Volume 16 Issue 10

October 2016

October Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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

Archived Newsletters… 
Major Trip Reports.…

 

30/10/16 Major dates for Club Events – for more detail check the online Club Calendar…….

1 Oct 2016

Ladies Development Session Click for more……  Coordinator Rosie Diver

12 Oct 2016

Club AGM and Paddler of the Year Awards Click for more…… 

15 Oct 2016

Ladies day out - Paddling along the Leeds Liverpool Canal - Coordinator Rosie Diver Click for more…… Coordinator Rosie Diver

28 – 30 Oct 2016

Welsh Open Canoe Symposium – Click for more……

30 Oct 2016 (Sunday)

Halloween paddle - Decorate your boats or come with a mask or costume - Junior club members welcome.  Loads of club boats to use - We paddle up towards Albert Dock, land and enjoy a picnic and then paddle back at dusk / dark.  Please bring a torch!  Click to reserve a place…..

9 Nov 2016

2016 "Reel Paddling Film Festival" The best films from this year’s line-up FREE for club members Click for more……    Venue - Liverpool Marina

30 Nov 2016

“Talk the Walk” Alan Creedon`s journey from Manchester to the Dingle on the west coast of Ireland including the formidable crossing of the Irish Sea by kayak.  Click for more……    Venue - Liverpool Marina

25 – 27 Nov 2016

Whitewater Paddling Weekend - Teesdale - Coordinator Roy McHale and Fiona Barry Click for more……

13 – 17th April 2017

Scottish Easter Paddling Holiday based at Kinlochleven - coordinator Roy McHale. Click to book a place…

 

29/09/16 Paddler of the Year Nominations 2016

 

Each year the club asks for nominations for our four Club Awards. 

Members can vote for each category by sending an email to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk with their vote. 

Awards are then presented at the club’s AGM on Wednesday 12th October 2016

Trophies kindly made by Mike Bell at mbcmodels.com

 

2016 Nominations for Paddler of the Year
(club member who has either made the most progress or achievement in paddlesport)

Carole Thomas 

Chris Wood      

Leanne Murray 

After joining LCC very soon after it formed, Carole has progressed through to holding 3* Sea and also holds 2* and L1 coaching qualifications. She has also completed her 4* sea training.  She has paddled with the club in Norway, the Mediterranean, Alaska, Slovenia, Austria and France.

Started with the club on an introductory course and is now one of our level 1 coaches. He paddled in the French Alps with the club this summer.

Leanne has been a regular attender on white water trips with the club both in this country and abroad.  She plays canoe polo for our ladies’ team and has started to run paddling sessions for our members.

 

2016 Nominations for Young Paddler of the Year
(Under 18 club member who has made either the most progress or achievement in paddlesport)

Kieron Allerton

Callum Cook

Kieron has been paddling with the club for a number of years now.  He is a keen white water paddler and paddled his Jackson playboat with some style in the French Alps this year.

Callum is now a very competent paddler and enjoys the no-rules polo on a Thursday evening.  He started to play canoe polo for the club last season and is a key player in this year’s Division 3 Youth Side.

 

2016 Nominations for Volunteer of the Year

(Club member who has given their services to help the club)

dom Fahey

SB

Karlpaul

Dominic Fahey

Steven Bond

Karl Tattum & Paul Harwood

Colin Muse

Dominic is one of those guys who just get stuck in and helps where ever they can.  He has volunteered to look after club equipment at Kingsway pool and helps out on courses and club sessions.

Steve Bond has almost singlehandedly run the junior club both at Broadgreen pool and every Tuesday at the Docks in the summer. He also helps to repair much of the club equipment and is always willing to guide and look after those new to the club.

They have run kayak polo for kids large and small and frequent surfing sessions at Crosby throughout the year.

Colin has helped out on every introductory course held this year.  He finally completed his Level 1 coach this summer which has been well overdue as he must have been the most experienced, non-qualified coach in the club.

 

2016 Nominations for Swimmer of the Year
(Club member who has had the best "out-of-the-boat experience")

Karl Tattum

Paul Harwood

During a Beercooler Challenge, Karl had an entry / exit incident.  I was able to capture this moment beautifully on this video.....  

This is the EXACT moment I knew Paul Harwood would be nominated for Swimmer of the YearClick to view video….

 

28/09/16 Club AGM, Awards Evening and reviews of club expeditions to Nepal, France and Alaska

Agenda AGM 12th October 2016

 

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

 

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


Welcome from the chair & review of the year

1.         Apologies for Absence.

2.         Minutes of the previous AGM – Click here

3.         Treasurers report  Online Year End Accounts – Click here

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

5.         Members motions –            

Proposal 1 – To increase the current membership fee to cover future costs associated with storing our fleet of boats on the beach.  Fees have never been raised since the club was formed and a doubling of current fees would still mean that the club is one of the best value top clubs in the UK.   Family membership £30, Over 18 £20, Junior £10 Proposed Ian Bell, seconded by Peter Thomas.
Proposal 2 – To allow for automatic renewal of membership fees with full reimbursement for any member who does not cancel their membership in time. Currently many members fail to renew and then seek help checking or asking for it to be done.  This should streamline the membership process.  Proposed Keith Steer, seconded by Peter Thomas.

6.         Chair to thank all the volunteers that have coordinated and guided the club over the past year. 

Special thanks going to those who are now moving on: Frankie Annan - Secretary, John Cooke – Monday pool, Joe Sheppard – white water, John Pegram (Docks Equipment Officer), Peter Thomas - Sea

           

7.         Election of Officers – Proposed list of those willing to stand for 2016-17

Chair – Fiona Barry; Secretary – ?????, Treasurer - ?????????; Membership Secretary & Volunteers – Keith Steer; Welfare Officers – John Fay & Jeanette Bond, Publicity – Pete Thomas; Social Events – Fiona Barry& Jeanette Bond; Grants- Nicky Corbett Junior / Youth Coordinator – Chris Murphy; Notice boards - Peter Massey; Kingsway pool on Thursday ??????; Kingsway pool on Monday Stuart Toulson and Dominic Fahey;

“Discipline Representatives” to advise members / act as a point of contact: Coaching Coordinator – Dave Reynolds, Technical Coaching Advisor – Ian Bell; Polo –Scott Gibson, Sea – ??????; White Water – Roy McHale; Freestyle Sam Preston & Kieran Sinnott; Open Boat – Mike Alter & Ruth Edwards; Kayak Safety Cover – John Worswick; Slalom – Michal Giezgala; Racing – Colin Smith; Surf – Brian Green, SOT – Dermot Miller   SUP - Paul Harwood

Equipment Officers Steve Bond & ???? (Docks and Broadgreen); Dave Brown (Halewood); (Kingsway) Dominic Fahey “Election of Stewardship Group members without specific responsibility”. John Pegram, Chris Fletcher Dave Collins

8.         Paddler of the Year / Young paddler of the Year / Volunteer of the Year / Swimmer of the Year Award – Presented by the chair.

 

8:45 to 9:30pm - Club expeditions to Nepal, Alaska and France
(The best photos and World Premiere of - French paddling movie 2016 by “Never again Productions”

 

9:30pm onwards – Socialise in the bar.

 

28/09/16 Conway Estuary

 

Myself, Paul and Alan met up and went for a paddle down the Conwy Estuary. Turned out to be a really nice day drifting on the tide in front of Conway Castle.

  

Darren Hale

 

cid:X.MA2.1474798114@aol.com

cid:X.MA3.1474798114@aol.com

cid:X.MA2.1474797903@aol.com

 

 

28/09/16 Poles On the Dee

 

Mike Alter and Ruth were heading to JJs last Sunday to paddle opens on the various white water features that are so easy to get to from the Mile End Mill carpark. Carole and I were keen to join in and Andy Garland also made a showing.

 

Meeting at the carpark at a very civilised hour of 1000 we put-in close by and played in the eddies, practicing breaking in and out. The levels were relatively low and this gave us plenty of time to improve our techniques. Mike, Ruth and Andy were paddling solo boats while Caz and I paddled together as a tandem. Although the carpark was rammed with people organising shuttles etc., our little bit of the river was relatively quiet so we had plenty of opportunity for uninterrupted play.

 

Before long, Mike and Ruth were demonstrating their poling technique and expertly managed to get their boats upstream through the rocks, shallows and fast flowing water. They made it looks so easy so all of us gave it a go; needless to say, it’s not as easy as they made it look.

 

A quick run downstream through various features led us back to the cars and a break for lunch before heading back upstream to play some more in slightly bigger features, this time swapping boats so we each had a chance to paddle solo (not sure why nobody showed any interest in paddling tandem).

 

A fantastic day out, our second that weekend on the Dee as we paddled our kayaks with John Allerton and the team on the Saturday.

 

Thanks again to Mike and Ruth for pulling it together.

 

Paddlers: Mike Ruth, Pete, Carole, Andy              More photos…..

 

28/09/16 Channel Islands, September 2016 - by Robin Emley

 

(NB. Some photos were taken on different days than suggested in the text)

 

When I first visited Sark at the age of 11, the place made an immediate impression on me.  There are no cars or tarmac roads; just bicycles, horses and tractors, and lots of exciting places to explore.  Since then, my various visits with family and friends have generally been at Spring Tides for best access to the many sea caves that can be found.  Apart from a couple of boat trips around the island, I've never had the opportunity to do any serious exploring below the LW mark.

 

With several LCC sea-kayak trips now under my belt, I found myself wondering whether a Guernsey to Sark crossing could be on the cards.  Tidal flows in the Channel Islands are considerable, with a range of over 10 metres at Springs.  Although Guernsey Canoe Club's web-site is not up to date, emails are answered and I soon had a viable scheme for making an outward crossing.  Sunday 11/9/16 had a particularly small Neap tide with a range of only 3 meters, and a plan was put together around this date. 

 

My ferry departure from Portsmouth to Guernsey was scheduled for 9am Thurs 8th.  I drove down the previous day in seriously hot conditions and reached the South Coast around 5pm.  An evening paddle around Portsmouth Harbour seemed the obvious way to spend the next couple of hours.  I launched somewhere near Portchester Castle and had a great time nosing around the various parts of the naval dockyard.   On my way back to base, I watched the sun slip below the horizon and everything looked fine. 

 

Then I started to see sandbanks appearing and realised that the place was drying up fast.  Having worked my way as close to the shore as possible, I found that the exposed silt would not support my weight.  There was no option but to retrace my steps through the rapidly diminishing channels and to find a deep water location somewhere from which to egress.  Thankfully, a few boats were heading in towards Port Solent so I was able to follow their route through a bewildering array of channel markers.  By now, the place was in complete darkness so I stayed just outside the channel while working my way around many drying out boats, always against the flow.  I eventually reached a floating pontoon where yacht "Happy Daze" had recently arrived.  When I explained my predicament to the skipper (Lee, from Wirral), a welcome beer was produced for me.

 

A few minutes later, a Police launch appeared.  With my Becks bottle in hand, I waved them down to see whether they were looking for a stranded kayaker.  They weren't, but were pleased to have my details notified to them.  The next problem was to locate my car which was a couple of miles away, somewhere in a housing estate near the harbour.  Remembering to take the key, I set off on foot and thankfully managed to locate it without any difficulty.  By the time I had reunited everything and visited a chippy, it was 11pm so I drove straight to the Condor check-in and spent the night there.

 

My only task for Friday 10th on Guernsey was to purchase a VAT-free waterproof camera.  The local Jessups branch didn't have any, but a place just around the corner thankfully did.  The assistant fitted the battery and SD card and observed that the battery appeared to be fully charged.  Parking in St Peter Port is difficult but there are frequent buses around the island at £1 per trip so I had left the car plus kayak at the campsite.  Armed with my new camera, Friday evening seemed an ideal opportunity for trying out the first part of my intended crossing for two days later.  My starting point was Bordeaux Harbour at the north-east of Guernsey [003].  The closest islands are Herm and Jethou; the southern end of Sark can be seen through the gap.

The crossing from Guernsey to Sark is in two parts: The Little Russel between Guernsey and Herm, and the Big Russel between Herm and Sark.  Both channels have sizeable flows, and tide races appear all over the Admiralty Chart [372].  This chart gives hourly tidal flows which I had plotted for each of the Russel channels.  To avoid a strong northerly flow in the Big Russel, I would have to launch into the Little Russel while the southerly flow was well under way and ferry glide across to Herm, a distance of just over two miles.  I had been warned of the 'pinch point' here but wanted to maintain my height in the flow to ensure that I ended up between Herm and Jethou rather than being swept southwards into the main St Peter Port area. 

 

Helpful transit points are everywhere and there are countless markers for the many outlying rocks which litter the place.  My first milestone was Platte, a sizeable green construction which is mounted on rocks which were barely covered [006].  From this vantage point, the southerly flow was very apparent and a tidal race stretching away into the main channel could clearly be seen.  Having spent a few minutes in the eddy here, I continued over towards Herm and found that progress in the right direction could be comfortably made while remaining safely above the main tide race.  My overall direction of travel could be varied by simply changing the angle of the glide.  Such conditions are great for improving one's forward paddling technique; paddling just a bit more effectively can greatly increase one's overall rate of progress.  I didn't quite make it to Herm that evening, only to some outlying rocks which reminded me of pictures of Easter Island.  These are Gross Pierre and Fondu, otherwise known as The Humps.

 

On Sat 10th, I'd arranged to meet up with GCC.  Each Saturday, they take a trailer full of short boats to a nominated point on the Guernsey coast for their equivalent of our Docks sessions.  On this occasion, a competent party was soon assembled and we set off in fairly rough conditions from Cobo Bay on the West of the island [010].  We soon made it to a small bay where some great surfing waves were coming in on the far side.  Our leader warned the group about the conditions there but I decided to give it a go.  With everyone watching, I connected with my chosen wave and took a nice long run in towards the beach; my best one of the day.  Our group spent the next 20 minutes or so there until the only SOT capsized.  This situation was speedily dealt with by our leader, my contribution being to tow the casualty away from the surf zone.

 

The rest of that session took place around various outlying rocks where conditions were decidedly exciting, particularly for the shorter boats.  Having found a relatively sheltered spot, members were free to do some more intimate rock-hopping, and I did a couple of rolls for good measure.  Our leader pointed out that my inboard hand for my "offside" roll was too high thereby putting extra strain on my shoulder; something for me to work on at Kingsway.  No-one else felt inclined to try any roll attempts which surprised me given the conditions we had all been paddling in.  By this time, it was raining and we decided to call it a day.  The session finished with coffee and sausage rolls from the local "kiosk", as can be found at many beaches around Guernsey.

 

Back at the campsite, I decided to do a load of washing and set off towards my tent for some change.  On the gravel, the grip from my sandals was fine, but at the top of a short flight of wet stone steps there was none [272].  As both feet flew away from under me, I knew that this was going to be a painful landing.  Throwing both hands behind me, the crunch felt horrible and left me winded for several minutes.  When I felt able to inspect the damage, I found I'd not broken the skin so must have landed flat on the top step rather than on the sharp edges of the steps below.  My right hand took much of my weight and still feels as if it's been shaken by a gorilla.  The para-Olympic games is a timely reminder as to how one slip can be life changing.  Yes, of course I should have been holding the handrail ...

 

That night (Saturday), I departed around 9pm for Bordeaux Harbour from where I'd launched the previous evening.  After a phone call to Guernsey Police to let them know that my car would be there for the next few days, and supplying contact details etc., I settled down for another night in the car.  Despite getting into my sleeping bag during the wee small hours, this was the only night that I felt cold.  Maybe there were psychological effects at work too.

 

 I surfaced at 0630 and went for a word with a photographer who was waiting on the slipway for the sunrise.  Suddenly, there it was, a brilliant orange sliver on the horizon.  After staring at this unfamiliar spectacle for a few seconds, I rushed back to the car to capture the moment before the opportunity had passed.  Now where I had I put that camera???  Just in time, I found it and grabbed this image [012].  As predicted, the wind had dropped away to almost nothing and conditions looked perfect for my Big Day.  The 0845 VHF weather forecast from Jersey Coastguard confirmed this.   After a few more photos, my new toy announced "Battery Exhausted" and I was kicking myself for not charging it fully.  No matter, I would take the charger with me; mains power would surely be available at my destination. 

 

My intended departure time was around 9.15 am at HW-5.  It took 3 hours before everything was ready and I finally got onto the water at 0930.  My first stop was at the familiar Platte marker where I announced my presence to Port Control on Ch 20, as recommended for "passage reports" in my guide book.  In reply, Port Control instructed me to contact Guernsey Coastguard on Ch 12; this I did, and was duly told me to contact Port Control on Ch 20.  When I said that I'd been there already and wanted to know if there was any commercial traffic that I should be aware of. I was told that I'd not asked the right question.  Given that no such traffic was expected, I decided at this stage to just go for it. 

 

My crossing of the Little Russel was very straightforward.  This time, there was less need to maintain height in the tidal flow so I could make greater forward progress while still ensuring my safe arrival in the relatively narrow passage between Herm and Jethou.  An hour after setting off, I was enjoying a comfort break at the far end of Herm.  The only traffic I had encountered were a few motor boats going between Herm and Guernsey.

 

A short way into the Big Russel is a light-marker called Fourquies.  Although its reason was not obvious to me on the day, it marks a notorious tidal race under certain conditions.  My target was now Sark, at a point just south of the island of Brechou which sticks out into the Big Russel by approximately half a mile.  Apart from a flotilla of nine jet skis which passed uncomfortably close, no other traffic came nearby.    This open crossing was no more than about 4 miles, but I was mighty relieved when it was finally behind me.  

 

Brechou, which now boasts a castle of epic proportions, is home to the Barclay Brothers whose arrival has made a huge impact on the adjacent Island of Sark.  Basically, they've piled money into the island in order to gain influence over a system of government that has been working perfectly well for generations.  While most of the island of Sark is as lovely as ever, the politics there are in a very sorry state.

 

The Gouliot Channel between Brechou and Sark is notoriously fast flowing.  At the time when I arrived, the tide had only just turned from south to north so I had no difficulty getting through.  Just at the critical moment, a yacht came motoring through against the flow so I dutifully waited to one side while he completed his passage.    Having negotiated this milestone, I landed at the first available beach to take a welcome break and contemplate my achievement. [SarkCrossing_GPS.jpg]

 

The only convenient point for my final landing was on the Eastern side of the island.  To get there, I needed to continue towards the northern end and nip through a narrow channel just before La Grune which is only available during the 'upper' half of the tide.  The north-eastern side of Sark is sheltered during the NE flow and I soon arrived at Greve De La Ville bay, my final destination.  Carrying the boat up to the campsite was not feasible, so it would have to stay on the beach above the HWM.   From landing, it took another 3 hours before I'd finally carried everything up from the bay and set up camp.  Two trips with twin Ikea bags, uncomfortably heavy, and very tiring.  I should have left more stuff in the boat [079].

 

To save on weight/space, I'd not brought any food so soon found myself at the Bel Air pub where I dined with an American couple who were similarly in need of sustenance on their first day.  Unlike the main pub on the island, the Bel Air has benefited from "Barclay" finance so only some of the Sarkese will go there.  At least two of the island's hotels have been closed and the staff dismissed, simply because the brothers were not getting their way.

 

Next morning (Mon 12/9), I bought some provisions including a micro USB lead from the ever helpful Island Store.  This was needed to charge my new camera, the original cable still being in its box on Guernsey.  With the camera finally working again, I decided to take a leisurely paddle down the Eastern side of the island, returning by the same route.  By getting the timing right, I should be able to get the benefit of the tidal flow in each direction and be able to visit L'Etac during slack water, which is at HW-3.  L'Etac is an isolated lump of rock, teaming with birdlife, around half a mile off the SE tip of Little Sark; the currents there are notorious according to the guide book.  Unhelpfully, I'd left it rather late and had more difficulty getting over there than I'd anticipated.  Looking at the chart afterwards, I did not take the best route.  I should have continued further south before embarking on the crossing.  Instead, I found myself ferry gliding across a tide race at the lumpiest part and had trouble maintaining my direction.  Anyway, the crossing was duly achieved along with photographic evidence [042].

 

My lunch was taken in solitary splendour at the beach which is immediately below La Coupee on the eastern side [105].  This bay is inaccessible from above; the one on the western side is Grande Greve, the most spectacular bay/beach on the island.  La Coupee is the narrow ridge which joins Little Sark to main Sark.  Cycling is prohibited "by order of the constables" and only a couple of the island's horses ever make this crossing.  It's a spectacular place, and must have been even more challenging to cross before German POW effort was used to improve the road surface and provide some proper railings on either side.

 

The next day (Tues 13/9), I hired a bicycle for visiting some of my favourite haunts [106].  Cycling is the best way to travel around Sark, however, it's not without risk.  On my return journey from Little Sark, I was free-wheeling down a gentle slope while a party of three was pedalling up the hill towards me.  The two ladies in front acknowledged my presence as we passed, but the gentleman a little way behind did not see me.  Just before we were about to pass he veered unexpectedly to his right thereby leaving me with nowhere to go. Somehow I managed to jink the bike to my left and avoid contact with both his handlebar and the bankside.  A head-on collision at maybe 20mph without helmets does not bear thinking about.  When I turned around, the other guy was standing astride his bike in the middle of the road, no doubt going "What the ... ?".

 

The Guille family has lived on Sark for the last 400 years.  George Guille runs trips around the island in his specially commissioned boat, "Non Pareil" [244].  Until recently, his wife has run a tea garden which we have often visited; it has twice been voted “Best in Bailiwick” (Guernsey, Sark and Herm).   While passing their place, I decided to drop in on the offchance that they may be there.  When George learned that I'd paddled over from Guernsey, he was most impressed and we chatted about tidal currents and the like until he had to attend to the needs of their B&B guests. 

 

By this stage, I had decided that a return trip to Guernsey would not be wise, so arranged for the kayak to go as cargo on Friday morning with me departing on the passenger ferry the previous evening.  This left Wednesday free for a round-the-island trip which I was very much looking forward to.

 

On Wednesday morning (14/9), my phone took quite a hammering.  A concerned member of the Guernsey public had seen two paddlers somewhere out on the water but then noticed that a car with J-bars was still parked up a while later.  Having notified the coastguard, the police sprang into action to trace the owner of the vehicle via DVLA, this being my wife whose phone was switched off until the end of her school day.   They also stuck this helpful notice on the windscreen [267].  If they had only checked their records, they would have found that the car's status had been properly notified to them a few days earlier.  I later learned that the Coastguard, Port Control and Police all share the same office ...

 

Conditions on Wednesday were good albeit with a F3-4 SE breeze.  The critical point would be at the south end of the island and I wanted to be there at slack tide.  This time, my timing was better and no unexpected tide races were encountered.  My lunch was taken in a gully at the southern end of the island where I landed alongside this chap [159].  I wonder what story he could tell?

 

Having cleared the southern end of the island, the tidal flow, wind and swell were all acting in roughly the same direction.  This was great for spicing up many of the outlying rocks (yes, I was wearing a helmet!).  Although deserted, Grand Greve was looking resplendent in the sunshine; a recent rockfall has left a ginger scar that is visible from Guernsey [177].

 

The incoming swell was working well around some rocks a few hundred metres off shore so I went to take a look [168].  With these in the foreground, I should be able to get a great shot of the Gouliot Headland.  The northerly drift meant that I needed to position myself some way upstream so as to have sufficient time to remove and replace the camera from my deckbag and take the shot.  Unfortunately, having let go of the paddle, I found myself being tipped over to my left by an unexpected wave.    

 

 My offside roll may not be textbook, but it got me upright again at the first attempt.  While underwater, I recall thinking:

- great, the water's clear;

- oops, I've not zipped up the deck bag;

- phew, at least the camera strap is around my wrist!

 

By the time that I reached the Gouliot Passage, seen here in the distance [184], the northerly flow was very evident.  As I shot through in maybe a 4-5kn flow, it felt much like Penrhyn Mawr, and I thought it may just be surfable.  Sure enough, you can sneak up in the eddy at either side and enter near to the front of the race for endless fun.   With no-one else around, I didn't want to risk any mishaps, but it would be a great location for a club session.   Just like Penrhyn Mawr, there's also a smaller channel which is good for breaking in and out of.  A third flow of water surges through the headland itself.  This is the outer part of the Gouliot Cave system.  The inner part was completely submerged when I was there.  At a Spring low tide, the inner caves are magical, festooned with anemones of every colour and sponges glinting in the sunlight.  The place has recently been awarded RAMSAR status.

 

The final part of my circumnavigation took me though towering granite rocks until La Grune was reached.  At HW Springs, the northerly flow in the Great Russel is 5kn, so it would have been at least 3kn on this day.  I didn't want to risk going around the northern tip of the main island lest I ended up being swept away towards Alderney, so the channel just south of La Grune was the obvious route as the guide book suggests [135].  The flow here was clearly against me, but I found that slow progress could be made by surfing forward a few feet at a time.  With this channel being only a few metres wide, and the water somewhat turbulent, maintaining direction proved to be tricky.  Contacting the rocks at either side would not have been a good idea.  I finally popped out from the Eastern side both relieved and fairly exhausted.

 

On Thursday (15/9), my first task was to empty the boat of the many creepy-crawlies that had entered overnight.  Because of the increasing tidal range, I had moved the boat higher up the beach onto some seaweed and turned it upside down.  Rolling the boat repeatedly in waist deep water did not flush out all of these critters; they have the persistence of Crosby grit!  I duly loaded everything into the kayak and paddled around to the old harbour (Creux) where egress was straightforward [253].  George was preparing his boat for an afternoon trip around the island and I took the opportunity of demonstrating a couple of rolls for him.  He commented that these small kayaks are surprisingly seaworthy. 

 

Having removed everything from my boat, it all had to be carried around to the new harbour (Maseline) ready for departure via the Sark Shipping Company.  My kit was separated into two piles: that which I could take with me as a foot passenger in Ikea bags, the rest to go as cargo with the kayak [257].  The entire operation, from campsite to harbour, took 10 hours.  This included a welcome free hot shower at the harbour washroom.

 

Collecting the kayak from the cargo section of St Peter Port the next morning (Friday 16/9) was a novel experience requiring hard hat, high-viz jacket, hazard lights, and copious paperwork.  Just how big a crane does it take to move one kayak?! [271]

 

On Saturday (17/9), I again met up with GCC, this time at a delightful beach called Petit Bot on the south coast of Guernsey.  The wind was from the north, at F4-5, so we were sheltered there.  Two of our party had never been in a kayak before so were given some basic guidance on the shore [290]; the well camouflaged local ducks were not at all bothered by our presence.  Then we were away into conditions that were at times interesting, and both novices coped admirably.  At one stage, two of our group got out of their boats and swam over to some rocks.  The reason soon became clear as a rocky gully was climbed whereupon a deep water entry could be done.  This seemed like a good idea so I decided to give it a go.  Yes, that's me up there!! (photo c/o Robin Ruzzon of GCC) [p9174488].  From the top, the water and my fellow paddlers looked to be an awfully long way down, but the jump itself was fine.  It's just the psyching oneself up which takes some doing.  My heel-hook entry, as practised many times in the Docks, went well too.

 

On Sunday (18/9), I visited the Occupation Museum.  For the final year of the WW2, the occupied Channel Islands were essentially cut off, and life was tough for all parties there.  I was pleased to find a photo of the new handrails being installed at La Coupee by German POWs.  Having left the museum, I headed to St Martin's Point at the extreme SE of the island and was rewarded by seeing a pod of at least six dolphins.

 

The Channel Islands are right on our doorstep yet it feels like a different country.  The seascape is superb and the weather is generally good too.  Maybe they should be considered for a future LCC trip.   Robin Emley          More Photos……

 

My thanks to Ruth Briggs, GCC Treasurer, for all her help with the arrangements, and to Kris D'Aout for the loan of his PLB.

 

27/09/16 Anglesey Weekend Number 4; 16th to 18th September

Amy said “Do you feel shy?” I said “Yes!” Silence as we trundled down the one track road to Outdoor Alternative and were waved into the camping field by our Shrewsbury Club friends Matt and Chris. “Blimey, have you ever seen so many kayaks?” Surveying the boats on cars and vans we’re beginning to get the idea. My motto is “Be careful who you paddle with”. Pete Thomas and Carol give me a feeling of confidence. The next morning it was plain to see that there was a sea kayaking planning group going on and it looked like some sensible people were in there.

 

Amy soon disappeared with a man in a van...and his son...and a white water group to try out a new/preloved Dagger Outlaw. Matt, Chris and I joined Pete’s group. Sea boats on trolleys we set off towards the beach closest to the campsite, Porth Cae-du. The last few metres were a carry and slide affair. Helping and being helped is a good opportunity to make new friends: thank you, Stuart and Craig. Soon enough boats started to crowd out the tiny beach. A quick briefing from Pete: “There’ll be the chance to rock hop for those that like it, a reminder on the how and why of anchor towing, the promise of caves and arches.” We’re off. I love that moment when your spray deck is finally snapped on and you’re on the water, drifting easily over clear salt water looking down into a quiet secret world of kelp and satiny, undulating sea forest.

I appreciated how well judged the trip was for this group.  For some people this was a first trip and they were able to find their own pace. For others, including Matt, Chris and I there was all kinds of rock hopping. A cave or two, as promised, one with a resident bristle nosed seal. Everyone enjoyed the two wonderful arches. At Treaddur beach we met Kathy and Frankie for a long leisurely lunch sitting back against the sea wall in the sun.

 

The return journey ended by circling Ynsyoedd Gwlanod with an unusually quiet view of Rhoscolyn Beacon. The expected tide race had dissipated but the sight of some enormously fat basking seals made up for it. And so homewards, some of us making a diversion to the White Eagle pub. Always good. Back at the camp site it was clear that Amy had had a very fun day at Four Mile Bridge and that any shyness she might have felt had been quite blown away when she found out that anything goes when it comes to the Beer Cooler race.

 

What an amazing lively bunch of people. As darkness fell the spirit of Liverpool Canoe Club friendliness and inclusion wrapped around us as barbecues appeared and we all set to cooking. Lovely.

 

Thank you to Peter Massey for skilful organisation and to everyone who contributed to making this such a happy, welcoming weekend.

 

Pen Godber      More photographs……         YouTube video from Sarah Gille…….

 

 

27/09/16 River Dee - Ponsonby to Ty Mawr Country Park.

 

 Thanks all for the response -

 

Was indeed a great day – I forgot there were a couple of half decent play spots on this section of the river.

 

Much obliged to the other helpers volunteers; Ian, John C, Richard, Pete/Caz and other 3* paddlers whom it wouldn't be able to make trips like this possible.

 

None coach led trips require a certain amount of helper to novice ratio and my only concern in future on these is limiting numbers of people.  Also the need for backup organisers who could step in on the day if any organiser is ill or can’t make it expectantly.

 

If anyone has any views on above or ideas to help arrange more of these get in touch.

 

I think with prior notice on the right levels there are enough people who have completed their white water safety and rescue course to run more of these days.

 

Locations

·        Ponsonby to Country park great run level was 0.56m – would be better at 0.7- 0.9m

·        JJ’s loop – I spoke with new owners and the centre is now open and £3 per head they are now offering a shuttle using their minibus and rafting trailer to ferry kayakers up to above horseshoe if required.

·        Other than this access to the meadow has now been renegotiated and people can get up to railway bridge to paddle the first v rapid adjacent hotel.

·        Lower Tryweryn – needs a higher level of leaders – one for later.

·        Burrs – Paul Harwood – why not arrange a Sunday here.

·        Corwen or to Horseshoe Falls.

 

There plenty of videos on you tube to get an idea on flows – reading the river and eddies as below:

 

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

 

Any feedback appreciated.

 

Thanks all

 

John Allerton.                       More photos…..

 

 

22/09/16 Anglesey Weekend Number 4; 16th to 18th September

 

So many people and so many kayaks. That was the sight at the Outdoor Alternative campsite in Rhoscolyn for the fourth LCC Anglesey weekend. Sixty five members had Anglesey No4 2016 Photo by John Fay 00021booked onto the weekend but by the Saturday it was obvious there were many more in attendance.

 

Friday evening was spent settling in and many just had to visit Bob Hamiltons 5 metre bell tent which was lit up with an amazing candle chandelier in the centre. I'm sure that there will be a few more of these tents next year.

 

On Saturday plans had been hatched and numerous groups went off to do their trips. We had decided to go to four mile bridge and join in the fun there. As usual the main action was around the flow of whitewater shooting through  the tunnel under the road. Our grandchildren had taken a blow up dingy and John Smullen and I decided we'd like to go through the tunnel on it. So off we went for a first successful run. This was followed by numerous other runs with different crew on board some more successful than others.

 

After several hours of fun Alex Peacock decided to paddle back to our campsite via the river and into the sea eventually to reach Borthwen beach and our nearby campsite.  So Alex, Arran, John and I set off. As we reached the open sea we spotted the familiar Rockpool kayak of Bob Hamilton and it was a group of eight paddlers who completed their journeys at Borthwen. Four headed towards the small car park to the left of the beach and the rest of us carried kayaks on shoulders along the footpath to our camp and a welcome warm drink.

 

After the Saturday evening Barbecues and a night’s sleep we decided to spend the last day at Borthwen beach. John, Arran, Alex, Natalie and myself played in the sea and Natalie had a lesson from Alex in kayak surfing. After a very nervous start she soon picked up enough confidence to play and enjoy the whole experience. The afternoon was topped of with hot drinks and hotdogs provided by Richie Burgess, Keryl (Johns mum) and Brenda. 

 

And so an end came to another amazing Anglesey weekend. A massive thank you to Peter Massey for co-ordinating the whole weekend and to those who orgaMore photographs……         YouTube video from Sarah Gille…….nised the numerous trips.

 

Report by John Fay 

 

 

22/09/16 Hilbre Island - 20/09/16

 

After a very enjoyable weekend in Anglesey it was nice to receive an email from Julie interested in doing a paddle on the Tuesday. Of course, we were still on a high from the weekend so we decided to paddle to Hilbre Island. So we met at West Kirby at 11.30am and unloaded boats onto the slipway ready to launch.

 

Also on the slipway was a gentleman and his wife. As it turned out they too were members of our club although as yet had not joined and club outings etc. As the water hit the slipway five of us launched into the sea. Julie, Natalie Glover and I set out into the estuary before turning towards the islands whereas Stan and his partner cut right. The sea state was flat calm and it was a very pleasant and leisurely paddle out to Hilbre. Inquisitive seals were all around us and their noises could be heard as they dived and surfaced so close to our kayaks. 

 

It didn't seem long before we reached Hilbre and decisions needed to be made regarding the overfalls at the far end. Natalie chose to head to the beach and Julie and I continued. Stan had now gone past us leaving his partner to return to  shore. He was first to go through the rougher water followed by myself and Julie watched intently by a few men taking photograph's on the edge of the island. We were all surprised at how rough it was considering the high tide, lack of wind and the calm conditions on the outward journey but we all got through without any problems.

 

Rounding the island, we headed to the beach where Natalie had now perched herself on a rocky ledge watching for us returning. As usual Julie provided sausage rolls and cakes and we all enjoyed the welcome break. Whilst chatting another paddler on a sit-on-top joined our small group and we all chatted about boats and equipment etc.

 

Soon it was time to head back. After a cool start the weather had now warmed up considerably and we were all hot as we paddling back to the slipway. People in the distance appeared to be walking on water as they negotiated the path around the lake which was now emptying as the tide rushed out. Even at our easy pace we arrived back with plenty of time to spare. A dead rat we left on the slipway had now gone obviously washed away by the high tide much to the relief of both Julie and Natalie.

 

And so ended another great trip. Stan was encouraged to join in with future club trips and events and the rest of us said our goodbyes until our next outing.

 

Report by John Fay  More Photos…..

 

15/09/16 Major dates for Club Events – for more detail check the online Club Calendar…….

16 – 18 Sept 2016

Anglesey Weekend No 4 Outdoor Alternative Click for more…… Coordinator Peter Massey To book a place…

24 Sept 2016

River Dee WW Trip (Grade 1-2) Llangollen Town to Ty Mawr Country Park ... Coordinator John Allerton Click for more……

1 Oct 2016

Ladies Development Session Click for more……  Coordinator Rosie Diver

12 Oct 2016

Club AGM and Paddler of the Year Awards Click for more…… 

15 Oct 2016

Ladies day out - Paddling along the Leeds Liverpool Canal - Coordinator Rosie Diver Click for more…… Coordinator Rosie Diver

28 – 30 Oct 2016

Welsh Open Canoe Symposium – Click for more……

25 – 27 Nov 2016

Whitewater Paddling Weekend - Teesdale - Coordinator Roy McHale and Fiona Barry Click for more……

13 – 17th April 2017

Scottish Easter Paddling Holiday based at Kinlochleven - coordinator Roy McHale. To book a place…

 

11/09/16 Saturday Rolling Sessions

 

There is a much needed area of paddling that has, to my knowledge, previously not been catered for in LCC, or any other local club.

The pool sessions are of course the first step and with John Cook, Stuart Toulson and Dave Reynolds giving seemingly hours of their time at Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes.  The next step though always seemed a bit too far. There was always a reason to not try any open water Rolling, or Rescue drills at the end of a day’s paddling. The enthusiasm for it at the start of the day would be replaced by apathy at the end---------I’m too tired, I’m too cold, the tide’s gone out too far, I need a drink, etc. etc. being the most used excuses in our group.

ENTER JOHN & CHRIS FAY

 

There was initially a bit of formality to the sessions, but as things progressed groups formed and seemed to just help each other. Colin Muse and Richie ??? have been regularly providing great levels of skill. John Allerton came to one session and gave his ideas an airing, much to my delight. There was no BS at all from him, just good sense.  I have been mostly just standing in the water giving support to any that need it. My Greenland paddles have been used by many and always are a source of surprise. Nobody can believe that the sticks are so good to use.

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There have been varying degrees of success, but without doubt the thing that mostly comes home to me, is that people keep on trying in the murky water that initially was quite daunting to them.  “Some Gremlins have been put to bed today”, was heard on the last session.

 

The group seems to have learned a lot and most of all had fun doing it. The pool sessions are essential, but a little limiting due to time. A few hours on a Saturday morning in “Real” water has been a great follow on.

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Café Christine has been a source of warm drinks, cake and biscuits throughout the sessions, Thank You Chris.

 

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03/09/16 Newsletter Published 
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