Volume 13 Issue 10

October 2013

October Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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News items or reports on club activities should be sent to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk


Archived Newsletters… 
Major Trip Reports.…


30/09/13 Club AGM on Wednesday 16th October


7:30 – 8:00pm – (Automated slide-show of club photographs and activities over the year.

8:00 – 8:30pm - AGM (Election of Club Officials, Paddler of the Year, Members Motions)

Welcome from the chair & review of the year

1.         Apologies for Absence.

2.         Minutes of the previous AGM – Click here

  • Signed as a true record by the Chair
  • Matters arising.

3.         Treasurers report Online Year End Accounts – Click here

4.         Brief reports from each discipline (2 minutes each)

5.         Members motions -    None received to date

6.         Election of Officers – Proposed list of those willing to stand for 2013-14

7.         Paddler of the Year / Young paddler of the Year / Volunteer of the Year / Swimmer of the Year Award – Presented by Fiona Barry.


8:30 – 8:45pm – Buffet food – provided free – please help yourselves

8:45 to 9:30pm - Club expedition to Briancon – French Alps (World Premiere of the Alps Video 2013 by “Never again Productions”

9:30pm onwards – Socialise in the bar.


Please book your seat now as it greatly helps with setting up the room……

Paddler of the year Awards

Each year the club asks for nominations for our four Awards.  Members can vote for each category by sending an email to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk with their vote.  Awards are then presented at the clubs AGM on Wednesday 16th October 2013

Click to see the nominations for this year…….


30/09/13 Major dates for events this year – for more detail check the calendar…….

Wed 16 Oct           AGM and Presentation of this years Alps Trip

Mon 11 Nov          Reel Paddling Film Festival 2013 hosted by Liverpool Canoe Club Click to book a place.........

Fri 22-24 Nov        Lakes White Water Weekend - Coordinator Fiona Barry

Wed 27 Nov          Erik Boomer Visiting Speaker “The Honey Badger of Kayaking”. Click to book a place.........



30/09/13 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….



30/09/13 Club Paddles
If you fancy paddling on any of the proposed trips this year then please consider offering to act as a coordinator. You won’t be in charge of the trip; you just select the date(s) and act as a contact point to give information / gather prospective numbers etc. Contact website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk with offers of help or suggested trips.  All coordinators will take a list of names and contact numbers before paddlers get on the water - please contact the coordinator before the trip.




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



30/09/13 September Photo of the Month Competition


Liverpool Canoe Club September Photo Competition Winners

Congratulations to Danny Byrne for his winning photo:

“Foggy morning on the River Dee”



Runner up Paul Harwood :

“Source Messing about in boats” – 4 mile bridge

Outdoor Alternative weekend


Runner up Adrian Mould :

“Toasting crumpets - Summer Slackers Aug 2013

 - Campbeltown to Rothesay ”

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.



29/09/13 Farndon to Chester in an open canoe

We had an excellent day on the Dee, the weather was perfect, and the waters calm. We launched from Farndon in an open boat (Canadian).  It was my friend Marc's first time in one, so the experience I gained in training in one, certainly came into play. I stayed at the back, to hone my steering skills!


We set off about 11:00 am, and ended at Sandy lane launch point just after 4pm.  There was a boat race starting a few miles from Chester, so we just held back and chilled for about half an hour, watching them all take position. Couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. I was actually glad we chose the Canadian over the sit-on-tops. It was a much more enjoyable experience. 


Stephen Holmes


More Photos……..


29/09/13 Kayakers Complete 1000km-Crossing of Baffin Island

Our visiting speaker, Erik Boomer, who is giving a talk at the Marina on Wednesday 27th November has just finished his expedition crossing Baffin Island.  After 65 days of travel across Baffin Island, kayakers Erik Boomer, Katherine Breen, and siblings Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry were treated to a special welcome as they arrived in Cape Dorset, completing their crossing of Baffin Island.


More about his trip…..


To book a seat at the talk………..



26/09/13 Anglesey Weekend 3. Outdoor Alternative.


Friday Evening

Harvey and I rushed after school straight to Treaddur Bay. We got stuck in traffic all the way and eventually arrived at 7pm. Met Karl, Brad, Keenan, Pete, Kev and Jed. Harvey quickly changed and got in his boat for a mess around in the flat waters of the bay. Harvey, Brad and Keenan spent the time sinking each other's boats and trying to pirouette as the sun went down. After the cold had hit the boys we went to the Chinese take-away at Valley and stuffed our faces and really took the Mickey out of Kev and Jed, aka Jedward.


Saturday morning - Four Mile Bridge - King of the tunnel.

The plan was to get up at 6am and pull down Pete and Jedwards tent. But Harvey overslept and didn't wake until 7am. This is unusual as he normally wakes me for a trip to the loo at 3, 4, and 5am.


Quick Breakfast and them off to Four Mile Bridge. Steve Rose was expected for 10am but we weren't expecting much; as he turned up nine hours late last time out. We all quickly changed and it was instant carnage. Karl was pulling everyone in. Karl was falling out of every boat he tried. Karl was swimming a lot. Karl was pushing people in. Then I started, Pete started and John started falling out of boats too and pulling the rescuers in too. Nobody was safe. Kev was like a man possessed pushing everyone in, but when he fell in and we all left him to swim, total filth came from his mouth and he was really not happy.


Even the kids were pulling each other in and loved to sink the big canoe I had brought along.  It's amazing how much joy a canoe brings to the kids. Even the less boisterous kids were having fun with Karl's roughians at the helm. My little angel was very well behaved and did not sink the canoe once. He didn't even successfully capsize me and pull my spray deck off!


Pete and I were trying to paddle up the tunnel at one point in separate boats. There is a picture from Tony Doyle, and you can just see the paddle coming up into my ribs, just like Thursday night, trying to tip me over.   Somehow Tony Doyle had managed to keep dry and stay in his boat. He must be getting quick!


Saturday afternoon - Treaddur Bay.

Steve and Lana turned up at 2pm for lunch. He blamed Lana, but we all know he's a lazy git. He didn't even bring a boat for Lana, so I lent them my canoe for our trip around Treaddur Bay, The “Munsters House cave” and in and out of the small coves and beaches. Here the kids started filling their boats up and trying to pirouette and twirl under the expert help of Sam Preston. The adults were lurking, looking for their prey. We all ended up in the water except Tony Doyle. How did he escape again. Poor Jed was left boatless and had to swim for his boat as Pete had removed it from the beach and dropped it off on a small island.


Even though it was flat calm, coming back to the beach is always dangerous if you paddle with Karl, Steve, Pete, me or Kids. Have you ever been rugby tackled out of a boat? Come paddling with us next time. It's a regular occurrence. The snorkels came out but the water was quite cold on our foreheads.


Sunday morning. Boat emptying at Treaddur Bay

My tent started making noises at 3am from the wind. By nine it was leaning at 45 degree angle because of the wind. We had a quick breakfast, looked at the monster waves from distance and were excited to go surfing. Back to Treaddur Bay then. The wind was blowing at 52mph. The waves were mental. Surf Boarders were out. Can't wait.


Harvey and Brad decided to play on the rocks and try and catch some fish. Keenan decides to get his body board out.  Kev and Jed were a little apprehensive, never having been surfing before. But the realised it was just like Saturday, except this time it's the water was pushing them out of their boats. I had brought my usual C1 and found I was going backwards more than forwards. When I eventually got to the gargantuan waves the power was amazing. The surf boarders were standing up and the waves were much higher than them. The feeling was amazing, but my god, It was tiring. I think that was the most tiring paddling I have ever done. I was completely spent and after an hour I was ready to go home. I got a few pictures and hopefully there are more out there as there were some club members on the beach.


Another fantastic weekend. Really looking forward to next years.


Paul Harwood     More photos......


19/09/13 3rd Anglesey Weekend at Outdoor Alternative

The 3rd weekend in our spring/summer series of club camping and paddling weekends was a great success, the organiser had lost count of the numbers of people who had signed up, ,and would like to claim credit for guessing who was going to come along! Arriving at the campsite in the dark made spotting the LCC crew momentarily difficult, there was another canoe club on the campsite (Matlock Canoe Club), but the laughter from round the fire pit revealed several of the 'usual suspects' enjoying the heat of the fire and a beverage. Others were reported to be contributing to the local economy in the White Eagle pub.
After a lovely meal provided by my sister ( smart move inviting sister with van and pre prepared food) I slunk off to my tent.

Next morning after camping fees were collected, everyone organises themselves into a variety of groups for surfing, playing at four mile bridge and sea kayaking.


I headed off to Borthwen for a trip to Treaddur and back. 12 of us, ably led by Brian Green had a sunny paddle via Rhoscolyn beacon and lots of cave exploring round to Treaddur, despite the slight head wind the paddling seemed easy, and it felt like a bonus summers day. Dave had some rolling mentoring at the start of the trip and Kathy enjoyed paddling Mark's Nordkapp. Arriving on the beach we met Vicky and Debbie who had come to join us for the return journey, they had a paddle,round the bay whilst we sat in the sunshine at Treaddur ate our lunches and watched the RNLI launch, and all managed to get our toes out of the way, cake of the day was ginger and fruit flapjack, and moment of the lunch break was Pete sitting on Carole's boat and not noticing his own floating away on the tide.


After more boat swapping, we headed back to Borthwen via the beacon and a bit of a play in the overfalls.


A great days paddle, next it was time to BBQ............


Frankie A  More photos......


19/09/13 Isobel is promoted to Slalom Division 3
Isobel Papaspyridis has just had confirmation of her promotion to Slalom Div 3 after competing at Rhug on Saturday; she will also be taking part in Mold Canoe Club's winter slalom training over the next few months. Its been a hard battle, borrowing boats, and only getting to practice on race days, but she's been determined, I'm delighted for her.

I would recommend any young people having a go at Div 4 slalom if they want river experience, there are are always plenty of safety boats about and lots of enthusiastic support for first timers.
Rebecca Papaspyridis


19/09/13 The Thrillseekers Adventure Film Festival Plaza Cinema in Waterloo on Monday 14th October 19:45 tickets £4:50 with discount code:   PADDLE13

The Thrillseekers Adventure Film Festival

features the best in extreme sports and adventure films, come and experience an evening of adrenaline-pumping action through a selection of films that celebrate pushing mind and body to the limits. From mountain biking to skiing, kayaking to BASE-jumping, arduous expeditions and world-firsts, each of our three exciting film programmes includes something for everyone.

Programme 1

Featuring the latest instalment from Posing Productions, which sees Britain’s top speed and solo climber Leo Houlding attempting a world-first ascent of the Ulvetanna Peak in Antarctica, plus round the world ski action, bicycle tomfoolery in New Zealand and spectacular kayaking down Mexico's epic waterfalls. 

The full line up is:

For more information on the films and programmes, please visit www.adventurefest.co.uk.


Adventure Film Festival at Plaza Cinema, Waterloo -

Thrillseekers Adventure Film Festival: Programme 1 - Liverpool

Black Diamond Events 

Monday, 14 October 2013 from 19:45 to 21:45 (BST)

Waterloo, United Kingdom




Enter Promotional code: PADDLE13 for 10% off for Liverpool CC members.


NB Liverpool Canoe Clubs` Paddling Film Festival is on Monday 11th November at Liverpool Marina http://www.liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk/film/



17/09/13 Coniston End to End Swim, 14th September 2013


Coniston end to end is a new swim event by Chill Swim, director Colin Hill.  The idea is simply to swim all 5.25 miles from one end to the other. Competitors have a choice to swim with or without a wetsuit but having to have a tow float attached in order to provide buoyancy and to help safety kayakers to identify swimmers in trouble.


The swim organisers were Colin Hill of Chill Swim and Martin Suzan of Swim Safety so organisation of the event couldn’t be bettered.  The first involvement for kayak team leaders was the safety meeting on the Friday evening at 7pm.  This is when important details were discussed and the opportunity to ask questions regarding expectations and duties of the safety teams.


Myself and John Worswick set off for the event at about 3:30pm on Friday as we had to drop off our boats and sort out our accommodation prior to attending the meeting, unfortunately there was a chippy just around the corner from the meeting and we succumb to hunger and temptation.  The meeting was very informative however I think some of the other attendees were slightly distracted by our food, not surprisingly after the meeting the chippy carried out some storming business.  Then back to the house, a few beers and up at 5am in preparation for the day.


The full Kayak safety meeting took place at 7:30am outside the Bluebird Café which has now been completely refurbished after the devastating floods of 2009.  There were roughly 57 kayakers looking after about 250 swimmers, probably overkill in terms of kayakers v swimmers but being the first time for the event the safety of swimmers was of upmost concern.  There were seven kayaking teams headed up by myself (Blue), John Worswick (Purple), Dave Reynolds (Yellow), Bruce Carter (Red), Mike Harrison (Pink), Frances Watkins (White) and finally the orange team leader who’s name escapes me - sorry.


 Swimming start times were split into three times depending on ability, slow swimmers to start off first at 9:00am, medium at 9:35am and the quickest at about 10am.  The idea being that at the start swimmers will be spaced out but towards the end of the swim they should all finish close together.  The first wave of swimmers had two kayaking teams looking after them, red and pink, the second wave had blue, purple and white, whilst the third wave had orange and yellow teams looking after them.


The course was set out with mile markers and feed stations between each one offering swimmers energy drinks, water, bananas and jelly babies, worth signing up just for them!  Water temperature was between 15-16 which isn’t too bad however if you are in the water for a long period of time core temperature loss and symptoms of slight hyperthermia could be  a problem, so it was important to understand the signs and to be prepared to take the decision to extract a swimmer if needed.


The weather forecast was for high winds and torrential rain coming in from the North, however good luck prevailed with sunshine for most of the day ensuring a pleasant swim.


Overall, in terms of water safety the event was an outstanding success, my team only having one extraction which was due to severe cramp and coldness, other assistance included, cramp, tight wetsuits and tiredness.  Talking to some of the swimmers I learnt about the charities they were supporting, family and friends cheering them on and of one lady swimmer who was paralysed eighteen months ago was helping to raise money for the charity which looks after her condition, if anyone needs any inspiration just talk to the swimmers and find out their story.


 Lots of stats were taken in order to improve the event for next year by which time it is expected there will be at least six hundred participants, a challenge to the Great North Swim?


In my view the event was a massive success which has to be down to the experience and organisation of Colin Hill, Martin Suzan and all the water safety teams and support staff.


If you need any more information on this or other events then please visit: -


www.chillswim.com (there is a video of the swim)


Here’s a video link from the Coniston Swim.  : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ombQaotx-J4&list=UU47syGJAEmfkWCaOQmC7ULA


Peter McComasky  More Photos……..

10/09/13 A Dark Little Secret (Open Boating Trips for all)


Skulking around the back of the marina on Thursday evening, looking and handling stuff in the shed and on the racks that I shouldn’t really have been involved with, I had hoped I could get away unnoticed but my dark little secret was out as soon as Paul “half the blade, twice the trouble” Harwood spotted me loading an open boat and canoe paddles onto my car.   Rats! It was way too late to turn back.  


OK, I admit it; I am tending to the dark side a bit and getting interested in this “single blade” stuff. I even went home on Thursday and watched a couple of the classic Bill Mason canoeing films and thumbed through my autographed copy of “Canoeing” by Ray Goodwin. There’s no online privacy these days so it won’t be long before I get an early morning visit from the “paddle police” for viewing risqué stuff on various forbidden websites such as Song of the Paddle. But, it’s certainly not all my fault and I wish to point out that reading the recent trip reports from Keith and Mike, about their open boat trips down the Tay and the Dee, played their part in leading me astray off my normal paddling habitat in salty water.


On Saturday morning Caz and I met Rosie Diver in a quiet secluded spot at Eccleston Ferry on the side of the River Dee. We had contrived for it to be a low profile assignation but Andy and Tony showed up at the same time to share in our guilty pleasures. Before we were noticed by the locals, we furtively sorted our gear out and did a car shuttle to our put-in at Farndon. The day before it had rained heavily in places and we expected to see quite a flow on the river but, in reality, it was only slight; certainly much less than we had seen on previous trips on the Dee when we had paddled it in winter months.


Rosie is an open boat coach but her style on Saturday morning was very much a light touch. As long as we didn’t repeatedly bump into the banks out of control, Rosie was happy to let Carole and me paddle off as a double, while the more experienced Andy and Tony paddled solo. The occasional hints from Rosie, as to how we could improve our paddle strokes, had us trying out a variety of new things and I was more than happy to let Carole, who was sitting in the bow, put in about four times as many strokes as I did while I got on with the “manly” job of steering us down the slow moving river, through gracefully hanging willow fronds and around numerous bends.


Passing almost silently down river, we got close to lots of wildlife (see tick list at end) and it wasn’t long before we stopped for a lunch break on river left. After about ten minutes our quiet communing with natures wonderful bounty was interrupted by a gazillion other paddlers from Ribble Canoe Club. There were so many of them we gave them their own collective noun ~ “a plastic of paddlers”.  Mostly in sea boats, they soon reached us and I felt uncontrollably drawn to talk to some of them about, well, sea kayaking!  Sorry Paul Harwood, I just couldn’t help myself.  They were a lot like us and even had their own version of our Frankie Annan who was liberally handing out cake to the grateful masses. We made a pact to meet some of them again at the Anglesey Sea Kayak Festival and at the UK Storm Gathering and I felt relieved that they were too polite to mention the fact that I was in an open boat.


It’s been said many times that paddling a double as a married couple is a sure way to steer a relationship towards the divorce courts but Caz and I are made of steadier stuff and by the time we got back to Eccleston Ferry, we were both keen on doing more; so keen in fact that we practically demanded that Rosie put on another club open boat trip in the coming months (watch the club calendar).  We sorted out the cars, packed up and drove our separate ways vowing not to tell anybody about the fun we had getting deeper into this dark and sinful world of one bladed paddling.

Wildlife Tick List:

Eels ~  tick.

Buzzard ~  tick.

House Martins  ~  tick.

Swallows  ~  tick.

Teal  ~  tick.

Mallard  ~  tick.

Herons  ~  tick.

Cormorants  ~  tick.

Fishes  ~  tick.

Hippo (might have been a floating log – not sure)  ~  tick.

Wales  ~  tick.

Kingfishers ~  tick.
Ugly Ducklings ~  tick.


Rosie Diver, Pete and Caz, Andy, Tony ~ Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty   More Photos……..


Shhhh. Don’t tell anybody else or they too might be led astray on Rosie’s next trip. – This is on Saturday 2nd November on the River Weaver – More details from the Calendar…..



07/09/13 Summer Slackers Aug 2013 - Campbeltown to Rothesay.

101km in 5 days, Longest day 30km, shortest 5 km. Weather mostly excellent, midges mostly mild to non existent.


Some explanation for the trip is required due to the gentle re-buffing that had to be done to a few applicants. As a one way trip, we used a real ferry for the ferry. The Second World War saw the last regular steamer service to Campbeltown from the ‘mainland.’   Cal Mac put on an experimental service 3 times a week using the MV Isle of Arran for this summer of 2013. This trip depended on using this ferry so depending on the commercial success or failure of the ferry route, this trip may have been a one off.

The only service with a timetable that worked for us was the Sunday lunchtime sailing from Ardrossan. The route chosen for our trip was the inside route back to Ardrossan via Loch Fyne and the Kyles of Bute. This is a truly historical route, based on ancient sea trading routes, and as such it would be a true back of beyond in the middle of nowhere nightmare if road access or egress was required. Hence the no joining rule.

This made the first half a proper ‘Mastermind’ trip. We started, so we finished.    A good number of the campsites we used were tiny and were only found due to previous forays over several years. Some could accommodate a larger group, but the comfortable and flexible max for any trip around here would be 4 compact tents. And I do mean compact! And I do mean 4, preferably less! Have I mentioned compact yet?

The coastline is virtually all rock with nearly every hospitable bay inhabited right to the waters edge and nearly every uninhabited bay brackened or cattled to the waters edge.  The tides are fairly slow, but useful.

Anyhow, back to the trip.


Day 1 - Cape Wirral to Campbeltown. 6.6 km

There are no camping sites, bunkhouses or wild camping spots anywhere near Ardrossan. So an early start, or YOGA equipped campervan is required to get up to Ardrossan in time for the ferry. We logged 248 early morning miles.  The ferry port has a manned 24 hour car park, for which the fee is £3 per day, or part day. This is on the old harbour wall, quite picturesque and would make a pleasant place for an independent camper van with its own ‘YOGA’ facilities, Your Own Gastric Activities, (copyright Andy Elliot, he’s already got his coat).


We arrived, had a big breakfast in the handy ASDA and proceeded to pack. The car park began filling up, so it was a good idea to get the boats packed and ready early, as no sooner had we trolleyed out towards the loading ramp, than the attendant had installed a car on the boat packing space. Although the vast majority of people must have been going to Arran as our ferry was pitifully empty for an English bank holiday.


The 3 kayaks shared the car deck with 11 cars, 2 motorbikes, and 3 bicycles. There was a football field of green painted space going spare on the car deck.  There were a number of senior foot passengers ‘Doon tha’ water’ and enjoying the return cruise down the Clyde without getting off at Campbeltown. This coupled with the excellent meal and attentive staff in the restaurant gave a certain wistful feeling of the years when the Clyde would have been thronged with of Paddle steamers taking the City dwellers, and shipyard workers for some fresh air on a weekend. It wasn’t just me with déjà vou. In the café I witnessed the poignant escape of a giddy schoolboy from the body of a grey aged weary old man, prompted by an ice cream sundae on the Sunday boat of today and yesteryear.  


As befits a slacking leader, I let Cal Mac sort the tick list out.

Basking Shark, tick.

A pod of Dolphins or Porpoises, tick.

Whales, tick.

Sooty shearwaters, tick.

Gannets, tick.

Giant jellyfish, tick.

Launch the high speed rescue boat for a drill, tick.

Lazing on a sunny afternoon, tick.

And from the tent, eagles, tick.  



We arrived in Campbeltown, trolleyed off our trolleys, and proceeded to load up to the strains of a Celtic rock band doing Runrig covers on what appeared to be a carnival Sunday. We spent 5 km exploring Campbeltown loch for somewhere to camp, and eventually found a very pleasant pitch at the end of a causeway with its own litter bin. We waited until dusk to put the tents up, because there was just nowhere else to go if we were to get chased. We failed to find the rock art notable on the island, but had a very pleasant night.


Day 2. - Island to Vitrified Fort.18.6km

By morning, the tide had turned in our favour and we were able to exit the loch and head north. We had slept well and by 7 am the forecast mist had gone, leaving the tents dewy and the grass with the cold damp of early autumn. There is a rock called seal rock just outside Campbeltown, and we spent ages playing ‘peek a boo’ with the highly photogenic common seals. These are gorgeous little creatures, smaller and prettier (yes, you should be worried...) than our Hilbre natives.


Lunch was taken at Saddel Bay and we proceeded northwards. We camped on a small headland near a vitrified fort. I don’t think Andy believed me about the existence of this tiny cove until we were within 10 metres of it. Vitrified forts are a bit of an Iron Age enigma. Vitrification is the process of turning rock to glass with intense heat and it is still a mystery as to how this heat was generated on a large enough scale to vitrify a hill fort in the Iron Age. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitrified_fort


Anyway this magical site provided us with the spectacle of boiling fish. Shoals of fry would be repeatedly chased into a tiny inlet by larger fish as the tide dropped. Once there was no escape, the shoal would ball up and the water apparently boil as the tiny fish would throw themselves on to the rocks and leap from the water in an attempt to avoid dinner. They repeated this process so many times that Andy was forced to get his tackle out.

This resulted in the old fish hook through the finger trick.  But he was very brave about the whole thing and settled for fire toasted crumpets and whisky. I also got an excuse to get a multi tool for future hook cutting!


Day 3. To Skipness Pt. 27.6km

The daily distances were dictated by available camping spots and steadily increasing mileages indicate the non availability of camping spots.  We broke a damp camp and with a midge assisted trolley dash and began arm marching northwards. The wild goats of Carradale put in an appearance, balancing on rocks and eating low tide seaweed in an amusingly linear fashion. There were big and gruff Billy goats with impressive tent ripping horns, sure footed Nannies and comical youngsters messing about, kids, eh?


We took on water at Carradale harbour which had a most un picturesque approach, the quayside being where Steptoe and Son must have retired to with all the junk they could acquire and that junk then created a gravity field of it’s own pulling in all the junk of Kintyre. However, the pretty harbour was full of hermit crabs, all wandering about the shallows like a screen saver for a beach. Here was a whole world like a miniature primary school playground, crabs chasing each other, playing tick, choosing a closer crab to chase as the fleeter one got out of range. Causing the new target one to comically scuttle sprint away. Some went chasing round and round the same small rock for ages due in no small way to a lack of perspective that parallels our own occasional inability to step back from living to see the big picture of life.  Some were wrestling each other out of their calcium carbonate caravans. Others just aimlessly wandered about until cannoned into or chased by the others.


There were dowdy crabs in algal shells and crustacean fashionistas in the latest ranges of recently vacated colours. Hermit crabs are a bit like puffins, living serious lives, but providing endless amusement for sea kayakers. Unlike puffins, they have to avoid sea kayakers feet. Poor buggers.


Visibility stayed under 5km most of the day under leaden skies. Arran stayed disappeared until late afternoon. First luncheon was taken at the bottom of a garden in Cour Bay, about 30 inquisitive seals followed us into the bay and assembled just like a choir of bowling balls waiting for us to conduct them in seal song.  The map was changed, always a good omen when planned, and we proceed towards Claonaig where we had a second lunch near the ferry slip and the all important ladies loos. There was a diver working on the ferry ramp, and it was quite comical to watch him scuttle up the ramp for a tea break whilst the ferry came in and scuttle back down to the sea like a giant two legged crab when it left. Poor chap never actually got a cuppa whist we were there because he left, or was left with, his helmet on.


They gave us a cheery wave as we passed on our way to Skipness Point.  As we neared the point, boulders resolved themselves into cows. So we ended up camped at the end of the main beach near a picturesque ruined chapel and in full view of the manor house.  One of the colourful cows leaped the fence and joined us on the beach. Pat Brown, as we christened her, contentedly marched up and down taking the choicest plants and leaving the occasional night time trap. She eventually leaped back and we donated some of the stock of firewood to cow proof the fence a little in the hope of a quiet night. Just before dusk I think I spotted a Pine Marten but it could have been an otter in the half light.



Day 4 Skipness Pt to Postage Stamp camp 30 km

The cow defences withheld any nocturnal bovine siege and all I got was a very dirty look from Pat as she passed by the Chapel en route to breakfast parade. A distinct improvement on her dirty deeds of the previous day.

We ‘slacked’ our way north, passing a couple of good camping spots early on.


The day was sunny and warm. There was even some noteworthy flesh sunbathing on the foredeck of the sole yacht passing out of Loch Fyne. We took lunch at the beach of abandoned Fiona Port, so I now have another corny destination lodged in the memory bank to entice female paddlers named Fiona to. Probably not!


The fish at the Fiona Port fish farm were being played Eminem loudly from the workboat. Maybe they were preparing the salmon for wrapping.


We took the short crossing of just over 3km to the island of Sagt Mor, with its vertically challenged lighthouse. I had not thought to point out the light was likely to be fairly short, and thus one of our party was expecting a much longer crossing. From there we plish plashed our way over a flat sea to a second lunch on a noteworthy beach of colourful pebbles near Ardmont. Very photogenic and a possible future camping destination.


As we passed towards the West Kyle of Bute, what should pop out but the Waverley, a proper old Clyde puffer and the last working Clyde paddle steamer. It appeared from our perspective to be well loaded with passengers; either that or it had grown fuzzy topsides in the sun.


As we entered the Kyle of Bute, Sylvia declared a strike and set to sleep on the boulders of the afternoon tea break beach. We had to wake her when the tide began to endanger her feet. After shovelling banana malt loaf down the good lady, along with restorative tea we set to the West Kyle of Bute.


Carry Point was crossed with merely a walk and a scrape. The closest campsite on the map, at Carry had turned into a static and log cabin site. I guess the wild camping legislation has taken its toll of commercial tent camping sites.


It’s an ill wind blows no good, as they say and the wind blew us to the Kames Hotel in Kames Bay. Sneakily Andy did a moist dismount which meant that as I, as Mr Dry, was obliged to get the beer from the bar. A hearty meal of proper food and some black water paddling followed. You surround black water, supplied a by barmaid who looked like her aunties should have been Emma Watson and Maryam d’ Abo, bond girl. See picture. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/92/Guinness.jpg/170px-Guinness.jpg

Suitably pied, gammoned and Sweet potato curried, we proceeded to the postage stamp of a wild camp for the night.



Day 5. Postage stamp camp to Backpackers Hostel Rothesay 20km

We left with damp tents but good spirits. As we wandered up the West Kyle with a following tide we were greeted by the Maids of Bute. We slacked around the Burnt Islands and went to see what was in the Artists garden.  Sadly the fantastic metal men sculptures that were here last time had been replaced by a disembowelled camel and a giant lizard, both in metal. Not quite the ‘A star’ innovations of last time, but the shoreline sculptures here are always worth a visit.

The Admiralty chart for the Burnt Islands BA1906 – 1, has one tidal diamond which states. ‘The flow varies greatly with meteorological conditions and may attain 3 knots in either direction’.   Helpful. Not.


So tidal planning can be more of an art than a science. We got a ‘Banksy’ as the tide pushed us around even as it dropped.   The turn southwards was made and after catching the Friday forecast it was decided to take a night in the Backpackers Hostel and the Cal Mac ferry back to Wemyss Bay. The Backpackers hostel is just 300 m from the Rothesay loading ramp and would make a fine assembly point for a future club trip to Bute, if we had sufficient coaches willing to make it a goer. We’d obviously be on for two 30km days. So although beginner friendly, it would punish the unprepared. We may even be able to get some Tiderace demo boats from Roddy.  


We had another lovely meal, this time in a bistro, yes, me. In a bistro!  Rothesay is a faded Edwardian grand village, with some very fine architecture and the attitude of the outer island towns. It’s well worth looking upwards and past the faded shop fronts as well as outwards to the magnificent views.  If you go there that is.  



Day 6 Cal Slacking - Rothesay to Wirral (It was Friday!)


A leisurely stroll to a big fried breakfast in town saw us fit for action as we portaged 300m from the Hostel to the ferry ramp.


The boats were free, once again. Passenger fare was £4.90. Any doubt about ‘Cal slacking’ was removed as we left the harbour calm into a decent 4-5 once out of shelter. The coffee and cake at elevenses on the big boat were also an improvement on the food still available from the little boats. 35 minutes later, at Wemyss Bay, Sylvia was left with Kindle, cuppa and the boats in full view of the café as we caught a taxi back to Ardrossan for the vans.


The weekend invasion of the Clyde was already well under way. The Vikings were busy annexing the seafront, funfair and guesthouses of Largs. Cowboys and cowgirls were taking over the island of Great Cumbrae and lady sea kayakers were invading the isle of Bute for the secret ladies only sea symposium. I wonder how much a tepee cost on the campsite, if the Vikings took the ferry and why they call the ‘sweetie hatch’ the ‘make up’ hatch in Scotland 


In all, over 530 miles driven, 102 km paddled, £15 spent on ferries and £20 each in a bunkhouse, £30 for the taxi and a bit more voluntarily on Black Water and proper meals. It was pretty good value for a late summer adventure.

We were a team of 3 in 2 tents, with a trolley each. The paddlers were Sylvia Mould, Adrian Mould and Andy Elliott. Thanks to one and all for your company and good humour. Thanks to Curly Dave for the loaned trolley, it had a good time.


Adrian Mould. (Ade)                              More Photos………..


03/09/13 Y Felinheli to Llandwyn Island via Abermenai Point


Friday 30th August 2013;bit of a mad day for me, but one that ended with the start of a great weekend of sea paddling. The plan was to get out for an overnight trip with some of the Sweden crew to practice camping from boats and talk about the plans for the October trip.


A night spent at Anglesey Outdoors meant a visit to the Paddlers Return followed by a race to see who could put their tent up the fastest I think I won!


Saturday morning saw myself; Chris and Jim head off to pick Nicky’s boat up from Summit to Sea before heading for the meeting point in Y Felinheli.


First mistake of the trip was not saying Port Dinorwic to Don, never mind he found us! Sadly Pete and Caz weren’t able to join us, so 5 paddlers launched almost on time at 11.30 to paddle with the ebb down to Abermenai point. Nicky found packing her boat for the first time pretty easy; she was ready before the rest of us.


We made our way into a breeze up the mainland side of the Menai Straits, making a brief stop at Caernarfon for a quick bite and a drink and a longer stop at Fort Belan to go exploring.  We were lucky to be in the company of Jim K so the stories and bad jokes flowed faster than the ebbing tide, and kept us all entertained. After our exploration of the Fort, a short ferry glide saw us land at Abermenai Point to set up camp for the night. We wanted to bag the best spot before the other group we knew were heading in the same direction arrived.


After collecting driftwood for a campfire we settled down to cook and discuss the finer points of stoves, listen to more jokes, and look at the stars. Mark Tozer, who was out with the other group wandered over to join us for banana cake, spookily arriving just as the knife cut the first slice of cake.


The tide meant we either had a very early start or a very leisurely start the next day, we opted for leisurely, paddling onto Llandwyn Island, we had a walk around the pilot’s cottages and enjoyed a quiet and sunny lunch before catching the flood back to Y Felinheli (that’s Port Dinorwic to you Don).


A really lovely weekend in great company, and a fabulous way to celebrate handing in my dissertation on Friday, Cheers guys!


Frankie A, Nicky C, Don B, Jim K, Chris P



03/09/13 Trip Report, Introduction to moving water, 1st Sept

Not long back from our "Intro to moving water day" on the Dee at Llangollen.  What a brilliant day !

There were 5 paddlers out,
John Cooke, Dave Barnes, Tony Doyle, my Son John & myself.
I certainly pushed myself, both mentally and physically, I rode water I never thought I'd be capable of, although it was probably easy for you more experienced paddlers, it was a bit scary for me.

We started further upstream from Serpent's Tail and worked our way down, getting out to look at the Tail and watched a few others running it, Dave, John C & Tony opted to run it too, whilst John M & I bravely declined and decided to carry our boats down stream to await them. Dave & John C ran it smoothly, with Tony opting to swim the lower half.

We bumped into another couple of LCC members under the rail bridge who were getting some input from a professional kayak coach, who then very kindly offered to spend a little of his time with us, running through Ferry Glides and Breaking in and out of the flow.
These are definitely skills I need to practice, judging by the number of times my boat & I parted company.

After continuing down and covering a couple of small drops we broke for lunch near JJ's.

Once back on the water we practised bracing strokes in a large eddy above the first drop, then rode top 2 drops again, before getting out prior to the 3rd for Tony to show us the line and watch paddlers doing it.

Running this 3rd one I got slightly offline and to the shouts of "Paddle, Paddle ,Paddle" from Dave managed to get back to where I should have been and ran it successfully,

All in all, it was a fantastic day, many thanks to John C, Dave & Tony for your help, guidance and most of all patience. Nick Mackin


31/08/13 The Alternative Canoe Expedition – The Welsh Dee - Llangollen to Chester Aug 2013


The plan had been set, holidays arranged and we were all set to head to Scotland for the LCC Canoe Expeditions to Scotland. Then we discovered that the dates on the web site were wrong, so it was a quick change of plan and we decided that the Alternative Canoe Team (Mike, Ruth, Dan, Megan[8] and Jack[6]) would paddle the 80km from Llangollen to Chester over two days instead.

After leaving a car near Sandy Lane, the team met at 10am in Llangollen. Boats were loaded, and moved to the river – where we joined several LCC / SOTP members for the first part of the trip. Planning had been meticulous, we had worked out the journey separately to be either 65 or 75 km (it turned out to be 80) and we knew roughly were we wanted to camp – so all good then. Now to find out if our flotilla could do enough speed to get us back to Chester in time? We hoped that the flow would give lots of assistance on day 1 to make up for the low flow on day 2, but unfortunately it had not been raining and the Dee was low.


Day 1 – Launch Llangollen at 11am and head downstream, marvelling at how come all of us  had only paddled the first bit of this beautiful section once before. The nice easy rapids would make a great intro plus river, but it could also just be a nice run for more experienced boaters. All too soon we reached Trevor rapids, site of the first Wild Water slalom in the UK, where I decided to check the line ahead of Dan`s precious boatload and as such pointed out the rock that couldn’t be seen from above. Yep, I capsized. Nice, only another 36 hours to stay in this wet kit!


Back in my boat, after recovering another swimmer, we headed down, gliding under the Aqueduct, rail viaduct and then the massive road bridge. It truly is a lovely remote section, almost gorge like.


We carried on, portaging the two weirs and passing the two rather nice looking pubs. Marvelling at the herd of standing / balanced stones and catching site of several bright blue Kingfishers. Eventually we reached Bangor on Dee, where we stopped for tea (we wanted to arrive late at our campsite so as to be discreet). Fully fed, it was back on the river in the ever fading light. Some local fisher folk joked that we had to paddle faster if we wanted to get to the pub before it locked! Eventually, about 8.30pm / 45km, we found a nice place to camp on a shingle bank and pitched camp. Perfect!


Day 2 - Up early to avoid conflict and because we knew we had a long day without much flow assistance. So up at 6am it was. Unfortunately, our covert exit was foiled by the local hunt passing us by about 20mins later whilst we still doing breakfast. Doh! But they didn’t mind and we launched into the fog about 7.30am  Now for the unending meanders!


There was surprisingly more flow than we anticipated, and the fog eased our passage – although we did surprise some early morning fisher folk – as we cruised along. To pass the time, the kids “mooed” to every cow we passed, and the kids were impressed with how the cows even responded to Dan’s full blooded “Moooo!” He had to do it at every cow we saw from then on.


As we reached Farndon, the sun burnt off the cloud and it became hot – and hard work! We cruised along between the shanty town holiday homes, wondering why we hadn’t stopped at Farndon, and eventually we came across some more cows – playing leap frog. The kids wanted Dan to “Moo”, but for some reason he declined. I don’t know why?*


After more cruising, we estimated about 60,000 J strokes in total, we reached the journeys end at 4pm. 80km done, hot and tired, but VERY glad we had done it, and still wondering why we had never paddled from Llangollen to Overton before?  Must do it again some time!


(*It later turned out that the cows weren’t playing leap frog, they were doing the Conga)


Mike, Ruth, Dan, Megan & Jack     More Photos………

31/08/13 September 2013 Newsletter Published
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