Volume 13 Issue 12

December 2013

December Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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01/12/13 Liverpool Canoe Club has just be awarded Top Club - Gold

We have just been told by Gareth Field, Senior Canoeing Development Officer for Canoe England, that Liverpool Canoe Club has just been awarded Gold status for the BCU`s Top Club scheme.  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


Congratulations to all of you that have made this Award possible. 

The clubs top club evidence file…..



01/12/13 Congratualtions to Rhys Legget

Rhys Legget, one of the clubs junior members rolled for the first time at last weeks junior club pool session.  Rhys has been an active member for several years now and is the first of the current young juniors to crack his roll.  It should be noted that he didn’t only do one, he has able to roll time after time using his favourite junior sized boat.


30/11/13 November Photo of the Month Competition


Liverpool Canoe Club Photo Competition Winners

Congratulations to Nick Mackin for his winning photo:

“Rainbow over the Festival Car Park – Llangollen introductory paddle”



Runner up Sarah Gille :

“Jack Gille on the Halloween Paddle at the Marina


Runner up Pete Thomas :

“Open Boat paddle on the River Weaver”

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.


30/11/13 Major dates for events this year – for more detail check the calendar…….

Sat 21 December           Club Christmas Meal at the Marina - open to all. Three course Christmas meal and music to midnight to dance the night away. - Saturday, December 21st, 2013 at 7:30pm. Click to book a place.........

Sun 22 December            Christmas Paddle - Mince Pies at Albert Dock, Festive decoration on boats (Juniors & Adults Any blade Any boat) - Coordinator LCC Social Committee. Click to book a place.........

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


30/11/13 Are you getting all the information on club trips and activities – club messaging system
As well as the website the club uses a number of different media to circulate details of club activities to all its members.  You can add (and remove) your own email address to a number of googlegroups to receive information and posts from members on events, courses and activities. (You do NOT need a google account or email) The main group can be accessed here….


26/11/13 Kayaks North West has recently rebranded to Go Kayaking North West

 As some of you may know Kayaks North West has recently rebranded under Go Kayaking to Go Kayaking North West. 

We are writing to let you know that we now have a new website http://www.go-kayaking.com,

 We are now able to offer brands online, which we are unable to offer in store such as: Kokatat, GoPro, Dagger, Wavesport, Liquid Logic, Jackson Kayaks, Perception, North Shore and more


As a thank you for your continuing support over the years, we will be increasing your discount for members online over the festive season from 10 to 15% off until the 31st of January 2014.


To get your online discount, please use this code to get 15% off all items when you spend £100.00 or more on the website* - GKXMAS2013 

We are also offering until the end of December 20% off Level Six products, which you can claim by using this code at the checkout - GKL62013  You can find Level Six products by following this link – Level Six


The Go Kayaking Team


*Please note that this code cannot be used against items which have been already reduced and that shipping is free after the total value of the basket is greater than £100.

You must proceed to the checkout to apply the discount codes



24/11/13 Lake District White Water Weekend

River Leven

28-ish paddlers untangled their cars from the hostel car park and headed off in convoy through the Autumnal lanes and frosty mountain tops. Sea kayakers keen to test their transferable skills, went afloat bursting with enthusiasm as we split into small groups for the first paddle of the weekend. After a variety of drops and slots Tony wondered how murky the water was, so had a quick look and reported back with a slightly larger and more colourful cheek than he woke up with.


A little further on and we arrived at Back Barrow Bridge, where Gibbo was ready on camera duty. Not for the faint hearted it was decision time - walk or paddle?!  It was a first for many, but conquered by all who took on the challenge - we won’t count sinking as swimming Ant.  After portaging the weir to follow we continued on.  A tricky little shoot sent a few for a swim, our leaders up for the challenge didn't let a single boat or paddle past the last eddy - nice clean up guys. Chris (Murphy), a little jealous of Tony’s blackening eye saw this as his chance to have a go, appearing next to his boat with his own shining cheek – with a drop of blood to add some extra drama.   Caz remained 100% dry proving she was not just a sea paddler and Sophie finished keen to conqueror the next river – which she did.  A perfect start to the weekend, thanks everyone.


Jenny Brown


More photos of the Leven……..



More photos of the Crake……..



More photos of the Kent……..



24/11/13 Local Sea Trip - North Wirral Wander, Dove Point towards New Brighton and back to Dove Point

We had a great time today; making the most of the Autumn sunshine as we paddled from Dove Point to the beach at Fort Perch. Here I discovered a good reason to kayak with Mike; he supplies homemade cake !! There was ample time to view Wirral's flood defences; well I found them interesting. On a more scenic note the sunlight reflected off the flocks of waders as they left the disappearing mud flats, something I never get tired of seeing. Thanks to everyone for the good company and Mike for timing the trip to perfection; maximum kayaking and no mud walking.


Catriona Hare                                         More Photos………


22/11/13 Trip Report, Mile End Mill, 17th Nov


This trip was organised with the intention of building experience and confidence on moving water of the less experienced paddlers among us. Meeting at Mile End Mill, there were about 20 of us out for a day on the water.   We started by practicing Ferry Gliding at the put in point before getting out on the opposite bank and walking upstream and splitting into two groups, with those more experienced paddling a little further upstream onto a bit faster moving water, the rest of us staying on the slower stuff with Richard, Dan, Sam, Dom, Peter & John leading by example and giving us the much needed advice and assistance we required.

We worked our way upstream, Ferry Gliding back and forth as far as the railway bridge, where we moved on to Breaking In and Out of the flow under the bridge.  Confidence soon built and we were rewarded with words of encouragement from Sam, saying that we were doing particularly well as there wasn't a defined Eddy Line where we were breaking in and we had to feel where the faster flow was before putting on the edge and commencing our turns. I think we were given a bit more confidence after hearing the shouts of "Swimmer" from the other group on more than one occasion whilst we all stayed the right way up.

As lunchtime approached Dan asked if we'd like to work our way downstream to a drop called Tombstone, after enquiring as why water features had awful sounding names and not things like "fluffy bunny or flowers & kittens" we headed off to our certain doom.  We stopped at the point opposite the put in, and talked through the best way to run it. At this point, having run this drop once before in lower levels, and swimming I opted to get out and have a look before making a decision whether to do it or not.  As I was looking Richard ran it and had a bit of a wobble, Peter came down next, also had a wobble at the same point then my Son, John came down, he got to the very same point, also wobbled but then capsized, straight away I saw his paddle come up and into the set up position he's been practicing for the last few weeks.   He was going to attempt a roll, for the first time out of the pool. A second later he was upright, soon followed by cheers and applause, mostly from me to be honest, but the others also congratulated him.   After seeing this I opted to run away gracefully went back to my boat and ferry glided to a waiting cup of coffee whilst everyone else in our group ran the drop successfully.

After lunch and John updating Facebook, ringing everybody that he knows and telling anyone he saw in the car park about his rolling exploits, we carried on for more of the same. More ferry glides and breaking in & out, things were going quite successfully, even doing break ins with our eyes closed and feeling for the eddy line.   We then headed over to a large eddy behind a small island, with me being volunteered to go first, as I was two thirds of the way over I felt the water suddenly pick up it's pace. I just about managed to negotiate it, and shouted back to John to warn him.   My warning came at exactly the wrong time, him listening to me, distracted him, (he says), the flow then pushed him sideways and into the trees.

Having remembered a warning earlier from Sam, to avoid trees at all costs he had no option but to grab on to a branch, as his boat was pulled off him by the flow of water, just at that point he was crashed in to, by Gary, who had followed John across and had a similar outcome.

Once again we regrouped, and decided to run the drop again, a couple of the leaders went first with me to follow, I knew before I got to the edge I was on the wrong line, I then got turned sideways and ended up leaning on my paddle just to remain upright, before going over the drop. I was then very conscious of being pinned in my boat by the oncoming water, so, opted to take a swim, and was soon rescued by Dan and deposited on shore.

Yet again everyone else ran the drop with varying degrees of success; John capsized again and almost rolled back up, managing it with a helping hand from Dan.

All in all it was a great day, Thank you to the organisers, coaches and leaders for your help and encouragement.
I for one will certainly look forward to the next outing.  Nick Mackin



19/11/13 Carrog to Festival Site via Horsehoe Falls – 3rd November 2013


Seeing as we have heard about the epic, awe inspiring trip on the canal with the humungous bivi and the thunderous run down through Serpents Tail and over Town Falls, I thought I had better weave a magical tale of the exploits undertaken on the beginnerie trip from Carrog to Horseshoe Falls on the River Dee.


Pulling into Llangollen with about 5min to spare, perfectly timed, the phone rang. It was Keith, my initial thought was that I was late and in trouble, but no, difficulties en-route had led to delays. Message understood I pulled into the car park, let the eager waiting masses know the change of plans, and then headed off to check the get in as the river was quite high for this kind of trip. Got to the get in, lovely SUNNY weather, and thought good for more confident beginners, scary as fireworks to a pet cat for others.


Back to car park, everyone had just arrived, pass message to whole group and attend leaders meeting to sort plan. All to paddle, options of canal or river and meet back here afterwards – great! It then decided to rain, hail and blow a cold wind just as everyone was getting changed, it had been sunny when we arrived!


Shuttle sorted, many thanks to the non-paddling parents for taking the drivers who moved their cars back to the put in, we popped onto the fast flowing river. With the river being high on the rainchaser level, the river had lost some of its more technical aspects and became a powerful, fast moving conveyor of brown. My group did really well, superbly negotiating the rapids and waves, with only those tricky flat water eddies causing any problems – lol!


We ticked off the miles, breaking in and out along the way and eventually caught the other groups just as we were approaching Horseshoe falls. Here we met another LCC paddler being assessed on their ww leadership skills, specifically rescues, but with our trip not knowing they were being assessed, another member of LCC went over to help, doing a fine job in rescuing the boat – much to the amusement of those who had guessed what was going on.


At Horseshoe, those not running the rapids got onto the canal for the paddle to the Festival site and the waiting cars. A great day, now just to wait for Keith, Dom and the Canal Crewe as we had said that we would all meet back here at the end of the day.


Mike Alter


18/11/13 “Thumbs up”  4 Returns from Dove Point to (nearly) New Brighton.  16th Nov 2013


It had been a long week, needed a paddle on the sea but didn’t want to get up too early or travel too far. So where to go?

The answer was easy, with a 10am HT it meant that we could launch from Dove Point and paddle to New Brighton and shuttle, or paddle out and back – must be quick as Dove Point only has water 2hrs either side of HT. So the plan was set for a 9am launch, with several people wanting to join me, especially after they had seen the “Thumbs up” photo from the last time we had done this trip.


I arrived to find the others already waiting and eager, so eager that they had already posed for their “Thumbs up” photo, with the water well up the slipway. Apparently it had been there for a while, but hey, I had enjoyed that extra roll over in the morning and I hadn’t wanted to launch too early as the tide at Dove Point runs opposite to the main flow.


Eagerly we set off into the lumpy sea, it had been a while for me and I am sure that for Caz, Pete & John it was nowt, but I could feel the swell as I waited for my senses to get used to being on the sea again. We powered along the coast under claggy skies, amazed that it could feel so remote, yet be so close to home. As we passed the first of the groynes, a mass of birds took to the air, their synchronised dance mesmerising us to the point that we were stopped in our tracks. Suddenly their graceful movements turned towards us, oo err it was like a scene from the Birds, but they spun away at wave height and we paddled on, leaving them to their dance.


Reaching Derby Pool beach (Harrison Drive?) at 10am high tide we had a conundrum, paddle on to New Brighton through the crashing cloptis, and risk not getting back, or head back with a stop somewhere? We decided on the latter, heading in towards the Derby Pool for a quick stop. Alas the dumping surf was just too big and, with discretion being the better part of valour, we headed to a deserted Mockbegger Wharf for coffee and cake.


With the tide ebbing away we could not stay long, and all too soon we were on our way back to Dove Point, being distracted only by the New Brighton lifeboat zooming past on its way to rescue a  stricken speedboat. Pete was keen to roll, but everytime we stopped we were being washed backwards – so onwards we went.


Approaching the groyne we had first passed two and a half hours ago, the tide was ripping past its outer edge and we had to paddle hard all the way back to the slip, finally landing just before the water left the slip.


A great trip with great company, very local, very enjoyable and very variable from big surf to easy paddling. Worth doing, and very worth the “Thumbs up”.


Mike, John, Caz & Pete   More Photos…………….


18/11/13 Halloween Paddle at the docks

There was a good turn out this year for the annual Halloween paddle with the number of adults (a.k.a. Big kids) exceeding the number of actual kids.

Boats were decorated, scary costumes were worn then paddlers set off on their mini tour of Brunswick dock. Their attempts of trick or treating round the moored boats was pretty unsuccessful. Luckily there were a few bystanders on one of the jetties who refuelled paddlers with many treats in the form of pumpkin pie, bat biscuits and hot chocolate.


However, as we all know, on Halloween where there are treats there are also tricks. For those brave enough to put their hands in gruesome gunge in the hope of retrieving a toy did so. Surprisingly, the "big kids" didn't seem so keen on this part...although when the balloons with lights inside of them (yes...lights inside of them....amazing) made an appearance....the "big kids" suddenly all piped up and wanted one or two to light up their boats before paddling their way back to marina.


Back at base camp LCC had performed a 60 second make over transforming the bar area into a haunted hideout. Here we feasted on sweets, sandwiches and Julie's fantastic Parkin! Thank you Julie!


It was a good night and thank you to everybody who joined us.


We are also planning a festive dock paddle on Sunday 22nd December .....so if you would like to join us, there is plenty of time to venture into the loft get your Santa hats and tinsel. Please check the club website for more details.


Thanks again,


Jo, Jeanette & Steve(s)                                                  More Photos……..



17/11/13 National League Division 4 York – Saturday 16 Nov


We had two teams playing in last nights tournament, one reasonably well established (Liverpool Salthouse) while the second was relatively new to canoe polo (Liverpool Coburg).  Indeed, for three of the team it was there first ever refereed experience of the game. Scott Gibson (Gibbo) had worked hard to organise both the tournament and our teams.  We met at the docks to pick up boats and helmets and to car share for the two hour journey to York.  The first game involved both teams playing against each other.  While Coburg got off to a nervous start Salthouse used their experience to break down our defence and score two early goals.

Salthouse went on to win most of their games losing only to White Rose who were easily the best team on the night.  Coburg developed rapidly and Sam Preston scored several goals from distance (one unfortunately was disallowed for an earlier foul).  If anyone would like start to play the game properly to develop their paddling skills, we currently train indoors at Halewood pool.  Provided that you are an improver and are reasonably competent in a kayak why not book yourself on to a session and give it go.  Click on the Halewood Pool on the venues tab for more information…..


More Photos….

Liverpool Salthouse

Liverpool Coburg

Scott Gibson

Anthony Kingdon

Mark Garrod

Theo Gaussen

Tom Morris

Ailsa Williamson

Michael O'Rourke

Ellie Bailey

Sam Preston

Rachel Doherty

Keith S

15/11/13 Halloween Paddle at the docks.


At around 6:30pm members started gathering at the top of the ramp to the pontoons.  There were many decorated boats, opens with flashing lights, glow sticks and pumpkins were all around.  We took to the water a short while later and made our way up past all the moored sailing boats to the dock gates and down the far side where Joanne and Jeanette met us with refreshments.  Hot Chocolate, treats, cake and special pumpkin pie J


After scaring a few locals and friendly waves we paddled back round to the marina, narrowly missing a rowing boat on the way.  How they didn’t see us until the last minute as we were all lit up like a Christmas tree, they must have been facing the wrong way.  After tidying up Steve, Jeanette and Joanne had decorated the coffee bar area with all manner of Halloween items.  It was great to see many juniors and adults enjoying the event together.  A big thank you to all involved.


More Photos……..


14/11/13 The River Lune and the River Kent


With rain falling most of Saturday and the Tryweryn in the middle of its shutdown period the plan was to the head for the Lakes and try to get two rivers in. We opted for the Lune and Kent which both run in lower levels, are relatively short sections and are quite close to each other. First stop was the River Lune and we rushed to get on the river before a large contingent from Liverpool Uni could slow our progress. 


After a initial cold start, the sun was beginning to warm us up slightly and it was turning into a glorious autumn morning. The quality of the water is superb and we could see straight through the shallows to the river bed. The levels were better than we expected and I for one, had forgotten how good this river was as we negotiated three bouncy rapids on the run before nailing surprise drop. The River was testing John, who had been out of his boat a couple of times already and it wasn't long before Fiona unselfishly joined him to make him feel better but despite the odd swim everyone was thoroughly enjoying the river. (I think!)


With Roy and myself taking it in turns to lead we pressed on through a gorge section before the river opened out again and we headed for The Strid. This is where the river narrows and flushes through a section that is about 5 or 6 feet wide, and can cause problems in low levels, when a triangular rock protrudes out of the centre of the channel. We didn't have these worries today as the water was high enough to cover the rock, and we all managed to surf the right and left wave cushions and exited into the pool at the bottom. Then it was on through the last gorge section to finish with a quick shuttle before the next river. 


We arrived at the put in for the Kent and after a quick brief for John, Fiona and Sarah who hadn't run the river before, we put on above the bridge and ran the first tricky drop. The first real test is an S bend rapid with a left and then a right and a bouncy wave train to finish. We took care to stay away from the undercut walls that are a feature of this river. Next we had to negotiate a small weir that we all shot will a boof stroke to make sure we escaped the tow back. 


With the debutants gaining in confidence and grins beginning to replace the apprehensive looks, we next came to Gun Barrel. This really isn't as bad as it sounds (who name these things?) and everyone ran perfect lines. Almost immediately we approached L Shape Weir where I have come a cropper in bigger levels in the past. Today though it was a lot friendlier and one by one we took turns to boof off the lip at right angles, drop 4ft, bounce into the flow and edge quickly left to avoid getting flipped. By now everyone was positively buzzing and we only had one last obstacle to overcome to complete a brilliant run. Unfortunately this was Force Falls!


Now if I am honest, myself and Roy were expecting a bit of carnage here as despite the successful run we were enjoying, as it is a lot bigger than anything we had ran so far. How wrong we were! Apart from myself a who had to pull off a roll, Roy, Fiona and Sarah all styled it completely with the two girls getting a massive cheer. It would be a good half hour before they stopped smiling. John wasn't so lucky as he finished off with a swim but there is no shame in that when you are attempting a feature of this size for the first time. 


We finally pulled away from the get out as the light began to fade. We had managed to get both rivers in with time to spare and although everyone loved the Kent we all agreed that we had forgotten how good the Lune could be as well. A fantastic days boating and our chairwoman now has a band new favourite river!


Chris Murphy, Roy McHale, Fiona Barry, Sarah Gille, John Cooke.



13/11/13 The 7th UK Storm Gathering Symposium – Oban 2013


With a degree of trepidation I set off on Friday for my second storm gathering experience. The UKSGS was taking in place in Oban for 3 days, and after the storms I experienced a few years ago on Anglesey I was very nervous about the weather and my paddling ability.

I arrived with Zoe at Kilbowie Activity centre on Friday night after a reasonably uneventful journey via Stirling. I mention this because earlier in the year on the club sea kayaking trip to Scotland there was much debate between Mr Steer and Mr Bell about the wisdom of going via Stirling. There were a few LCC members about and it was great to catch up with them over the weekend.


Saturday started with a 9am briefing and then the groups met up with their coaches to set out the plans for the day. I had opted for 3-4* leadership skills and was with Ken Lacey from Sea Kayak Scotland, as well as brilliant coaching Kenny shared a wealth of local knowledge with the group (he lives on Seil Island) as we paddled around Easdale.


The weather co-operated for most of the day, there was a brief rain shower at lunch, and just enough wind for the conditions to be in remit for the session. After a great day on the water making new friends, I caught up with Pete and Caz for food and then we headed to Eric Boomers talk, awesome, amazing, brilliant are just a few of the words to describe one of the best talks I have ever been too (I’m looking forward to listening again in 2 weeks). The day ended with more socialising at the centre but as they say what goes on tour stays on tour.


Sunday’s session was moderate water boat handling with Matt Giblin, as well as being half of Kayak Essentials, an LCC member; Matt was also a member of the UKSGS organising team alongside Mark Tozer, Helen Wilson and Nick Cunliffe. The weather was so good on Sunday we were missing moderate water conditions for most of the day, but it was a great days paddle again from Easdale, we paddled to Belnahua for lunch and on the return enjoyed a following sea and a few opportunities to surf into the harbour. Sunday evening saw more socialising taking place at the centre, a few games of Jenga, and several whiskey based cocktails thanks to Jim Krawiecki


Monday I’d opted for a journey, I chose the level 2-3 journey and it turned out to be day with the most sea state. The coach for the day was Steve Miles whom I’d had the opportunity to meet on Saturday night, Steve’s approach was very relaxed as it was a strong group and our trip which departed from a slip on the east side of Seil took us under the Bridge over the Atlantic and around the North end of Seil to a lovely lunch spot on one of the small islands. The paddle back was fabulous, a much bigger following sea, great waves to surf and a strengthening wind behind us, the smile on Zoe’s face summed up how good it was, but I never managed to get my camera out to get a picture, for me it was the biggest sea of the weekend, and the most rewarding day on the water.


After meeting up with Kirk, so that Zoe could get her lift back to her car in Liverpool to get home, I caught up again with Pete and Caz, had a lovely meal with them and James Stephenson, from Adventure Elements who was one of the weekend coaches before getting an ‘early’ night in preparation for the drive home.

What a difference driving home today compared to my first storm gathering, I can’t wait to go out paddling again, and would encourage anyone thinking about going to a symposium to give the UKSGS a go, all the sessions have a clear guide as to the level of paddling skill and content, there is something for everyone from relative beginner to gnarly old sea dogs, the coaches are fun, friendly and enthusiastic and you’ll get to make a whole load of new friends to go paddling with in the future.


Frankie Annan                                                     More Photos…….



13/11/13 Peel Island (Wild Cat Island) from “Swallows and Amazons”


Twelve intrepid paddlers eventually met at Machell`s Coppice. For a brief moment I thought I had packed too much but thankfully Keith and Pete had turned up with big boats to take the surplus. When we finally arrived it was quite dark and there was a quick scramble to get the best spots on the island. Reece appeared to have found a great spot: high up, away from the rest of the camp, with fantastic views over the lake. As the night progressed it became more apparent that Tony had put him there to keep him, and the other boys, out of the way.


William, Jake, Reece and Regan went off to explore the island. Occasionally they appeared with whittled sticks and stories of ‘Slender’, the Peel Island killer. Fortunately, Chris was there to reassure the boys that Slender wouldn’t hurt them as ‘Fat Man had eaten him’. The boys stayed up late, squashed into a two man tent, while Regan told ghost stories.


Despite the cold it stayed dry. Occasionally we could hear distant fireworks. The BBQ was impressive; the first I have been to where goulash was on the menu! Keith gave us all a geography lesson, testing our knowledge of capital cities and the ‘USA’.


Keith and Tony were clearly hardened campers and braved the cold night in their bivvi bags. Keith could be heard making a bed of leaves, or so he claims. We woke to a beautiful, sunny morning and set off in search of proper toilets only to find them locked. William was particularly excited at the prospect of paddling several extra miles to find more! There was a welcome stop at the Bluebird Cafe for some delicious cakes.

On the journey back to the car park a few adventurous paddlers attempted to limbo under one of the jetties. Unsurprisingly this was instigated by Steve Bond. Regan just about squeezed under but Pete and Jake chickened out; apparently their boat was ‘too big’ – a lame excuse.


William had a fantastic time and can’t wait for the next camping trip. His final comment before we left Coniston ‘Mum, can I get a knife?’ In other circumstances I’d be horrified but after spending the weekend on Peel Island, Santa might be tempted.


A thoroughly enjoyable weekend with great company - thanks to Jeanette and Keith for organising it.


Elle and William Rickards               More Photos……



11/11/13 Please help support a funding bid to support Wild Water Racing for a local canoeing youth club - Oakwood


We have put a bid in for some funding from Galaxyhotcholate for the outdoor pursuits to help found Oakwood's Youth Clubs  2013/14 Wild Water Racing.

We need you all to go on their site to get as many votes as possible.

Can you get friends and family to visit the site and please vote for us.

In anticipation thank you from all at Oakwood Youth Club

Stephen (Watersports Coach)



About Oakwood
Oakwood work with young adults and children with learning and physical disabilities in the deprived areas of Salford. The Youth Club runs a kayaking group that works towards Canoe England paddlesport qualifications. This has led on to competitive opportunities for our disabled members, such as white water racing.


How will you use the award?

Oakwood would use the money to ensure that young members can access 8 race opportunities throughout the winter months. The families of our members often have financial difficulties and struggle to pay for transport and entry fees to such competitions. The £300 would allow us to bring 12 disabled young people free of charge to take part in these fantastic days out. Race days give them a great boost during the cold winter months and make all their training worthwhile, so we hope this funding can make this possible.
Our disabled members get a great sense of pride and achievement taking part in competitions and often winning against mainstream clubs. There successes are an inspiration to all the members of the club and show what disabled people can achieve. Previous race results can be found at


11/11/13 Sunday Surfing Crosby 10th Nov


Paul had bought a new Surf Kayak which he was desperate to try out, so he persuade a small group of us to join him at Crosby beach to enjoy the afternoons wind. We weren't expecting much of the blowy stuff but we all knew that the chance to see him swim from a different craft could not be missed. As we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to see a small range of waves that would entertain us for the afternoon and so the fun began as it was easier to get out through the breakers and work the waves as they were forming. These waves weren't as manic as last weeks gale force paddle but still the first wave managed to dump me in the surf. Unexpected to be upside down so soon I opted for the Pawlata as the roll of choice.


Karl Winrow was the first to run me down as he was thrust from the waves right into my path and chest. I knew it would be ugly so I braced myself for impact and caught his boat from the air like the best  rugby fullback and carried him back to shore whilst riding backwards down the wave until we both fell from our kayaks into the drink. Quickly we composed ourselves and began our self rescues by first emptying my boat across the bow of Karl's and then his over mine whilst submerged in the water then Karl leapt into his boat with a 'roly poly' secured his deck and assisted with my entry all in less than sixty seconds.

"Wow, lets do that again" he said

I have never paddled so fast in my life as I tried to escape.


Peter was the second kayaker to launch his boat into my path but managed to turn away at the last moment whist swearing politely on his way past. I decide to move away from the fast lane of oncoming traffic and found the biggest wave of the day but then landed my kayak with precision onto the deck of Steve Rose's boat who not so politely began to swear.

Paul was struggling with the new surf boat as it was a tad too small in the cockpit as he had to fold his legs in three places to fit in.

"Its yours for £295" he shouted as he surfed past.


"I'll take £275 if you take it today" he said as he past the second time.

Great I thought. Three more waves and it looks like I'm gonna get a bargain. Ten more waves and I may even get cash back!


For over two hours we enjoyed the afternoon sun and surf as the water bubbled like the best champagne and as the sun went down we shared stories of rescues, rides, carving waves and 360's. None of which was seen today.


Karl Tattum                 More Photos…….



05/11/13 River Dee Carrog to Horseshoe Falls Grade 2 introductory river trip- Alternative Route


Thanks to Saturday night’s relentless rain, the water levels on the river Dee were high and rising therefore the less experienced of the group made the decision to paddle the canal leaving the thrill seekers to enjoy the rapids. Kindly Keith and John, sacrificed their river running opportunity to lead the alternative group on a leisurely paddle from the festival car park down into the quaint town of Llangollen. Roughly covering a distance of 8 miles- not bad for a leisurely paddle!


Despite a soggy start to the trip the persistent rain didn’t stop us from enjoying the beautiful Denbighshire countryside, as through the clouds we had great views across the Dee basin, spotting local wildlife including; squirrels, cows and even a few rainbows! As we stopped to enjoy the views, have a leg stretch and refuel with some lunch, Keith came to the rescue of some of the shivering group, with a magical bivvy tent keeping us toasty warm.


The sun graced us for the next section of the journey which was not for the faint hearted as we ventured across the spectacular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct at Trevor Basin. Due to the sheer drop, some of the group opted not to peer over! With torches in hand we continued our journey in search of an infamous tunnel, but it appeared it was a tad further than we originally thought. With stamina running low we retreated with our tails between our legs back towards the cars at Llangollen, with the promise of exciting tunnels on the next river trip.


Our return included; the promise of an; “extreme seal launch” off the river bed when manoeuvring past a canal lock, which unfortunately didn’t materialise but gave us all a laugh. Plus the sight of our fleet returning across the Aqueduct attracted the attention of some local tourists- we hope they snapped our best sides!


Although we had an alternative trip than expected, a very enjoyable time was had by all- plus we had considerably less swims than we may have had on the river!


Leanne Murray                                   More Photos………..


05/11/13 Voyageurs Down The Weaver


It was way back in September that Rosie got us fired up with enthusiasm during our open boat paddle from Farndon to Eccleston on the Dee. We waited with mounting excitement for her next trip but when it finally came round last Saturday, the string of low pressure systems hitting the UK like a punch bag, threatened it ever taking place. Thankfully, a lull in the storms gave us the window to paddle part of the River Weaver from Winsford Flash to the world famous Anderton Boat Lift. The wind still gusted but, for a change, it was mostly behind us and this greatly assisted our speed as we passed landmarks with record-breaking times. Later we discovered another reason for our fast decent of the river - Andy’s wife Linda, was a paddler on the successful Liverpool Dragon Boat team that is among the topmost in the UK. No wonder her paddling looked purposeful.


A lot had happened since our last trip with Rosie. I was already inspired by the multi-day open boat River Tay trip that Keith, Ian and Simon had done and also by the Dee trip that Mike, Ruth, Danny and his squids had done earlier in the year. Co-incidentally, Carole and I also met up with an old school friend of mine who moved to Canada yonks ago. Over a meal one night, he and his Canadian wife talked about the vast Canadian wilderness and some of the canoe trips they had done. They also talked about “Grey Owl”, the legendary early conservationist who, despite coming from Hastings in England, adopted the ways of the Native American Indians (now known as the First Nation people) and worked towards preserving the wilderness and the role that beaver plays in its ecology. All of this fired me up to the point where, seeing a nice open boat on eBay a month or so back, I just had to be the winning bidder.


It’s a far cry from the River Weaver I know but, as we paddled down past the mountains of rock salt heaped up from the nearby salt mines, the picture I had in my mind was of the French Canadian Voyageurs whose epic explorations, using birch bark canoes, had opened up Canada for the sake of trading beaver pelts. If it wasn’t for the fact that my knees are knackered, I might already have nipped over to Canada and signed up for one the big canoe trips!


But I digress ....


The trip down the River Weaver was never going to be a white knuckle ride but Rosie’s sense of fun makes this sort of trip a pleasure. They’re ideal for open boat beginners to cut their teeth on and even white water adrenalin junkies might enjoy the chilled out pace that gives some great opportunities to see river wildlife as we creep up on them in our boats.

The first lock system we met downstream was at the end of a canalised section of the river that had been built to aid the passage of freighters that came up the river in order to load up with rock salt. We hauled our boats out of the water before the locks and portaged them down onto a meadow on the banks of the old river course. Putting in here, after lunch break number one, we continued to paddle downstream on the meandering river. Reaching a boat yard where quite big yachts can haul out for the winter, Carole and I spotted a boat called Gin Fizz. Seemingly abandoned now, it belonged to a friend of ours from Liverpool Yacht Club who had sailed around Ireland with us many years ago. He had brought his new girlfriend on this Irish trip and married her a year or so later. It turned out that she had inherited quite a lot of money and whipped our friend off to the Caribbean, buying him a new 65 foot yacht! Lucky b***er!  It’s no wonder his old boat looked a bit forlorn languishing in this inland Cheshire boatyard.


The next set of locks were passed easily by another short portage which called for lunch break number two, this time in bright and warming sunshine as the winds began to subside.


All too soon we were at the Anderton Boat Lift and all ideas of using it to gain height to the next level where our shuttle car was parked, were dashed as the lift “attendant” shewed us off as he was just about to open the doors to allow a narrow boat to come out.


Our final portage was uphill but, after sorting cars and packing up, this was rewarded by a trip to The Stanley, a nearby pub where we found out a bit more about Don’s old buddy who he had invited on Rosie’s trip.  Now, Don is a self made toy boy whose favourite phrase is “boys toys” – if he sees anything that blings, he just has to add it to his burgeoning collection. It’s not hard to see where he picked up this personality trait since his old mate Jeff Marshall is truly the new bling meister. Not only did Jeff turn up dressed in a brand new hat, he also had a brand new Old Town boat with brand new paddles and a brand new portage trolley, all of which still had their shop labels on and bar codes! Having met Carole for the very first time he then proceeded to sell her a sun hat (in the middle of November) and, while in the pub, also produced his bag of hats which he attempted to sell on to anyone who might be interested. Before leaving the pub to hit the road, Jeff handed me his “business card”, a joke card that his wife had made up for him. The list of trades and scams convinced me even more that the club, should Jeff decide to join us, has a new Dell Boy extraordinaire!


I hope to see him, and others, on Rosie’s next trip which should be on the calendar for sometime in January.


The Voyageurs were - Rosie, Pete, Carole, Andy, Linda,  Don, Jeff                                       More Photos………



05/11/13 River Dee Carrog to Horseshoe Weir Grade 2 introductory river trip Sunday 3rd November

We woke early on Sunday morning to the sound of torrential rain, hail and an email from Keith informing us that the river levels on the Dee were high and had risen considerably overnight.  After a delayed start due to difficulties tying boats on to roof racks at the Marina, we headed down to Wales stopping quickly in Llangollen to check out the river.  It was a pretty intimidating sight to watch from the bank; very high and flowing very fast! 

We met the rest of the group in Festival car park and whilst we all admired the sight of a double rainbow, the coaches got together to discuss our options.  The decision was made to split into two groups.  One group of more competent paddlers headed out onto the river and the novice group took a more scenic route along the Llangollen canal and over the aqueduct. 

Overall, we paddled 8 miles along the canal, over the aqueduct twice and finished at Trevor basin where we had left the cars.  Having completed the first introductory river trip to Trevor Rocks, it was great to look down on the river from the aqueduct.  What an amazing view!  Keith tried to instil fear in us by telling us the aqueduct wall was only 2 inches thick and questioned what would happen if it gave way whilst we paddled across … luckily we were all made of stronger stuff and peered over the edge to admire the view.  Breathtaking. 

As scenic as the canal trip was, it didn’t come without its challenges.  Dominic went for a swim after having some difficulties with his boat, and the girls made the most of the male chivalry in the group and accepted help getting in and out of their boats.  Keith’s 12 person bivvy also made a suitable appearance at the half-way point when we stopped for lunch … it worked a treat warming us all up.  The fun continued with Stuart and Nick seal launching from the bank on the way back; not even a wobble between them, impressive!

The trip ended with a well deserved stop off at the local pub.  We debriefed over a pint / hot chocolate and Gary and Kath gave us the lowdown on how the river group got on.  Great day overall.  Thanks to Keith, John and Dom for accompanying us along the canal and making it such an enjoyable outing.  Roll on the next trip!

Louise Kennedy           More Photos………..


05/11/13 River Dee Horseshoe Falls to Town falls. Sunday 3rd November


We struggled to hear as we discussed the best line around the seething mass of boiling water that was Horseshoe Falls,  I had spoken with a group from Imperial collage who were taking their lucky fresher’s down and we agreed to let their group and raft get on first.


Our chosen line given the high water was to put on next to the fall and then negotiate a few branches, a small island and then into the main flow, we stopped at the next available eddy all smiling. 


After breaking back in to the fast moving current, we all made progress choosing our own lines, looking around often to check on the others.  Everyone was zigzagging like crazy to avoid the huge holes.  We broke out just above Serpents tail only to find that it was washed out, so progressed on through still dodging the holes.

Imperial collage were not faring well, we stopped to check they were ok.  They were looking for a number of boats and paddles having recovered their swimmers.


We negotiated a few more interesting drops and waves as we paddled through the slalom site, on the last wave Mike must have got cramp as he decided he needed to get out of his boat to stretch his legs, it must have been painful as he did not manage to get to bank before getting out of his boat!!!


Shortly after we approached Town falls, we stopped above the rapid and Roy said he would lead us through, all went smoothly with lots of onlookers from the bridge above until the last drop under the bridge.  Roy was knocked over by a cross wave and had to roll up, we eddied out just after the bridge for more smiles and high fives and the cheers of the crowd above.  A fitting end to a great day.


Stu Toulson, Roy McHale, Mike Alexander and Anthony Kingdom.


05/11/13 Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal Sunday 3rd November

Some of us met at our base at the Marina to collect boats, share lifts etc... and headed down to Llangollen to meet with the rest of the day's paddlers.  We stopped at The Ponsonby Arms to take a look at the river, to me it looked rather fast and a bit scary and at least 2ft higher than the last time I was at the same spot, with the water level up to the big, last step.  Carrying on to the Festival car park to meet the others in very heavy rain we were treated to a lovely double rainbow.

The coaches/leaders had a brief discussion about options for the day and after taking into account the river and paddler experience levels offered an alternative trip along the Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.

We split into two groups , shuttled the cars to the take out point further down the canal and 14 of us got onto the water, Oh, it was still raining.

We paddled along splitting into smaller groups, chatting looking at the wildlife, getting rained on.  At one stage there was a herd of cows right down at the canal side, somehow Louise manage to paddle right past and not even see them.

At about the 3 1/2 mile mark we stopped for lunch on the towpath, Keith pulled out the biggest, brightest bivvi I've ever seen which was quickly occupied by the girls, Ciaran and Dominic as Dom needed warming up after a bit of a swim earlier.  Lots of passing ramblers exchanged pleasantries, then, surprisingly, the rain stopped and the Sun came out. Just a small
patch of sunshine was quickly filled by the rest of us to get a bit of a warm.

We continued along the canal for another couple of miles and came to what was quite literally the high point of the day.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, 1000ft long, 126 ft high and no railing on our side. The edge was about 12 inches above the waterline, then nothing to the Dee Valley floor below, the views were spectacular.


Carrying on were touched lucky as a barge had just passed through a very low bridge and a young lad waited to allow us all to pass before lowering it again. We continued on our next quest, the long tunnel, which sadly alluded us, asking passing walkers and boaters, the distance to the tunnel varied between less than a mile to 2 1/2 miles. We did about a mile before deciding that we would save it for another day, and turned round.

The drawbridge this time, was sadly down and we had to portage around it.
I saw an opportunity to make a dramatic water entry, a seal launch down a grassy bank and onto the water.

I failed completely; I made an entry with all the grace of a bull Elephant Seal, having to shuffle all the way down as my boat wouldn't slide. Worst still, I even got Keith to video it.

The take out point was just the other side of the aqueduct, meaning we got to enjoy the views once more, and have our photo's taken by the many camera laden Japanese tourists.

If this link works it should the route and distance we covered.

The day finished off in the pub, and most welcome it was too.
All in all, a great day, Thank you one and all.

Nick Mackin                                       More Photos………..


03/11/13 Surfing at Crosby Sunday 3rd November

Well it all started Saturday when Paul rang in tears and admitted that Surfing is a much better option than Canoeing as nobody had signed up to his trip on the Dee, even though the previous weekend had seen the success of the "Never Full" drain holes which Paul had added to his rare Spanish Fly Canoe he cried that he much preferred Kayaking to that single blade stuff.

"Please Karl , Kayaking is much more fun than Canoeing, can I please join you Surfing?" he said.

"yes mate, no problem" I said "as long as you put it in writing then come along"


Now the "Never Full" drain holes work by allowing the water to exit the boat quickly after being submerged and this with the added foam buoyancy keeps the boat afloat and avoids it becoming swamped.


"Its such a great idea Karl , you want to try it" said Paul.

So I did. 10cm holes were drilled into my favourite surf kayak at 30cm intervals just as Paul had described and I was sure that todays surf would be the best ever because as soon as the water entered my boat then it would soon be bailing itself back out and allowing more surf fun to be had.


Geoff Widders and I, along with Bradley aged nine, were the first to arrive at 0745hrs to gale winds and extreme hale with the biggest range of surf ever to be seen at Crosby. Paul and Harvey aged eight arrived soon after with Steve Rose who was dressed all ready for action and impressed by the Expert work aligning the "Never Full" drain holes to the side of my surf boat.


Soon we were all in the water but only Geoff could pierce through the oncoming monster waves in his sea kayak as Steve, Paul and I struggled to get out as the winds were blowing 35mph with gusts of up to 60mph. Geoff was soon carving up and down the waves and displayed great technique as he turned at the top of the waves and returned to shore upside down and a new way which we had never seen before of surfing from the back of the boat whilst immersed in the water.


Harvey and Brad enjoyed the surfboarding but soon became cold and retired to the comfort of the van for hot chocolate and dry clothes. As I paddled out to the surf I was sure the boat would be emptying itself on route but soon I realised that the holes only allowed the water to access the inside of the kayak quicker than ever before. Such a great idea the "Never Full" drain holes are for the Spanish Fly Canoe but please be aware that in a kayak NO holes should be allowed whatsoever as paddling submerged whilst being thrust back to shore is not fun.


Soon the water was at the rocky shore and after watching Paul get trashed out of his boat we regrouped for Coffee and biscuits supplied by Harvey and Brad. A great mornings paddle with great friends but has anyone got any duck tape to cover three 10 cm holes please ?


Karl Tattum                     More Photos…….


YouTube Videos from Geoff Widders









01/11/13 November 2013 Newsletter Published
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