lower Guisane


This was to be the third river section of the day and many tall tales had been overheard during the course of the day.  After a brief wait for the shuttle, we merry band of fellows organised ourselves into Four teams each containing Four paddlers.


We were to be the point team led by Keith, followed by Kurt, Michael then myself.  We left the bank at some speed and rapidly headed downstream, the first obstacle we came across was the tunnel underneath a road bridge, and we had a brief glimpse of Keith as he disappeared into the abyss and then dropped out of view into the turbulent water.  In turn we followed the line into the abyss and eddy hopped down the river.  We soon approached the section we were to portage this looked horrendous, we carried the boats around in time to see some rafts drop down the 30 meter bolder strewn slope.


Heading down stream we soon entered the gorge section, the intensity of the boulders, stoppers, and huge waves grew with each paddle stroke, on one drop as I was last man I saw Kurt bounce around a huge boulder and then capsize.  I knew that I could not follow too close as I could not see around the corner, so I waited a suitable time then set off.    I should not have worried as he had rolled up with ease, however slightly lower down disaster struck; I slid sideways onto a rock and capsized, in the shallow water after taking a number of rock hits I decided to eject.  As the water was shallow I managed to recover my own boat and the team passed back my paddles.


During the faf another two teams passed us and headed down stream, followed shortly by us.


It did not take long for us to catch them up, we saw Sven’s boat pinned mid stream and eddied out just below them to assist if required, Sven had to wade out in the freezing water to attach a line to his boat in order that it could be recovered.  Once Sven was back to the shore his team used a vector pull to remove the stubbornly pinned boat.


On we paddled and gradually the grading dropped to three and the pressure was off, we carried on for another half mile then the welcome site of the get out met us.  “Phew” was the general feeling of most paddlers, immensely enjoyable but scared the crap out of me!!

We changed into dry gear loaded up the trailer and headed back to camp for tea and medals!!


Stuart Toulson                  More Photos……………..


29/07/13 Are you getting all the information on club trips and activities – club messaging system
As well as the website the club uses a number of different media to circulate details of club activities to all its members.  You can add (and remove) your own email address to a number of googlegroups to receive information and posts from members on events, courses and activities. (You do NOT need a google account or email) The main group can be accessed here….


29/07/13 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.  Club Calendar….




Informal trips arranged by club members are circulated by the club`s Googlegroups email system.



28/07/13  Hilbre Island Sunshine Paddle. Saturday 27th July

Present, team leader Pete Thomas and his better half Carol, Pete Dickson, yet another Pete (his surname escapes me) and Steve Lewtas a Hilbre virgin.

As predicted, at 1.00pm at West Kirby sailing club, the weather was hot, with hardly a breath of wind.  The tide was incoming and high water was about 3.15pm.  From where we sat on the slipway, the water was at least 1/2mile out but within 1/2hour it was up to our boats.  With a stirring briefing from Pete T, we were away onto the calm waters of the Dee.  This may not sound exciting to adrenalin junkies but we were out on the water and didn’t have to be wrapped up to keep out an Arctic chill. 

Size does matter, especially when it comes to boats.  I am proud of my 11 foot Robson Waikiki but it is no match for a sea kayak.  Consequently, I had to paddle like fury to keep up with the others sedate pace but true to Pete’s briefing we basically managed to keep in a group.

We set off on a diagonal track against the tide and headed towards a red buoy 3/4mile out.  As we neared it we swung a right passing Little Eye on our starboard.  All the time we were under constant observation by the Island’s sentinels, the Grey Seals.  They would bob up and give us a good looking at.  On occasions they came near the boats.

As we came level with Hilbre, Pete T gave the option to either head for the beach at the south end or go around the north end and pass through the turbulent water that is ever present.  We all took the latter option and braved the choppy seas.  It’s a small stretch of water that on the day wasn’t too bad for the experienced but as a Hilbre virgin, kept me my toes.  I recited the kayaker’s mantra, “keep paddling.”

It took us about an hour and 20 minutes from setting off to land on the beach were we stopped for 30 minutes and enjoyed the sun.

The paddle back was quicker due to a  following swell and we reached the slip way within an hour.

Ship’s loggist, Steve Lewtas



27/07/13 Day 07 Saturday – Upper Durance


I’m very much a fair-weather paddler, and this was my first day on the water since last year, when Keith persuaded me to briefly join him in the Topo down the Rab. I was hoping that things would instinctively come back to me, but sadly I forgot to hold my nose on my first swim (while breaking in to an eddy) and spent the next couple of minutes coughing and splurting as Roy rescued my boat and got me sorted out in time so that the group behind us wouldn’t even notice I’d gone in. I was quite pleased that I’d hung onto my paddles, though.


By the time of my second swim (also on the edge of an eddy! Grrrr…)   I had the presence of mind to pinch my nose, so my recovery was much quicker, with thanks to Keith for grabbing my boat that time.


The third swim was much more spectacular, as Dr Dom and I collided in a stopper in the middle of a rather long and bumpy stretch, which necessitated our two-fold rescue by Keith, Roy, Fiona, Darren and probably others that I wasn’t aware of. Not only did I keep my paddles, but I even kept hold of my boat for a while, of which I was very proud! That is, until I realised (with the aid of some shouted orders from on high) that that really wasn’t going to help me much, and I’d better start swimming to the side instead. I saw a cute toad jumping out of my way as I was dragging myself onto shore that time, so that was nice.


All in all, I’m very pleased to have done my bit to help all those folks polish up their rescue skills. You’re welcome.


Marianne Davey                   More Photos……………..


27/07/13 Day 07 Saturday –Briancon Gorge

The Briancon Gorge had already been paddled by half of the group, the more experienced half, because the General couldn’t remember what it was like. So when we found out it turned out to be okay, we pestered him until we could all do it.  At the get in there was a briefing and we split into 3 groups. This river was quite technical, lots of edging and avoiding rocks. I got pinned a few times but nothing major.


There were a few entertaining parts, the canoe slide at the start being one of them. The General was at the bottom with his camera so I`m sure everyone was giving their best pose as they came over the shoot. I’m avoiding the pictures because I winded myself, so that won’t look too good!  Another exciting part was the weir. I was a bit apprehensive about this, whenever Keith gets out his boat I get a little nervous. After finding out Roy had to roll and I ran it with no hiccups, I was buzzing.  I was also buzzing for Fiona, after being a famous swimmer; she smashed a roll on trickiest part of the river at the bottom of the weir. YOU GO GIRL!! 

We then met the others for the upper Durance and took it easy on out way down. This section was a good introduction for people with less paddling experiences. However, there were a few technical difficulties and challenges for the intermediate paddlers, especially trying to get all the break outs! There were plenty of play waves for people to show off on.  Personally I think David is pushing for 1st place but there is still another week to go.


Olivia Rowe       More Photos……………..

26/07/13 Day 06 Friday – Gyronde


Everyone else was off walking or climbing but to be honest, the main driving factor was that we wanted a lie in. Roy and I headed off at about 11am. This was a proper pioneering mission. RoyBo was born, heading off in to the wilderness without the safety net of General Steer. We dug out a guide book and a map and headed off to the get in. We knew that we had to put in below the town. I forget what it’s called, Levette or something like that.

Luckily we saw a group from Nottingham canoe club pull in to the dirt track for the get on. We pulled in and said hi. I vaguely remembered it from last year. When we got close enough to inspect the river I realised that it was very different to last year. There was much more water, which was expected as this was a general theme this year. I said to Roy ‘’shall we wait for this group and drop down with them’’, to which he replied ‘’f*** that! We have enough faff with the rest of them, this is our time to get on it’’.


With that we quickly got ready and got on. We were straight in to it on the top grade 4 section which consisted of a big boulder garden. We eddy hopped down, catching important eddies as we went round blind corners, inspecting as we went. After a few whoops after the most difficult section we saw the Nottingham group watching us from the bridge. The hardest part was now over, the rest was a maximum of grade 3. We inspected the weir and decided that even though it looked do-able on river right; we would portage it given that it was just the two of us (we can make it if we try). We were buzzing with ourselves as we floated down the easy section, realizing that in our modest opinion – we had smashed it. A proper Alpine adventure and a good inspection to report back to the rest of the group.


Darren Bohanna      



26/07/13 Day 06 Friday –  L`Argentierre La Besse


I fancied a day off paddling. To sleep. To have a walk into the town. To browse the shops, come back to the camp site and sleep. It was really good fun and an exciting day.  


Kurt Toulson     


26/07/13 Day 06 Friday –  Rolling Practise


A day off from running rivers presented a perfect opportunity for rolling practise on the lake.  After a leisurely morning I headed down to the campsite lake and paddled over to the pontoon on the far side.  Feeling a little tentative I decided firstly to capsize and scull to the side after several successful attempts I was feeling a little more confident but not yet ready to go for the roll.  I decided practising low and high braces was a good compromise and again it took me while to warm up but after a while I was executing successful high braces.  Finally, I felt fully prepared to go for a roll however, by this time the pontoon was getting crowded and lots of people on the pontoon with very good intentions attempted rescuing me distracting me from my practising.  Several hours later I was feeling pleased that I was at least attempting to roll on the lake although making the same annoying mistakes as I do in the pool I decided to call it a day and try again another time.


Kathy Wilson     


26/07/13 Day 06 Friday – Via Ferrata de Tournoux

A day off from paddling meant a choice of activities with walking up the glacier Blanc, rolling practice on the lake and sunbathing on offer. However, after already tackling two climbs, a small group decided to explore a new via ferrata. Sarah, Olivia myself joined Fiona who was especially keen having dried off from HER RECENT SWIMS!!! ( told you I would get you back Fi!).

After hiring the gear for those that needed it, we set off through L'Argentière-la-Bessée and headed for the ski resort of Puy St Vincent. After what seemed like an age we finally reached a high alpine meadow and parked up. We were all just a bit terrified once we realised the enormity of the task ahead. Ahead of us towering over the pine forest was the huge cliff face of de Tournoux. Think of "The Wall" from Game Of Thrones without the ice!!

It was slowly dawning on us that the routes we had knocked off so far have been small fry compared to what we were now looking at. With sweaty palms and nervous bladders we trekked through the forest until we found ourselves at the foot of the cliff face. Thankfully two families of English climbers including kids were in the queue ahead and this made us feel happier, but not much. Finally we began our ascent with Sarah, Fiona, and Olivia following me up. Within minutes we had already climbed higher than the clock at L'Argentière and after perhaps half an hour of vertical ascent we reached the first respite in the shape of a grassy ledge. Just pausing long enough to shoot glances of "what the hell are we doing here" we then pressed on up the next vertical face. This was just as long as the last one and just as challenging.

We were now beginning to get used to the dizzying heights and nauseating views from between our feet when you had the bottle to raise your head from the next rung or handhold. However I would like to stress at this point that at no time did any of us ever feel comfortable on this one. It was very scary throughout and not be taken lightly, despite the kids!!

 Eventually we topped out and unclipped from the lines. We walked up to the summit and spent sometime photographing the wide life and listening to the alpine cowbells. It really was "Heidi" country and quite spectacular. Not wanting to hang around too long on the summit, (I have recently read too many Everest disaster books!) we started the descent via a ravine concentrating hard as going down was just as hard as going up. 

At last we touched terra firma and walked back along the forest path to the car. None of us could take our eyes off the cliff face that we had just climbed and as we ate our lunch we were all very quiet except for an occasional burst of hysterical laughter. 

Bring on the next one!!!


Chris Murphy      More Photos……………..

26/07/13 Day 06 Friday – Glacier Blanc


When Keith said the night before our visit to Glacier Blanc that the minibus would leave at 6am, I’m probably not the only one who was abit shocked. So it was with relief that we found out we’d be departing at 7. This bright and breezy start had us (Michael, David, Keith, Anthony, Dom, Michal, Scott, Stuart, Michael) at the Chalet Refuge du pre de Madame Carle 1874m for 8ish. One or two marmots were spotted but they appeared somewhat camera shy, disappearing everytime David tried to photograph one.


We made a good steady start and climbed in and out of the shade for the first hour, reaching the bridge at the foot of the glacial meltwater. A brief rest for the group to catch up and we were off again up to the Refuge du Glacier Blanc, a big sturdy guesthouse at 2542m, serving food and drinks shipped in by helicopter. But some of us continued on up to reach the Glacier itself, climbing another few hundered metres before descending onto the sweeping white expanse that was Glacier Blanc, stretching back to the highest peak in the area Barre des Ecrins standing at 4102m.


After a few pictures on the glacier, which looked entirely surreal due to the fantastic backdrop and our clothing being better suited to a day in Liverpool 1 than to a mountain hike, we headed back down the scree slopes back to the Refuge where we joined the others having their lunch. We indulged in a ‘chocolat chaude’ which when boiled at 2500m turned out despite bubbling to be only warm. Eventually Michal showed up having disappeared further up the mountain to the Refuge des Ecrins at 3172m.


What goes up must come down and so we did, Michal again racing off ahead whilst the rest of us descended at a comfortable pace, stopping for much needed refreshment at the Chalet Refuge, our starting point.


Mike Brockway       More Photos……………..



25/07/13 Day 05 Thursday – Lower Guil to St Clements


Thursday morning at 11:20 Mark Benson, Stuart Toulson, Michael Brockway, Anthony V and myself commenced our journey down the Lower Guil, this was going to be a very long day as we eventually intended to reach Embrun, however our section of the river was very pretty grade 2 down to St Clements.  There were loads of opportunities to trade top tips, gossip and some jokes.  The river was meandering, surrounded by loads of alpine hills and general prettiness. 


We were all very comfortable on the grade and played around in eddies, features and small standing waves.  All too soon we reached St Clements, having played on the slalom site, some playing on the waves, others being quite happy catching eddies and finally we disembarked at St Clements only to be advised that we had to have some throw rope practice and swimmers, before we could open the trailer and gain access to baguettes, cheese and salami type sausages.  Having had a surprisingly enjoyable throw rope training session we eventually had our usual large lunch of assorted French delicacies before setting off on the final leg of our journey at about half 2.


Dom Buckley       More Photos……………..



25/07/13 Day 05 Thursday – St Clement to Embrun


We set off from St Clements after an enjoyable lunch break the group I was in consisted of Fiona, Sarah, Michal, Mike B and Chris Murf. The river Durance is the main river in the region and from St Clement to Embrun it is quite wide with big sweeping bends on each bend there is wave train rapids followed by churning boily sections of water that could catch an unwary paddler out but the group today was solid and no one came a cropper on this “confused water”.


Soon enough the raft put in for the Rab wave came into sight and all the three groups gathered in the eddy above the drop. Me, kieth Darren Bo and Michal went down first to provide safety cover for the rest of the group followed by David Brockway and Chris Murf, David helped with safety whilst Chris filmed the rest of the group running the rapid.


This is the 3rd year on the run I’ve been on the Summer France trip and this was by far the funniest Rab Wave descent that I have witnessed each paddler in turn picked their own line down the rapid some opting for the left some the middle and some took the easy route down the right (Gibbo). Of those who descended, only a handful stayed upright the rest were the victims of some real good carnage that kept the rescuers busy.


Michael Buckley’s line was the winning carnage entry of the day until Stu Toulson’s rodeo performance stole the show. After the fun of the Rab we got back into the three groups and continued all the way down to Ebrun  where we got out at the lake and people swam and sunbathed whilst we waited for the shuttle. 


Roy McHale       More Photos……………..




25/07/13 July Photo of the Month Competition


Liverpool Canoe Club July Photo Competition Winners

Congratulations to Claire Murphy for her winning photo:

“Junior Club Paddle to Chester Weir”



Runner up Jonathan Maddock :

“Frankie’s Birthday Paddle - Soldiers Point to Porth Dafarch”


Runner up Steve Bond :

“Sam I don't mind the pink but who's going to

 paddle the sit on top” – Safety Kayak at Liverpool Triathlon

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

25/07/13 Major dates for events this year – for more detail check the calendar…….

Sat 24-31 Aug     Open Boat Expedition (Scotland) - coordinator Ian Bell

Fri 13-15 Sep       Anglesey 3 - outdoor Alternative - coordinate Frankie Annan

Sun 22  Sep        Club Run Hilbre Island Race and Club BBQ…….

Mon 7-14 Oct        Sea touring - Sweden - Coordinator Frankie Annan

Mon 11 Nov          Reel Paddling Film Festival 2013 hosted by Liverpool Canoe Club




24/07/13 Day 04 Wednesday – Upper Guil


The day started with an early rise and almost everyone on the bus for 9 (me and michael being slightly behind). On the way up to the river we decided to check out the staircase and further on up the triple step which both looked like very rough rides. After dropping the car off at the get out we all went up in the packed out minibus to the get in. We paddled down the river in groups of 4 & 5 with Keith’s group leading the way, Chris’ in the middle and Darren’s a long way back.


However, it wasn’t until later it was found out that Michael had managed to break his paddle on the way down.  This leading him to adopt a canoe style of paddling until he got his hands on Chris’ splits. Then back in Keith’s group there was a roll from myself after coming a cropper on a small shoot and a successful roll from Fiona who was caught out in a day dream about what she was having for tea.  



David Brockway                                           More Photos……………..



24/07/13 Day 04 Wednesday – Château-Queyras


As I approached the get out of the upper Guile I could see Roy and Keith waiting in anticipation for something. Roy had convinced Keith that we should run Château-Queyras and was waiting for reinforcements in the shape of Michal and I. There was no way I was paddling it in the old school rattling M2 which I’d borrowed from Will McCormack so I took Mick Buckley’s Remix for a spin. I heard a shout to say that Keith had got impatient and was setting off so I dodged the rafters to jump on and catch up.


After a quick adjustment of the foot rests we followed Keith straight in to the thick of it. The instruction was to just point forward and enjoy the ride. With the amount of water pumping through the gorge it was about to be one hell of a ride. This was easily the fastest that I have ever been forcedly squirted through a gorge. Fast reactions were needed as the obstacles came thick and fast, one of them came too fast. After being forced upside down after hitting the gorge wall I remember Keith saying ‘’whatever you do you don’t want to swim or get a pin’’. With that I watched the deep turquoise water pass me as I set up and tucked my head in, a quick roll up and to my delight I was still pointing down river and straight back on to the roller coaster. A few twist n turns later Keith came back in to sight as he was sat in the kit and bodies collection eddy with his camera at the ready.


Heart still pumping through my chest Roy and Michal came around the corner both in tact. I was glad to hear that Roy also made a successful roll. We came down the next biggish drop and then completed the relatively easy section before getting out. After dragging our boats up to the bridge Keith says to Michal, ‘’I know I said it was usually grade 3, well that was more like 4+ at that level’’.  This short section was the icing on the cake of an awesome morning on the upper Guil.    


Darren Bohanna                      More Photos……………..



24/07/13 Day 04 Wednesday – Château-Queyras - Via ferrata


Via Ferrata: Foreign-speak for “Life is pain”, so it goes.


After our lovely little paddle on the Upper Guil, some of the group who were tired with life (which by this point was most of us) decided that it would be a laugh to give clambering all over the steep walls of a gorge over a fast flowing river of, if not certain, at least pretty damn likely bodily inconvenience a wee go, as you do. We had our customary wandering around the Château-Queyras gorge first and caught a glimpse of French disciplinary tactics for raising children, as unruly children as young as 6 were just thrown onto the cliff face and made to clamber along with no one paying any heed to the madness of the entire situation.  I was noticeably cacking it even a yard and a half away from the edge of the friendly, safe road and it was clear in my heart that I would be staying as far away from such vertical idiocy as possible.


As it happens, and as those who know me can attest, I’m not a man of strong convictions, so after a bit of cajoling and offers of support from the others I had convinced myself that I reckoned I should give it a go… face your fears and all that, and represent the Buckley name with honour, as I’m sure my father would’ve done, if not for a twinge in his shoulder and a tingling from his common sense preventing him from embracing this shortcut to the end on the journey of life.


But enough of this doom and gloom.  I was going to be alright!  I was sandwiched between Chris and Gibbo (both who have the patience of saints and the enthusiasm of a lycra clad Mr Motivator) who would help me through this, attached by a grown up safety clip to a steel cord, and encouraged off out to meet the cliff face, and my own mortality.  Once started on this there was no going back and I was quickly remembering how wrong the entire situation was.  We were clambering along the side of this monstrosity using handy little metal footholds when they were available, and when they were not we had the fun time of using rocks polished by thousands of footsteps from tourists the world over, and I was doing my best impression of a limpet, stuck to the wall and trembling furiously.  No one around me seemed to be able to grasp the full not-right of this situation, and they chatted along amiably as I whimpered and tried to release my death grip on one piece of rock, or metal, or cord, just to grab onto another one and slowly limp my way across the sides of the wall.

When we reached our first bridge the sadists who created this death-trap thought it would be funny to make us duck under twisted cabled to get onto it, and it was only with the help of my mantra “I don’t like this” and reaching a quiet place in my mind that was free of all heights and where all was flat, that I was able to finally pull myself up onto it with all the grace of an epileptic jellyfish out of water.  Thank the heavens and the dark gods that I was ahead of some of the others, as these monsters got it into their heads that it would be “funny” to start shaking the sodding thing about and bouncing up and down on this rickety bridge.  Even though I was no where near the bridge, and under the laughably relative supposed safety of clinging on to a metal rung so hard that my hand had fixed into some sort of withered claw I almost had a heart attack seeing the bridge wobble and shake and was starting to have serious considerations about dropping from the line into the roiling waters below; maybe the water would just throw me out at the other end?  Maybe it would kill me?  Either way I’d be off this horrible, endless purgatory of pain, misery and iron and that would be a thing of beauty, but before I started to feel my hands moving of their own accord to release me from this torment it was time to move again and we shuffled along once more.


There were 2 types of ‘fixture’ that were sporadically dotted about, the more common foot hold, and the less common, but all the more beautiful for it, handholds.  When these were there it was a gift from the gods as I could happily cling to them and imagine a world where I would never have to let go… but all to often the handholds were conspicuous by their absence and I just basically flung myself against the gorge face weeping softly until we reached firmer ground once more.  Soon enough I was unable to remember a time before the iron-path, and unable to think of a time beyond it, but we just kept moving on, led by Chris and funnelled by Gibbo.  My bone shaking terror started to slightly abate as time went on and although I still in no way enjoyed it, I was beginning to understand how someone, if they weren’t right in the head, might get something which approximated enjoyment from this whole debacle.


Finally, blessedly, we were coming to the end, we unclipped our harnesses from the cord and started a steep, yet no longer climbing, walk around the corner to…. More climbing! Yay.  It was at this point when I realised just how fragile the human soul really is and I honestly felt the urge to just lie down and die there…. But there was beer at the end of this run and it was calling to me.  So I pulled myself up (everyone else was still sunshine and smiles the whole times… the monsters!) and finally dragged my sorry carcass up to the top.  Once I was finally unclipped and away from the poisonous, life sapping, thing… then I started to have fun.  Oh gods, if you’ve never done Via Ferrata you have to, just so you are no longer ignorant of the sheer joy life can have when you’re not doing it.

I’ll never take sitting on the couch watching TV on firm ground for granted again.  Thank you Via Ferrata for teaching me about myself, for now I know my place is safely on the ground.


Mike Buckley                                    More Photos……………..


23/07/13 Day 03 Tuesday – St Clement to Rabioux Wave

Slalom course!!! One of the things I really enjoy! Part of a river modified by men and created for canoe/kayak slalom competitions. Safe with lots of eddies, rapids ... etc. Going through it on your way you can see a few gates. Commonly occupied by slalom kayakers, really skilled paddlers who easy deal with all obstacles, rapids, and aiming into gates.  Always when I have a chance to paddle on any slalom course I have opportunity build up my confidence, skills ... and sometimes I happen to swim! ... but obviously there is a reason behind it (I'll be back to this subject in a moment).


Today we spent few hours playing on waves mainly surfing but unfortunately just some of us had courage to go into monsters rapids and practise our abilities. Others were losing the opportunity to practise in a friendly environment of the river. Why?


Almost everyone who goes on river 3+ and there is no issue with it! But when you have a chance to practise before entering a wild environment like this.  Just a few of us really are active and not afraid to try what they can do ... others like Gibbo watching all LCC kayakers and make laughter when they swim. I swam ok... ok ... but there was a fish and I wanted to look at it closer and tried to catch it ... and I had to be unattached from my kayak ... and pulled my spraydeck ... and when my head appeared there was a huge cheering? I had no fish to prove I was catching fish.


Later the Rabioux wave!!!   There's nothing to say. If you there you love it! You are battered, washed ... it's great! The possibility of  losing expensive equipment ... paddles, kayaks! ... and shake!   But today we had a new champion Roy! Surfing in it!


Michal Giezgala    More Photos……………..

23/07/13  Sea Kayaking Weekend - Church Bay to Carmel Head & Return Sunday July 21st July

Following a great day on Saturday going round the Stacks and playing in Penrhyn Mawer, we were all looking forward to a trip to the Skerries on Sunday.

After meeting up with the Sunday only team at Summit To Sea, we arrived at Church Bay in the nick of time to secure parking. While unloading the boats, Kev and Jill from North West Sea Kayakers arrived with their open boat on their roof rack. They had just been round to Cemlyn and reported that the wind was blowing north easterly with plenty of white caps. Too unpleasant  for them to  put in at Cemlyn so they had come round to Church Bay  for a bit of shelter. With Kev and Jill both being experienced paddlers, we rethought our own plans and Brian, our 4* leader, opted for a bit of rock and cave hopping round to Carmel Head, have a play in the overfalls and return.

We launched in calm seas and sunshine and enjoyed a paddle around this bit of coast which many of our group hadn’t explored before. Kev and Jill giving an expert show of how to rock hop in an open canoe.

We landed for lunch and waited patiently for Frankie to finish her savouries. I couldn’t wait for the ginger cake tin to be opened. She had spent an evening baking during the week and invited us all to celebrate her birthday. It was as good as expected, the best ginger cake ever, and then an extra treat, Chris produced a banana cake, delicious!

We would catch glimpses of the Skerries in the sunshine, looking close and enticing and think, “if only”, but common sense told us the wind was just around the corner, and so it was.  

As we pushed our noses out round Carmel Head and paddled into the overfalls for a play the wind hit us. It would have been a hard paddle out with the wind constantly on our quarter, a fight to keep on track, and ultimately,maybe, missing the island altogether.

It will still be there for another day Frankie. You’ll get your chance.

We returned to Church Bay and Kev set the open boat up for a sail. It was already fitted with massive buoyancy bags and high volume bilge pumps and before too long, Kev had rigged a mast and sail, a pair of sponsons and a rudder and lee board. Pete and Jill sailed it around the bay while Kev and I watched how they got on. The rest of the team had tea and chips at the nearby cafe. As we missed out on this, before hitting the road home, Kev, Jill, Pete, Frankie and I went for a thirst quenching drink at the pub below the Church Spire. It looked closed at first but on further investigation we found a lovely bar with a great terrace with fantastic views over Holyhead Bay.

A good end to a great weekend, long may the sunshine continue.

Kathy, Zoe, Frankie, Jon, Curly, Andy, Phil, Martin, Brian & Kirk, Chris and Sam, Kev & Jill, Pete & Caz

Some pictures HERE  More Photos……………..

Frankie, thank you for providing a wonderful birthday picnic and on your own birthday too. The cake was very sticky and tasty, just the way I like them yum yum. A pleasure to meet new faces, Kathy, Zoe,  Brian & Kirk  I must also pass on my than. s to Brian for leading us around the stacks. Also not forgetting Pete & Caz, Curly, Ian and Nicki for the company too.   Andy     



23/07/13  Sea Kayaking Weekend - Soldiers Point to Porth Dafarch & return 20/7/13


Eleven sea kayakers headed off from Soldiers Point by Holyhead harbour in blazing heat. Some discussed whether it would be better to face the fearsome tide race at Penrhyn Mawr wearing drysuits, but it would have been impossible in the temperatures we had on Saturday. Brian started us off with a thorough briefing, clearly taking the club’s mentoring concept to heart.  Before long we were at North Stack in a small tide race caused by the ebbing tide that was taking us towards Porth Dafarch.  The waves were fun to play in, but just below the surface were some very dangerous looking rocks. I’ll bring a helmet next time…and maybe a mentor or two!


After a while we headed off around South Stack and rock hopped below the tall cliffs at Gogarth. We had hoped to take advantage of the last of the ebb tide to reach Porth Dafarch, but unfortunately, the tide soon turned and we paddled against it to the beach. Then it was time for lunch and some of Frankie’s home-made cake (yum!), while appreciating the sunshine.


On the return I expected some mountainous seas at Penrhyn Mawr, but it was fairly calm – still good enough for a good play though!  After more rock hopping, we eventually made it back to Soldiers Point. It was a long day, but great fun. 


Thanks again to Frankie for co-ordinating, and to everyone who paddled for making it a very enjoyable trip.     

Jonathan Maddock                              
More Photos……………..




22/07/13 Day 02 Monday – Briancon Gorge


The higher water levels in Alps at the moment has meant that more rivers have come into the play. One of these is the Briancon Gorge on the Upper Durance which is normally paddled in May/June. I have always wanted to paddle this river since seeing the pictures of the paddlers flying down the wooden shoot at the barrage. The gorge is narrow and committing with no way out once you are in there. This coupled with the fact that the view from the bridge at get in at Le Fontenil showed a fast flowing boulder strewn rapid meant that half a dozen paddlers decided to sit this one out.

The rest of us split in to two groups with Keith leading David, Michael Brockway, Michal and Michael Buckley down first. We followed with Stu, Kurt Mark and myself. For the first couple of hundred yards we were pretty much on our own though as we picked our way through the boulders. There wasn't much time to correct your line as they came thick and fast. We collected at the bottom of the rapid and prepared for the wooden shoot taking care to stay away from the siphon on river left. This was a bit unnerving as you had to run it blind but with the non paddlers on photo duty waving us on we dropped in one by one. The slide didn't disappoint as we shot down and were spat you out into a small pool.

We then entered the gorge proper and as the sides closed in the river twisted left and right. After more boulder gardens we came to a weir and following Keith's directions we bounced through it unharmed with silly grins that we were still wearing as we reached the get out.


Chris Murphy      More Photos……..


22/07/13 Day 02 Monday – Upper Durance

After a quick sunbathe, and practice throwing the throw lines everyone regrouped and we had a quick lunch before the next river.

Some of us recognised the get in but had no recollection of the actual river. Which seems to be the theme at the moment, we know what’s on bits of the rivers but no one can put a name to them. Apart from our human guide book, named Keith.   Anyway we split into smaller groups of 5 or so,  my group consisted of leader Chris, Fiona, Michal, mike and myself. We set of down the fast flowing stream with the sun shining and as usual great scenery.


I had requested to our leader we do some eddying stuff and “surfyness” on our way down. As we approach the rocky sections we soon set up a rotation, as we hopped down the river making use of all the great practice from the upper Tryweryn we had done back home in the UK, with my coach and guide Chris. (thanks for that its defiantly made a big difference on my paddling development this year!)

Soon we arrived as a decent looking wave and the whole group spent a while giving surfing a go. I still cant get my head round what to do on these surf waves but I gave it a bash anyway.


We continued down the river and as the stench got stronger we began to remember that we had been there before. I don’t know what the stink is and I don’t think I want to but as we approached the danger signs for the barrage we knew we where at the end.

An easy eddy out to the left and up the steep hill to the minibus then off to our next adventure…..


Sarah Gille      More Photos……..


22/07/13 Day 02 Monday – Claree

“We’ll just pop up and see if we can run La Claree” decreed Keith as a peel of thunder rippled through the grey cloudscape.  As the river was usually too low in Summer, it was decided by El Presidente, against the repeatedly vocalised wishes of the group, that we’d go give it a gander and see what’s what. 


We had a quick butchers at the get-out and in all fairness it didn’t look too bad… apart from the thunder, the lightning, the drizzle… and the Dutch.  We offered a mad lady, who seemed to be the emissary for a group of random Dutchonians, a ride up to where they left their car in the start, what their plan was if no random mini busses filled with scouse kayakers came along we’ve no idea.  The sky had opened and the rain was pouring down like a bastard, we saw people trapped in the rain and our hearts had no sympathy for them.  We laughed at them, we thought there was no harm in what we did.  We were fools.

“just a little bit further” the crazed Dutch lady brayed as we got to the point of our intended get in, and a fair bit more we went.. till finally, at last, we reached the top of what we were assured was just a happy little grade 2 river. I don’t know who I hate more, Keith for assuring us, or us for believing him, the poor innocent naïve children that we were…


The river started off fine and dandy…  it was big and bouncy and fully of life; we thought we were playing with it.  It was playing with us, toying with us and we had no clue whatsoever!   The first portage happened, a fallen tree we could happily paddle past, we got out, walked our boats along and then got back in.  We hadn’t respected the river, and so now the river stopped respecting us.  That’s when things started to turn nasty.  A tree rested full along the entire horizontal length of the river, with its leaves and twigs acting as a sort of emo fringe, we paddled straight through it and the river caught its first taste of man flesh! Or Kathy flesh at least as an errant twig lashed out at her face, marring her sunny countenance with a gash, a battle scar she may very well carry for the rest of her days.  The river had tasted of us, and it wanted more.

Next it sent the flies, hordes of them, each with a taste for good honest earthy English (or thereabouts) blood, being as French blood is renowned for being overly rich and stodgy, our honest “salt of the earth” blood was refreshing to the poor blighters, yet they asked too much, and took even more.  After the flies, and after Michal had outted himself as a Fly-sympathiser (if there’s one thing I hate more than those damn shadow black winged monsters…), the trees themselves started coming after us, I myself paddled under a supine branch and turned to corner to see such desolation, as kayaks were pinned under bundles of log jam, united in their cause to bring us down, I couldn’t help but pity the poor bastards who had been taken, and so I wept a tear for Kathy and Pops as I knew they were gone and there was no point even starting a rescue.  Then I saw them on the beach.  So startled was I that I was unaware of the branches sneaking up to the side of me, which grabbed on tight and attempted to hold me under the water.  I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say if it was anyone else they’d’ve left this valley of tears and joined the river people down below, but my rigorous military-esque training kicked in and I acted on ingrained instinct as I heroically popped my deck and bravely swam the treacherous half yard to the shore.  Anyone else would have done the same, had they my mettle, skill and quiet, stoic modesty.


We’d taken injuries from the flies, and the trees, with the thunder beating down on us… but next the river sent the very earth itself against us!  A landslide turned the water silty and dingy, but little did the river know we were from England!  Such poor water quality could only make us think of home, and that thought spurred us on until finally we reached the get out.


We made it.  We were out.  That was the end and thank the gods of above and below for it… only it wasn’t.  What thunder, plagues of insects, misanthropic tree ants and a landslide couldn’t do, hypothermia set out to finish.  The Dutch tribe were still there, as apparently the landslide from previously had blocked the roads off, although I suppose they had no way of knowing we hadn’t ritualistically killed their companion and wore her face down the river.  We were cut off from our minibus.  We were cut off from our way home.  So we did the only thing we could!  Nobly we swore at Keith and set him off on his way on his little bike with our curses and remonstrations ringing in his ears, solely for encouragement of course.


After half an hour or so, our cloggy lowlander finally returned, and whilst we might have wondered about her not offering the same lift to Keith as he did to her our questions and suspicions of her character were swiftly dismissed by her performing an impromptu rendition of the mildly erotic dance of the seven tea towels, her aged and desiccated mammaries swaying frenetically in the midst of her passionate undulations.  Soon enough she was joined by one of her gentleman friends and our eyes were treated to a disgusting double Dutch dance of deviancy the likes of which will stay with us forevermore, whenever we close our eyes that sagging grey flesh will be with us, whispering to us in the night.  I can only assume it was some sort of invitation, as when we rebuked it they packed and left with nary a by your leave or even a cheeky little wink as the windmill loving decrepit minx passed us by, dreaming of cheeses and dams…


People had started to hallucinate, with Chris trying to convince himself he was a reflection of Kurt after offering himself around to anyone who would have him, plying his trade under the guise of “sharing body heat”.  The rest of us started to group up into alliances and eye up which would be the first of us who we would volunteer to sacrifice themselves to feed the ravenous hunger of the tribe.  It was a dark time, we knew we were no longer innocent, we knew just what we would do to survive, and it wasn’t pretty.  Finally, near an hour and a half after he abandoned us by the river bank, keith had a moment of conscience and turned up in the minibus.  We’d made it, we were free.


Given that it was too late to go to the supermarket now, we decided we needed a meal of quality to match the day we had, and so we went to MacDonald’s and sobbed into our cardboard burgers before going home to drown our sorrows in cheap wine and attempt to forget what we had seen, and what we knew we would do, if we had to.


I’d say god help us all; but now we know, God won’t help us. God can’t help us.  God is dead.


Mike Buckley      More Photos……..



21/07/13 Alps 2013 based at the Slalom course at L'Argentière-la-Bessée


This year we had a nearly new Ford Transit minibus and the usual box trailer for the kayaks.  The journey down was uneventful and unusually quiet in the minibus as most of us were veterans and we all tried to get as much sleep as possible as we were driving overnight.  We caught the Channel Tunnel train on time (12:50 check in) and made L'Argentière-la-Bessée (campsite) for around 4:00pm.


Later Chris Murphy arrived and set up his massive tent (his family were joining him for the second week by flying in to Paris and then catching the train down.  Mark Benson and Marianne Davey arrived later after touring down through Belgium and Switzerland.


The full team would consist of: Keith S, Fiona Wrigg, Sarah Gille, Mike Buckley, Dom Buckley, Michal Giezgala, Kurt Toulson, Stuart Toulson, Michael Brockway, David Brockway, Scott Gibson, Anthony Vaccaro, Kathy Wilson, Mark Benson, Marianne Davey, Chris Murphy, Claire Murphy, Ollie Murphy, Charlie Murphy, Darren Bohanna, Roy McHale, Olivia Rowe, Mark Young, Lucy Stuart, Theo Gaussen, Sven Till.


More information from our clubs trips page………


Day 01 Sunday – Slalom Course

The day started well, brilliant weather, brilliant water.  It looked like it would be a great paddle, but as soon as I got on the river it all went wrong. As I broke in to the fast flowing river I caught an edge which sent me over, my first attempt at a roll was not good at all, I hadn’t set up correctly and ended up only just managing to get a small breath before I plunged back into the freezing water.  My second roll was a complete success; however, the place where I ended up rolling up was not.  It was just before the next rapid which then threw me back over.  At this point I was tired, cold and just wanted out of my boat so I decided it would be the best idea to pull my deck and swim the whole of the racecourse section.


This I can assure you is not something I would advise.  Getting shot up as you go over the rapids and waves; managing to grab half a breath to then be plunged back under the water taking gulps of water in the process. By the time I finally got to the eddy at the end of the course I felt like I had done a days paddling were in fact I had done about ten meters of it. The rest of the day was brilliant thanks to the guys who rescued my boat and paddle, No more swims that day for me.


Scott Gibson (Gibbo)      More Photos……..


Day 01 Sunday – Middle Durance

Today’s paddle started from our campsite down to St Clement some of the group started from the top of the slalom course at the camp site.  Having not paddled a river since the Alps last year I started from the bottom of the slalom course to ease my way back into things to save a swim in other words.


The Durance is a very familiar river for me and one of my favourites having paddled this river many times over the past five years.  Today the river was at a higher level than most of us had seen before so a little more care was needed; there was a swim or two but nothing major.


I seem to notice a few more boils and trees washed into the river than usual but other than that it was a nice way to way to get back into the swing of it - fantastic to be back in the Alps.


Antony Vaccaro                         More Photos……..





Day 01 Sunday – Via Ferrata – Clock Face


Sarah, Chris, Gibbo, Michal, Mike and I decided to have a go at some extra curricular activities this evening! We decided to have a go at Via Ferrata. Chris, Michal and Mike are already experts but Sarah, me and Gibbo were first timers! Chris and Michal went first to show us how it’s done. At this point it looked fairly easy and none of us were worried! Me and Gibbo were up next.


After strapping into our harness’s we were off. I have to be honest and say I totally cacked myself and nearly stopped half way up, but I regrouped, pulled myself together and ‘manned’ up! I did have a painful moment went I kneeled on the huge lump and bruise I have on my leg from when I rescued Chris’s boat when he swam on the slalom course. We got to the top in no time, after a few hairy moments. We then got lost trying to find the others and I fell over (no surprise there!) Sarah and Mike were next. They flew up like actual mountain goats!! I have to say, Sarah is nails!! Via Ferrata is officially mint!!!!!


Chairman Mao xx


Fiona W                          More Photos……..



19/07/13 Cross Mersey Swim Last Sunday was well supported with safety kayakers.


Start of the 2013 Cross Mersey Swim Sunday 14th July


Eighty Six swimmers took part in this year`s Across Mersey Swim from The Cockle Hole Dock across to Monks Ferry the distance of 1.1 mile,

Alan Wolfarth finished in 1st Place for the third year running.   More photos……….







15/07/13 The Shetland Bus - Attempting the first Shetland to Norway crossing of the North Sea 388 KThe Guysilometers


Patrick Winterton and Olly Hicks , both seasoned adventurers take on their toughest paddling challenge to date as they attempt to make the first recorded kayak crossing from  Scotland to Norway.  They will follow in the wake of the Shetland Bus heroes from WW2. Norwegian fishermen who made repeated crossings of the North Sea in the worst conditions to ferry arms and agents into Norway and take refugees out.

Their journey starts as soon as the weather is kind enough from mid-July onwards and will celebrate the seafaring skills and survival capabilities of the Norwegians and remember those who perished on the Shetland Bus operations.  


They aim to raise in excess of £5000 for the RNLI and The Make a Wish Foundation.  We don’t need to tell anyone that three nights in a kayak on the North Sea in a double sea kayak won’t be much fun. We hope you’ll make our misery worthwhile and help us help them. Many thanks.


Track their progress…..

15/07/13 The Junior Club trip to Chester Weir

We all met up at Sandy Lane car park at around 10 and go into the water around 10:30 after first soaking ourselves in sun tan factor 50 anticipating the great day ahead. The kids formed a raft and warmed up with a few Mexican waves before we set of down stream river right towards Chester, the kids did well and kept together as a group. We stopped 2 to 3 times for a quick breather and enjoyed the other traffic on the river, including a practice rescue session going on river left. Once we got down to the weir the kids all got excited and couldn't wait to be first down, once it had been recced as safe and an adult was in place on all drops the 13 little kids and 20 plus big kids all went down safe. Most kids climbed out and ran it again, some 5 or more times before we finished with a swim down it, this was the first time for some and the excitement was obvious. Then it was time to head back up stream, again a nice steady pace and good way to end a great days paddling.  Mark Bradley

The paddle down was a bit boring but when we got to the weir it was worth it. This was my first time down the weir and it was very exciting and fun. Getting covered in water from the splash when I dropped down was fun. I did it 5 times and then swam it.  The swim was cold but a good laugh. Dean Bradley aged 14.


Today is 14th July 2013, Liverpool Canoe Club Juniors went on River Dee from Sandy Lane to Chester Weir. 


There were thirteen children and about thirty five people in total. When we got to the weir, we all lined up and waited our turn. We all went down the three drops one by one; I thought this as the best bit of the trip because we got wet. When I got to the bottom of the weir one of the adults stepped out of the boats onto the muddy beach and got stuck. I decided not to follow her and go the safer way. 


Me, Regan, Rhys and Will swam down the weir, it was fun. Rhys lost his shoe. I think this was the best trip and I hope we do it again in the future.  Ollie Murphy aged 9


I've conquered the weir and had an amazing time doing it. We paddled a short distance to the weir and we went on the weir. It was really fun especially the moment when you go down the little drop and plunge into the pool.  I loved it. I would recommend this to many juniors and adults because it is a first step to white water and fast moving water, it`s a 10/10 for me!  Jack Gille -  junior paddler


I enjoyed the paddle on Sunday 14th of July 2013 to Chester Weir. It was a good introduction to moving water. We met at Sandy lane car park and unloaded boats, spraydecks, paddles and helmets and got on to the water. After paddling downriver for about 10 mins we saw a crab on a dock and everyone stopped to look at it. We carried on and waited at the warning weir sign for everyone to catch up and get together then we crossed over the river to look at the weir. After everyone slid down the weir we got out of our boats and did it again. Then we just swam down the weir without boats which was fun. I loved all of it and would recommend this paddle to everyone who wants to start learning moving water. By Regan Bond -  junior paddler



More photos……..


14/07/13 Safety Cover provided by Liverpool CC at the British Triatlon in Liverpool Saturday 13th July 2013


Many thanks to the 42+ people who helped at Saturdays event. Fortunately there were no serious incidents and our teams performed extremely well.  To help out at these events you need to be of around 2 star improver level and ideally attended a Swim Event Safety Award (SESA course). The club should receive a sizeable donation from providing safety cover at the event (over £2000) and this goes a long way to keeping our running costs down or providing more equipment or subsidised training for our members.


See yourself on Television

The Liverpool event is scheduled to be televised on Sunday 28 July on Channel 4 at 7am.

Also at Bay TV……  or on Youtube…….    


More Photos………



Red Team

Blue Team

Green Team

Purple Team

Orange Team

White Team

Bank Support Team / Lifeguards Saturday 06:00 - 16:00

John Worswick

Keith Steer

Peter McComasky

Dave Reynolds

Steven Bond

Peter Diamond

Martyn Hurley

Richard Quinn

Martin McCoy

Tony Bennett

Michal Giezgala

Dermott Millier

Pete Thomas

Phil Fawcett

Carole Thomas

Gareth Jones

Roy Baxendale

Adam German

Matt Pegram

Richard Crompton

Sarah gille

Adrian emberton

karl winrow

Philip Sexton

Chris Fletcher

Peter Massey

Nicola Corbett

john Pegram

Alan Hazelwood

chris murphy

Nick Mackin

John Mackin

dom buckley

Tony Doyle

Liz Mackenzie

Ian Colwyn

Julie Brookes

Jeannette Bond

Dave Collins

Michael Brockway

Al Grantham

john stephenson





14/07/13 River Dee 13 July 2013 Scorching Hot day & Plenty of Swimming


Great Day on The River Dee level 0.4m low but who cares amazing to swim in 28 degrees.


Great day on the river Dee yesterday - Who needs high water on days like this. Buckets of sun and plenty of swimming - some stopper action - all in all just great fun.  Graham well done mate finally conquered the middle stopper.  Mick great to see you again agree with your comments felt like being 16 again until I get up next day with a bad back.  Simon 100% determination trying to surf vertically.  Chris and Sam - Does he talk playboats in his sleep? glad you enjoyed it see you soon.

John Allerton    Youtube Video…….


12/07/13 The fight for England's rivers: Canoeists call for greater access


In England and Wales less than 4% of the 41,000 miles (68,000km) of rivers have public access. That figure drops to 2% if smaller watercourses less than 3m (10ft) wide are taken into account.

It means the UK's 1.2 million canoeists - according to recent British Canoe Union (BCU) figures - have about 2,800 miles (4,500km) of water to explore once canals and other watercourses are taken into account.

But the vast majority of rivers are inaccessible to the public.

The person who owns the riverbank - the riparian owner - also owns the river bed. Canoeists argue no-one owns the water flowing over the river bed on which they wish to paddle.

Some also argue that a public right of navigation dating back to medieval times still exists.

The Reverend Dr Douglas Caffyn has published a thesis on the subject. He claims the legal position is clear for non-tidal rivers, which have no regulatory authority.

"There was a public right of navigation on all rivers between 1189 and at least 1600, and that right has not been lost. It means there is a right on all usable rivers now," he says.


Read more of the BBC article here………


07/07/13 Anglesey Weekend No.2 – Bodfan Farm – Rhosneigr


 A massive number (over 50 members) turned up for this weekend.  We were based in the slightly hilly but well kept campsite in the centre of Rhosneigr.  There is plenty here for all the family with little shops, sheltered beach, windsurf and kitesurf school.  The weather was fantastic all weekend but a little blowy on Saturday but very sunny.  The temperatures soon cooled off though when the sun went down.  With so many people there was always someone to paddle with and most split down into smaller groups to paddle at various different venues.




Friday - Slacking - Moel Y Don Abermenai, Fort Belan.


Sadly Moel Y Don is not a suitable place for beginning an LCC trip as parking is so limited. But for slacking, it's ideal for a couple of cars and a low water trip.  We launched at 12.15 into a SW 4 with a pleasant wind against tide chop and warm sunshine.


 Lunch was held at Abermenai point with Geoff taking a lunchtime swim. The period around slack water was spent at Fort Belan.  The Fort was built to protect the southern entrance to the Menai strait where it narrows to 300 metres wide. Just a little wider than the Swellies but with over 20 metres depth.


We mooched, (technical term) around Fort Belan and its historically un-gentrified docks then we got on the tidal conveyor belt back to the cars. 


Ade Mould                        More Photos………


Saturday - Bull Bay to Cemlyn


By 9-o-clock on Friday night we arrived at the Bodfan farm campsite wondering where we would find the LCC team. No problem, we rounded a corner to be greeted by a sea of tents, cars and vans, identifiable by boats on the rooftops. We pitched the tent and sat down for a drink and a chat.


The kids were having great fun playing football, with lots of area to play in. As it grew dark the kids were still playing, the games were changing slightly and evolved to hide and seek around midnight, there was still a high level of enjoyment judging by the noise level. Were they ever going to tire! I must have dropped off to sleep as my watch now said 6.00am and the kids were all up raring to go( had they ever gone to bed?).


As there was a little more wind than forecast and the tides were a little awkward, discussion ensured as to a game plan, reckies were made to the beach and it was eventually decided to go to the North Coast. On arriving at Bull Bay it was obvious that other groups had had the same idea, unloading and parking was a bit hectic, and some cars were shuttled to Cemlyn, in case we decided not to paddle back against the tide.


As we were a group of 12, some of who we had never paddled with before, the 4 star leadership trainees put into practice a couple of lessons learned and split the group into 2 with Pete leading one and Dave the other (whether the group wanted to be led was another thing). It was soon obvious that we were all competent paddlers for the conditions and the groups were soon mixed up, with Dave reigning in some of his group that shot ahead.


We stayed close to the rocks, playing in the caves and arches for a while, practising bow rudders and then headed into Porth Wen for a sunny lunch. We left as another large group of paddlers arrived. It looked like everyone was out on such a sunny day. Yachts were anchored in all the bays, motor boats were zipping about, we even had to take photos for a group of 4 anchored in a cove on a group of small power boats, Nicky nearly got attacked by their dog for her efforts.


Ice creams were therefore called for, so we paddled into Cemaes Bay for such a treat. Following the ice creams the tide had retreated somewhat, which resulted in a bit of a carry and Nicky had her 2nd dog incident, this time a large black dog decided to give her a hug knocking the boat over and her into the water, the dog and all of us thought this was great fun.


At this point 2 of the team decided to paddle back to Bull Bay as they had pressing engagements elsewhere, while the rest of us continued out to Cemlyn. The 2 team leaders checked the breakaways were ok to go it alone, and Dave could now count the group with 2 hands and no toes.


The next bit of the paddle took us past  Wylfa power station. It was a bit eerie as the water was flat but frothy and many degrees warmer. Fortunately, as we entered Cemlyn Bay none of us appeared to be glowing. Another group of paddlers were also in the bay and asked us where Cemlyn was and could they please check our map!! They had launched from Cemaes and followed us in but seemed oblivious to the obvious, very large nuclear land mark that must have been a clue to their position.


We packed up, cars were collected and we headed back to Bodfan looking forward to the BBQ.


12 Paddlers - Pete & Caz, Dave Blake, Andy Elliott, Geoff Widders, Phil Sexton, Andy Garland, Nicky Corbett, Matthew& John Pegram, Don Brooks, Steve Gille                               More Photos………


Saturday – Rhosneigr beach and outlying rocks


7 paddlers, 2 dogs and one dog walker (me) visited the closest beach to the campsite to explore Rhosneigr bay and to do a little bit of rock hopping around the outlying rocks.

This is really a good place to drop your boats, as you can drive onto beach and place them at the water's edge.  At this stage the dogs were going mental as they could also see the sea and just wanted to get out and play. The boats were unloaded and cars either parked on the main road or just left on the beach.

This is when the number of paddlers dropped to 6 and the dog walkers went up to 2, Josh suddenly found out that he had grown from the last time he paddled his small kayak and could not actually fit in his, so  gracefully his dad Chris allowed him to use his boat and obviously Chris was not going to fit in Josh's so hence the increase in dog walkers.

After all the fuss, the sea had receded quite a few meters so actually after  being so chuffed at dropping the boats at the water's edge they had to be dragged along the beach and walked out a bit into the deeper water. Off went the paddlers to explore the rocks and as Jeannette said later out into 'Shark and Seal' territory. Fortunately only one 'veggie' seal encountered.

As the paddlers explored the rocks and enjoyed rock hopping, myself and Chris threw pebbles into the sea for the dogs. Then from around the rocks came Donny, paddling towards the beach, apparently he was feeling a bit sea sick, but secretly I believe he wanted to become a dog walker. So Paddlers 5, Dog walkers 3.

As the paddles continued to explore the rocks and avoid any predators, the dog walkers pondered their next move. As the trio went to leave the beach the paddlers emerged from around the rocks towards the beach for refreshments. This break tipped the balance in the dog walkers favour, Regan and Josh abandoned the paddling and became dog walkers. Paddlers 3, Dog walkers 5.

The remaining 3 paddlers returned to their boats as the walkers left the beach to find their refreshments on the high street. A plan to meet a hour or so later was hatched. On returning to the beach the boats were loaded back onto car and returned to the campsite. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable day in the Anglesey sunshine.

What started as a lonely dog walk proved to be the most popular activity at the end of the day.

Do we really need these boat things? What about a name change Liverpool dog walking club or something similar? Will it catch on?

Stephen Bond  Dave Collins, Chris Fletcher and Josh, Jeannette and Regan, Tony and Reece, Stephen Bond and dogs, Orla and Paddy.    More Photos………


Saturday – Cable Bay, 4 Mile Bridge and Treardur Bay (and then 4 Mile Bridge again in the evening)


Saturday morning was an early start - 6am. A little bit chilly, but no problem as Harvey and I had packed our gas fire. Bradley, Keenan, Sam and Karl all piled in for a warm up and a cuppa and plans were made for surfing, if there was any, and Four Mile Bridge after lunch.

We went to Cable Bay where we met up with a lost sea kayaker. Mike had given up the will to live waiting for a decision to be made by the sea kayakers of which bit of sea to paddle and decided to join us for some easy paddling. We all went out to the edge of the bay and had a non paddling race back to the beach, seeing who could win with just the wind blowing them back. Harvey was the first to cheat followed by all the other kids then Chris Preston raced to the beach and past the kids as he wanted the prize.

The kids all found themselves some rock pools and a Jacuzzi whilst Sam and I practiced our bow stalls pirouettes and rolls. Karl was lurking nearby waiting to capsize me and hold me upside down.  Then it was bacon and sausage butty time. Back in the car park Karl started smoking his car out with burned bacon and sausage, and it was like a full on fire with all the smoke that was there. His pan was so black it was thrown away. The smell must have attracted the kids anyway and they were back for some lunch.

After lunch we didn’t bother changing and drove straight to Four Mile Bridge.

The plan was to get the traditional canoe out and see how many people we could get in it through the tunnel. Lots of people had a go and it was a good attraction to take there. We got 6 in it through the shoot and we capsized so many times. The kids loved it and had a great time messing about with it. They especially liked it upside down with their heads inside it. They thought it would be full of water and were really surprised when I demonstrated it wasn’t.

Lots of playboating, lots of tail squirts were shown, lots of canoe capsizes and sinking was done and lots of swimming through the tunnel was to be had. The water was remarkably warm coming through the shoot. We stayed there until around 4pm. It was then that we met Steve Rose.

Steve was 9 hours late. He’d overslept massively. We were knackered and ready for some food, but as Steve was almost crying as he'd missed all the fun, we made a new plan. A quick McDonald’s to fill a gap before the barbeque, back to the campsite to set up Steve’s tent, grab some crab lines, nets and some bait and back to Four Mile Bridge. Sam, Karl and Steve were paddling, Keenan was swimming, and Sam, Bradley, Harvey and I were crabbing. Sam mastered the art of throwing the crab line in the water and losing it. Then he mastered the art of breaking the net off the stick and losing that in the water too. The boys then had to reluctantly share their stuff with him.  They caught 12 crabs and Sam wanted to take them to the campsite and eat them. They were safely returned to the water.

Back to the campsite and the barbeque was restocked with charcoal and the best food ever was put on to cook. All prepared by my wife, Kate, just for Harvey and I, but actually enough for 6.

As revenge for Steve being late, we made a plan to pull his tent apart as soon as we woke up and pile on him. I wonder what will happened?

Paddlers: Mike A, Jose, Chris and Sam, Jo and Sam, Karl, Brad and Keenan, Harvey and Paul.                          More Photos………


Saturday – The Straits “pub-ing”


We decided to forego the pleasures of the North Coast trip with a bit of shopping for boat spares at Summit to Sea, some Barbie supplies another mild straits trip.  The wind was honking a good 5, 6 on the Straits so we shortened out trip to start from Gallows point to the Swellies, but the crew decided at stop at the Gazelle, and like any good Skipper,  I got the beers in for the whole group.  We then flew back up to Gallows point just in time to avoid the mud and back to site to christen the new Blue Barbie.


Adrian M                      More Photos………


Sunday - 4 Mile Bridge


The morning started with a text from Paul at 0600hrs to confirm the start of our mission to collapse Steve's tent whilst he's still in it. Harvey, Bradley and Sam began to remove the tent pegs and soon it fell to leave the shape of Steve sleeping on the ground. Harvey decided to jump on him whilst he was still asleep. Next Sam's dad ,Chris, was next and the group woke the whole campsite with laughter as the next tent collapsed. Frankie tried to encourage further attacks but Keith had already awoke.


Our plan was quickly made to head again to Four Mile Bridge and enjoy the fast flowing water through the tunnel. Straight into action went Steve with a stern dip and a tip over followed by a swim to the bank. After falling out a few times we decided to tow him to shore to help but he thanked us by tipping our boats over whilst we were still in them. Then it was time to swim through the tunnel which was at full force as John watched and rescued with his son Ben who stood at the bank with his camera. Ben suggested we tip his dad in.  Of course we couldn't refuse his request. John chose to call us names of which cannot be repeated. Sophie decided to exit her boat after a monster 360 loop to join the rest of the group in the water.


After a good couple of hours we decided to head for Trearrdur Bay and a coastal paddle. Keenan, Bradley and Harvey asked for a rest after a long weekends paddling and opted for the ice cream option followed by a crab hunt. Paul unloaded and loaded his canoe in record time.


Another fantastic weekend camping with LCC. I need to get back to work for a rest.


Karl T                              More Photos………




Sunday - Treardur Bay


Report to follow……..   More Photos………



Sunday – Stanley Embankment


With an 8.4 Metre tide and an early start we headed off for the ATS garage and short paddle through the tunnel under the embankment.  The wave was very small to start with and provide idea practise for those who were less experienced.  Before long everyone was getting on the wave and surfing from side to side.  Although it built over the next few hours to a good size it never really formed a decent pile and we found it a little difficult to do tricks and spins.  However, Jenny’s inflatable canoe proved great fun and probably surfed the longest of all of us.


Normally when the wave has built to a reasonable size most paddlers paddle round from the inland sea (a large stopper can form inside the tunnel).  Sam and Sam however ignored this advice and paddle down through anyway.  They made it look easy.   More Photos………




Sunday – Benllech to Dulas Island and back


Report to follow……..   More Photos………


Sunday – Safety Cover at Eccleston

Sunday was a leisurely start, again spent shopping, we pulled into the yacht shop in Bangor and immediately were greeted by a enthusiastic Sea Kayaking sailor wanting an Explore X.  Hopefully recruited to the club and perhaps even the slackers. We arrived for the swim cover appointment at Eccleston in plenty of time so we cooked lunch of sausages. Funnily enough the triathletes weren't that keen on any leftovers. But I got all the baked salt washed out of the kit and cooled down at the same time, and got to try a SUP, without getting wet, may I add. 


A fantastic view earned by a days advanced paddling is a reward in itself, but sometimes newcomers to the sport can be like a set of jump leads for the soul. The sparks of enthusiasm can often explode out just from a step taken on the paddling road. Then they prompt old memories, thoughts of friends gone, lost, current and not yet made. They prompt new trip ideas and re-fuel the paddling dreams. And long may those sparks explode and continue to set light to old mens beards.


Different ways of travelling the water, even ways of travelling the water with nothing but a wetsuit all seem valid on days of lazy sunny heat like these.  Maybe it's a turning of the year, but I'll soon be alone again on this stretch of river, the ice crackling on the pogies just after a winters dawn on a neap tide weekend.  That's the time for filling up the tanks ready to take full advantage of summer. And that's the time I'll be thinking of this magical weekend just gone.


Adrian M                      More Photos………



Participants in the weekend

Jim Krawiecki, Steve Bond, Elle Rickards, Keith S, Sara Bergqvist, John Maddock, José Santos Sampedro, Sophie Steventon, Andy Elliott, Jeannette, Stephen and Regan Bond, Tony Bennett, Chris Fletcher and two others (Reece), Sarah Gille +Jack + Marie and her 2 boys Ruben and Sonny, Adrian & Sylvia Mould, Mike Alter, Don Brooks, Neil Moult, Geoff Widders, Dave Blake, Steve Gille, Phil Sexton, Martin and Manon McCoy, Samuel Godsell + nephew Sam, Andy Garland, Paul and Harvey Harwood, Karl, Bradley and Keenan Tattum, Dave Collins, Tony Doyle, Nicky Corbett, John and Ben Cooke, Chris and Sam Preston, Jo Pocock and Sam Southall, Matthew and John Pegram, Frankie Annan, Bob Giles, Pete and Caz Thomas, Chris Thompson, Jamie Irvin and Rob Casson, Jenny Brown



07/07/13 Marple Slalom

Photos opposite are of Isobel at Marple slalom this weekend, clear run yesterday, and just pipped to 1st place and promotion by 1 second today (only beaten by an older girl in a slalom boat). Isobel desperately needs a slalom boat to get to Div3, unfortunately the plastic ones at the club are too difficult for her to handle; anyone got a junior slalom boat mouldering in the garage or know of one for sale let us know, wants to be in Div 3 by end of the season.    Rebecca Papaspyridis



04/07/13 Fun in the sun or, a load of Balearics


The plan was for the five of us to sail to the Mediterranean jewels that are the Balearic Islands, hire some kayaks and enjoy some warm water chillaxing. We anchored securely in calm conditions at Pollenca on the North East of Mallorca, a very shallow bay with a fabulous backdrop of some of the loftiest ridges and mountains in the region. The bay is also home to a sea plane base out of which operates a passenger and a rescue service. Floating in approximately 4 meters depth, we let out lots of anchor chain for added peace of mind and headed ashore to rendezvous with Miguel from  Kayak Mallorca http://www.piraguasgm.com/kayakmallorca/index.php/en/ . We met him early in the morning at his beach hut from where he operates the Pollenca part of his business. He also has another base at Palma, the island’s capital.


Treading barefoot through the already warm white sands, we each adjusted foot pegs and tried on decks and PFDs. His normal charges were 40 Euros per day but Miguel revealed that he was happy to give us a 10 Euro discount which cheered us up even more. The gear was in great condition and we had previously arranged for Valley Etain or P&H Delphin rotomould boats. He had a selection of fixed feather Celtic / Lendal paddles of varying lengths and also supplied a range of safety kit, although I had already taken some of my own safety bits and bobs.


We had a chat about some of the best features of the area and headed off, agreeing to get the boats back by 1800 that afternoon. The sea is about 20 degrees C in May so, besides doing a bit of exploring, I was looking forward to practicing my re-entry and roll technique without the distraction of an ice-cream head.


The lack of tides in the Med makes much of the paddling benign as there are very few overfalls to contend with. Some may say this can be boring but, as you’ll see from some of our pictures, the colour of the water, with the white sands below reflecting the blue skies, make this kind of paddling very different to what we might normally experience during recent British summers. We were all dressed in very light weight gear as the temperature that day was likely to get up to about 25 degrees C and it was a delight to be able to move more freely without the need of restrictive paddling gear.


We were careful to lash on gallons of sun cream and take lots to drink but the slow speeds we were paddling at were more to do with fascination of the coastline rather than overheating. Despite many stops, we covered about 25 kilometres and managed an hour or so of rolling practice in the warm water. Steve Gille executed a perfect roll only to flop back again into the water for some more rotary cooling and even Don was tempted by the warm water to practice parts of his roll. Just before we turned for home, Don had spotted an evil looking storm cloud topping the high ground in the direction of where we had anchored. Clearly we were in for a bit of a blow but thankfully, the wild katabatic winds didn’t reach as far as where we were paddling.


Heading back to the beach hut, it was agreed that I would leave the group and paddle quickly to get something off our sailing boat. I was probably about a kilometre in front of the team at a place where I left the boat but ..... shock, horror, it was nowhere to be seen!!! Searching frantically I began to think it had been stolen but when I turned to cross the path of the other’s paddling towards the beach hut, I spotted a yacht some distance off. It just had to be ours. I told the other’s what had happened but they thought at first that I was winding them up. Finally I convinced them and I then paddled like a man possessed towards the lone boat which was about a half a kilometre off. On getting closer I could confirm that it was indeed our own yacht which must have dragged its anchor in the high wind that we later learned had hit the area for a couple of hours while we were off paddling.


Getting closer to the boat I became aware of the sea plane which had taxied out to find space for its take-off. It came closer and closer and finally turned right in front of me, no more than 50 meters away and in between me and my sail boat. Again I put on a spurt right in front of the plane as it was readying itself for take-off. Obviously the pilot was well aware of me as he/she waited until I had reached the transom of my boat before turning the power on. The incredible noise and thrust would have easily knocked me flat had I not been hanging behind my boat and attached to the boarding ladder.


I quickly got on board and was relieved to find that the boat, having over 18 meters of chain out, had re-anchored firmly all by itself. I used our windlass to haul up the anchor which had a massive car sized clump of sea grass attached to it, clearly this is what caused it to drag in the first place. Towing my kayak, I headed back in and crossed paths again with Caz who had jumped aboard a rib that had agreed to come out to help. Thankfully we didn’t need any help and, drama over, Caz jumped into my kayak and paddled back to the beach hut so that Miguel could close up shop and head off home. Half an hour or so later we were all reunited onboard and reflected on the excitement of what was originally supposed to be a relaxing paddle.


A few days later we sailed over to the island of Menorca to hire yet more kayaks from http://www.menorcaenkayak.com/alquiler_kayak_menorca_en.aspx with a view to spec’ing out a circumnavigation of the island in May of next year. Having been in touch with a Scotsman who did the trip recently, it’s a real prospect if anyone is up for it. At approximately 150 kilometres it can be done in a week of settled weather. I’m betting that the owner of Menorca Kayaks would even trailer our hire boats to a preferred side of the island so we could make use of the prevailing weather. As with every island, there is a sheltered side and much to do on the sheltered south coast if the weather is too windy on the rugged north coast. Sadly, when we got to Menorca, it was blowing a hooligan so we never managed to get to talk to Menorca Kayaks or get out for another paddle but we did sail close inshore and can confirm there are lots of beaches where we could make camp. It’s a year off yet but already I’m looking forward to the warm water again, this time, minus our sailing boat just in case it tries again to do more miles than we do!!


Pete & Caz, Steve F, Steve G, Don B                       More Photos…..



02/07/13 BCU Lifguards Swim Event Safety Award (SESA)

On Sunday 15 candidates presented themselves for the Award.  The course was tutored by Ian Bell and Keith S with help from Dave Reynolds.  We started off in the upstairs lecture room with an introduction, looked at key parts of the role of lifeguards and then reviewed video footage of incidents and learned how to deal with them.

This was followed with a short team working exercise and then two practical sessions.  The first was in the water feeling what it was like to be a swimmer in close proximity to a safety kayak; we practised several techniques for directing and shepherding swim waves.  In the second we looked at how to deal with common problems (tight wetsuit, cramp, tired swimmer and unconscious swimmer).  The water session finished with several exercises were we had to spot swimmers in trouble, enter the swim wave (all the other 12 course members)


All fifteen candidates passed and most have volunteered to help out with safety cover on our Liverpool Triathlon on 13th July.  We still need a further 10 or so paddlers so if you would like to help the club out please sign up – you need to be a competent paddler – around 2 star level.


Click here for the Liverpool Triathlon……….


More photos……



02/07/13 Aspirant Coach and Leadership Training  - Monday Nights


Tonight (1/7/013) was the first session of this club initiative for paddlers looking to develop their skills towards 4 and 5* leadership and coaching Awards. It was great to be on the water with a diverse group of paddlers, some of whom I don’t normally get the opportunity to paddle with.  We began with an opportunity to think about personal development aims and then we moved onto personal paddling skills with the session focussed on moving sideways, and working on draw strokes.  We had loads of opportunity to consider the fundamentals of the strokes, the differences between boats, communication and coaching skills. I certainly learnt loads (there are more ways to go sideways than I thought) and after the 2 hours had flown by, my draw stroke had improved almost without me realising.


So if you’re thinking about how to develop your personal paddling skill, get more involved in leadership or coaching within the club, these Monday night sessions will be a great place to start. With a range of coaches getting involved there is definitely something for everyone, whatever type of boat you paddle. Thanks to Keith, Mike and Ruth and the entire group.


Book your place via the website  and see you on the water soon!  Frankie Annan

01/07/13 Canoe Polo taster day – Outdoor Activities Group

Each year Alex Elkington organises her youth group from Fleetwood to take part in 6 discipline specific days at varous clubs around the region.  We run a canoe polo session for her junior members, Runcorn Canoe Club run a sprint day, Manchester a slalom Day, Peter Roscoe a Sea Kayak Day and they also do an open canoe and freestyle day.


12 juniors aged 8 -16 turned up at the Marina and we fitted them out with boats and helmets.  Scott Gibson did some training drills including shooting, dribbling, corner and defense tacktics.  In the aftenoon we played a series of games which were all closely fought games.


If anyone in the club would like to start playing canoe polo then either speak to one of the players or contact the polo representative and come down on a Thursday to start playing.  Click here for more information……


Check out the Youtube video from last year…………

30/06/13 July 2013 Newsletter Published
Please open it by clicking this link  July Newsletter…… or via the website   More Archived Newsletters…..

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