Volume 14 Issue 2

February 2014

February 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.…

           
01/02/14
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 in order to receive information and posts from members on events, courses and activities. (You do NOT need a Google account or  Google email) The main group can be accessed here….

 

01/02/14 Major dates for Club events – for more detail check the online the calendar…….

Easter Bank Holiday 17th April to 21st April 2014 Scottish Easter Paddling holiday. Click to book a place.........

9 -11  May 2014 Bala Canoe Training Weekend - Traditionally our coaches help run this

16 -18  May 2014 2014 Anglesey Weekend No1 Tyn Rhos Campsite at Trearddur LL652AX  Coordinator Peter Massey High Tide:   1:36 PM BST  9.2m

22 -26 May 2014 Pembroke 2nd May Bank Holiday Weekend - Coordinator Jenny Brown

13 -15 June 2014 Anglesey Weekend No2 (Junior Club Camping weekend based at 4 Mile Bridge) Pen-Y-Bont Farm LL65 3EY Coordinator Keith S    High Tide: 1:00 PM BST  9.2m

Sun, 29 June 2014 Hilbre Island Sea Kayak Race  Coordinator Keith S  High Tide:  1:14 PM BST   8.6m

11-13 July 2014 Anglesey weekend No3 - Rhosnieger LL64 5XA coordinator Jenny Brown High Tide:  11:37 AM BST   9.1m

25 July – 10 August 2014 Alpine paddling holidayBriancon, France.  coordinator Keith S Click for more information……

19 -21 September 2014 Anglesey weekend No4 Outdoor Alternative LL65 2NQ  Coordinator Frankie Annan  High Tide: 9:34 AM BST   7.8m

 

01/02/14 January Photo of the Month Competition

 

Liverpool Canoe Club Photo Competition Winners



Congratulations to Sara Bergqvist for her winning photo:

“The brown tongue  – The Keld Gorge on the Swale”

 

 

Runner up Peter Dickinson:

“Lunch stop after paddling around the Great Orme”

 

Runner up Kirk Williams :

“Moelfre to Dulas Island

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.

31/01/14  Alternative Film Festival - 6 Canoeing & kayaking films – Free for all interested in paddle sport

This is a free event for all club members and anyone interested in paddlesport. We will be showing 6 short canoeing and kayaking films, the best of those available that have not already been shown at the last two years "Reel Paddling Film Festival.

A free presentation at Liverpool Marina. L3 4BP Starts at 8:00pm  Click here to reserve your place free……..

More information………


26/01/14  Twenty minutes paddling on the spot. (Crosby Surfing Saturday 25/1/14

The weather looked promising all the way up to Friday. The prospect of Crosby's finest waves were looking good. That was until Friday evening when the weather changed.
 
Saturday morning didn't look too bad, but by lunch time it was gusting at 47mph. I knew it was going to be wild so just took a kayak as I can paddle much faster than in a canoe. I arrived at 2.30pm and the waves were chaotic and massive. Really excited until I tried to get out of the car door and couldn't open it due to the wind. Good grief, this is going to be nuts. Karl arrived two minutes later with a big grin on his face. We quickly changed and were joined by Julie and Steph, who had come to see which mental cases were going to turn up. Just Karl and I then.
 
We clung onto our kayaks which were trying to turn into kites, and battled our way down to the waterline. Karl helped me into my very small, tight, uncomfortable, cramp inducing, edgy kayak and we started paddling out. I always use the wooden tower as a marker to check my position along the beach or how far from the shore so I know where I am. Somehow I managed to get out and catch a white water wave, then turned back out to sea. I could not get back out. Twenty minutes later I was still level with the tower. Karl was further in front of me but he was going no
where either. I thought this is stupid, I am going in.
 
I arrived at the beach just as Steve Rose was turning up. He is always late. Nine and a half hours is his record at Anglesey. He looked at me, and thought, "Sod it I'm here now!"
 
Now there was Karl and Steve paddling on the spot. They came back to the beach and had a break. I dragged them out through the waves by walking out and holding the front of their boats . This was the most progress any of us had made all day, but took one wave and went back to the beach. It was so mental, that we decided we hadn't had enough, so walked 1/4 mile up the beach and had another go. Here I tried out my new drysuit top and bottom combo, and discovered how to eject ones self from a very small, tight, uncomfortable, cramp inducing, edgy kayak. I didn't even try and roll. Just got out and walked back to the beach knowing I was going home. Karl and Steve had already been blown back to the beach by this time and it was a quick scramble up the bricks chasing out kayaks tumbling uphill in the wind.
 
The wind was peaking at 54mph whilst we were there. And next time Karl, if it is that windy, I will probably do it all again.

 

Paul Harwood                                                   More Photos…..

 

26/01/14  Kayak Across the Atlantic – Presentation by Pete Bray 4th February 2014 at Hoylake Sailing Club

 

Peter BrayMembers of Liverpool Canoe Club are invited to Pete Bray`s presentation on his solo kayak across the North Atlantic Ocean 4th Feb at Hoylake Sailing Club CH47 2BB approximately 9:00pm
Admission £5 with all proceeds towards Pete’s chosen charities.


In June of 2000, Pete Bray launched from St. John's. Newfoundland in an attempt to be the first person to kayak solo and unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean. Within a few hours, his kayak cabin was flooding, the cockpit was leaking, all his electronics including his communications gear was wrecked, and he was forced to take to his life raft, whose bottom was ripped and also leaking. And that's just the first eight pages of his book.

Fortunately, Pete was quickly rescued and tried a second and more successful attempt in 2001. His memoir of his crossing is a short but enjoyable read, describing the preparations for both attempts, as well as the lessons learned from the aborted first attempt. He tells the tale of his 76-day crossing in a breezy and relaxed fashion, from the solar-powered gear that had trouble recharging because the sun never shined, to the publicist who had a strange aversion to seeking publicity.

 

 

19/01/14  “The River Dee - Ty Mawr Country Park to Overton Bridge”

The forth improvers white water trip this winter was to the 16km section of the mighty river Dee below Trevor.  It included many rapids and two large weirs near the end.

 

A large turnout of LCC paddlers turned up for what was to be a pleasant bimble down the Dee in the lesser spotted sunshine.  Recent deluges of rain ensured that river was vey swollen with plenty of boils to catch out the unwary, and the fast flow soon has us motoring downstream.   

I was in Mark Garrod’s group and I couldn’t help noticing that his eyes were like pickled onions, due to the fact that he had foregone a good night’s sleep for a night on the lash in Widnes

The high river levels gave rise to some nice little wave trains and rapids, the boils caught a few people out but nothing of any consequence.  As we floated downstream we soon came to the Erbistock weir.  In certain levels, there is a nice, tidy surf wave here to play on.  We weren’t really sure what was waiting for us today but on inspection it was a nice boof over the edge into pleasantly bouncy water.  Some folk opted for a rather hellish portage around the weir as they weren’t quite sure as to the munch factor of it.  We hung about a bit, and then headed off past the picturesque church at Erbistock towards Overton.

There was another interesting weir waiting ahead.  Soon enough, all the groups slowed down as we could see Keith paddling back and forth trying to get a look at the Overton weir.  It was time to get out of our boats and trying to get ourselves and our boats onto a very steep bank was proving a challenge.  Some of us risked sprained ankles by scaling the bank in order to have a look at the weir. 

We could certainly hear it and when we had a look, we could see that it had a very high “muncher” factor.  The only way down it was a narrow tongue of water and you had to get the line exactly right or you would be in BIG trouble. Roy was game to give it a go but he seemed to be the only one. Keith went over to the opposite bank to see if it was possible to portage it that way.  Eventually, we got back into our boats, paddled to the other side of the river and embarked on an appalling grade 7, muddy portage which eventually turned into a killer get out.  If the weir failed to get us, then the get- out and walk back to our cars certainly did.

Despite skidding about in thick mud carrying our boats, it was a very enjoyable paddle.

Many thanks to Royston for organising a great day out in the sunshine.

Helen Siertsema    More Photos…….

 

 

 

14/01/14  “The Swedish Club Expediton presentation last night at the Marina

This talk included photos and stories from the clubs recent expedition to Sweden.  It was well supported with about 45 members and friends.

 

It all started with the advance notice that the international diabetes meeting was going to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden 16th-18th October 2013. This was a perfect opportunity to mix work and fun and organise a sea kayaking trip. So at the very end of the season 8 LCC paddlers embarked on a journey around the Bohuslan coast of Sweden. The area stretches from Gothenburg to the border with Norway. Our trip began roughly 2 hours north of Gothenburg in Lysekil.

 

Cathy introduced the talk and Ian and Don gave us an insight into the navigation behind the trip.  Frankie talked about the funnier side of putting an expedition like this together.  I do not see what is wrong with carbonated water!

 

 

More free talks this year at the club………


14/01/14  “Hail”

Usual 8.00 kick off. Karl got there early - I was committed to the motorway - when the hail came. It hammered down. The motorway turned white and I was the only vehicle cutting my way through the powder on the East Lancs at a steady 25mph. Karl was treated to a light show - thunder and lightening out to sea over the wind farm. One of the first things he said to me was after the initial greeting was, "Loved that report you wrote!" (hmm, I wonder?).

The forecast had been for "sunny" but once we were kitted up Karl shouted over the blast, "If that squall over there hits us we'd better be careful!" I looked at a mountain of cloud that was churning up into the sky over towards Altcar. I'd stayed at home when the Anglesey trip was on to avoid this kind of thing - I'd even suggested to Karl that he pick Sunday as opposed to Saturday as the wind was forecast to be much stronger "20mph" as opposed to "14mph". Karl had said it was blowing out to sea on the Sunday and an onshore wind was a safer bet - funny I'd never thought about such a thing as wind direction before.

Oh well, here we go, another double figure of duckings! The Greenland Stick was brought into action and, as usual, the waves were big - not as big as they can get at Crosby but big enough - about 6 feet high - it took only a couple of them to knock me over but, Hallelujah, I managed to roll back up - Karl was as excited about it as I was - it certainly saved him from having to get me back into the thing!

The usual stalwarts were missing. I'd told my misses the night before that they wouldn't be there as they were playing polo. "They're posh aren't they," she replied.

The hail continued to batter down - it was hard to look out to sea to what was coming - Karl seemed to like these conditions - he asked me back in the car park why nobody else had turned up - I suggested it might have something to do with the zero temperature and the freezing hail - he appeared puzzled by the very idea.  The wave height increased as the wind blew in harder - it made for some excellent territory for Mr K - I watched him weaving down waves from my usual vantage point - my eyes level with the water. Two years of Crosby surfing certainly show and the annoying thing is that it is all made to look so easy. The increase in wave height meant changing the stick for a euro - the stick simply didn't have the surface area for bracing in the mush. Not that it made a great deal of difference.

Drag the boat back to shore, bail it out, fight my way back out through the breakers, survive some big waves, race shoreward’s on another...over we go again...BUT... another roll! another celebration, and Karl had spotted another error - he explained that I was bracing on one side but trying to turn to the other - Adrian, he of slackers fame, had taught me how to get onto the waves, Paul H had told me to brace seaward, and now Karl also explained that I was allowed to quickly twist myself round to face the right way, that, combined with telling me to turn back and watch what was happening behind me was the turning point - I only fell over two more times...But...rolled back up! Karl was a chuffed as I was - my rolling technique was analysed by him in such terms such as, "paddle sticks up like a flag" "thrashed around" "wrong angle" "I didn't know what you were doing" "but it worked." It certainly decreased his usual helping me back into the boat or shepherding me to shore - hopefully those days are slowly starting to be behind me - and everyone else that has had to help me. [Then again, maybe not...!]

As a training ground for anybody who wants to learn how to handle a kayak in tricky conditions, "Messrs K and H assure the public their location will be second to none," [the prize for naming that song is a training session with Messrs K and H].

The tide was on the ebb, Karl explained that if it went out too far we'd be mud larking, so after just over two hours we called it a day. The waves by that point were quite small but the funny thing with waves is that they come in sets, Mr K was able to career to the shore on a wave for what seemed like five minutes - missed filming it as my numbed fingers just wouldn't respond at the right speed, in fact, due to my lack of falling out I'd generally failed to capture any of the action on camera! But here's a couple of short clips here and here that show the total emptiness of the place - we could have been landing on a beach on Lewis. [There's even a scary Hitchcock moment].

Another fantastic day on the Crosby foreshore watched only by the gaunt silent statues staring out to sea.

Back in the car park, "That last report was so good you can write this one!" (hmm, right, got it!). The surreal ending to the day was the amount of people turning up to give Viking funerals to their Xmas trees. (Although maybe not so surreal as watching Don's tow line sequence; deploy, anchor, pendulum, smash!) Oh and Karl did say he'd write the next report - when the winner to the song competition will also be revealed!

 

11/01/14  Ollie cracks his roll

 

Congratulations to Ollie Murphy who becomes the latest Junior paddler to crack his Eskimo roll at the pool tonight. At this rate LCC should have a few Olympic medal hopefuls in a few years.!

 

https://vimeo.com/83628078

 

 

Junior club runs on:

Tuesdays 6-8pm at Broadgreen School Pool

Saturday 10:30 -12:30 at our base at Liverpool Marina

Cheers

Proud Dad



 


10/01/14  “Get ya Boof On”  The Keld Gorge, River Swale - Saturday 4th Jan 2014

 

At the weekend a group of us decided to go kayaking in the lakes as wet weather had been predicted and we thought we could get a few good runs of some of the lesser paddled Lakeland rivers but that wet weather never really hit the lakes and when we arrived at our meeting place at Force Falls (which is the get out of the River Kent) everything apart from the River Leven was at low levels. Now the Leven is a good river but we’ve done it quite a lot over the last couple of years so we didn’t really want to do it again so after a bit of debating and checking of levels on Rainchasers we decided to go and do the Keld Gorge on the River Swale which is a graded as a 3, 4 & 5 waterfall run.

 

The journey to the put in of the Swale crosses the North Yorkshire moors and you head from Kirby Stephen in Cumbria towards the village of Keld in Swaldale North Yorkshire.  The scenery as you drive across the moors is stunning and the whole area feels very remote and far away. As you drive further you start to see the various rain filled ditches and tributaries that drain the peat rich moorland gain in volume until they combine to become the deep, rich brown coloured Swale. 

 

The levels when we got to the put in of the river were on the low side which was perfect for the 9 person strong group as only Mark Young and I had run the river before.  Between us we led the group down the river until we reached the first waterfall of the day which is called “Wain Wath Force”.  We got out on river right and scouted the drop and chose the line we were going to take before we all ran it successfully. A bit further down river you come to  Rainby Force” which is classed as a grade 5 drop.  In the levels we ran it there was only one visible line you could take.  This was a tongue of brown water that led into a smooth rock slide.  On each side of this slide were jagged rocks that you needed to avoid.  This is an intimidating drop and you feel scared as you commit to running it but once you make the line and end up in the pool below that scared feeling turns to joy as you laugh with your mates.

 

Some grade  3 rapids then lead you onto Catrake Force which is classed as grade 4.  It is a set of 2 drops followed by a 3rd not long after.  A churning eddy line between the first 2 drops can catch you out if you don’t power through it.  Looking back upstream after you’ve run it makes for an impressive sight. After Catrake force the next drop is a large Double Drop.  You need to boof the first drop river right and then cross the river and boof the 2nd drop river left. A few people mentioned that they though the 1st drop of the double drop was the most difficult of the day.

 

After double drop the river gorges go on for a while and the rapids are nice grade 3ish until you reach Upper Kisdon Falls which we boofed river right into the deep dark churning pool below.  It was in this pool that the only mishap of the day occurred; I somehow managed to drop Sven’s new  Go-pro whilst trying to take photos and after a few lame juggling attempts, I watched in dismay, as it sank into the peat coloured water never to be seen again.  After everyone had successfully run Upper Kisdon we all got out on river right and checked out Lower Kisdon Falls which is the most serious fall on this run. No one decided to run it on this occasion as it didn’t look very inviting. 

 

We had to carry our kayaks up the side of the gorge and then approximately 2 kilometres along muddy tracks to where the cars were parked.  After carrying our boats so far a few people mentioned the falls would have been the better option! Before we ran the river, I think a few of the group had concerns because waterfall paddling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but by the end of the run everyone was happy that they’d run the river and a good time was had by all. We finished the day off by having cups of tea and coffee and toasted tea cakes in a small café in Kirkby Stephen: 

 

Roy McHale

Paddlers on the day were: Roy McHale, Mark Young, Andy Wrigg, Paul Flaherty, Craig Henderson, Sven Till, Tom Morris, Keith S & Sara Bergqvist.    More Photos……..

 

10/01/14  Hilbre Island Sea Kayak Race 29th January 2014.

 

 

06/01/14  Great Orme to Little Orme and back. 4/01/2014.

.

Whilst watching the evening news and the footage of the storms on Friday my wife turned to me and asked “You’re not seriously going out in the sea tomorrow are you ?”, to which I replied “It’s ok, Ian says it’ll be fine”….

I arrived at the car park on West Shore to find an almost glass like sea, with overcast skies and no wind.  Evidence of the storm the day before lay strewed half way up the car park, sea weed and pebbles highlighting the tide mark.  Wondering where everyone else was I rang Ian, who informed me that the meeting place was about a quarter of a mile further up the road.  I’m glad I didn’t feed the pay and display meter before I rang him!

Kitted up and on the water we headed northwest hugging the left flank of the Great Orme passing the houses on millionaires’ row.  (Not hugging it quite as much as Brian, who couldn’t have been in more than 2 feet of water and was rock hopping all the way!).  As we approached the corner, spray from crashing waves could be seen ahead, we gave them a wide berth and continued toward the lighthouse.  There was a slight following sea which didn’t cause too much of an issue, however the waves that rebounded off the cliffs caused some confused water and with this being my maiden voyage in a sea boat, I was a little bit wary.

The limestone cliffs that towered above us were an impressive sight and as we paddled along we were accompanied by a very curious seal, he was probably hanging around looking for a free meal as just above us on a ledge were a couple of fishermen. I doubt they would have caught much with him around!   We then rounded the knuckle on the eastern side of the Orme and the old Victorian pier at Llandudno came in to view, at this point the choice was to continue to Little Orme or pull in to the bay for a bite to eat.  We chose the latter.

After half hour or so we headed back out to sea, by this time a small crowd had gathered to watch us depart (maybe they were hoping that one of us would fall out of  a boat so they could earn £250 on You’ve Been Framed?).  We headed east across the bay aiming for the point on Little Orme. (Except for Brian who once again preferred the 2 feet of water!) . 

The water again was mainly flat until we left the confines of the bay, at which point we joined the “travelator” (Pete’s affectionate term for the ebbing tidal flow).  This assisted us during the trek back across the bay toward Great Orme.  The swells picked up a little as we came back along the North face of the Orme, made bigger by a bit of wind against tide action.  I quite enjoyed this section and it was all adding to my limited experience.  Once again the seal put in an appearance in more or less the same place as before.

We rounded the lighthouse and were now heading back along the flank, up until this point I had more or less managed to keep up with the others but now I was beginning to feel it.  My shoulders were aching and we were being hit side on with a bit of swell, this caused me to have a bit of a wobble and I began to drop behind slightly.  We pushed on and finally reached the beach where I couldn’t wait to pop my deck, have a damn good stretch and rest my shoulders!

All in all a really good day, thanks to all the guys for their encouragement and advice and looking forward to paddling with you again soon.   Thanks to Ian for organising the trip.

Trip Data (From Pete’s GPS):    Distance – 11.8 nautical miles    Time – 4hrs, mins

Paddlers: Ian Bell, Mike Alter, Kirk Williams, Brian Green, Peter Dickinson, Andrew Garland, Karl Winrow           More Photos…….

03/01/14 Surfing Anglesey 2nd Jan 2014

 

Paul Harwood, Steve Rose and I planned an eco friendly trip car sharing to Trearddur Bay in Anglesey to enjoy the winter surf and put to use all the skills we had developed surfing at Crosby throughout the year. Surf kayaks, play boats and a Canoe thing were packed into the back of Pauls van and we set off at 0700hrs to our destination.

 

Whilst practicing at Crosby we had developed a good understanding of the importance of managing wave, tide and wind direction and how combined at varying degree's could alter the level of surf available. Also whilst at Crosby we developed the importance of how a risk assessment is crucial to safe surfing and identifying hidden features, rip tides and safe run off areas.

"None of that rubbish matters when you're at Anglesey Karl" Paul said on route.

"But what about the high tide time" I asked

"That doesn't affect us one iota" was the reply.

 

We arrived at the beach to find the waves at high tide crashing upon the sea wall.

"That shouldn't affect us should it Paul?" I asked to no reply.

 

"So I suppose we should give it ten minutes then". I said.

 

Three coffees, two bacon butty's and five visits to the loo later and it was time to surf as the water had receded from the wall to expose a safe zone of sand upon the beach. Paul was straight in and out to the first group of waves and forced to practice his various rolling skills and a wet exit. Steve who had paddled out to assist him tried a new rescue technique which consisted of capsizing/falling and joining him in the water, which I suppose would give him some comfort on their return journey to the beach.

 

The fight against the oncoming wind and the breaking waves to battle through all became worthwhile as we turned and headed on to the cleanest green waves which thrust us back to shore to restart the process over and over again.

 

We paddled from 10 till 4 with just a small break for lunch and was joined by a local kayak surfer who demonstrated the best routes out to the surf and the easiest ways to access the waves and as it became dark we walked our kayaks and canoe thing back up the beach with a feeling of great achievement and a list of things to be practiced back at Crosby.

 

Karl Tattum               More Photos……

 

 

02/01/14 In between Christmas and New Year sea paddle – Moelfre to Dulas island and back

Saturday 28th December, the date had been highlighted in my calendar for a while as an opportunity to go paddling, if the weather allowed. After several days of checking the forecast and hoping that the wind really would drop, 5.30am Saturday arrived, I woke and couldn’t hear the wind, breakfast eaten, kit ready waiting and the day was beginning to look like the weather would be very kind.

By the time we met at the A55/A5 Llanberis services the sky was blue and the sun was shining, and everyone was on time! Some of the group had arrived early enough to enjoy a Little Chef breakfast. The decision to paddle out and back from Moelfre was made and the convoy wound its way to the put in point. Boats were unloaded from cars and dry suits and layers were donned, the risk of being too warm was discussed, before we all gathered on the stone beach before launching.

 

We headed out on a very calm sea, towards Dulas, the wind that was blowing was off shore and reasonably cold, so we hugged the coastline, with some getting closer than others as they rock hopped and explored every gap that looked too small to pass a sea kayak through. A few waves were spotted for playing in, those who couldn’t resist played and those who could just chatted, after a leisurely hour and a half on the water we headed for ‘gossip rocks’ for lunch. So named because we indulged in a proper gossip in the winter sun, Kathy provided a range of festive headgear which was ably modelled by several of the group. The co-ordination between hats and paddling gear was really quite remarkable.

 

Lunch over we opted to paddle across to Dulas Island and very quietly slip round past the seals without getting too close and we hoped disturbing them too much. Rather than heading back directly to Moelfre and being pushed further out to sea we headed back into shore, (into a wind that was probably less than the forecast and not as much as slog as it could have been) to continue the lets see if your kayak will fit through that gap game for some and a relaxing paddle and natter for others.

Our gentle paddle saw us return to Moelfre, there was some rolling practice and some rescue practice by the hardy, the less hardy jumped straight out on arrival and spectated.

 

After loading the cars up, it seemed only right and proper to visit the Kimmel Arms for a social moment before we all headed off home, I suspect several of Saturday’s happy paddlers will be about on the sea again soon, as they make the most of time off over Christmas and New Year, in the warmth of the pub as daylight left us we thought about Christmas and New Year 2014  - so how about a club New Years Eve sea trip and post paddle celebration? 

Thanks to my fellow paddlers for the great company, and too Brian; thanks for the lift/opportunity to drive your car part way home!

 

Frankie A, Ian B, Mike A, Dave (Curly) B, Brian G, Jim K, Kirk W, Kathy M, Helen S and John W           More Photos…..

01/01/14 Crosby Surfing 29 Dec 2013 “The Tempest”

The setting:
An Atlantic low has been bringing gale force winds for the past week, a window of opportunity over the weekend (before further gale force winds) has seen the Crosby stalwarts assemble, their ranks swelled by fresh troops eager to do battle with the elements. The wind is still very strong, the waves have had a whole week of building up, the breakers are all close to each other, making it extremely difficult to get the bigger boats around in time to make the turn before being hit sideways on and travelling at speed towards the beach. But some things have improved; the later start time of 8.00 am has allowed daylight to break through – it is reassuring to be able to see, the forecast is that things will drop off and the wind will decrease to a weak 16mph (!). LCC assembled on the high ground, vehicles parked in readiness for the launching – it was a staggered launch – as opposed to a full-frontal assault. Once on the water it was far from every man from himself – more a case of every man for everyone else. Help was always at hand, everyone had a weather eye for their companions.

One, two or three hours on the water. The first hour was rough – high seas dropping down with such force that my spray deck would collapse with the weight of water. The second hour was still a hang on to your hats. The final hour gave time for proper playing.

The players:
Dave Riley – a ringer. Claimed not to have put a paddle in water in over three years. [I think that maybe I'll take three years off then also return as an expert.]
Dave Blake – seemed intent on trying to make his way through seriously heavy seas to Anglesey. I'm not sure if he spent much time inshore, but then again from my position of eyes level with the waterline it was hard to tell. Mostly I could see the sun reflecting from Dave's newly sported headcam bobbing on the horizon as he ploughed his way seawards.
Karl Tattum – Imagine you've bailed out in huge seas, the wind is tearing away specks of foam from all around you, you're clinging onto your boat for all you're worth, then you're told to lie face down, head towards the rear end of the boat – a blank expression gave the explanation (I quote) “imagine you're kissing the missis”. I realised what was needed and climbed on... to the words, “however long ago that was.”
Paul Harwood – it's quite surreal, struggling for all you're worth, but as your're struggling watching someone racing shorewards down a steep wave whilst playing the banjo, but at least now I understand why Paul prefers the single-bladed paddle.
Geoff Widders – the waters off Crosby never tasted better.
Paul Hanley – if it was Gold, Juno or Sword he'd know how to pick his way through the hazards, reach the higher ground and return time after time to assist his comrades.
[You've read the book, now here's the film here].