News items or reports on club activities should be sent to email@example.com
31/08/13 Autumn is here
As the club moves into September the sun now sets at 8:00pm (31/8/13) so if you are paddling at the
The Mondy evening pool session at
Kingsway now moves to the whole pool (24 places). Junior Club continues on Tuesdays and
Saturday Mornings at the
Just a reminder about use of the
Marina – A key holder who opens up is responsible for the whole session
including, running the white board, organising other paddlers and locking up
everything at the end! It greatly
helps if all users put everything back where it came from. If all boats are turned on their side
and when a section of rack space is full the wire strop can then be passed
through all the end loops ready for locking. This saves the key holders a massive
amount of time and is much appreciated.
Bouyancy aids should be zipped up.
31/08/13 Major dates for events this year – for more detail check the calendar…….
Sea touring -
AGM and Presentation of this years Alps Trip
Lakes White Water Weekend - Coordinator Fiona Barry
31/08/13 Coaches, volunteers, Aspirant Coaches and Leadership Training - Monday Nights
These sessions will continue to run throughout the Autumn on Monday evenings. There are for coaches, trainee coaches, leaders and key members of the club who run or organise club sessions and trips. They are totally free to all volunteers and the idea is build up more advanced skills and understanding of paddlesport for the clubs volunteers.
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.
This week we are looking at: towing, rafts, incidents and getting people out of the water. If you have a tow line or sling / strop then please bring it along.
31/08/13 "Paddler of the Year" Nominations
Each year the club asks for nominations for our Paddler of the Year Awards. At the moment we are asking for your nominations only. Once these nominations have been compiled members will then be asked to vote.
2013 Awards Please make your nominations here..........
31/08/13 Are you
getting all the information on club trips and activities – club messaging
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….
31/08/13 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
30/08/13 August Photo of the Month Competition
“Ollies first ever river trip” - La Claree – French Alps 2013
Runner up Keith S :
to Sea, River
the bottom drop of Grantully
Runner up Chris Preston :
Not found your photograph ? – see all the entries for this month………..
Criteria for the photo of the month competition…. 25% Quirkiness and framing of the subject, 25% Quality and sharpness of the photograph, 25% Diversity of the subject material (ie not all one discipline), 25% has LCC logo or clothing in the shot.
Duddon Estuary, Walney Island to Kirkby-in-Furness, 22/08/13 (approx 9 miles)
Sam, my Dad and I put in at
Ferry Pitchings, Walney channel at aproximately 12.00 to paddle north out of the
channel during the slack period that lasts about an hour before high tide in
the area known as Water Meetings. Like a smaller verion of
There was slight apprehension as we had attempted the trip a week earlier only to meet westerly winds of 20-25mph head-on as we tried to paddle out into Duddon Estuary. After a brief time spent paddling on the spot we had decided to retreat and returned home with our damp tails between our legs. On a calm day this trip is an easy, sheltered and tide-assisted sea paddle with lovely views but we had learned our lesson about the wind that day!
Our second attempt proved
much easier (especially after we fed Sam a Mars bar) and the light wind was in
our favour once we had paddled out around Lowsy Point. A slight swell was
running and waves were breaking on the point so we paddled out and around most
of the breakers but a few cheeky ones caught us unawares, breaking over the
kayaks and causing some issues in our beautifully spaced paddling formation!
Lunch in the sun on the beach at Ronhead with stunning views across
the estuary to Millom, Black Coombe and the
The paddle back to Kirkby up the Estuary should have been on the flooding tide but we were a little late putting in and had to stay close to the shore, seeking eddies as it felt like the tide had already turned as we paddled across to Askham Pier. One of the more notable landmarks along the southern edge of the Estuary is Dunnerholme, a lone rocky outcrop with short cliffs on the seaward side. The tide really rushes around this small headland and we had to paddle hard against it on this occasion, well done Sam! We chased a flock of Oystercatchers all the rest of the way home and made a last big effort to paddle into Kirkby Pool against the ebbing tide. Once out of the boats my dad stood looking out over the estuary and remembered the day that he and my mum had stood looking at that view and decided to settle there. It was all a bit lovely!
At Kirkby one of the easiest
places to land is just into the mouth of Kirkby Pool, the tidal river that
flows through the village. Just near the train station is the hamlet of
Sandside where there is a railway crossing that leads down to the river. This
one-way trip can also be extended up to the very top of the Estuary at Duddon
bridge which can only be reached on a tide of 9.5m or more. To do a return trip
Chris Preston, Sam Preston and Mr Preston (Senior) More photos……
This idea came from an article featured in Canoe and Kayak magazine about The Isles of Fleet. Not far from Dumfries, the trip we did offers some spectacular coastal paddling without doing the long drive north of the
We camped at a decent campsite at
Chris Preston, Sam Preston More photos…….
26/08/13 The Tay, Source to Sea by Canoe or “Three men in three boats!”
The River Tay is the longest river in
– Tuesday Crianlarich to
Ian and Simon met at my house and we loaded our three opens
on a small trailer and headed up the M6 to
Arriving at Crianlarich we soon found the get in down a small track immediately before the railway bridge. After a little persuading, Ian drove the car and trailer down the track to the rivers edge. Gear and boats were unloaded very quickly; it is very easy to load two dry bags into an open boat and tie them in. While Ian parked the car in the police station car park we were approached by a local character. He and his dog apparently earned their living by panning for gold in the streams around Crainlarich. Apparently small deposits can be found in every river valley around Tyndrum. There’s GOLD in them thar hills! After discussing our plans we were off, hoping to get to one of the Lochs to camp before nightfall.
After a few miles of gentle flowing stream we passed the castle on Loch Dochart and entered Loch Lubhair where we found a campsite on a small semi-island at the south end of the lake. We soon had the tents and tarp up and Simon set about lighting a fire. With a few notes of guidance from Simon, wild mushrooms were added to the evening meal of Thai green curry and rice. Ian and Keith both had tents but Simon was to bivi out under a tarpaulin. The midges, although present were not too bad, especially given that it was late August – no doubt kept at bay by the rain and smoke from the fire. Simon “Well as long as you’re appy!!
Day 2 – Wednesday Loch Lubhair to the Southern end of Loch Tay
It rained constantly over night and in the morning the river was noticeably higher. This was good news as it would help us swiftly on our way. After smaller rapids and a few bridges we came across the first major drop, Corriechaoroch rapids. This was a technical grade 3 with two rocks in the middle that could easily broach an open canoe. Having survived this rapid we enjoyed the grade 2`s below with shoot after shoot and a few drops thrown in for fun (Lix rapids). Simon “Well as long as you’re appy!! As the valley deepened and became more wooded we had to negotiate a rope across the river at neck height near some building work.
We got out at Kilin just above the “Falls of Dochart”. There is a war memorial just before a steep wall on river right which depicts the run in to the rapids. These are about 200m long and would provide good fun for kayaks. We did not want to risk damage to our boats (another group had pinned their open midstream while lining down under the bridge) so we portaged around the main falls to the bridge. Simon “Well as long as you’re appy!! During the portage a guy started chatting to us and said “I thought it was 3 men in a boat but you `re 3 men and 3 boats!”
Not wanting to carry down the main street and make the portage nearly one kilometre long we put in just under the bridge via some rough land on the river left. After a short lunch we paddled, lined and walked our canoes down the 200m of rapids below the bridge. One drop had a noticeable stopper and strong tow back so we all lined down a small ramp on the left.
At the old railway bridge the river flows more sedately into
Loch Tay. By now it was about
2:30pm. We paddled in perfect
conditions down to a small rocky island on the left bank and took a second,
late lunch break (very late as it was now around 4:00pm). Suitably refreshed with tea and coffee
we paddled on towards to bottom of the
Within sight of the bridge at the end of the
– Thursday Loch
It took less than an hour to paddle across to the bridge and onto the River Tay itself. A grand hotel overlooks the river here and there is a large caravan park on the left bank. The river is relatively swift and numerous rapids kept our interest on the way down to Aberfeldy. There was nothing more than grade 2 (Chinese bridge rapids (Grade 2) but a very enjoyable section of river. We had lunch on a small shingle bank just below Aberfeldy bridge.
The river began to flatten out after Aberfeldy but still had
numerous rapids and good scenery.
It was not long before we came across a group of students and kayak
instructors having lunch at the top of the white water section of the
A quick inspection and decision on route choice at the top and we were off. Simon drifted a little close to a large tree on the top slot but survived the scare and paddled down to break out neatly in an eddie marked by an upstream gate. We bailed and sponged out any water taken on board and headed down through the bridge to the large natural weir below. We shot this on river right through a reasonably sized stopper and again sponged out in the eddie below.
From here on down it was grade 1-2 with
more and more fishermen learning the dark art of fly fishing. After a few miles we came across
evidence of beaver activity, gnawing at trees to fell them, bark being stripped
for food etc. Our wilderness guide
Simon informed us that they were no ordinary beaver but a European variety that
had been reintroduced to areas of
Did you know that beavers are
different species of beaver? There are two species of beaver: the North American
beaver (Castor canadensis) and the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber).
The Eurasian beaver is native to the
Why did beavers become extinct? Until the 16th
Century, beavers lived throughout
How do beavers benefit the environment? Beavers are nature’s top engineers. They are tree felling, dam building champions and a keystone species; that is, one which affects the survival and abundance of other wildlife in the community in which it lives. Beavers create ponds and wetlands which attract other species, provide a food source for others, and even help improve water quality.
How big are Eurasian beavers? Beavers are approximately the size of a tubby spaniel (25–30 kg), measuring 70–100 cm in length. Unusually for mammals, the female beaver is the same size or larger than males of the same age. They are uniquely adapted for a semi-aquatic lifestyle, with a sleek waterproof coat, large flattened muscular tail and webbed hind feet to provide propulsion underwater.
At what age do beavers start breeding and do they hibernate? Beavers can live for 10–15 years, they mate for life and breed from the age of two, with one litter of 2–3 young (kits) each year. They are highly territorial and live in family groups, mainly in freshwater lochs and slow flowing rivers and burns. Beavers are crepuscular, rather than nocturnal, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk throughout the year. They do not hibernate.
What do beavers eat? Beavers are completely vegetarian. They do not eat fish but instead prefer to munch on aquatic plants, grasses and shrubs during the summer months and woody plants in winter. Beavers will often store food underwater so that they can access it if the water freezes over. In woodlands, beavers help to stimulate new growth by gnawing on tree stems and coppicing. This helps to breathe new life into tired forests and creates a diverse age range of trees which greatly benefits woodland management.
Do beavers build dams? Beavers sometimes build dams in rivers and construct lodges in the ponds created by their dams. Both beaver dams and lodges demonstrate remarkable architectural and water engineering talents. The dammed water forms a secure area around the lodge whilst also attracting other species such as frogs, toads, water voles, otters, dragonflies, birds and fish
After a few hours paddling we started to look for a campsite for the night. At the confluence of the River Tummel, Logierat, we spotted a good campsite under some trees behind a small sandy beach. We had seen several boats with “Ghillies” ferrying clients back from their days fishing and assumed that most were winding up for the day; it was now 5:30pm. We erected the cooking tarp, two tents and Simon’s tarp for sleeping under. We were then approached by a Ghillie, Jim McEwen from the local estate. “You can’t camp here, its private land”. He was so nice about it and very quietly spoken that although we tried to argue the point it was almost impossible. He rang his boss to tell him that a group of canoeist had set up camp on his beat. He redirected us to a site past the next railway bridge, a grey boat and by a deep fishing pool that was not used currently. Although tired and looking for a rest we started to pack up and make our way downstream. Simon “Well as long as you’re appy!! After about 40 minutes we came across the grey fishing boat and deep pool at Dowally and landed on a small shingle beach. We camped between some young silver birch trees on some long meadow grass (we flattened this using a canoe).
Although this site had no view and was very close to the A9 and had traffic noise late into the night, it was not too bad. After cooking our evening meal we started to pack up for a well earned night’s kip. Simon then spotted an otter eating a fish on the stone bank that we had landed on. We watched while he finished his meal before going back into the water and swimming away.
– Friday Dowally (6km above Dunkeld) to
The next day we paddled down to Dunkeld in a little less
than an hour. The valley sides
started to close in and become wooded on both sides. This was a beautiful stretch of river
and had a very nice hotel and immaculate lawns on the left bank. We then paddled on round many meandering
bends to cover the 25km to
From above the fall, from left to right, the shoots are:
Below here we met two kayakers in red creek boats. We paddled over the main shoot on Stanley weir before they got on. Although this is also grade 3 in high water it was relatively easy with just a tail of moving water. The rapids below gave some more sport; some of the wave trains were quite large and some water sloshed over the gunwales (Thistlebrig Rapid grade 3). We stopped for an hour below the last main rapid to have a brew and relax a little in the last of the afternoon’s sun. Simon “Well as long as you’re appy!!
then paddled down towards
The plan was to leave at 8:00am so Ian got up at
6:30am!!! We were away by 7:15 and
paddled and drifted the short distance down to our egress point just before the
The Scottish City Link bus journey from
Ian returned at 1:12pm with the car and trailer and we loaded our gear and headed south. On the way home we compiled our list of most desirable (source to sea) canoe touring and expedition rivers. They are ranked in order of white water difficulty. How many will we be able to tick off in the next few years.
1/ The Scottish Dee
2/ The River
3/ The River Wye
4/ The Welsh Dee
5/ The River
6/ The River Eden
7/ The River Spey
8/ The River Seven
9/ The Great
10/ The River
Ian Bell, Simon (“Well as long as you’re appy!!) Howlett and Keith S More Photos………..
Coach led trip from Rhoscolyn to
Sunday 11th August was a beautiful day and we all arrived in good time for an introduction by Ian Bell who was leading the trip. Everybody introduced themselves and Ian prepared us all for either helping or being helped.
We all got in the water at the beautiful bay at Borth Wen, Rhoscolyn and warmed up. The water was calm which enabled those fairly new to sea paddling to get used to their boats and to learn or refresh what they already knew. This including learning to lift the knee in order to edge the boat and what a following and quartering sea felt like.
Now the westerly winds had been blowing for a day or so and although we could see some white tops in what was a force 4 it had not really prepared ourselves for what was to come. With the long fetch over the Irish Sea the wind had built up some nice swell coming on to the rocks.
The group worked brilliantly together to support the more inexperienced and everybody did brilliantly with the following sea which was big enough to make the trip interesting especially for those new to it. We paddled to Silver Bay for some lunch. With what can only be described as immaculate timing, Ian had us set off back home at high water slack. Now for those enthusiasts amongst you will note that wind against tide can create some interesting seas and there were times when the next wave stopped you from seeing the person in front. All survived despite one deep water rescue and we all practiced keeping the group together whilst somebody was put back in their boat.
We all arrived back exhilarated. We then did a few rolls and falling out of boats. Not sure what they signed up for but two of the crew unwittingly towed everybody back to shore.
I had a Garmin in my boat and was hoping to track the whole trip. However, the batteries ran out towards the end of the trip but it does show the track so that you get an idea of the route we took.
Thanks go to Ian Bell for leading and Frankie Annan for organising and all those who took part.
20/08/13 Sea Kayaking Intro day on Sunday 11th August
Upon arriving I was welcomed by what looked like the local lodge of kayakers gathered in a circle in the middle of the car park, led by the Grand Master himself, Ian Bell. However once we’d all arrived and introductions over it was down to business.
The group consisted of as many experienced paddlers as beginners which was a fantastic start and great for confidence, especially for those of us who had never paddled on the sea before.
Borth Wen is a sandy cove with crystal clear water, perfect for learning to manoeuvre the leviathan of the kayaking world, the sea kayak; I had a 15 foot Easky which appeared small by comparison to others, but massive when compared to what I normally paddle.
There was a bit of a breeze when we started, but the bay is very sheltered and we soon got to ‘grips’ with the boats. I use the word in the broadest terms as I discovered that certain techniques had to be relearned to make the boat do what I wanted. Sea kayaking also helps immensely with balance and stability which is a transferable
So the morning had us mastering turns, braces, edging, using the skeg, and the occasional dip in the water. This took us nicely to the obligatory ‘brew break’. Then came the words, “who fancies a trip down the coast?”
Did I mention the breeze? By the time we left the bay into open water, things got interesting with a force 4, an onshore wind, and waves of 3-5 feet, but in the safety of our group it was nothing that the boats didn’t handle in their stride, and with the practice we’d had we all reached Silver Bay upright, dry-ish, confident, and in time for lunch.
After a spot of lunch we then headed back, in let’s say, taxing conditions, Still tackling big waves and wind, but with a new found confidence, we set off. We had one dunking (Tony knows who it was) however Peter and Ian soon had him back in his boat and we were off again until we reached the calm of the bay, where for want of a better term, we played.
How would I describe the day? Fantastic. Perfect organisation and perfect companions. It makes you realise the benefits of an organised group with experienced paddlers there to help, I would now refer to them as friends. On behalf of those newbies would like to thank Ian and the rest of the paddler’s for what was an incredible day
Would I recommend it to others? Definitely, give it a try.
About me, I’m a level 1 coach and my normal paddling is rivers and lakes on which I am more comfortable. However I now intend to expand my horizons, quite literally, and get out onto the sea as much as I can.
Adrian Emberton More Photos………
100% Guaranteed surf. That's what happens when a
Harwood organises a surf trip. None of that Tattum flat water nonsense.
On Saturday I looked at the weather. Westerly wind at 17mph was predicted. Checked High Water. 2pm. Cool, let’s organise a little surf.
My brother Steve has been to the docks a few times and he was coming for lunch, so I decided to take him out for some surf with Harvey and me. The wind was a little windier than predicted blowing at 25mph gusting at 30mph and we arrived at 1130 to find Dave Blake wandering if anyone else was coming. We quickly changes and got on the water. Steve wasn't scared.
"You can't do this and you can't do that and you have to get out of the sea or the fishermen will kick off......" That had never happened before so I told him what was what and that we the right to be there as it was tidal waters blah, blah, blah.....
Next Brian, Steve and a few others turned up. It was quite hard to get through to the big waves in the little boats, but when we did it had to have been the best surf I've ever seen at
Then the lifeguard re-appeared, he was still moaning about the fishermen complaining. In reality we should have been moaning to him especially when Steve Rose got tangled in a fishing line. No damage done, but could have turned nasty. Must start carrying a knife. Something to think about in the future.
I took my C1 as normal, but I did get caught on camera having a go in the kayak I brought for my brother. Oh no, I have sinned and gone back to a stabiliser paddle, but seriously how much easier was that getting through the waves with two blades?
Keep an eye out. There is wind predicted all week. More surf coming soon.
Paul Harwood More Photos………
05/08/13 Day 14 Saturday – Lower Gyronde
So as the campers got up and made their last preparations for leaving including that last trip to the bakery, a group of hardcore paddlers decided they weren't done with rivers yet! So with Anthony driving the van (thanks!), myself, Keith, Roy, Michal and Sven kitted up and headed out for the Gyronde. We tackled it from a put in above the luxurious toilet block that is the traditional put in, allowing for a brief stretch of grade 4. A more difficult river which provided us with a much needed rapid wake up call!
The views up river were fantastic as the sun climbed steadily up above the trees. When we reached the weir we dropped down into the pool below the weir on river left, avoiding the weir and avoiding having to scramble out of boats, we hadn't quite woken up enough to want to get out of our boats.
The rest of the journey passed pleasantly as we followed the meanders in and out of the shimmering morning sun. Reaching the slalom course we headed down, getting as much practice at eddy hopping as we could (to delay the inevitable end of the holiday) before disembarking.
Thanks everyone for a great holiday, good luck with the kayaking this year!
Michael Brockway More Photos……………..
03/08/13 Day 13 Friday – Lower Guil
Today we did the River Guil and the River Durance in one run. There were two groups and in my group was Keith, me, Chris, Fiona and both Michaels. We did the shuttle at the start instead of the end. There was a difference between both rivers. The Guil was shallow and the Durance was deep. The Durance was easier to paddle and didn't have as many rapids. On the Guil I did my first swim. I did it because I went over a rock that I couldn't see until my boat hit it. As soon as I went under I pulled my deck and swam for a bit. Keith threw my paddle at the side and Chris, my Dad, got the boat. I was glad when I finished my swim; it didn't hurt at all and afterwards I seal launched back into the water.
On the Durance there were lots of fallen down trees and Keith showed me the way to go past them. I surfed the waves and it was fun. We got to St Clement slalom course. We stopped at the top and we discussed if we were going to do it or not and I say yes! It was fun going down the slalom course and everyone cheered when I went down the drops. I felt nervous before going down but then I was glad I did it. Then we got out at the bottom and I loved the whole river. It was fun. Next year I hope I'll do more.
Ollie Murphy (Aged 9) More Photos……………..
03/08/13 Day 13 Friday – Durance Gorge Via Ferrata
After several days of boating with a few touches on the Via Ferrata a small team of us (Myself, Gibbo, Sven, Roy, Liv, Theo, Lucy, Darren and Michal) decided we would go for what is described in the guide book as the “hardest Via Ferrata in France” the Briancon Gorge.
After an early start to try and avoid the sun we met in Argentiere for 8.30 but the shop that we needed gear from didn’t open until 9 so a quick stop at the patisserie for a croissant. We arrived at the start of the gorge and I was to say the least gobsmacked, we aimed as ever to do the hardest course we could, a quick walk down and we were away. Some gentle ground broke us in until we were on overhanging walls at one side of the gorge! A quick nip across a bridge over the river and on the other side, followed by a short traverse and back over another bridge.
The team were making good time and the terrain covered was immense brilliant views up the valley and of the river, after a short tight rope style bridge we wandered down to the bottom next to the river and after a short dip and melon break (thanks Michal) we were over one last bridge and onto a vertical climb! This time in the sun with some tricky overhanging ladders and teetery rock traverses we reached the top! All exhausted and dehydrated the final bridge awaited and this was one to not be missed around 300m above the gorge exposed was not the feeling! All in all a fantastic morning with a fantastic crew of people!
Mark Young More Photos……………..
03/08/13 Day 13 Friday – Lower Durance
After what seemed like a very eventful morning we pushed on to the Rabouix Wave. Before telling the story I would just like to mention how amazingly well Ollie Murphy paddled this morning. It was fab to see him not only run the St Clement slalom course but also eddie out after every feature like a pro!!!
So onto the wave …. This was the third time most of us had attempted ‘The Lady Rabouix Wave’ (as named and chanted by Tony!) It seems that they have changed the shape of the wave this year for the interest of the rafters. Fom a wave to a huge hole to Narnia! This means that the usual left line is horrific and unless nailed, inevitably ended in a trashing in the hole! The right line caused least problems so this is the line I took, and flew through! Most people also got through but a couple of runs deserve special mention!
Sven – He decided (or didn’t) to take the middle line through the meat of the hole. His back end was sucked in and him and his boat submerged and disappeared. The wave then spat him out vertically up in the air, he landed flat, continued to paddle and made it to safety!
Lucy – Ooooops! She also decided to take the hero line through the middle. After a complete trashing she hung in and attempted two roles, then throw her paddles away and tried to hand roll. Fail, fail, fail, missed a T rescue and, yes, took a swim!!! She is actually fuming and didn’t speak to us for ages after. Apparently “Lucy DOES’NT swim” Really Lucy!!!!! After a little alone time she was fine and we continued on.
Olivia managed to keep hold of her paddles for the whole river!! We went over many wave trains, some of which were huge and great fun!!! The sunshine run certainly lived up to the name, providing entertainment, sunshine and a fab end to a great holiday.
Fiona Wrigg xxx More Photos……………..
02/08/13 Day 12 Thursday –
An older person sits, starring off to the middle distance, on a damp plastic chair for 2 hours or more. An occasional spasm of fear passes his face. Both whimpers and copious dribbles occur. Welcome to the world of Southern Alpine Paddling.
We are on the Upper Guile, grade 3+ (4) from Abries to Château Queyras. It starts off an easy class 3 until it reaches the gorge and then there are a series of complicated drops and turns. All of which I traversed unscathed (he says proudly) with an attendant in front and 2 behind me. Several perfectly good eddies were joyously waved at as we gamely sailed by. Having got through the gorge without incident, I had, what is technically referred to in kayaking terms as a swim. In 2 feet of water, just before a road bridge I collided with a rock and stepped out. After this it was easy. No real features until we reached, and ran the weir on the outskirts of the town. Then an easy eddie out and lunch. For this, they gave us cold scraps of cheese, bread and paté. Not even a tarte de framboise. Several of the other groups had abrasions and bruises at the end of the trip. They insisted these injuries were caused by rock collisions and the like, but I wonder…
Something should be done about it, I think.
With thanks to my attendants Michal, Roy and Mike Buckley
Dom Buckley More Photos……………..
02/08/13 Day 12 Thursday – Château Queyras
Over the past week or so I have heard a lot of different story's about Château Queyras. People saying about how hard, long and intense it was; none of these magical tales were making me feel any better about paddling it. Myself, Keith, Mark, Theo and Lucy were the first group to attempt it. Keith set off first as everyone followed one by one.
I watched Lucy run the first rapid and then I set off as last man. Before I knew what was happening, I got took by the current. Flying down the tiny gorge, smashing off the walls. I dropped down into a little pool, everyone had survived the first section. We all stopped to catch our breath and cracked on. We were only two minutes in and we had already completed the gorge section!
Now came some big boulder gardens the first few were easy and every got down no problem at all. As we came too the next one I saw that people were struggling to make a safe line through the rapid. As I approached it, I couldn't see a clear line so went to the left. The next thing I saw was a chest height tree blocking my path. Keith was shouting at me to go right but I couldn't see a clear route through. I was about to pull my deck so I could get out and jump over the tree when I saw a line to the right. I paddled as hard as could to make it and just scraped round. Narrowly avoiding a horrible pin. Around the corner was the get out (a sigh of relief), awaiting us was a long walk back too the mini bus with out boats on our backs. Good fun!
Kurt Toulson More Photos……………..
02/08/13 Day 12 Thursday – Middle Guil
After a great morning of paddling the
upper Guil with Michal G and Dom & Michael Buckley and then running
Château Queyras gorge with Darren Bohanha, Sven and Michal G, I still
fancied doing something else and started to recriut a crew to run the middle
Guil which is probably my favorite run in the
It was around lunch when I started this task and the majority of people seemed uninterested as they sat in the sun eating and chatting about via ferrata and going swimming in the booby lake, in fact, there was only Keith and myself who were up for it so I decided to press-gang Michal G (Mickey) into doing the run with us (I’m pretty sure he would have rathered stayed with Kathy and the rest of the girls sunbatheing and sorting out make up) but he eventually manned up and decided to do it with us.
We got on the river around 3:30pm and we put on just below Mont Barton bridge. The Guil is an absolutly fantastic river that has excellent water quality and fantastic alpine scenery. From the put in the river is pretty easy until you get to a rapid the is known as “surprise drop” after this the river gets more technical until you reach the most substanstial rapid of the run which is called “the Staircase”. We got out and inspected the rapid which is classed as grade 5. I had run this rapid the previous year but this time in higher water the rapid didn’t look the same, the lines were different also the first drop was partially obstructed by a log and the stopper beneath didn’t look inviting so we decided to portage.
We put back on at the bottom of the rapid and carried on eddie hoping down the river, Keith led with Michal going second whilst I took the rear in case either of them got pinned which they both did on a few occasions but luckily they managed to free themselves without any help, Keith even had to pull off a rare roll when a stopper pulled him back in and capsized him, Michal swore to me at the end of the run that he had seen Keith reaching to pull his deck but the stopper released him just in time!
The river continues through large boulders garden rapids
and good boat control is required to pick the best lines. The last kilometer or
so of the river seemed a lot different from last year with the rapids being more
difficult but we all managed to run them successfully, not far from the end we
came across a group of German paddlers who were setting up some substantial
safety on one of the last main major rapids. There were around six paddlers out of
the boats with throw lines in hand waiting for each of their party run the
rapid one by one; we decided to read and run the rapid and blasted on through
showing them how to kayak. We finished the run just before 6pm. All of us agreeing that the middle Guil
is probably the best run in the
Roy Mchale More Photos……………..
02/08/13 Day 12 Thursday – Mountain Biking to
Well almost! After hiring mountain
bikes from a local shop we headed out of L’Argentiere up the steep road
past the statue of the woodsman and made our way up towards
Briancon. We reached Prellles within the hour and Briancon within 2 hours where
we encountered the second large hill up to the fort. Heading past the fort the
route flattened out temporarily before giving us an option, northwest into the
Claree valley or North East up the pass towards
On the way down we took a path through the woods on the East side of the valley around Briancon which brought us down towards the bridge overlooking Briancon gorge with fantastic views of the old forts scattered over the hilltops. The cycling was fast and intense on the steep descent on rocky rubble underwheel, with a few slips and sometimes continuing to slide with all breaks on, like cycling over ice but more bumpy! We made it down to the road, thinking all the technical routes were behind us, however we took a clever shortcut down another rubbley dirt track where Michael hit a ditch and too late swerved and fell awkwardly. Bloodied and bruised and somewhat shocked but with all limbs intact, we continued on to the bikeshop. A great cycle ride with several wobbles along the way, not recommended for the faint hearted!
David and Michael Brockway More Photos……………..
01/08/13 Day 11 Wednesday – The Onde and the “swim”
After a number of paddlers had made this little
section seem quite straightforward, the full faced
After what must have been almost
Once he had checked his lunch box and limbs for thermal damage, a strange series of high pitched expletives were uttered (more of the children started to cry and a priest was called for).
All who witnessed it! More Photos……………..
01/08/13 Day 11 Wednesday –
After a heroic endeavour on the
Onde the heroes (not paddlers) jumped back into their vehicles and travelled a
short distance down the road to the get on of the
The upper section was mainly class
3 with nice small drops boulders and lots of sunshine. The tree lined river cut
though some gorge sections before arriving in the
Theo Gaussen More Photos……………..
01/08/13 Day 11 Wednesday – Lower Gyronde
After loosing some of the group during lunch, some say for a junior paddle; others say because they were too scared, we portaged the grade six down a dirt track. People got onto the river when they felt happy with the grade of the river and the reformed groups set off.
The first section was still grade 4 with a large boulder garden to contend with. The river gradually eased with nice sections of grade 3+ and wide sweeping bends. After another gorge section we were soon at the weir which was inspected. We decided to portage. The river widened as we got lower with shallower sections which ensured that the hulls of the boats were all well polished. Olivia had a “play swim” at a wave before all three groups travelled thought the town and into the slalom course at the campsite. Gibbo had a roll at the top of the slalom course which was a marked improvement on his bid to get the longest swim of the trip on the first day!
Theo Gaussen More Photos……………..
01/08/13 Day 11 Wednesday – La Claree
Today we went kayaking on the River Claree. Keith, Dom, Fiona, Kathy, me and Chris my Dad all went on the river. I was a bit scared before I got on but when I started I was fine. The waves splashed in some parts and I followed Keith for most of the paddle. I managed to do all the eddies and it was really fun going over the waves.
I saw my Mum and brother when we were going under the bridge and at the side of the bank. I really enjoyed my first river in the French Alps.
PS I didn’t swim but
Ollie Murphy (Aged 9) More Photos……………..
31/07/13 Day 10 Tuesday –
An early start for today’s paddle the bus left our camp site at 8am for a 2 hour drive to the first of two paddles on the upper Ubaye; the drive taking us past Europe’s biggest manmade lake.
After a slight delay waiting for the other cars to arrive at the get in we all got under way. This section of the Ubaye presented no problems for any of the groups with water levels being a little higher than normal for this time of the year. Due to the faster flows, we soon reached our get out point at Jausiers. With this section not being too taxing it allows time to take in the fantastic views and enjoy the river. This is an excellent grade 3 river through a little wooded valley and gorge; no complaints from anyone on this one.
Anthony Vaccaro More Photos……………..
31/07/13 Day 10 Tuesday – Ubaye Race Course
After warming up on the
We split into four groups and
dodged the rafts getting on to the water. My group which was led by
The river ended with more big and bouncy wave trains through a high and narrow gorge, undoubtedly the most picturesque part of the river. We were all buzzing from the river, sharing our cheers and whoops as we heard the dull tones of Michael Buckley singing “we are the champions… of the Ubaye”. The only way I can describe the river is - 100% fun.
Lucy Stuart More Photos……………..
Tryweryn - 28th July
In glorious sunshine (who needs to go to the
Much fun was had on the top site with Ian showing us his best "steep creekin" moves, and it was such a great level (10+rain) that we decided to blast the lower as well.
We zoomed down, eventually breaking out just above the drop
Back on the river and all too soon we reached the get out. Another great LCC day on the river.
Mike, Ruth & Ian
30/07/13 Seriously Slacking Slackers Summer Sojourn to Hilbre - 26th July
I, along with many others, look enviously at the Slacking trips and luckily I was available to attend this Fridays Slacking session. As a bonus, the weather was looking great for a summer trip to Hilbre.
I ring Ade, who advised that no-one else had contacted him and that he might be late. So, I headed off on my own with only the seals for company. A beautiful trip, sun shining all the way, a quick bite to eat on the beach, and then an early depart as I hoped to be able to get back at high tide and paddle over the marine lake wall as that would save a carry due to my parking on the lake slip.
The return journey was super speedy due to the tide still flooding and having the wind at my back, and all too soon I arrived at the wall where I just managed to sneak over. Fantastic, much less carry.
A fantastic trip, but where were all the usual slackers? Probably slacking!
30/07/13 Day 09 Monday
We awoke to thunder and lightning this morning. Heavy rain meant the rivers started to rise and turned colour to a milky brown. The water poured from the Tarpoline and road way to create a small pond in front of Fiona and Sarah`s tents. Our planned trip to the Ubaye was put on hold and we reconviened at 10:00am to re-assess.
At ten the rain started to ease and the cloud lifted but the rivers were still rising. We evaluated several plans with a number of paddlers opting for a day off. The remainder loaded their kayaks into the trailer and headed up the hill to look at the Gyronde and its tributaries. It was bankfull through the town and things were not looking good. We surveyed the grade 6 and then the get out on the Onde. It was through the trees and little or no eddies. We decided against paddling with such a large group and took a look at the Gyr on our way back to the campsite.
3 Star White Water Assessment
After realising that my paddling ability was limited to say the least, I thought it was time to forget all that Darren had previously taught me and embark on a 3 star assessment to see if I had what it takes to paddle on a lake. My fellow students were Olivia, Sarah and Scott Gibson all of which had already gained the required skill to progress through the assessment. The assessment started well, Keith had asked that we all turn up ready to paddle the river and having checked through our kit we all agreed that a spray deck would be very useful. Several minutes later I returned with the required deck and we quickly moved on to the assessment.
First up was paddling in a straight line; having spent most of my paddling time on rivers that naturally meander, I for some reason spent a lot of time paddling in circles? We quickly moved on to the ‘interesting’ section of the assessment were we got to see how long gibbo could hold his breath before I managed to T rescue him, 1 min 6 sec is pretty impressive! We managed to undertake a deep water rescue in a fantastically quick 32 seconds but were deemed to have cheated and then took a further minute to complete the rescue. To summarise my three fellow students all progressed to the next level and left me realising that maybe paddling on a lake is not for me.
Sven Till More Photos……………..
After waking to severe rain and storms and after a quick bus trip to see if any rivers where running, unfortunatley kayaking was looking off the cards. On the bus back a decision was made to have a good old game of football on the pitch at the campsite. Yellow vests from the mini bus where collected as a team strip and we split into 2 teams of approximately five or six.
game set off to a good pace and a few early goals where scored by the
opposition after some good ball skills. I was in goal and was struggling to get
used to the big bouncy ball as my usual weapon of choice would be a
hockey ball and full goalie kit.
Soon we set into our flow, it helped as Gibo’s youth soon caught
up with him and he soon began to tire.
Taking advantage of this a great cross to
The rain started again which helped cool the red faces as Stuart, on the opposition, performed a few stylish reaching saves. Chris showed off his footballing skills but I managed pull of a few good goals with the help of his team! At one point I had forgotten I was playing football and stopped one of Chris’s shots with a big stretch to the right leg giving a corner to the opposition. Luckily they where unable to convert this chance.
We soon began to catch up and a decision was made to see who was the first to 10. The winning goal came from Chris with a classis chip over the goalie, performed in style. We all shook hands and applauded the winners and set off back to camp for a rest before our next adventure.
Good game, good game!
Sarah Gille More Photos……………..
Slalom course today; it was the game for brave people. Others due to high water level decided to stay on the dry, solid land and went to play football. I went on my own having fun on the fast flowing river … my kayak was flying uncontrollably on every single big rapid so I decided to have a look at professional slalom kayakers dealing easily with all waves and tried to learn their tactics. After watching the professionals I think it would be a great idea to have a few gates in the LCC club and also have Slalom course sesions in the docks as I hope some people would find it intresting. Michal Giezgala
Some of us managed to get in both football and a run on the slalom! After a close result in the football with the two of us, brothers, Michael and David facing off against each other we teamed up again putting our differences behind us (apart from the handball, which definitely was/was not a handball). We were excited to get on the slalom course but equally were anticipating the volume and speed of the water after this morning’s thunderstorm, which had made most rivers a torrent and made the slalom course look like chocolate milkshake.
David was so keen; he ran the slalom course twice before I turned up, and then we made a further three trips down. Now everyone knows carrying a kayak up to the top of the slalom can be a slog, but today I found kayaking down the slalom course was really really tough work, with the speed of the water making it difficult to catch eddies. It required all my effort and concentration to make them, and then finding that the height of the water. It was pouring over rocks that yesterday sheltered comfortable eddies had now turned them into swirling pools. A great run trying to get across the river and catch the various eddies made all the more interesting by the high storm water.
David & Michal Brockway More Photos……………..
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