Volume 14 Issue 5

May 2014

May 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

 

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Major Trip Reports.…

 


29/04/14
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….

 

29/04/14 Major dates for Club events – for more detail check the online the calendar…….

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  07866820322

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……

26 July – 3 August 2014 River Thames Expedition (Lechlade to Wallingford to Teddington) - Coordinator Carl Leungsangnam email cleungs1@hotmail.com

10 August 2014 Club run Safety Cover for Liverpool Triathlon Club paddlers required to help Click to book a place.........

17-30 August 2014 Sea Kayak Trip - Great Lakes Toronto Canada - Coordinator Frankie Annan  07710269278

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

 

29/04/14 April Photo of the Month Competition

 

 

Liverpool Canoe Club Photo Competition Winners



Congratulations to Carole Thomas for her winning photo:

“Steve Gille” - Loch Linnhe – Scottish Easter holiday April 2014

 

 

Runner up Anthony Vaccaro:

“Triple Steps on the Etive”

 

Runner up Peter Thomas:

Hilbre Island and back - April 2014”

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.

 

29/04/14 3 Junior Club Easter Egg Hunt – Albert Dock

 

We couldn't have asked for a lovelier, sunny Sunday morning as a group of around 25 people young and old took to the water in search of hidden tokens and chocolate. After initially setting off at breakneck speed and missing lots of tokens, the children slowed down to be more thorough in their search. Scouring dock walls, lock gates and pontoons they were soon seen with chocolate and smiles.

 

 

The search led us past seal launch city and into Dukes dock with the Liverpool wheel. We all exited our boats to sit in the sunshine while lots of cakes, biscuits and hot Ribena was handed round. After paddling back to the marina and all meeting in the bar the children exchanged their tokens for Easter eggs. A fun time was had by all. 

 

 

Jeanette Bond & Joanne Fisher       More Photos…..

 

 

 

 

28/04/14 3 Star White Water Assessment – River Dee.

 

 3 candidates attended the 3 star White Water Assessment at the weekend on the River Dee.  It was a scrape with low water levels so although a little above the grade the classic section from Horseshoe Falls to Llangollen was chosen as a venue.  Club members had been joined by an external candidate, Peter Barton, who saw the assessment on the Canoe England site and drove up from London to join us.  He was very keen having been practising on the Legacy White Water Course the previous day.

 

Rolling on both sides has proved to be the recent sticking point for most candidates so we were straight into this in the deep water above the weir after a short warm up.  All three managed this with relative ease.  Things were looking good.  Eskimo rescues, breaking in and out, ferrying including direction and speed changes were all being ticked off by using every bit of moving water we could find.

 

Candidates were given the option to run Serpents Tail; all were up for it.  We then spent a while swimming and rescuing each other with throw lines from its fast flow.  We then had to prove we could rescue ourselves by swimming down “the tail”.  We showed defensive (on back and fending off with our feet) and aggressive (on our front to swim out of the flow) swimming and discussed the merits of “corkscrewing across an eddie line.

 

Surfing and linking strokes to break in and performing S turns in almost every feature on the river down to lunch at JJ`s.  After a spot of surfing and lunch we headed off again.  To the delight of those in Llangollen we had to rescue boats and paddles.  All of us ran Town Falls on the extreme right (the water was very low) only to be told to carry back up and perform a seal launch under the bridge.  6 hours on the water, tired but all satisfied.

 

Congratulations to Adam Carey, Sara Bergqvist and Peter Barton (London) for passing their Canoe England 3 Star White Water.

 

More Photos……..

 

25/04/14 Scottish Easter Bank holiday – Blackwater Hostel.

Each Easter the club organises accommodation in the Blackwater Hostel in the scenic village of Kinlochleven surrounded by spectacular Mamore Mountains, on the famous West Highland Way. This idyllic location is located between Glencoe and Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.

 

Approx. 200 Metres from the Ice Factor, Co-op Supermarket and pubs where you can have your evening meal and breakfast.  There is also a fish and chip shop in the village.
http://www.blackwaterhostel.co.uk/

 

17/04/14 Thursday – Mountain Biking to Blackwater Reservoir.

With a couple of hours to spare Anthony and Keith rode, pushed and carried their mountain bikes up the Highland Way towards the reservoir.  At the lower Ponsonby pump station we crossed onto the top of the concrete leat and cycled the 5 miles to the reservoir.  This was a surreal experience as we were cycling on a flat surface high up into the mountains looking down on the river valley below.  On the return journey we met Becca and Julian who had walked the same route.  They pointed out a herd of deer on the skyline.  The descent was considerably quicker than the ascent.

 

Keith, Anthony, Becka & Julian

 

18/04/14 Friday – River Orchy

 

A major river in Glen Orchy (no surprises there), the A82 from Glasgow to Fort William passes it at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, a good meeting place for paddlers. 'There are 2 gauges on the Bridge of Orchy beside each other. There is the old one that goes from 1-13 and a new one from 1-5. The gauge levels on this guide refer to the old one that goes up to 13. The new one gets completely submerged at 3 on the old gauge.'  Easy water begins the trip, until eventually you reach...

A rapid with a big rock in the middle.

A big rapid called 'Chicken Chute' which name rather irritatingly gives away the fact that there is indeed a zig-zag chicken chute, river left...

'Sheep Trolley Gorge' a long rapid with notable waves and holes as it channels right, some nice playspots hereabouts.

Easan Dubha (grade 5) - you don't want to miss this one, it's a sharp 3-4 metre drop with a choice of routes. Figure a route out for yourself, but be aware that the river left channel has a hidden ledge at the bottom, which serves to make the stopper there very grabby. This fall was the site of a major rafting tragedy some years ago, with multiple drownings...respect it in high water particularly.

'Sore Tooth' rapid. A long rapid with some big stoppers to avoid or enjoy, depending on your taste.

'Roller Coaster' rapid barely needs describing given the name...

'The End of Civilisation' rapid. Who comes up with these names? Do they serve any useful purpose? Decide for yourself. This rapid is quite long and feeds towards the river left side with various potential playspots if you get the breakouts.

Eas a' Chathaidh (Grade 5) - you WILL want to get out and look at this dangerous fall, I didn't bother inspecting last time and got deservedly caned. It's a choice of a river right 4 metre drop or a river left channel leading over a small drop onto a twisting ramp. I've never personally been near the right-hand route, but the left-hand route is enjoyable...if you get it right. Apparently there is a route in the centre in very high water, I haven't seen this.

A little way below Eas a' Chathaidh is a river left hole which is perhaps the best playspot on the river. Thomas Downie (Dec 2003)...'The playhole after Eas a' Chathaidh is (suprisingly) extremely retentitive at higher flows (2+ on the gauge) and can hold you for a long time. It take a lot of effort to get out. It can also recirculate swimmers.'

Last Drop is called 'Witches Step'. It's a step, which has nothing I'm aware of to do with witches.

You probably want to get out at the road (river left) here as the next rapid is the ludicrously dangerous Eas Urchaidh, the Falls of Orchy.

After a long discussion the night before it was decided that we would run the river Orchy on Friday. We left the hostel bright and early at 8.30am and headed for the put in at the bridge of Orchy. After a very long wait for those doing the shuttle to come back we finally sorted ourselves into groups and headed off down a very low and very scrappy river. After a long stretch of flattish water we came to the first grade 3 rapid.   After a quick look to check lines ect. we bumped and scraped out way down.

 

After another long stretch of flat water we came across the first major rapid “chicken chute” a big chute as the name suggests followed by a couple of holes. Those who didn’t like the look of this walked around and watched as the rest of us ran it with varying degrees of success with a few swims.  After rescuing a pinned boat we headed down some smaller rapids before coming to the first grade 5 portage. Nobody was crazy enough to do this one.

 

The rapid after this proved tricky to some taking many different lines including some going down upside down.  We all got through unharmed.  After a few more grade 3 bouncy rapids we came to another grade 5. This time Roy and Mark decided to run it as the rest of us set up safety and watched.

 

The next significant rapid was the Witches’ step which is a ledge drop with a big hole on the left hand side most people ran it with a few people falling into the hole. After this we got out at the falls of Orchy to have lunch and meet up with the rest of the group who didn’t paddle the first section. After lunch we set out to paddle the easier section with a few added members to the groups and a few bouncy rapids later we arrived at the final get out at the end of a long but fun day. Well done to all.

 

Tom Gornall    More Photos…….

 

18/04/14 Friday – Loch Linnhe Shuna / Lismore / Port Appin / Castle Stalker:

 

Back in February I noticed the dates for a Scottish Easter weekend of ‘fun’ on the LCC website.  Going anywhere over Bank Holidays had become a No-No for us over the years.  The traffic can be a killer, the weather in Scotland can be cold and wet and even snow can be expected - according to reports of the previous year’s trip.  So  I approached my Kayaking buddies for an indication of how right I was to not even consider it.  My hopes of a soft weekend at home were dashed as both Sue and Irene were interested.

 

I understood this had previously been a ‘whitewater’ weekend, so thought I still had some chance of not having to sign up for it.  Ahhh, not so!  This time it was going to be a multi activity weekend and Pete and Caz were definitely on for it in sea boats, with others looking positively at it.  My thoughts regarding bad weather and even snow were met with “well, we can take the skis” errr, well what if there is no snow, but still not Sea Kayaking friendly? Irene’s response was “well, we can take the (still unused) ‘Inazone’ white water boat”, errr well they didn’t have much water in the rivers last year! - “we can take the diving gear”.

 

Realising that my protestations were getting me nowhere, I admitted defeat and with a bit of help from Pete Thomas who had his Email address I contacted  Roy and also spoke to Callum from the Blackwater hostel. Accommodation booked, so I suppose that meant we were going to have to do it.

 

Well to those of you that remember the song, there followed a ‘Dear Muddah, Dear Farduh’ period.  Younger readers can see what I’m talking about here.

 

So on Thursday morning – after assuring Sue that the house was tidy enough for the burglars, we picked up Irene at 9.00 (ish) and headed north.  The traffic was minimal, the weather was brilliant, the Hostel was comfortable and very well equipped, the sea conditions were absolutely superb and the company…..    well you can’t have everything????  No, seriously, everyone got on unbelievably well.

 

Our first day on the water was to be Loch Linnhe - points of interest were Shuna / Lismore / Port Appin / Castle Stalker.  We had wisely left all the organising to the experienced team and just followed them to a lay by somewhere along Loch Linnhe.  What a brilliant spot. The water came very close to the roadside and launching was a cinch.

 

This, my first ever paddle on glass-like water.  I had previously decided that sea like this was a myth -but here it was.  Our group of  Pete, Caz, Steve, Anthony, Don, John, Irene, Sue and Bob set off at a leisurely ???? pace and proceeded to go round the outside of Shuna then right up the middle of Loch Linnhe - well it looked like the middle (actually only?? 3/4 mile offshore).  This was something different for us as we usually like to be within easy swimming distance of the shore.  As usual everyone else looked totally confident, so why should I worry?? 

 

We went to the inside of a group of small islands and then on to a point on Lismore (56.33.53 N 05.28.089 W). This was a distance of just under 6 miles and the journey had been quite spectacular and certainly more adventurous than we would probably have undertaken alone.  The next part saw us negotiate the islets off Lismore, Eilean Ramsay just outside of Port Ramsay. then on to Rubh’ Aird Ghainimh at the tip of Lismore and past Inn Island, then to Port Appin for a rest and a drink - and time to recover from the ‘confused’ sea on our way across.  There was an old abandoned fishing boat on the shore that had seen better days and a Kayak that Steve seemed to have taken a shine to.  He had a test sit in it but decide to stick with his own.

 

We left after a short time and headed for The Knap.  Castle Stalker is on the small island here and seems to have many large rocks that would have protected it from any sea-borne aggressors.  Were they placed by man or naturally???  Pete got some great photos here of Geese flying over us.

 

The water was very shallow at one point here and I think that most had some difficulty, with a bit of “poling” and even some walking being done.  I was almost walking, but managed to stay in the boat (must have fewer Chocolate Brownies next time).

 

About 1 ½ miles from the Knap to our start / finish point and this was a nice gentle paddle.  The sea had dropped quite a bit and the recovery of the boats didn’t quite live up to the easy launch so I was very glad of a lift from Sherpa Thomas.  Miss Whiplash had a fall on the rocky shore - she’ll show you her bruise if you ask, in fact she’ll show you it even if you don’t (Sorry Irene).

 

So, to sum up - a great day on the water and exactly what I would ever want from a sea kayaking adventure.  Can’t wait for the next one!   Video of the trip is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsUD8CxAAIQ

 

Bob   

 

PS – not sure I was on the same paddle!   I remember the long trek across very open water to the lunch stop, the call at Port Appin and Bob & Steve getting ‘delayed’ in the shallows but all those place names are new to me – must pay more attention!  I would however like to say a big thank you to John for showing me the error of my ways with his paddling clinic and I will continue to try and follow his good advice.  Sue

 

Other paddlers: Pete, Carole, Steve, Karl, Anthony, Don, John, Irene.   More photos……

18/04/14 Friday Loch Sunart dive/paddle, Friday 18th April

 

Whilst the other sea kayakers went to Loch Linnhe, Julian, Becka and I decided to take advantage of what was, according to the forecast, the best of the three days weather to go diving. After a leisurely start we set off from base heading for Loch Sunart on the southern flank of the Ardnamurchan peninsula.  We crossed Loch Linnhe on the Corran ferry and noted how still the water was, what we didn’t note was what time the last ferry was!  An hour or so later and we arrived at our put in.  Coincidentally we found another C:\Users\karl\Pictures\Photo Stream\My Photo Stream\IMG_1824.JPGcouple of divers just setting up their kayaks and dive kit at the site and as we chatted, Julian discovered that they had been emailing each other some weeks before about meeting up in Scotland this weekend but it was never finalised!

 

Our put in was just Northwest of the isle of Oronsay, Julian was eager to dive a spot he and Becka had previously been too but hadn’t had the chance to fully explore,  I was happy just to tag along and pick up some tips!  The other divers had plans of their own so we went opposite ways.    The water was like glass in places with barely a ripple, the headlands and cliffs perfectly framed in the reflection.  We were accompanied by the odd seal as we paddled to our dive site and Becka spotted a dolphin or porpoise in the distance. 

 

We arrived at the site, a reef which dries out at low water, approximately 1.6 miles from our put in, and I began using my sonar to locate the drop off.  This didn’t go as I’d planned and my readings were all over the place and sometimes not at all, but Julian had a held unit also so between us we identified a likely spot.  After a brief check that we were in the right place we chilled out on the island and had some lunch, where I was introduced to Humus, yummy!!

 

D:\Pictures\2014_04\GOPR0357.JPGJulian and Becka dived first.  They lashed up the scuba kit and put it in the water, then after donning fins; mask and weights entered the water and finished kitting up by wriggling into the floating scuba unit.   I watched out for boat traffic as they descended and followed their vacant sit on tops as they were being towed around.  I took some pictures of the nearby peak of Ben Hait, it looms over the loch at this point and it looked stunning bathed in the sunlight and backed by a clear blue sky.

 

After they surfaced and climbed aboard their yaks I got ready to dive, Julian and Becka looked after my yak instead of me having to tow it which worked out much better for me as I was able to dive hands free.  I descended and quickly found the overhang we had come to see, it juts back into the rock face for up to a few metres in places, my torch light was picking out the striking colours of the anemone and sponges that clung there.  My camera was mounted on my kayak helmet and the strap was beginning to annoy me, I went to loosen it and at this point found out just how buoyant these helmets are!  As I pressed the clip I failed to keep hold of the D:\Pictures\2014_04\GOPR0354.JPGstrap and the helmet went hurtling to the surface like a Polaris missile.  Even more surprised when it popped up beside them were Becka and Julian who at first thought my head might still be in it!  I continued on with the dive spying out a squat lobster and an edible crab when suddenly my torch packed in, I was beginning to feel it wasn’t going to be my day!   Shortly after, I surfaced with no further issues.

 

By the time we got back to the put in and were packing up, the other divers came back. We exchanged dive tales before heading off to our next dive site.  This site is of special interest as it is inhabited by rare flame shells which are from the clam family.  Julian informed me that they also prefer areas of tidal flow, which should have given me a clue to the type of dive he had planned next!

 

The location of the next dive was further up the loch toward Strontian, at a point called The Narrows, where the loch is at its narrowest, the clue is in the name!  At mid tide the current here can be very strong and since it was around early evening by the time we paddled out to the dive site, the tide was almost mid flood. 

D:\Pictures\2014_04\GOPR0348.JPGWe lashed the kayaks together on to one anchor and descended altogether, the visibility was not great and out of the gloom the course bottom eventually came in to view.  It was like riding a train, the bottom was whizzing past at a terrific pace, even with my torch I barely had time to focus on anything before it screamed past me.  All too quickly the bottom fell away in to the blackness and we clung to the anchor line at a fixed depth of 10m, all we could see now was green water all around us, our dive was over so we ascended but not before the gremlins could once again infiltrate my equipment, this time my dive computer threw a wobbler.  At least all our kayaks were still tied together which is always a relief!

 

It was a thrilling end to what had been a fantastic day, and this was only the first day.  Wearily we arrived back at the ferry slip just as it was docking, we looked at the time table and saw that the last departure is at 21:20, and it was now 21:15…  now that was close!!  Went to bed very tired but looking forward to day 2!

Thanks to Julian and Becka the Pioneers of UK Kayak Diving, all the leaders for organising the days activities and of course Roy McHale for organising the weekend.

Karl Winrow 

 

19/04/14 River Etive Saturday 19th April



This is my highlights video of the annual Scotland Trip made by members of Liverpool Canoe Club to the West Highlands. I have included footage of all the rivers I did whilst away. Thanks to Jack Andrews for some of his footage and some great photos by Mark

 

 

 

Joe Sheppard  YouTube Video……..                      Chris Murphy  Vimeo Video……..

 

19/04/14 River Allt A'Chaorainn Saturday 19th April

 

The idea of running a nearby tributary was floated when the Etive was decided upon as the river for Saturday. In Scottish White Water guidebook, the Allt A' Chaorainn was described as a fun set of rock slides which only required `enough water for lubrication` but at the same time good fun, despite the scraping in between. There isn’t much out there on this short tributary, with Google only coming up with a handful of results but we thought it would be a good idea to check it out anyway.

 

Having finished the Etive at right-angle falls and dragged our boats up to the lay-by, more and more people in the initial group who said they would run the tributary were dropping out until only Mark and Roy were left paddling it. So much for the eagerness earlier on in the day, but the Etive had taken it out of all of us! Whilst we waited for car drivers and had lunch enjoying the scenery, none of us could be bothered getting back into our kit to go and run another river.

 

This wasn’t to be the case though, and having had lunch, everyone who had said no about 15 minutes earlier was now up for running it! The idea that we had come all the way up to Scotland and were just going to go back to the hostel with daylight remaining convinced most of us, no matter how tired we were and we all found ourselves launching back onto the Etive once again for the run down to its confluence with the Allt A' Chaorainn. This was mostly a scrape but the scenery in Glen Etive made it all worthwhile. There were one or two interesting features on this section: a small fall about 5 foot high followed by a bit of a twisty chute.

 

We got out to have a quick look and check for any nasties in the fall, but everything looked OK with each of us taking it in turns to run it. Everyone had a nice line with some pretty nice boofs, apart from mine where I had a hard landing, hitting the bow of my boat on rocks. Oh well, that’s what they’re meant for!

 

We then got out shortly below this to start the walk up to the trib. We met a couple of paddlers who had already run it who told us it was good to go and was about a 1km walk up the valley. We set off, dragging, carrying and slipping for the large part until we reached the top feature on the river. Mark went up ahead to scout and see if there was anything worth doing and came back looking quite happy-just upstream was the first proper drop on the river: a long & narrow slide of about 35ft. Mark ran it, followed by Roy both of them making it look easy in the process. The rest of us decided to start below this however as either we couldn’t be bothered carrying boats any further or didn’t like the look of it.

 

The second drop was followed by a slide & drop, followed by yet more slides. We all had a look at this and agreed it didn’t look too good due to a rock in the corner which we thought would flip you, meaning you were doing the rest of the slide upside-down. Again, Mark and Roy ran it first and our initial worries were unfounded as there was so little water the rock wouldn’t cause any problems. Andy then took the plunge, followed by Stu, Tom and I, all of us dropping into the slide and flying down it until the pool below. There was no technique involved whatsoever-point and go where the water takes you was the easiest option! It was so fun Andy decided to do it all again!

 

This first slide/drop combination was followed by another series of slides: one which pushed you onto a nice cushion wave then into a pool, then another longer slide which took you down to the next big pool. We all had a great laugh watching each other coming down these, with some comedy moments as some of us bystanders on the bank got a bit too close to an out of control boat!

 

A few more smaller slides followed before the next big slide on the river: pinball. This was aptly named as once you had dropped into the slide, you were heading straight for a large ledge which would push you right and then towards another which would push you to the left before dropping you into a big pool. We had already looked at this on the way up and decided that it didn’t look very enjoyable to run-the rock ledges were about head height when you were in your boat and none of us wanted the pain of flying into them as a considerable speed! So we all walked round, the one consolation being another little fall into the pool below pinball.

 

We were nearing the end of the river, but this was where the real fun was. I was last in the group and a message had been passed up the line that there was quite a narrow slot up ahead where you would need to tuck your paddle in line with your boat to save it getting caught. As Kurt dropped into what I thought was the `slot`, I was wondering what all the fuss was about-yes the one we could see was narrow but it wasn’t that bad. After seeing him disappear I assumed it safe to go, so followed his line down the first chute and off a small ledge, to be greeted with a horizon line between two rocks, no more than 2-3 feet wide! This was obviously the slot they were on about-and tucking would certainly be necessary with the width (or lack of!) of it. I dropped into it and flew off the end, landing in a nice deep pool, with a load of laughs from everyone else waiting. What a fun end to a great day!

 

We ran the last couple of small chutes until it wasn’t deep enough to carry on, got out and slogged our boats back down to the Etive where we drifted down the river to the lay-by. We all felt by now that it was incredibly worthwhile running the Allt A' Chaorainn and put the icing on a top-drawer day out paddling!

 

Video: https://vimeo.com/92620074

 

Jack Andrews

 

19/04/14 River Awe Saturday 19th April

 At the get in point there is a nice surf wave formed by the barrage and is perfectly safe. It is worth noting that this is also a popular pool for stroppy "all canoeists are sent by the devil to scare away fish" fishermen who all drive Range Rovers and do not know the meaning of the word compromise. Mind you it does cost them a few quid to fish there. From here to the A85 bridge is a series of rocky grade 2 rapids which will claim a pin or two but are not too serious. Just before the road bridge where the old bridge has been swept away is a scrape "over" the old bridge. The river levels out for a short while before another small rapid then leads onto the best rapid on the river- Magnetic rock. This grade 3 rapid takes you hurtling towards a rock before just as you think about buying that new nose cone the current sweeps you to the left. Under magnetic rock is a nice playhole which provides much entertainment for most paddlers.

 

For the more nervous among you the river is flat below this rapid, so swims are no problem. From here to the egress point are a few small rapids of no more than grade 2. Egress is by the iron suspension footbridge, then a walk through the cow field on the right bank to the car park at 'Inverawe Fisheries and Smokehouse'. I don’t know if there is an SCA arrangement to use this car park but we have never been met with any problems. On the downside do look out for the bulls in the field especially if you have a red boat. Below the footbridge is the weir at Inverawe Power Station.  The better option is to paddle down the river to Loch Etive and get out on the left bank by an old pier.

 

The day started with a short shuttle as the river is only a couple of kilometres long. While doing the shuttle we had a problem with one of the cars so it took a bit longer. At the get in there was a play where we spent some time surfing and warming up.

 

We then split in to two groups and headed off down the river. The river was great for eddy hoping and practicing breaking in and out. After a short while Sue and Louise performed a double act and both ended up swimming, back in the boats and off again it was not long before Sue did a 360 spin on top of a rock and a clean exit only to fall in again at the next rock. Keith recovered the boat while Sophie helped Sue to the bank.

 

There was a few fast boulder features that required a bit of concentration to negotiate.

 

 At the last feature we all went down one by one to eddy out by the get out. 

 

Some of the group carried on further down the river while we went back to the get in for some lunch. At this point Sue and Louise got out while the others ran the river for a second time continuing further down to meet at the Smokehouse. 

 

There was a large play wave that caught Dom out and sent him swimming after nearly rolling, Keith, Chris and Jenny played for a while on the wave while Dom got back in his boat.

Back at the Smokehouse there was no sign of the other group but after a phone call and some searching we were all back together.

 

On the way back we stopped off at Triple falls where a few people ran this feature.

 

Great days paddling at the Awesome Awe and thanks go to Keith for continually rescuing boats, paddles and Me.

 

Sue Cooke                  More Photos……

 

19/04/14 Sea Kayak Glenuig / Loch Ailort / Loch Nan Uamh: Saturday 19th April

 

Thirteen yes thirteen LCC paddlers met at the Glenuig Inn for a days paddling on the Scottish west coast.  After the usual faff the group set off at a leisurely pace with calm seas and sunny skies with the islands of Eigg and Skye blue in the distance.  We hugged the coast for about 1k before crossing the Sound of Arisaig heading for the rocks of Eilean an t-Snidhe (Isle of the oozing water). 

 

 Pete had timed the tide just right, when we arrived at the rocks there was enough beach showing  for us all to stop and have lunch.  It was a beautiful place to stop dazzling white shell beach crystal clear water and rock pools teaming with life.  Reluctantly we left the isles and after a bit of rock hopping headed for the northern coastline of the Sound.  We followed the coastline west toward some small islands in the mouth of Loch NanUamh.   Rounding the back of one of the islands Mike spotted a stag standing unperturbed on a rocky outcrop, stags are quite good swimmers and can easily travel between the mainland and these small islands.  After an hour or so of steady paddling we were back at the Glenuig inn for more faff.  Some of us decided to eat at the Inn and after seeing the stag I couldn’t resist the venison pie.

 

John Worswick

Thanks to Pete Thomas for planning the trip and leading the group.
The paddlers where; Pete, Carole, Ian, Mike, Anthony, Don, John, Irene, Bob, Sue, Becka, Julian and Karl.               More Photos…….

20/04/14 Sea Kayak Linnhe Shuna / Lismore / Port Appin / Castle Stalker: Sunday 20th April

The crowd went to circumnavigate Kerrara Island outside Oban. As we’d done Kerrara in two days a while back, we chose instead to do the four castles trip (from the guidebook) at the north of Lismore that everyone else had done on the first day while we were at Sunart. Normally this sort of trip is saved as a bad weather option, because you should use the opportunities of excellent weather to do something a bit more ambitious. But I’d proven lazy, we were on our own, and it turned out to be quite lovely, particularly when we climbed up into the ruins of Castle Coeffin and bagged the best lunch spot before any other picnickers got there.

One such picnicker was a kayaker who was out walking with his family and tried to persuade Becka that paddling all the way around Lismore was a sensible idea. (We could do it, but we’d get back after dark and I’d be very grumbly.) Instead, the guidebook route took us back round to Castle Stalker, which we partly climbed and spotted a goose egg nest, before returning along the shallow inside of Shuna Island at a sensible time.

Becka & Julian

 20/04/14 Clockwise around Kerrera - Sunday 20th April 2014.

The weather still remains settled with light winds and gentle seas (just how I like it) and the tides perfect, thanks to Roy’s careful trip prearrangements. 

So having searched the hostel for the Easter Bunny’s delivery of eggs, without success, our spirits were lifted by Pete’s suggestion for an easy trip around Kerrera. The plan was to drive to Oban and hopefully put in at Kilbowie Outdoor Centre. So a group of nine sea paddlers, Pete Thomas, Carole Thomas, Karl Winrow, Bob Hamilton, Sue Hamilton, Irene Jackson, Don Brooks, John Worswick and myself, (Steve Gille) sped south towards Oban with the sun already promising a warm day’s paddle.

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Arriving at Kilbowie Outdoor Centre, we found the place deserted and wide open we drove in to find a parking area next to a put-in. The put-in is constructed of dry ski slope matting, I’m not sure if we launched down a blue or black run.

 

Once on the water we crossed the sound to Kerrera and enjoyed a relaxing tide assisted paddle along the east side of the island. That side of the island is quit gentle and popular with walkers who visit Kerrera by ferry. They say that cattle are raised on the island but we didn’t spot any although we did see a few sheep and goats and someone did think they spotted a small family of those rarely seen Haggi frolicking in the heather. Don and Karl paddled into Little Horse Shoe Bay to have a close inspection of an old beached hulk but could see nothing worth salvaging.

 

On rounding the southern end of the island, the breeze lifted and raised a chop as we made for Carole’s suggested lunch stop, a small beach below Gylen Castle. An interesting place, built around 1580 it was a stronghold of the MacDougall clan. Known as ‘Castle of Fountains’ Gylen was strategically placed to control and survey the approaches to Oban via Kerrera Sound. The other claim to fame of the island is that Alexander the second of Scotland died in Horseshoe Bay in 1249 whilst attempting to recover the Hebrides from King Hoakon the fourth of Norway. History aside, the castle is in a fantastic position perched high on a promontory overlooking our lunch stop above the beach with a stream of wonderful sweet water running through that could only be bettered by adding a dram of good malt.

 

But all good things come to an end and John beat us all back into our boats and we continued north along the West coast up the Firth of Lorne with Mull on its far side and views to the North of Ben Nevis. The breeze remained light but the sea state seemed to change continually from a flat oily sea to small wavelets that we all took in our stride.

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As we approached the north end of Kerrera our thoughts turned to others using the busy narrow North Channel approach to Oban from small day boats, yachts and tourist craft to the large Macbryne ferries that serve the western isles from Oban. Just before we reached the narrows we encountered a tourist boat out seal watching  who seemed to take exception to our presence in his private bit of water, I think it was just an excuse to blame someone for there not being any seals to watch on that particular rock.

Pete pulled us all together to paddle the narrowest part of the channel, having watched three ferries in quick succession enter and leave and we were all pleased to avoid any problems, as ‘whiplash’ Irene lead the group into the safe waters of Oban Marina for a well earned coffee and some of Sues magnificent Chocolate Brownies absolutely yummy, it’s worth taking up sea kayaking just for Sues cakes. As we left the marina to cross the sound back to our starting point the wind freshened from the South and as we crossed, I (Steve) had problems turning downwind and it looked for a time that I was going back to Oban for a crab butty or going round Kerrera again until I dropped my skeg and made easy progress back to our start point just in time to watch Bob make a run up the ski slope but without a tow, he slid elegantly back into the water to try plan B.

 

All back ashore, we availed ourselves of the facilities using the wall mounted hose to wash our boats and kit down prior to our return. It was a great day to paddle and share in great company.

 

Pete, Carole, Don, John, Irene, Bob, Sue, Karl Steve Gille       More Photos…..         YouTube Video….

 

20/04/14 Sunday – River Spean, Roy Bridge to Spean Bridge

 

 Everyone was full of excitement as we arrived at the River Spean, changed into our kit and got the boats ready.  As we scrambled down the embankment by Roy Bridge and launched the boats into a small pool, I realised there was no turning back.  I was very nervous and my heart was racing as we organised ourselves into five smaller groups.  I was in the group led by Ian Bell, who had kindly lent me his boat for the day, alongside John Cooke, Mike Alter, Sophie Steventon and Andy. 

 

Ian led me through the first set of rapids, which was followed by a nice stretch of flat water.   As we paddled through the flat water, John had us pose for some photographs with the snow-capped mountains behind us in the distance.  The scenery was amazing; made even better by the clear blue sky and hot sun glistening on the water around us. As we carried on down the river, the rapids seemed a lot easier to handle.  Ian, Mike and John encouraged me to practice my ferry glides and breaking in and out.  I usually capsize breaking in, especially in faster water, but I seemed to manage it quite easy in Ian’s Burn (my new favourite boat). 

  

I was aware that my confidence was growing as we continued down the river over the rapids, practicing white-water manoeuvres and strokes as we went.  However, as we approached “surprise falls” my nerves returned.  I was so scared that I would not be able to control the boat and I’d be swept over the falls.  I panicked for no reason and stopped by the rocks on the right side of the falls.  Andy helped me out of my boat, however I was adamant; I would not be running the drop and was all set to portage to the other side.  I initially refused to even walk over to the edge to look at the drop, however with some persuasion from Ian and Mike I agreed to peer over.  Ian led me across the rocks by hand.  I was shaking so much at this point I didn’t trust myself to walk across the rocks without falling in.  As we approached the edge of the drop I watched as a few other paddlers went over with ease.  “It doesn’t look too bad” I thought to myself.  As Mike said, “the worst thing to happen is you’ll get wet”.  I’m pretty used to swimming on river trips now and capsizing is not as daunting as it once was. 

 

Helped with Keith’s promise of a photograph and his threat that I’d have to jump in if I didn’t go over the fall in the boat, I agreed to run the drop.  Ian helped me into my boat.  I felt physically sick at the thought of what I was about to do, however I’d agreed to run the drop and I wasn’t going to back out now.  Mike pointed to the position I had to aim for and I paddled as fast as I could towards the edge.  I screamed as I went over the drop and capsized straight away, but I did it! I experienced a great sense of achievement from running the drop.  Keith said “it’ll be the best thing you’ll have done on this trip” and I have to agree, it was!  I could not have done it without the support, guidance and encouragement from everyone within the club.  I really appreciate the time you have spent teaching me river skills and building my confidence in the water.  I have seen an improvement in my paddling skills and with continued practice I am sure I will improve even more and my screaming will reduce!  Thank you to everyone who made my first kayaking trip to Scotland such a great experience.  Roll on next year and perhaps I’ll do Triple Falls then!

 

Louise Kennedy   More Photos…..

 

20/04/14 Sunday – River Spean, Spean Gorge

 

After weighing up the challenges I anticipated would be part of the afternoon paddle, I decided to put any doubts to the back of my mind and fully commit to running the Spean Gorge.  It was another glorious afternoon in Scotland and the conditions were calm as we paddled up into the entrance of the gorge.  The first section put eddying skills to the test and we eddy hopped down the river and in turn this lead us deeper into Spean Gorge.  The water levels were higher then they had been during the last couple LCC Easter WW trips and consequently the flow was faster.

 

 Soon the first rapid was upon us and keeping to our predetermined river group formation we ran the rapid one by one, keeping eddy’s tight we avoided being flushed further down the river by the fast flow.  A rapid named Fairy Steps was to see the groups first swim of the afternoon; this year the steps were washed out and just caught Sarah by surprise, but she was soon back  in her boat.

 

Next a portage over Head Banger, ended with a fun seal launch; even the most fearless of the LCC veterans were not game on giving “head banger” ago this year!  A twist and weave through another rapid and then another was upon us which had an eddy at the top.  Unfortunately, I missed this eddy and was flushed down the rapid backwards I quickly turned my kayak to face the rapid but too late as I was caught out by the rock at the bottom, I took a short swim down to the pool at the bottom.  Unbeknown to myself, I was caught on candy camera as LCC spectators had captured moment!

 

All safely down the next section we soon came to the constrictor, lots of paddlers had gathered at the top to try and work out the best course of action.  It didn’t take me long to decide that the best course of action was another brief portage.  Although Sarah displaying her usual fearless spirit decided to give it her best shot however, the constrictor living up to its name had better ideas!  Once hold of Sarah’s kayak, it was extremely reluctant to give it back.  This led to an interesting rescue by ‘Roy the Rescuer,’ hanging from a carabiner with his life in the hands of both Keith and Sarah holding the other end of the straps.  Eventually, the kayak was freed but this episode led more and more paddlers to opt for the portage option.

 

The gorge was now beginning to open up again and only one more rapid lay ahead of us.  This rapid needed a lot of edging as it twisted round a big boulder and again another sharp turn around narrow gorge sides.  Luckily, all safely down and all that was left was to take in the picturesque scenery on calm paddle to the get out.  It was an amazing afternoon paddle and a big thank you goes out to a great team of paddlers, I was extremely pleased that I had made the most of this opportunity. 

 

Kathy Wilson      More Photos…..                     http://youtu.be/sbUDJrEtHRM

20/04/14 Sunday Paddle Loch Leven:

 

Today I decided to explore the local Loch 500 meters down stream from our accommodation at the Blackwater Hostel.

 

Launching my sea kayak into the river Leven at a point where the river current was held back by the high tide I paddled out into the centre of the loch to take advantage of the now ebbing tide.  There was a stiff breeze on my back funnelling down the loch from the surrounding snow capped mountains.  In what seemed like no time I Approached and passed under the road bridge at the end of  loch Leven and into Loch Linnhe for a little way before deciding to conserve energy for the paddle back against the breeze.  I passed under the bridge again and stopped on the shore for lunch.

 

Returning up the loch I passed a fish farm at a point where the loch narrows.  Here I had to paddle hard against the tide for 1km so I kept in a few meters from the shore to reduce the tides effect.  Two thirds up the loch on the north shore I came across a so called sea food cafe so I stopped for a second lunch.  Maybe I used a lot of energy paddling against the tide or perhaps I was just greedy.  Taking a look at the menu and seeing one dish priced at around £95.00 I soon realised this is not the sort of cafe I was accustomed to.  I quickly ordered a glass of coke and left sharpish.

 

With my sugar levels topped up and the wind and tide having dropped off I soon made it back to the top of the loch.  The tide was now low and not holding the river current back so I had to carry my kayak along a path at the side of the river for about 500 meters back to my departure point.

 

It was a top day with fabulous scenery and sun all day long however I did miss the cake and the company of course.

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Anthony Vaccaro                More Photos……

 

21/04/14 Loch Melfort (Shuna circumnavigation - almost)

 

The plan was for a quick 9.5mile circumnavigation of Shuna as part of our journey home (red route), but given that the wind was picking up we were going to have to play it by ear – as is so often the case with sea paddling.

Having had a relaxed start due to sorting out the broken down car crew, we arrived at the lovely spot of Arduaine to find a nice new car park, easy launch spot and a house that looked as if it was straight out of Grand Designs. More importantly we found glorious sunshine and wind that was not too strong!

Quick change and onto the sea for our quick blast. All was well for the first kilometre, but either we moved out of the wind shadow or the wind increased and we soon felt a very strong wind on our backs (f6+). Realising that such a wind could present real problems for getting back, we had a quick discussion and decided to head into lock melfot (blue route).

 

Rounding Rudh’ Arduaine, we were hit straight in the face by the full force of the wind. Who needs a gym to burn off all those easter eggs? Head down we battled on to Creag Aoil where we stopped for luncheon. During lunch we reminisced about the fantastic weekend we had all had, watched the sail boats struggling in the strengthening conditions and listened carefully to the calls for the Oban lifeboat on the radio.

Luncheon finished, we surfed out of Loch Melfort before it was more head down paddling back to the launch spot. The wind had been stronger than we wanted, we hadn’t completed the route we planned, but it was another great LCC day on the sea!

 

Mike Alter  Ian B, Pete T, Caz T, John W, Don B & Steve G             More Photos……..

 

21/04/14 Seil Island via Clachan Bridge Monday 21st April

We packed the car full of stuff and an unnecessary bicycle and drove down to Seil after filling tanks at Puffin Divers in Oban. The sign on the coin op said that counterfeit pound coins would be swallowed up, not returned and not credited, though I’m certain that the dragon who runs the place still cashes them at the bank. Our 232 bar fills seemed to only be 200 bar when we got them out of the car the next day.

We parked in the only layby opposite a cemetery near the A816 on Loch Feochan, paddled with a stiff easterly wind at our backs to the Clachan Bridge, which was flowing the right way. I had faffed for long enough for the tides to be right. Becka said we should have come six hours earlier and did it in the opposite direction to make the most of the day, though that would have been as dumb as paddling around Lismore.

The wind and tides blew us round to Easdale where we stopped for lunch in an ugly spot on the grey slate beach by the local ferry slip that was doing a roaring trade for so small an island. Then we took ourselves back round in the shelter of the west coast, glancing across the water to Insh Island, though we were not foolish enough to visit it. Crossing the bay on the north side of Seil into the wind was such a haul that I couldn’t make it any further and we turned into the channel for Clachan Bridge again. It was low tide with the flow in the wrong direction, and we waded for part of the way. Becka had to hitch back to the car. After a fruitless search for a camping spot (that had to be off the road, available and with a good view), we wound up back in the layby with enough room to pitch a tent. It was a good spot.

Becka & Julian

22/04/14 Tuesday Loch Melfort and Dving in Loch Fyne Tuesday 22nd April

Becka needed more sea kayaking. My arms had had enough. I pushed her out into Loch Melfort and aimed to pick her up at the jetty around the headland to the south where I fell sound asleep in the car waiting for her to arrive. She spent most of the time watching a otter catch and eat a fish, though hadn’t taken the camera.

I had a paddle by myself in Loch Melfort and just after launching at the far end of the loch I saw an otter who just didn't seem at all bothered by me being there. He dived five times, coming up close by me each time, and caught and ate a fish just 2m from my boat.

Time to move on. My notion of getting in a couple of boat dives in the Sound of Mull at Lochaline was long gone. We went for a dive in Loch Fyne at Stallion Rock (named in the guidebook) to the north of Furnace.

The Northeast wind on the paddle out was dreadful, kicking up waves on the shore that would have made the diving too difficult. But suddenly, as we got there and put the anchor down, it completely stopped. So we had a nice, if murky dive. Not a huge amount of life beyond all the sea squirts. The fish don’t seem to have come home for the summer yet.

Becka drove all the way to Lancaster where we slept overnight, getting back to work on Wednesday afternoon.

Becka & Julian

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21/04/14 Monday – The Trip Home

 

After an incident with a clutch, my car was to be stranded at a remote smokehouse somewhere in Scotland for 2 lonely nights.  We where re-united on the Monday as the group departed following yet another amazing club Easter trip.  Thanx Roy for organising it.

 

3 generous soles kindly agreed to drop myself, Sophie and Kathy back at the car to arrange our recovery back home. Thank to Pete and kaz, Ian, and Stuart for diverting their journey to drop us and our luggage.  Luckily it was a sunny day and arrived at the car prepared for a long day ahead. So as the last member of the car arrived we where pleased to hear we would have help arrive in the next 30mins.  4 hours later the recovery van arrived with Ian a cheeky chappy who we soon forgave as he was a bit of a hottie!  Unfortunately his lorry was too small for 3 passengers as the larger vehicles where off the road and Kathy wasn't too keen on walking. So instead of waiting longer for a larger truck we accepted to drive the Renault scenic back to base.  This however had an electric handbrake and so took a little time and instruction to get the hang of.   Interestingly this roomy car had been a little neglected with tape holding up the windows, clunking banging rumbling sounds and all sorts of warning lights illuminating the dashboard.

 

By 2:30pm we where on the road and said our goodbyes to my car and kayaks. This was to be driven back to Liverpool in the early hours of the morning.  Off we went and despite heavy traffic began to progress through the highlands back home.  Sophie and I where delighted to see we wouldn't miss our traditional souvenir stop off at the “Green Welly Shop” where an additional animal was purchased to join the cow from last year. I'll have a farm soon!! (you'll have seen the cow if you 'be been in my car).

 

Off again and after negotiating the heavy traffic we where soon on the open road.    With the fuel range and sat nav I had worked out it should be around Carlisle where we have to re fuel. Naughty Ian the recovery van driver  had forgotten to fill up the tank on his way.  And after chatting and jangling in the car the fuel gage soon  started to beep- then flash.  Oops we had been using the air con too. Luckily after pondering risking coming off the motorway to find a garage we held our ground and crawled in to Gretna. What a close call. 

 

The rest of the journey was easy - we even caught up with my dad( Steve Gille) and his sea kayaking buddies which boosted us up.  Arriving home at 10:30pm tired and weary.  My car was later re-united the next morning.  What a day, what a trip, what a journey.  Seriously though thanx to everyone who helped and offered to get us home.   Thanks to Helen and Dom for bringing my boat back too.  Hopefully next years trip home won't be so traumatic!!

 

Sarah Gille

 

All the photographs……

 

Attendees: Darren Bohanna, Mark Young, Roy Mchale, leanne murray, karl winrow, Mike Alter, ian bell, Bob Hamilton, Sue Hamilton, Irene Jackson, John Worswick, Sven Till, Rebecca Lawson, Julian Todd, Chris Murphy, Pete Thomas, Carole Thomas, Steve Gille, Joseph Sheppard, Stuart Toulson, Kurt Toulson, Helen, Siertsema, dom buckley, Jack Andrews, Sophie Steventon, Thomas Gornall, Ian Gornall, David Barnes, Matthew Wilcox, Jenny Brown, Chris Thompson, Kathryn Wilson, Sarah Gille, Louise Kennedy, John Cooke, Susan Cooke, Andy Peers, Keith Steer, Anthony Vaccaro, Don Brooks, Scott Gibson and Adam Carey.

 

 

16/04/14 Hilbre Island from West Kirby Sailing Club Slipway 30th March 2014.

 

Having joined Liverpool Canoe Club and attended part of a Sea Kayaking course coordinated by Pete Thomas, this is the second trip organised for us-------the first having been on the Menai Straits. Both were shall we say "Interesting" in places for novice paddlers and I for one was very glad for the help and guidance throughout both trips

 

 

I’ve posted a short video of the recent Hilbre trip on Youtube.

 

The link is:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk4w8UGJDpw

 

 

 

Bob Hamilton

 

 

 

 

16/04/14 The endless surf. Sunday 6th April.

A warm and sunny day arrived and I thought there would be no waves. The wind was slow and offshore. I prayed it would turn. As one o'clock approached the wind built up to 20mph and turned to the south westerly I was hoping for.

 

Harvey, Brad and Keenan were coming so I brought the big canoe. I was in the water for an hour before I got in a boat, dragging the kids through the waves backwards before launching them into the surf. Karl has been teaching his kids well. They instinctively know how to capsize and walk back to the beach!

 

A few new members arrived and enjoyed the waves. It was great seeing sea kayaks flying backwards to the beach. 

 

A special mention goes to Bob. He cycled from the docks to Crosby and back with his kayak being towed behind his bicycle.

 

More Photos……

 

Paul Harwood

 

16/04/14 Around Menorca by Liverpool Canoe Club

 

https://www.facebook.com/MenorcaEnKayak ~ “Menorca en Kayak have already inaugurated the season with good kayakers from Liverpool.”

 

Pete Thomas, Carole Thomas, Kathy Morton, Brian Green, Nicola Corbett, Keith Steer, Don Brooks, Andrew Garland

 

 

Full report to Follow…….

 

16/04/14 Tees Barrage International Whitewater Centre

Eight of the club met at Widnes Baths at a reasonable 0815hrs. John Cooke had made a plan. Tees Barrage International Whitewater Centre, for a day of fun, getting wet and maybe learning a thing or two in relative safety.
 
We went in 2 cars. John, Sarah (Paddler of the Year 2013), Sophie, and Gary were in one. Mike and Sam, and Sam Preston (Junior Paddler of the Year 2013 and now known as Mr Loop) and I were in the other. The journey took around two hours and for the whole drive, Sam Preston told us how good he was at looping, cart wheeling, pirouettes and other strange sounding kayak trick stuff. He'd been looping at the Burrs. Cartwheeling at Four Mile Bridge. He told us he never swims. Not even at Crosby earlier this year when we caught him on camera. He just got out and walked back to the side. He did not swim. EVER! Well, I was looking forward to Sam's loops. Everyone was looking forward to Sam's Loops.
 
John was in his new boat. This he told us many times to excuse the fact that he may swim. I was in a boat. This usually means I swim. Gary, Mike, Sam, and Sophie were wearing helmets. this usually means they may swim. Mr Loop never swims and Sarah, I don't know how, didn't swim all day.
 
I was full of anticipation and was a little nervous. I don't do rivers because of the usual faff that they come with, and the hidden rocks that usually whack my back and shoulders, but this was different. Constant white water, safe surroundings, no rocks and a conveyor belt to get you back to the top. For some reason I was encouraged to get on the course first. I didn't hang about and just went for it. It wasn't scary. It was ace. I was in my Spanish Fly and although I took all the wet lines, my NEVAFULL hole system emptied my boat immediately. Some of the waves were quite big and bouncy. Some of the holes were quite sticky if you just fell into them. The one at the end was quite tricky to judge and could back loop you if you weren't on your toes. Going round the course was no problem for me, but Mr Loops boat and paddle came down the last rapid upside down. I quickly turned his boat over to make sure he was still not in there, and 30 seconds later Mr Loop appeared lying on his back. He was not swimming, he told me later. He was just seeing what it would be like if you actually did swim. John's new boat was next down the drop closely followed by John. Then Gary and his boat had somehow become separated. A quick regroup and it was over to the conveyor and up to the top.
 
We went round and round eddying in and out. I was eddying on my offside, and was learning how my boat reacted to the river currents rather than the surf. Mr Loop had shied away after his SWIM and went to get some lunch. Meanwhile I was trying to side surf the last rapid. I managed to front surf this one once and even did a ender without being upside down. I was encouraging everyone to have a
go but only Sarah tried. Sarah did capsize, but I tell you what, she can hold her breath. Sarah must have been under water for over thirty seconds before rolling. John’s boat kept running away from John, Sam and Mike and Gary were synchronized capsizing and only Sarah and Sophie and I had stayed in our boats before lunch. A quick bite in the café and we were back on the water.
 
We decided to play in the first wave/hole. I was expecting some good stuff from Mr Loop. We all tried side surfing, and spins in the hole and there were many capsizes. The advantage of being in an open boat is you flip it over and it is empty. You are back in the boat in less than 30 seconds. So I was out of my boat a lot. Mr Loop had vanished. He did not even try a trick, or a cartwheel or a loop. Everyone else was trying something new and it worked or it didn't. We moved down the course to the last drop and tried surfing it. Sarah was keen to try, John gave it a go. I gave it many, many tries, mainly getting flipped and battered. Sophie was back looped and just as she pulled her spray deck, she rolled up with one hand on her paddle and the other in the air and just sank as the water filled her boat. It was carnage, Gary was trying hard and asking how to deal with the waves and Mr Loop still would not even move.
 
It was nearly 1600hrs and It was decided that we should have a race from the top of the conveyor to the bottom of the conveyor all around the course. Mike and Sam had got off to warm up, so that left a Boater Cross Line up of John, Sophie, Sarah, Gary, Me, and Mr Loop. No, Mr Loop would not race. Gosh, that swim really took the wind from his sails. So, the five of us lined up and went for it. I took an early lead at the top of the first rapid , but every one was hot on my tail. Through the bouncy wave trains, over the massive v wave, I took a wrong angle and eddied out somehow by a large drop and had to turn quickly round. Gary, John and Sarah were catching me but I was still winning, got to the last munching wave and got totally caught up in all the boils. And Gary shot straight past me followed by Sarah But I managed to stay ahead of John. We all got on to the conveyor and turned to see Sophie and her boat separated at the bottom drop. We all looked at each other as we were stuck. Fortunately Sam Preston was there and by the time we had gone round again he had her back in her boat. So Sam saved the day even though there was not a loop in sight.
 
The Tees Barrage is a great place to visit and I will definitely come back. We are going to try some more artificial whitewater courses this year so keep an eye out.  More Photos…….

 

Don't forget to check out Sarah's 2 videos.    Definitely a contender for Swimmer of the Year!
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGM1qyGHW7Y
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVmlX_H1NQY
 
Paul

 

01/04/14 Donation from Canoe England NW Region

 

The club has received a donation form Canoe England NW Region for regaining Club Mark and being Awarded Top Club Gold. 

 

This is the highest Award in the scheme and we are now one of the few clubs in the UK to gain the Award and certainly the first in the North of the country. 

 

We have been judged to have achieved the highest standards in:

•The Activity Programme

•Duty of Care and Safeguarding and Protecting Children

•Sports Equity and Ethics

•Club Management

 

 

01/04/14 Our Canoe Polo NW Division 3 side in action at the weekend

 

Line up at the start under the goal – Gibbo ready to sprint

Defending the goal – Tom Morris

Attacking Trentham

 

 

01/04/14 April 2014 Hilbre Island Mother’s day paddle. 30th March 2014.

 

19 hardy paddlers turned up at 09.00am on a misty morning at West Kirby slip way at the end of the marina.  The weather was cool but with the promise of becoming warmer.  High tide was at 10.43am with a height of 9.8mt.  There was an easterly wind but not of any significance.  The beach at the slipway is mostly mud and is not pleasant to walk on let alone to drag a boat. So the plan was to let the water come up to the slip way and launch, then return before it ebbed away. 

 

The paddle had been organised by Pete Thomas, who had been running a sea kayak course earlier in the year and many present were those who had been on the course.  Due to the numbers and standards of experience, the group was split into 4, each led by an experienced paddler, Pete Thomas, Keith S, Ian Bell and Mike Alter.

 

By 9.30am the water had reached the slip way and we began the paddle out against the tide.  Hilbre was not in sight due to the mist but its locality is well known so direction was not a problem. The water was fairly flat at the start but became slightly uneven the further we went out. Pete explained this was a combination of wind, incoming tide and shallow water.  To those new to Sea Kayaking it gave a feeling of exposure and was sufficient to deploy skegs to keep you on a straight track.

 

Because of areas of shallow water we paddled straight out a good kilometre before turning right towards the island.  The wind was now at our backs which made paddling easier and the water settled down.  The plan was for the 4 groups to RV at the beach at the north end of the island were individuals could decide either to land and eat or continue around the island where there is a short stretch of rough water to try their skills.

 

After a good, stress free paddle to the island, most elected to circumnavigate and try some rough water paddling.  The groups set of at different times which proved significant as the experience at the overfall differed considerably.  Those arriving last found it had calmed to almost none existence.

 

After a tea break on the beach which coincided with high tide, we set off on the return paddle.  The anticipated easterly wind in our faces failed to materialise, which made for a more comfortable paddle back to the slip way, especially as we were now going against the outgoing tide.  We easily made it back in time to find the slipway with an ample covering of water.

 

Hilbre is an excellent paddle, it is on our doorstep, excellent parking and launching facilities, with toilets nearby.  It is far enough to give you a good workout, approximately 8 kilometres and gives you a sense of exposure.  As an added interest, there is a seal colony in the Dee and they are evident throughout the paddle.  We were even treated to the sight of a seal pup asleep on the rocks at the island.  If you haven’t done Hilbre, I strongly suggest you give it a go and if you need advice speak to Pete Thomas who knows it well.

 

Steve Lewtas                    More Photos…….

 

01/04/14 April 2014 Newsletter Published
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