News items or reports on club activities should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
27/9/14 Are you getting all the information on club trips and activities – club messaging system
As well as the website the club uses a number of different media to circulate details of club activities to all its members. You can add (and remove) your own email address to a number of 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…….
Return to Kingsway Pool on Thursdays 9-10pm Click to book a place.........
Club AGM and Awards Evening Includes a presentation of the Clubs Alps trip 2014. 8:00pm-9:30pm
Club run 3 Star White Water Assessment or training. Click for more information.........
Reel Paddling Film Festival The only
Lakes Paddling Weekend Based at Thorneyhow Hostel in
Snowboarding trip -
Scottish Easter paddling weekend Based in the Blackwater Hostel – limited places so book early. Click to book a place.........
Alpine Paddling Holiday Week 1
27/9/14 August “Photo of the Month” Competition
“Chris, Steve and Kirk paddling through the race at North Stack on the 4th Anglesey Weekend”
Runner up Jose Santos:
Bell on S Bends, Upper Guisane in the French
Runner up Carole Thomas:
Thomas on a white shell beach, Bearnaraigh Beag in the
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…..
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.
Again, Thanks to everyone for a great weekend
Bob, Sue and Irene
A group of us got down to
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
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……….
Friday afternoon, bags
packed and car and trailer loaded and we’re off to
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Whitewater Open Canoe Trip – River
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
My sense of unease dispelled when we met at the car park
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
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
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).
Paddlers were Mike Alter, Dan Byrne, Ruth Edwards & Lee Doyle
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
13/9/14 Paddler of the year Awards 2014
Each year the club asks for nominations for our four Club Awards. Members can vote for each category by sending an email to email@example.com with their vote. Awards are then presented at the clubs AGM on Monday 13th October 2014
13/9/14 Ladies ONLY Canoe Polo Session at Halewood Pool. – open to anyone interested.
Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 7pm - 8pm
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
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
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
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
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
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
Crossing the channel between the two islands we began to see
an obvious landing place on the
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
Pete and Carole Thomas More Photos……..
09/9/14 Introduction to Sea Kayaking – Free 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier this year, a handful of LCC
members met in Northumberland for a weekend’s paddling around the
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.
the group I was part of, Saturday mostly involved a pre launch chat on basic
navigation and pilotage on a beach underneath the imposing
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.
to our put in at the end of a fantastic day we found that some swell had made
its way down the
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.
next day saw most of us playing in the clean surf at
a four hour drive from
For more info see:
Northern England & IOM
By Jim Krawiecki
Other LCC paddlers: Pete Thomas, Jimski, Debbie Hughes, Kathy Morton, Nicky Corbett, Catriona Hare, Fiona Hare More Photos…….
As a member of the club I have always wanted to
experience Kayaking in the
a 2 part holiday a mix of the
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
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)
arrived at the camping campsite. I was tired from travelling all the way from
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
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.
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
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…….
Named by Trip Advisor as THE best Island in
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
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
Grabhair to Orasaigh
Within a couple of days the weather had calmed down enough
for us to paddle out into the
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
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
first island to fall to our tick list was Little Bernera which had such a
Further offshore was the
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
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
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
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
relative shelter of West Loch Tarbet was eventually left behind and we were
once again paddling in the
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
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
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
· 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
· 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
Paddlers: Mark Pawley, Pete and Carole Thomas More Photographs…………..
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