Volume 14 Issue 10

October 2014

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


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Major Trip Reports.…

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 Google groups in order to receive information and posts from members on events, courses and activities. (You do NOT need a Google account or Google email) More information here….


27/9/14 Major dates for Club events – for more detail check the online Club Calendar…….

2 October 20014                Return to Kingsway Pool on Thursdays 9-10pm   Click to book a place.........

5 October 20014                Improvers River Trip - Grade 2 River Dee to Overton Bridge (Roy McHale & Mark Young).   Click to book a place.........
7 October 20014                Return to Broadgreen School Pool on Tuesdays 7-9pm   Click to book a place.........

11-12 October 20014        Open Boat Peel Island Bivi Coniston – Club boats available.   Click to book a place.........
13 October 2014               Club AGM and Awards Evening Includes a presentation of the Clubs Alps trip 2014.  8:00pm-9:30pm

19 October 2014               Club run 3 Star White Water Assessment or training.  Click for more information.........

22 October 2014               Manchester Canoes Club Night for Liverpool Canoe Club members - 15% off anything on the night.  Click for more information.........

10 November 2014           Reel Paddling Film Festival The only UK showing of this film festival.  Click to book a place.........

14-16 November 2014      Lakes  Paddling Weekend Based at Thorneyhow Hostel in Grasmere..  Contact Fiona Barry for more information  07730613310

19 November 2014           Steve Fisher UK Tour - Liverpool We are hosting the Liverpool presentation of Steve’s UK tour.  Click to book a place.........

14 -22 February 2015      Skiing and Snowboarding trip - France.  Contact Fiona Barry for more information  07730613310

2-6 April 2015                  Scottish Easter paddling weekend Based in the Blackwater Hostel – limited places so book early.  Click to book a place.........

5 July 2015                       Hilbre Island Sea Kayak Race & Club BBQ Clubs major annual Sea Kayaking Event.  Click for more.........

17 July–2 August 2015   Alpine Paddling Holiday Week 1 Bovec, Slovenia, Week 2 Briancon, France.  Contact Keith S for more information  07719459942


27/9/14 August “Photo of the Month” Competition



Liverpool Canoe Club Photo Competition Winners

Congratulations to Jonathan Maddock for his winning photo:

“Chris, Steve and Kirk paddling through the race at North Stack on the 4th Anglesey Weekend”



Runner up Jose Santos:

“Ian Bell on S Bends, Upper Guisane in the French Alps



Runner up Carole Thomas:

“Pete Thomas on a white shell beach, Bearnaraigh Beag in the Outer Hebrides

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.



27/9/14 Club Equipment at the docks




If you use club boats at the docks please try to help key holders lock up by reading the following advice.  We have been losing a lot of bungs recently and these will not be replaced.  Corks are being used and members will have to sponge out the kayaks instead.


Similarly footrests have been moved between boats and securing nuts lost resulting in damaged or missing footrests.  Boats have been returned full of sand or not secured correctly. 


Please help to look after club equipment.  Last year we spent over £8300 on club equipment alone.   List of club boats and equipment…..






24/9/14 Anglesey Weekend No.4 at Outdoor Alternative 19th- 21st September


On behalf of Sue, Irene and myself let me offer our thanks to everyone involved for making it a very special few days.

We went on Friday and did our own thing. The opportunity to then paddle with such competent people lets us paddle in conditions that we would not normally consider, so it allows us to push ourselves and gain valuable experience.


Without the leaders being prepared to take the “Bumblies” we would never gain the experience needed to do any of these trips.

Peters mock “Heart Attack” was an eye opener and something that obviously requires to be practised more.

The “Real Rescues” seem to have been performed without drama and the recipients both expressed a feeling that the experience was worthwhile and that it had taken away the fear that a capsize held previously.

My “Heel Hook” practice rescue seemed to go OK and was without doubt helped by the precise and loud instructions received.  That was the first capsize that I had practised in “my new to me” Drysuit and I found it a bit strange exiting the cockpit. I now feel that this was due to air within the suit migrating to the bottom area and expanding it into the seat.


Adrian’s “Forward paddling” instruction and core strength exercises will, I’m sure have given something for most of us to work on.   The various balance tests back at the bay seemed to give the participants plenty of fun.

Again, Thanks to everyone for a great weekend


Bob, Sue and Irene

Saturday: Four Mile Bridge - Mischeif and Fun


A group of us got down to Four Mile Bridge at 930am. The plan was to spend the whole day there as there was no surf. We arrived as the tide was turning and Keenan, Brad and Harvey had great pleasure in paddling against the current to get to the other side of the tunnel. Sam and Keiran started the cart wheeling and squirting, encouraging me to do it too. I showed them how to do it big time even practicing my T rescue.
Soon the direction of flow changed and we all practiced ferry gliding, surfing the jet from one eddy to the other, swimming, jumping and snorkelling. At one point there were 5 kids snorkelling and looking for crabs for their tea. Dom was trying out a canoe and practicing what Rosie had been teaching him. I did not realize lying down face first in the bottom of a canoe with a paddle above your head was a technique taught, but it worked really well for Dom.
Nick was showing us all how many times he could roll trying stern squirts. Karl was learning. I kept rolling up on a bow stall only to keep falling over head first. Keiran was showing off by not using a paddle at all. Sam was falling out of a canoe. (Just seeing what it would be like if you actually did fall out) and Harvey stayed in his boat all day having fun surfing the jet, doing S Turns and knocking people in to the water. I think he's been watching Karl too closely on Thursdays, and generally having so much fun he put blisters on his hands.
We stopped for lunch and ate Sausage and bacon butties cooked in the back off a car washed down with a brew boiled in another car.  After lunch it was more of the same. More swimming, more carnage, more fun. It's a shame there are no more weekends until next year. I can't wait.


Paul Harwood        More Photos……….


Saturday - Trearddur Bay – Borthwen


Friday afternoon, bags packed and car and trailer loaded and we’re off to Anglesey for the fourth LCC kayaking weekend. The weather was glorious and the weekend forecast was looking good. The Outdoor Alternative site at Rhoscolyn was the venue providing some excellent access to the Anglesey’s superb and varied coastline.


On arrival tents were pitched and the steady influx of LCC members old and new meant the first evening was one spent meeting and greeting friends and catching up on the latest news and possible plans for the weekend. There was as usual going to be something for everyone. Our group was primarily interested in sea kayaking and hoping there would be a suitable trip for us.


After a good night’s sleep we awoke on Saturday in time to attend the 9am meeting with Pete Thomas and his team to discuss possible trips. The weather had turned overcast and there was a wind meaning that the planned paddle to the Stacks was not suitable for us less experienced paddlers. As an alternative a more sheltered trip from Trearddur Bay to Borthwen was suggested and it was agreed to meet at 10am at Trearddur leaving shuttle cars at Borthwen.

 Eighteen paddlers met on Trearddur beach and were briefed on the plans for the paddle. Safety issues were discussed and we were then split into three manageable groups with a group leader and assistant assigned to each. In the sheltered bay we were given time to become accustomed to our kayaks before entering out into rougher water. The trip was done in stages with Pete stopping us at regular intervals to check if we were comfortable with the prevailing conditions and was happy to continue.


Happy to move on the three groups headed across towards the white arch in the distance and on arrival cued to enter the narrow passage which exited with a sharp right back out to open water. It was here that we had our first capsize. Irene Jackson faced with a wall of water entering the narrow passage could do little to prevent herself from being swept backwards into the rocks and capsizing. A rescue attempt was made but this only resulted in a second kayaker capsizing. Holding our position a little further out at sea we could only watch with admiration at the speed and skills displayed by Pete and his team as they executed two successful rescues. Not put off by the experience the rescued paddlers were keen to continue with the trip and used the experience as a valuable learning tool.

After yet another capsize from Bernie the groups concluded the trip with all having a great sense of achievement. So back to the campsite we went and a great evening followed which involved much recollections of the day’s trip whilst sat around the Saturday night BBQ.


JOHN FAY                                                 More Photos…………..


Sunday – Coasteering – Borthwen


High tide was early in the morning so we headed down to the beach at Borthwen.  We made our way over the headland to a small bay amongst three or four cottages.  The water was surprisingly warm as we clambered and swam our way around the small headland.  The rock was extremely hard and weathered and felt sharp to the touch.  Harvey and Paul found several small jumps from the overhanging rock.  We made it back to the old lifeboat house and ramp but with private signs all around we had to traverse a little further to get back to the beach.



 More Photos…………..


Sunday: Sea kayak trip Borthwen -  Ynys Feirig – Borthwen

Sunday morning greeted the club members with the sun shining and much calmer weather. Once again it was decided to meet at 9am and a sixteen strong group planned to travel from Borthwen down to Ynys Feirig and back. With favourable weather conditions this was predicted to be a much easier trip than the previous days. However, this trip was not to be a simple A – B trip but rather one which would  include some training workshop sessions along the way with one of Pete’s “surprise scenarios” thrown in for good measure.


After a talk on safety procedures and equipment we launched our kayaks. Pete and Steve Bond took control. Steve had us doing stretching and twisting exercises to warm up and also had us doing some disco dancing like movements which amused the group. Anyway, we were now ready to go and headed out feeling much more relaxed than on Saturday’s trip.

It wasn’t long before Adrian Mould took the lead role in our first workshop session. The session involved the three stages designed to developing a more efficient forward paddle. It was amazing to feel the extra power from the paddle blades with no more effort being exerted.


As we continued our paddle feeling relaxed on the calm water it soon became apparent that all was not well. A signal was up and shouts for help could be heard. We had a paddler in the water.This was Pete’s surprise scenario and it was Pete himself that was having a suspected heart attack  and it was the job of the less experienced paddlers to take control of the situation. A dummy radio call to the coastguard was made whilst Caroline and Bernie diagnosed the problem and got Pete safely back into his kayak. Tony and John set up a tandem tow and headed off to the nearby beach. With the scenario complete we had a de-briefing on the beach whilst enjoying a welcome drink and bite to eat.


Setting off again workshop two involved towing techniques and Tony Robinson volunteered to set up a tow. Unfortunately for Tony Pete had other plans and it wasn’t long before the towed pair became six or seven kayaks rafted up being pulled along by a tiring Tony.  Very amused our group headed leisurely back towards Borthwen. On route Bob Hamilton volunteered to enter the water and complete a heel hook rescue. With very clear and precise instructions being given by John, one of the experienced paddlers, Bob did an excellent demonstration of this rescue technique.


Back at Borthwen we had completed our trip but before we headed back to site Sarah demonstrated how to exit, sit on the back of her kayak and do a 360 degree turn ending up back in the kayak. It was time to get wet. I was first to fail ending up in the water but Pete Thomas ever ready to use the situation for training, talked me through a successful re-enter and roll manoeuvre.   I had been shown a similar method of re-entering a capsized kayak in the pool by Dave Reynolds but had never attempted to roll up and certainly never in the sea.  The fun and games continued with Tony actually managing to complete both the 360 deg turn and standing up in his floating kayak.  It was a very tired but satisfied group that left Borthwen and headed off home after a great weekend.


Many thanks to all those involved in the planning and organising of the LCC fourth Anglesey weekend and to all the coaches, group leaders and helpers for giving their time to help us all. Without you we would not have been able to take with us the wonderful memories of a great weekend.


JOHN FAY                       More Photos……….


Sunday: Sea kayak trip Rhoscolyn Beacon and the Seals


After the coasteering in the morning we were all meeting up at Borthwen beach car park to paddle.  Some of us snorkelled in the bay, paddled our little boats or the more adventurous paddled out to Rhoscolyn Beacon in search of some seals.

As we headed out past the old Lifeboat station we rounded the rocks and explored the rocks and bays around the corner.  It was high tide so there was little or no tide running in the sound.  We headed offshore to paddle round the island with the Beacon on – this is visible for many miles along the coast.  There was a little swell running and this gave us some fun as we paddled around the group of rocks making up the island.  The tide had just started to ebb and was flowing between the rocks but we all made it look easy.  Then a head popped up, a small seal was watching us as he swam between the island, no doubt looking for food.  A little further along the coast we saw another larger seal and then a fully grown adult basking on a rock in the sun.  We did not want to get too close but he did not seem that bothered.

We found our way through a narrow crack between some rocks and then paddled back to the mainland.  This was a great first trip in ideal conditions.

Nick, Janet, Isobel , Nieve and Keith                                                  More photos…………


Sunday: Soldiers Point to Porth Dafarch

Sunday morning at the packed Anglesey Alternative campsite was completely different to the previous day. We had clear skies and the sun was burning off the last of the mist.

After minimal faff, we set off from Soldiers Point to do the trip we aborted yesterday due to rough conditions. We were on the ebb tide so the race at North Stack was nice and bouncy – if a bit confused. We stopped for a play before heading on. 

We soon reached South Stack, where the race was still pushing southwards. Although the waves were smaller than North Stack, they were smoother and easier to surf on. After that, it was rock-hopping all the way to Porth Dafarch. There was some swell about, which made things challenging, but within our abilities. At Porth Dafarch we had some rolling & rescue practice in the bay, which was a great way to end a very enjoyable trip.

Thanks to Brian for leading us and to Julian, John W, Kirk, Geoff, Andy, Gareth & Don for the company.

John Maddock                           More Photos…..                   YouTube video footage taken by Geoff Widders…………


19/9/14 Whitewater Open Canoe Trip – River Dee Sunday 14th September


It all started a week earlier, when Mr Alter asked me if I’d like to help him and Ruth practice for their  4* Leader award.  The plan was for Mike and Ruth to practice leading a group of paddlers, in open canoes, on moving water and rehearse the skills needed for their assessment.  No problem I thought; sounds a doddle.  I told Mike I’d come along.

However, once I had considered things a bit further a creeping sense of trepidation set in.  I’d paddled open boats for ages, but this had always been on flat water – the bottle of Chablis and parasol branch of the sport.  I’ve done a tiny bit of whitewater in a kayak, but (to be frank) I’m not that good at it.  Added to that, I’d never done the stretch of the Dee that we were planning to do – Horseshoe Falls to JJ’s (well, at least that was the plan).


My sense of unease dispelled when we met at the car park above Horseshoe Falls, when Mike, Ruth and I were joined by Lee and Dan.  It was immediately apparent that the stellar abilities of Mike and Ruth were matched by those of the other two other members of the group – Mike and Ruth had lots of BCU stars.  Dan had lots of stars.  Lee had lots of stars.  I had a 25m swimming certificate that I got at http://www.opendooradventure.co.uk/images/Image/River%20Dee%20Canoe.jpgprimary school.  Oh well, the swimming certificate could be relevant today I mused.


Mike went through the briefing, and reminded everyone I was a crap paddler (in an exceedingly diplomatic, polite and charming way).  Not that I needed reminding.


We launched just above Horseshoe Falls (the very low water levels negating much risk from tow-back), under the watchful eye of a water bailiff with a pair of binoculars. We then moved down river and took the opportunity to play in a few spots.  Everyone else gracefully pirouetted their craft around the river while I practised the only paddle strokes I know (J Stroke, Draw Stroke, and Wave a Paddle About Ineffectively Stroke).


We then came to the infamous Serpents Tail, which I knew we planned to line down (apart from Dan, who ran it).  The lining was very straightforward, although Lee decided to swamp his boat because it needed a clean on the inside (apparently).  A few straightforward rapids and drops took us to JJ’s, where we were to get out.  The sun was warm, the sky was blue and I had completed the trip without going for a swim – Yahoo!  However…I then found out that we were actually finishing at Nomads.  Oh well, just one more rapid.  I’ll should still be able to get home without a dunking.  Nomads was run.  Nomads was played in (but not by me).  Nomads was left behind as we continued down river.  What? Where are we getting out?  It turned out that the Leaders (AKA everyone except me) decided to egress the river below Town Falls.  Err, Town Falls? - as in Town Falls that’s harder than anything I’d ever done?  Yep, that’s what they meant!  However, as it turned out we sneaked around the Falls via the Chicken Run, which was an exceedingly easy scrape due to the lack of rain in the past few weeks.  We egressed soon after at the Ponsonby Arms.  An excellent day in excellent company.


Err…there’s just one more thing…I should come clean and admit that one member of our party did get a tiny bit damp.  He was minding his own business, sitting in his boat in a huge pool of flat calm still water.  Then he fell out!  Don’t know why, he just did.  I can’t say who it was to save embarrassment to the guilty party (but it wasn’t Mike, Ruth, Lee or Dan).


Andrew Garland


Paddlers were Mike Alter, Dan Byrne, Ruth Edwards & Lee Doyle


19/9/14 River Weaver Paddle
Four of us met at 10am to paddle the Weaver from The Runcorn Rowing Club.

We set off towards the Dutton Loch and took the branch left travelling up to the weir. 

The return trip took us back past the rowing club and up to Marsh Lock.

After a welcome stretch of our legs and a chat to a canal boater we headed back to the start point arriving back at the cars 7hrs later.

It was a great day

John Fay                More Photos……..


13/9/14 Paddler of the year Awards 2014

Click here for this years nominations ……..




Historic Record of Paddler of the Year Awards…………..




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 clubs AGM on Monday 13th October 2014

Trophies kindly made by Mike Bell at mbcmodels.com


13/9/14 Ladies ONLY Canoe Polo Session at Halewood Pool. – open to anyone interested.

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 7pm - 8pm

  • 12 spaces available.
  • An online payment is required to book.

Open to any lady that would like to try canoe polo which will develop kayak skills with a fun game. We have lots of canoe polo kayaks at the pool along with all the paddles etc needed. If you have a spray deck, please bring it. The session will have coaching in paddling, passing and shooting skills and finish up with a couple of gentle games. Our ladies team players will be there but anyone interested is welcome to attend.

The session runs from 7:00 pm to 8:00pm but you are advised to arrive for 6:45pm


Book via our booking page or directly with the link below.




10/9/14 Then There Were Two


Seldom Seen Menai

With the promise of an Indian Summer, at least for the weekend, Caz and I just wanted to get out on the water again and enjoy the sunshine but, leaving Hoylake on Saturday morning in heavy rain with more wind than expected, we wondered if the weather computers had got it wrong.


Our plan was to paddle on the North coast of the Llŷn Peninsula on Saturday, followed by a trip around the St. Tudwal’s islands on Sunday.

Chris Preston and Debbie Hughes had planned to do the same but Chris had to bow out due to family pressures and a phone call to Debbie just before we were about to meet up on Saturday, somewhat changed the dynamic.


Debbie has a farm in the hills on the Llŷn and from her window has a good view of the sea conditions. Her report didn’t sound promising and our conversation from a rainy Bangor Services ended with Debbie deciding to give it a miss altogether. It also made Carole and me think twice and we opted to head for the Straits. Sticking mostly to the adage of “never less than three on the water” Caz and I have only rarely been out paddling by ourselves but, knowing the Straits very well, we felt that there was little risk.

We put in at Gallows point just as the skies cleared and the sun shone and cheered the place up a lot. It was a few hours after high water so, rather than paddle the same old - same old, we headed across the sandbanks to explore the area where the Ogwen River enters the Menai Straits. The shore is under Penrhyn Castle, an impressive National Trust pile. This shoreline is rarely visited by any kind of boat since it takes a decent tide before the muddy foreshore covers. We’ve been afloat on the Straits for many years but this was the first time we had seen this shore close-up. There was once an extensive 19th century sea wall protecting the castle grounds and we discovered a crumbling building at the end of a pier that, up until now, we didn’t even know existed. All the time we saw lots of estuary birds that were surprised to have their peace disturbed by our rare visit.


The tide was dropping so we had to keep moving and our next bit of exploration took us into Port Penrhyn which was built to serve the demand for Welsh Slate taken from nearby Penrhyn Quarry but it’s now the home of the once grand Dickies of Bangor. After a quick tour of the dock we headed across the bay and into the old dock where Dickies originally had their base during better times. They sold the site for housing development and, close to low tide, the place looked rather sad. Our trip along this shoreline continued under Bangor’s Garth Pier which is now a Grade II listed structure and then further along the bank until we decided at last to head back over to the Anglesey shore for a bit of lunch at the slipway at Porth Y Wrach. The sun was beating down by now and I wondered what it might have been like if we had stuck to our original plan. I dare say that it probably crossed Debbie’s mind as well.


After our lunch we headed under the bridge and into the Swellies. The early flood had begun and the strengthening tide urged us back under the bridge and along the Anglesey shore until the idea of sitting in the sun outside the Gazelle with a cool beer, gazing over to the Carneddau, proved irresistible to us both.


Once back at our cars we loaded our boats and headed off to our campsite for the night at http://www.aberafon.co.uk/ (thanks to Chris Preston for the tip). The site overlooks a beach on the north side of the Llŷn and has its own slipway. It’s a very good campsite with a good view of the sea and the South West Anglesey coastline and worth considering for a club meet sometime.


The next morning we headed to the south side of the peninsular for some more T-shirt paddling in the September sun.


The St. Tud's Slide

At best, the town of Abersoch is a water sports haven where sailing is popular but this now seems to be undergoing a take-over bid from petrol heads in power boats and jet bikes. It’s pretty rare to see sea kayaks launching from its beaches and rather than a couple of kayaks strapped to the roof of an old car like ours, you’re more likely to see a couple of trophy blondes strapped to the roof of a poser sports car or overpowered 4x4. This is the worst side of Abersoch as it seems to attract the nouveau riche who turn out mainly to parade their bling. Rant over .....


We put in at the bottom of a steep slipway (£5 parking) close to the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club (SCYC) and headed out to the Eastern St. Tudwal’s Island with a warm f3 on our beam. We were quickly through the yacht moorings and, because the petrol heads were not yet out of bed, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. We reached the first island with ease and were treated to the attention of an inquisitive seal. Officially, there isn’t any landing possibility on either of the St Tud’s but we spotted a couple of calm weather possibilities on the Eastern Island if it was absolutely necessary to get out of your boat. The southern shoreline was rocky with the occasional cave. Various sea birds watched us paddle by and, early in the year, I’m guessing the islands are visited by flocks of breeding birds. Liverpool screenwriter Carla Lane owns the Eastern Island but, now that she’s turned 77, I suppose she’s a less frequent visitor.


Crossing the channel between the two islands we began to see an obvious landing place on the Western Island and headed over to investigate. There were a couple of substantial moorings there and some steps leading up onto a well formed path. There was also a “slide” clinging to the cliff. The island with its lighthouse cottage was bought for £95000 in 2000 by Old Etonian Bear Grylls (Edward to his mates) http://www.beargrylls.com/. Bear shot to fame when he appeared on TV, frequently breathless, with mud someone from the makeup department had smeared on his face, for a number of episodes of tongue in cheek “Born Survivor”. His slide was built without planning permission and it upset the men in suits from Gwynedd Council who complained that it was a health and safety risk and spoilt a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2399908/Bear-Grylls-facing-safety-probe-installing-huge-slide-sea-private-island.html  Recently, the slide had been reported to have been removed http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-23920387  but, flouting the efforts of the men from the Council, although the original slide is certainly gone, a replacement still seemed to be firmly in place as we paddled under it. Grylls also has plans to build a harbour on the island to improve access. The slide remains in place despite protests from the Council and, unsurprisingly, there is no sign yet of a harbour.  Clearly, all of these antics were taken into account when Grylls was appointed Chief Scout for UK and Team London’s Youth Ambassador. Don’t you just love these jolly japes of privileged public school boys!


After paddling around his island we headed back to the mainland aiming for a large cave in the hillside. A change in the transits I was watching showed that the tide was moving a couple of knots but this was no big deal as we were soon on the other side. Before reaching the headland where once stood Abersoch Lifeboat Station we discovered a nice secluded beach backed by a big cave, accessible only around half tide, and stopped here for a break.


Rather than paddle straight back to our car, it was such a nice day so we decided to cut across Abersoch bay and creep around the corner to have a look at the beach at Llanbedrog. The wind had filled in a bit by now but the pleasant water and air temperatures made up for it. There is a good car park near this beach and it’s a reasonable alternative to Abersoch if you fancy a longer paddle. Turning around at the Llanbedrog green perch we were pushed back to our starting point with the wind at our backs. Surfing occasionally we eventually reached the shelter of the promontory of SCYC and got out our boats pleased that the weekend had gone so well.


Each of these trips was easy in the conditions we experienced them and should be well within the reach of paddlers who are trying to improve their skills, perhaps on any of our Anglesey meets. Both trips give great views of Snowdonia and the St Tud’s trip in particular, is a great sheltered introduction to this part of the Llŷn Peninsula. Although the Llŷn is a bit further on than Anglesey, it’s well worth the drive.


Pete and Carole Thomas    More Photos……..


09/9/14 Introduction to Sea KayakingFree Training Sessions

“unless you’ve got your own sea kayak, this is NOW FULL”

Following last winter’s free “Intro to Sea Kayaking” sessions, held one Sunday each month at the docks, which culminated in a couple of highly successful sea trips for novices in early spring this year, a group of us would be prepared to put on something similar over the coming winter months if there’s sufficient interest.


The monthly sessions, six in all, would be aimed at beginners and would start in early November and end in April 2015 when the weather should begin to settle down enough for us to lead groups on the sea.


Club boats and other basic paddling equipment would be available if you don’t have your own kit. All of the sessions would take place on the sheltered water of the docks but various “learning resources” would be provided for you to think about and practice before each session.


If you’ve ever dreamed of going on one of our club expeditions, these sessions could be your starting point. Let me know by email if you might be interested.


Pete Thomas   pete@axonet.co.uk


09/9/14 Farne Islands Paddle


 Earlier this year, a handful of LCC members met in Northumberland for a weekend’s paddling around the Farne Islands.

The campsite for the weekend overlooked the saintly Lindesfarne and the occasion was supposed to be the Sea Kayak Expedition Gathering (SKEG) which, for this year at least, turned out to be a loosely organised series of coaching session while taking advantage of the superb weather.

The area is truly beautiful so, whatever the organisers had in mind, given the playground we were about to visit, they just couldn’t fail.


For the group I was part of, Saturday mostly involved a pre launch chat on basic navigation and pilotage on a beach underneath the imposing Bamburgh Castle, This was followed by a fantastic tour of the Outer and Inner Farnes. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit and during my childhood in Durham I enjoyed holidays and days out along the coast but never managed to get out to the islands.


On reaching the Outer Farne we stopped for a lunch break and sat below the massive Longstone lighthouse. This place made famous by the daring efforts of 19th century Grace Darling and her lighthouse keeper father who both saved the lives of many people shipwrecked on the nearby rocks during a storm.


After our lunch the tide had begun to flood and some fun and games in the tideraces were followed by a really great wildlife talk from one of the wardens on the Inner Farne which proved to be Bird Central for many breeding species. As you’ll see from the pictures, it’s possible to get very close to many of the birds and it seems the smartest of them have learned that nesting close to the path trodden by thousands of visitors, has the effect of making their nests (and chicks) safer from predators who are reluctant to get too close to us nasty humans! The visitors come in droves on boats out of the nearby harbour at  Seahouses and it’s a regular trip taken by wildlife TV and film cameramen from around the globe. I’ve seen on TV how these visitors get dive bombed by the Tern population and I was no exception. I was pecked time after time and, even though I wore a cap for protection, some of the pecks penetrated the hat and stung for a while.


Returning to our put in at the end of a fantastic day we found that some swell had made its way down the North Sea and many of us got flung around in it as we headed for shore. Kathy managed to part company with her boat and Pete, who was on the beach trying to collect our debris, failed to find her nice hat which she had borrowed for the occasion.

Nicky showed us all how to do it as she surfed in with style!


The evening was spent enjoying a few drinks around a spectacular BBQ put on by the event organisers. We had a huge heap of food to eat and I began to see where the fees for the weekend had been spent. Later, Olly Sanders entertained us with a slideshow of some of his expedition exploits. We have one of his expedition DVDs so I know he had done quite a bit but, by the time he had finished, everyone was impressed by the sheer scope of his adventures on mountains as well as on sea.


The next day saw most of us playing in the clean surf at Beadnell Bay which had nice and long swells with slow dumping waves. Perfect to hone our skills but challenging enough to keep everyone on their toes. I certainly enjoyed it but managed to capsize 3 times.  For those who still wanted to tour some more, Jimski led a trip around some more of this beautiful coastline.


About a four hour drive from Liverpool but well worthwhile if anyone is thinking of paddling in a new area.


For more info see:

Northern England & IOM

Fifty Great Sea Kayak Voyages

By Jim Krawiecki



Carole Thomas

Other LCC paddlers: Pete Thomas, Jimski, Debbie Hughes, Kathy Morton, Nicky Corbett, Catriona Hare, Fiona Hare  More Photos…….


06/9/14 Family Holiday in the Alps


As a member of the club I have always wanted to experience Kayaking in the Alps - but as this was not the standard Family Holiday I was unsure how to suit the non-kayakers in the family.

“How’s about a 2 part holiday a mix of the Alps and then 2nd week a stay at EuroCamp..” I suggested.


I discussed this with the wife and kids and we decided on a week where Kieron and I could kayak and then spend week 2 in Normandy Northern France.


After much planning and packing and a few hotel bookings in between to break up the travelling we were set to go.  The drive to the Alps took 2 days but we broke it up with a few stop over’s at Ibis hotels the 2nd one with a swimming pool in Lyon.  I was a little unsure what to expect as we headed further South in to France, after a mistake on the Sat Nav and a little detour via Italy we reached the Alps. The scenery was breath taking -  the roads winding up hills snaking back and forth like clips from the original Italian job. 

Liverpool Canoe Club stay at a small campsite outside of a small village called L Argienterre la Besses.  This was a quaint, beautiful place - with a small town square, a bakers selling fresh bread, a few shops selling ice cream and a well stocked supermarket with some great deals to be had such as reasonable wine for 2 Euros a bottle!

While kayaking Denise and Sammy Wife and daughter went swimming in the crystal clear lake or walked to the village.

Outside the immediate village the area was amazing with high peaks and steep valleys the area offers a wealth of things to do Sightseeing Toboggan runs – horse riding etc.


 Middle Durance (Campsite to Cement Works)

We arrived at the camping campsite. I was tired from travelling all the way from England to France then all of a sudden I got told that I had to go kayaking.

I went kayaking; my brain hadn’t woken up yet, and then there was this big frothy stopper that I thought that was a little wave.  I paddled over it and soon realised that it was a stopper and it sucked me back into the wave and I capsized my boat and then I was nervous all the way to the get out point.


The next day I went onto the river at the start.  This was better and I was more in control, in the afternoon we paddled across a tributary that was coming from the left to the right diagonally and then it tipped my boat half way from capsizing scary! But dead good fun, it was fantastic. I was having the time of my life.  I had that much fun that I would love to do it all again.

It was an experience I will never ever, ever forget!!!!!!!!


Oh by the way my Dad swam past me on the slalom course at St Clement.  Keiron Allerton    


Sammy age 12 does not like kayaking so we booked her a horse riding session at St Chevalier.


Horse riding at Serre Chevalier de la Salle les Alps


 I went on the Liverpool Canoe club camp in the Alps with my mum, dad and brother.  While I was there I wanted to go horse riding.  My dad found a horse riding stables called Serre chevalier de la salle les alps.   I was going to do a trek in the beautiful countryside of the French Alps. There were about 6 people aged 7-20 on my group and 2 leaders, they both spoke English. There are different ability groups starting with young kids riding Shetland ponies to the higher ability groups which I went on.


It was an experience I will never forget. We galloped through the woods passed 5 beautiful rivers 1 of which we trotted through after a long trek we stopped at a river so the horses could drink, and we stopped at a natural spring so we could also drink. I think anyone would love it!!!


By Samantha Allerton Age 12


Château-Queyras Via ferrata

We set off with Jose, my dad and Keiron following the rest of the Liverpool Canoe Club group on the climb.  We had harnesses and hats from the rafting shop in Château-Queyras town.  We had to climb down into the gorge near the bridge.  Some of the moves were very scary and we were hanging on to metal hand holds that were there to help us. 


We went over two wire bridges that swayed a lot.  There was even a group of kayakers that paddled the river below us.  We were all looking down on them.  Me and my dad stopped after the second bridge but Keiron and Jose climbed on up to the Castle at the top of the town.


Samantha Allerton



Also on this holiday we experienced Via Ferrata (climbing pre-set routes up metal pins attached in to rocks with 2 safety lines attached that clip on to a steel wire along the route.)  This was an amazing experience and quite scary for the unaccustomed to heights but a unique and amazing thrill.  .


To Recap -  After over 2 weeks in France a week at the Alps then a very commercialised week in Euro camp in reflection everyone enjoyed the first week as much as the second.  So if anyone wonders how you fit kayaking incorporate a LCC trip in to a holiday all I can say is go for it probably one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.  The Alps were stunning the climbing was spectacular and the Horse riding, Sammy says a truly unique experience which could not have been experienced in the UK.


John Allerton                          More Photos…….


03/9/14 Playing Canoe Polo


I started playing polo last year. Not in any official games but I went along to the pool at Halewood on a Tuesday night.  At first I was a bit put off because the thought that to play canoe polo you had to be a really good kayaker and be able to roll. This is not true.  I am defiantly not a good paddler. In fact I can barely throw a ball!!

Anyway after a bit of encouragement from the others and a taster at a ladies session last year I had caught the bug.

When you are new everyone knows that so they are not harsh on you and you pick up the rules up as you go along. There's a wide spectrum of abilities at the sessions and everyone helps you out.  The hardest bit in the winter is booking onto the sessions quickly enough. They fill up pretty fast!


In the summer we play in the docks. This year the water was surprisingly warm.  All the boats and equipment is provided by the club just like all our sessions.


So the aim of the game is obviously for two teams to play against each other and to score the most goals.  It's a bit like netball but only sitting down but then again my throwing isn't the best. In fact my catching isn't much better either. Haha!!


You do a lot of paddling around and chasing the ball which has the greatest appeal to me.

1/  because it's a really good work out. You will be red faced at the end of it without a doubt.

2/  Without even knowing it your paddling skills will develop amazingly fast.


At the pool we mainly have a little throw about first to­ warm up and then get stuck into short games.  So if you fancy it but have never been sure that it is for you then you should defiantly give it a go!!


More information from the club website   /polo/

To book a session at Halewood Pool…….


Sarah Gille


03/9/14 Outer Hebrides – Isle of Harris and Lewis – August 2014

Named by Trip Advisor as THE best Island in Europe http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/TravelersChoice-Islands-cTop-g4, Gaelic speaking Harris and Lewis certainly held us in awe during our recent visit there with Mark Pawley and his wife Eileen who are regular visitors to the Outer Hebrides. They had booked accommodation in a couple of comfortable houses and, whereas Carole and I might otherwise have been happy camping in tents as we kayaked in various locations, the houses proved to be key in making the holiday a great success.


Orasaigh to Tob Eisgein via abandoned village and then on to Leumrabhagh

The remnants of re-curved hurricane Bertha had made a mess of the Atlantic weather patterns and for much our first week on the Islands we winced as we gazed out to sea from the picture window of the holiday let and saw massive waves  crashing onto the rock ramparts of the Shiant Islands some fifteen miles away! Kayaking in the Minch or on the West Coast would probably have been suicidal so we contented ourselves with a couple of bike rides, a wild walk or two and a sheltered sea lock paddle visiting an abandoned village and a couple of other still occupied but remote villages. Each of these trips gave us fantastic views of wildlife and, as well as the more common sea and mountain birds, buzzards and white tailed sea eagles were frequently in view, as were porpoise, seals and otters.


Grabhair to Orasaigh

Within a couple of days the weather had calmed down enough for us to paddle out into the Minch to test the conditions. Leaving the protection of sheltered Loch Odhairn we could see white water close to the nearby headland that stuck out into the Minch. When we reached this we found ourselves in the middle of a confused sea thrown up by a combination of swell being reflected back off the towering cliffs (clapotis) and also a wind against tide situation that made us concentrate hard in order to keep upright. The paddle was a rewarding one with views opening up of the Shiants and across the Minch towards Skye and mainland Scotland. This patch of water is famous for the “Blue Men of the Minch  http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/scotland/western-isles/folklore/the-blue-men-of-the-minch.html who are blamed for dragging many a sailor to the depths unless a quick wit and rhyming riddle are used in defence. I confess I was glad we didn’t encounter any of these creatures as most of my faculties were kept busy trying to relax in the messy sea conditions. Things improved for us once we got well clear of the headland and into a bay. The massive cliffs above gave no opportunity to get off the water. This is common on much of the eastern side of the island as there are no sandy beaches and only a handful of slipways to help water users overcome the slippery boulder strewn strands.


Continuing south we were treated to a wet and windy squall which pushed cold rain into our backs and fizzed on the surface of the sea. At least the change in visibility revealed a large sea stack against the cliffs. We paddled over to this in an effort to seek shelter on its lee side. Mark investigated the boulders connecting it to the main cliff in hope of finding a way of landing but there was none so he backed off and we paddled on towards the next headland where we knew we would find yet more clapotis and confused sea. On reaching the headland we found that it jutted out into the Minch at a shallower angle to the first one so the swell coming in from the north just glanced off it without being reflected back. Our relief was short lived as, on turning the point, we found that the tide was running faster here and had set up some overfills with small standing waves. Paddling hard through these we were once again in the shelter of another bay which had deep cut caves and dykes with waterfalls cascading off the sodden peat bogs high above.  The third and fourth major headlands we had to pass proved to be easy as they were sheltered from the northerly swell and wind by the first two.


As we finally turned into Loch Sealg, in which our holiday let was located, we knew we had pretty much cracked what we had set out to do and were so confident about our success that we decided to take in Eilean Liubhaird on the way home. This proved to be a good decision as we discovered a small kittiwake colony on its eastern tip. Before our final push home we paddled through yet another wet squall with strong winds driving rain into our faces. It didn’t matter at all as we had just enjoyed a great day’s paddling and had a comfortable house to go to and relax with a tot of whiskey or two.


Little Bernera around Seanna Chnoc and Bearasaigh

With the weather set to improve steadily, it was time to turn our attention to the west coast which, up until now, had been battered by large Atlantic swells. A road trip earlier in the week to have a look at the Butt of Lewis had shown us what conditions were like. It was an awe inspiring sight with gigantic waves curling around the rocks and dashing themselves at dangerously high speed onto the beach of nearby Port Ness. It was difficult to imagine anything surviving such an energetic and violent seascape but, by the time we got on the water a few days later at Bostadh beach, conditions had improved significantly. Bostadh is one of those iconic white shell beaches associated with the western side of the Outer Hebrides. Its remoteness and beautiful solitude is said to have attracted the younger royal family as they cruised the waters in their royal yacht Britannia. Apparently the beach was a favourite spot for picnics where they could land with their nicely varnished launch and enjoy themselves without being bothered by riff-raff such as ourselves. Thankfully we didn’t encounter any privileged aristocrats as we set off on a warm sunny day with a vague plan to paddle around some of the many islands that are dotted about the area.


The first island to fall to our tick list was Little Bernera which had such a tempting Caribbean looking stretch of sand that just we had to stop for our own picnic even though we had only got on the water less than an hour ago. The beach was overlooked by an ancient ruined chapel which was one of many we saw during our Hebridean travels. A very romantic setting that could easily be a film set for any amount of visually stunning movies. Leaving this spot after our short break we paddled through a myriad of smaller islands and over shallow turquoise sea where the white sands shone through from below.  Caz and I, together with half a dozen other LCC members, had paddled around Menorca a few months earlier and it felt like we were still there.


Further offshore was the island of Seanna Chnoc which was too tempting a tick to ignore. As we headed towards it we could gradually see a line of white water but couldn’t quite tell what it was. Certainly there was only residual Atlantic swell to contend with but it was getting close to the spring tide so could we be looking at overfalls? It wasn’t until we got much closer that we could see that it was just a big line of white spume that had been created by the rollers hitting the northern face of the island. Paddling through this spume we were once again in the familiar area of clapotis but this time not quite as challenging as our encounter earlier in the week. Keeping close together as a group of three we were soon at the western end of the island where, this time, there was a real line of overfalls. As the swells lifted us high and improved our view we could see calmer water further out into the Atlantic so we pressed on and discovered that we had actually dropped off the end of the Ordinance Survey map. With the flood tide under us we headed into a sound between Seanna Chnoc and its southerly neighbour Bearasaigh and eventually saw a very narrow channel that was begging for a bit of rock hopping. Mark entered the channel first followed by me and then Caz but, unfortunately by the time she had arrived, the sleeping seal that was bottling there in the surging waters had awoken and skedaddled, depriving her of the close encounter that Mark and I had. Exiting this channel amidst crashing surf we spotted yet more channels to have a go at but Caz was in front this time and saw a very large bull seal slide into the water just as she passed by into the swirling waters.


All too soon it was time to head back to the car as the evening light was hitting the hills. After sorting out our boats there was time to visit a replica Iron Age dwelling that’s been erected on the site of a number of real Iron Age dwellings discovered not long ago when a massive storm had stripped away the sand from one of the beaches.


On the drive back to the house, Mark revealed that we had just been paddling in one of his most favourite spots. Both Caz and I agreed that he had a point and the day will go down as one of our own favourite paddles.


The Sound of Harris

Many years ago Carole and I had sailed our yacht through the Sound of Harris on our way back from St Kilda and the place earned a special respect in my memory. It has challenging tides and complicated navigation so, being so close to it on this holiday, we just had to explore some of it by kayak.


The improving weather meant that much of the Sound was calm but strong easterly winds (f6) in the Minch had kicked up a sea that made the start of our paddle slightly more interesting than anticipated. We put in just below the Rodel Hotel which overlooks the Minch and the eastern entrance to the Sound. As we exited the sheltered waters of Loch Roghdail and rounded Renish Point we were punching our way through some decent sized breaking waves that, as we turned more and more towards the Sound, were hitting us beam on. This excitement was soon replaced by the much calmer waters of the Sound of Harris and we continued onwards, surfing for a while on small waves that had followed us in from the Minch. Navigation was easy for us as we decided to more or less follow the northern shore of the Sound but there are hundreds of islands to explore if anyone has the time or desire to make things more complicated. We were content to stay in the shelter of the northern shoreline and the following ebb tide soon had us at An Tob, or Leverburgh to give it its Sassenach name. This is now a CalMac ferry port connecting with Bereray and North Uist but, early in the 20th century, was once part of the Leverhume business empire when William Lever bought the Isle of Lewis and much of the other Hebrides in an attempt to develop the fishing and whaling industries. His dream failed for various reasons, not least of which was the local resistance to being absorbed into a non-Gaelic wage slave culture!!!


We ate our lunch there leaning against a small wrecked tender and watched as the ferry docked briefly to exchange another load of tourists and essential island cargo. By the time we got back on the water the tide had turned against us but we hadn’t far to go now and dodging the tide by eddy hopping was an interesting end to our trip. We landed on a fabulous white sand beach North West of the village of Northton where we were staying in our second holiday let of the trip. On landing, Mark had spotted some lumps of peat which had floated in on the tide, presumably after being washed away by the earlier storms. Later on in the week, after much grunting and gasping, this peat found its way into Mark’s van and will heat his home for quite a while during the coming winter.


As to the Sound Of Harris, well, there is still much to do. We only scratched its surface and if island hopping is your thing, you’ll be kept bust there for days on end.


Tarbert to Huisinis

Unusually, the wind continued to blow from the east for quite a few days so another trip on the west coast was up for grabs.

Any car shuttle is likely to be long-winded and awkward in the Outer Hebrides. There are many single track roads that twist and turn alongside impressive hills or tortured bog land. We got our boats ready at the bottom of the slipway in West Loch Tarbert and I waited for two hours while Carole drove our car, led by Mark and Eileen in their van. Twenty miles or so later, our car was left at the top of another gobsmackingly beautiful white sand beach at Huisinis which is at the end of a mountainous peninsular sticking out into the Atlantic. When everyone had arrived back at the put-in I was glad to get stuck into some paddling. Lurking around for a couple of hours while seemingly guarding a collection of old clothes in Ikea bags was arousing the suspicions of the locals, particularly since the put-in slipway was adjacent to the local school and, dressed in tight fitting smelly Reeds paddling gear, I tried to make myself invisible during the school lunch hour!


As we paddled out further into the loch the easterly wind filled in at our backs and we were given a welcome boost by small waves which carried us along. The views opened up as we paddled and, to the south, we could see the Isle of Taransay where the first ever TV reality show, “Castaways” was filmed, launching the career of Ben Fogle. Paddling even further out we could see around the corner to the spectacular beach at Luskentyre which has for many years held the title of Britain’s best beach.


The relative shelter of West Loch Tarbet was eventually left behind and we were once again paddling in the Atlantic. The residual swell was ever-present and added greatly to the atmosphere of the place. Hugging the shoreline we played occasionally in the surging waters around the rocks.


We came to Loch Leosavay which cuts deeply into the shoreline. Mark and Caz had driven past this twice during the car shuttle and commented about the remarkable Amhuinnsuidhe Castle who’s front garden they had driven through http://www.amhuinnsuidhe.com/    We detoured for a while to take a closer look at the castle which is right on the lochside and adjacent to a fabulous cascading waterfall. The Americans would love this place and I dare say quite a number have stayed there.


Paddling on, our destination at Huisinis never seemed to arrive. It took us quite a while to turn the final headland and turn into Huisinis Bay but, even so, I found myself wanting to go further. It was a great paddle and I just wanted to keep going round the next corner and explore this stunning Atlantic coastline but tiredness and the need to get back to the house in daylight won over.


After surfing onto the beach we got off the water and packed quickly as the windless conditions brought out hungry midges. Our drive back to the house was spectacular in the fading Hebridean light and, stopping for a while to watch the sun set into the Atlantic, we were not only treated to a vague view of distant St Kilda but we also witnessed the “green flash” as the sun finally disappeared for another day.



This was a fantastic holiday and its success was largely due to the planning, hospitality and friendliness of Mark and his wife Eileen who were happy to share their accommodation with Carole and me. Had we treated the trip as an “expedition” I’m certain that we would have struggled as the unpredictable weather combined with the remote and exposed locations could easily have been a challenge too far. Rather than an attempt to circumnavigate this or paddle an open crossing of that, it was far better to drive to different locations as the weather dictated and returning home to a comfortable base each day was certainly a big part of the enjoyment. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age. On the off days it was good to have our bikes ready to help us explore the island and our walking boots were also valuable to help us stretch our legs. If I paid the Outer Hebs another visit, and I probably will, I would do it in exactly the same way.


Facts and Stuff

·         Approx 10 hour drive from Merseyside to Uig on Skye

·         Approx 2 hour ferry crossing from Uig to Tarbet (£80 return trip for our Ford Galaxy) - CalMac Ferries http://www.calmac.co.uk/

·         There are a few shops on the island and a decent supermarket in Stornaway that stocks most of what you would expect. Most people seem to fill their cars with stuff to last the holiday and import this onto the island.

·         In parts of the island there are midges around on still days but these seem far less troublesome as they are on neighbouring Skye or in the Highlands. I was only attacked once during the whole trip but this was on a bog trotting walk on a windless afternoon. There are no midges on the water (yet!)

·         In the summer months there’s lots more daylight to play with compared to what we get at home so you don’t have to get up at sparrow’s fart to catch the first tide.

·         Thankfully, mobile phones don’t work in many parts of the island but superfast fibre-optic broadband is in the process of being laid alongside the main roads.

·         On off days it doesn’t take long to drive to the cultural attractions and if you really feel the need to paddle every day, there are sheltered sea lochs that offer hours of easy alternatives to the more serious prospect of getting out into the Atlantic swell or out into the Minch.

·         Two weeks are better than one as you’re likely to get more favourable opportunities to get on the water but take your books, bikes and other toys to keep you occupied during the inevitable blows.

·          A valuable starting point for information is “The Outer Hebrides – Sea kayaking around the isles and St Kilda” by Mike Sullivan, Robert Emmett and Tim Pickering by Pesda Press http://www.pesdapress.com/product_info.php?ref=4&products_id=37&affiliate_banner_id=1

·         It’s possible to get a house that sleeps six for about £600 per week but book well ahead as there’s a big international demand:

Rental Accommodation in Lewis……..


Paddlers: Mark Pawley, Pete and Carole Thomas    More Photographs…………..

31/8/14 September 2014 Newsletter Published 
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