Volume 15 Issue9

September 2015

September Paddler
The monthly newsletter of Liverpool Canoe Club

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28/08/15 Major dates for Club events – for more detail check the online Club Calendar…….

17 September 2015

Go Kayaking Demo Evening at the Marina – Come and have a go of all the new kayaks in stock (from 6:30pm)

19 September 2015

BCU Lifeguards Training Day for club members – (SESA, Assistant Lifeguard, Aquatic First Aid, Canoe Lifeguard Core Module) 
Details to follow….. but keep this day free

25-27 September 2015    

Anglesey Weekend 4 (Outdoor Alternative Rhoscolyn)    Coordinator Peter Massey  To reserve a place……

21 October 2015

Club AGM and Paddler of the Year Awards More information…….

11 November 2015

2015 "Reel Paddling Film Festival" Hosted by Liverpool Canoe Club Click for more information…….

13-20 February 2016

Skiing and Snowboarding trip - France.  Coordinator Pete Thomas

28/08/15 Paddler of the Year nominations.
Nominations for Paddler of the Year are welcome now…  Please send your nominations with brief reason to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk



28/08/15 August “Photo of the Month” Competition


Liverpool Canoe Club Photo Competition Winners

Congratulations to Katie Holland for her winning photo:

“Lloyd Nicholls tackles for the ball at the last Division 3 tournament in the summer”


Runner up Keith Steer:

“Mark Garrod paddling on the Soca River in Slovenia


Runner up  Sarah Gille:

“A Misty Morning on the river Soca 2015”

Poll Results…        Not found your photograph ? – see all the entries for this month………..

Criteria for the photo of the month competition…. 25 % Quality and sharpness of the photograph, 25% Quirkiness and framing of the subject,
25% Diversity of the subject material (ie not all one discipline), 25% has LCC logo or clothing in the shot.
Please send in your entries for next month now - website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk


28/08/15 The hanging draw and running pry for solo and tandem open canoes (By Nancy Chambers – BCU Level 5 Open Canoe Senior Instructor at Glenmore Lodge.)


You are bouncing down a rapid enjoying the ride when suddenly you notice one of those just hidden underwater rocks dead ahead and you need to keep the boat running straight to make the rest of the line. This is where the hanging draw and running pry are indispensable strokes. Both allow you to move the boat sideways and continue running the boat straight.


These strokes can be used in tandem and solo boats, I will describe their use for both. It is a good idea to try these strokes on flat water before taking them onto moving water.



nancy chambers open canoe coaching
Tandem draws.


Solo boat hanging draw

nancy chambers open canoe coaching
If you want to move sideways towards the paddle side, a hanging draw is your stroke.


nancy chambers open canoe coaching

Overhead hanging draw

In a solo boat as you are paddling along do a power stroke, then recover the blade out of the water to the side of the boat. Place the blade fully into the water opposite your hips. Feather the front of the blade so that it is slightly open creating a v shape with the hull, this pulls the water inwards and you sideways. The blade should be placed around an arms length away from the side of the boat; however, you need to ensure that the paddle shaft is vertical to create maximum efficiency. This generally means that the top hand has to be outside the gunnels of the boat. When doing this manoeuvre try to have a slight bend in your bottom arm to allow movement in the stroke and also if you accidentally hit the paddle off the bottom of the river then it gives you some flex to absorb this and less strain is put through your joints.

Once you have got the blade position correct the boat will move sideways, whilst still allowing you to keep the nose of the boat running in a straight line. If the nose of your boat veers off course, then try pulling the blade either forwards or backwards through the water to correct this. If you have a narrow canoe you can edge the boat away from the paddle side allowing the boat to slip more easily through the water, in a wider canoe this is sometimes difficult and you can edge the boat gently towards your paddle, if doing this be aware that if you edge too much you can catch the side of the boat and this can become very unstable for you.

nancy chambers open canoe coachingSolo boat running pry

If you want to move your boat away from your paddle side, then try a running pry. To set this stroke up, paddle forwards. On your last stroke before you pry, don’t do a correction stroke unless absolutely necessary. Take your paddle out of the water and bring it forwards towards your hip. Now slice the paddle into the water just behind your hip and bring it in towards the boat until the leading edge of the paddle comes in contact with the hull, creating an arrow shape. This arrow shape deflects the water and pushes you sideways away from your paddle. If you find the boat veering off at the front or back of the stroke then try placing the blade in further backwards or forwards, changing the angle of the paddle underwater or running the blade forwards along the hull whilst doing the stroke to correct the veer. You will notice that the running pry will slow the boat down.

For both of these strokes if you are not quite getting the feeling of it, ask a friend to stand on the edge of the water holding onto the back of your canoe. Set up your paddle either in a hanging draw or running pry and get your friend to push you away from the edge. This simulates the forward motion that is required and if you have your paddle set up correctly it will either push or pull you sideward. It is a great way to get the feeling of where you need to put your paddle in the water to complete the stroke.

The hanging draw and running pry strokes: Tandem

To go sideways as a tandem team you can both do a hanging draw on the same side (the bow paddler doing a cross deck hanging draw) or hanging draw and running pry together. Both strokes if done correctly will get you moving sideways without any veering of the canoe. Communication is the key to success in both strokes. Ensure you have talked through what language and words you are going to use in the strokes to avoid confusion, does shouting “right” mean go right, or obstacle on the right?


nancy chambers open canoe coaching

Cross deck hanging draw tandem.



nancy chambers open canoe coaching

Tandem draws.



nancy chambers open canoe coaching

Tandem draw and pry.


In a tandem team, the bow paddler will usually be the person who spots the obstacle to avoid, so they are usually the best one to co-ordinate the strokes. You first need to decide which way to go to ensure avoidance. This will dictate which strokes you use. If you need to go towards the side that the stern paddler is paddling on you have two choices of strokes, these are:

  • The stern paddler will put in a hanging draw as described earlier and the bow paddler will do a cross deck hanging draw. To do this stroke, the bow paddler takes their paddle out of the water and keeping it square to their shoulders, will rotate their trunk around and place the paddle in the water on the cross deck side in a hanging draw position. The power face of the paddle will be towards you. A key indicator that your hand is in the correct position is that your top thumb will be facing forwards. The blade should be slightly open and the paddle shaft vertical with your hands outside the gunnels of the boat. Once you have moved far enough sideways, slice the paddle forwards out of the water and return your paddle to the normal side.
  • The stern paddler will do a hanging draw as before and the bow paddler will do a running pry, as described for the solo paddler. Timing is often the key for this and it is important to keep communicating throughout the manoeuvre.

If you want to go towards the side the bow paddler is on, reverse the previous steps so the bow paddler will do a hanging draw stroke and the stern paddler will do a running pry.


nancy chambers open canoe coaching

Tandem running pry and hanging draw.



nancy chambers open canoe coaching

Cross deck hanging draw tandem.


Once you have mastered these strokes on the flat, take them onto a gentle piece of river and practice there. Finally taking them onto faster moving water with real obstacles once you get more confident in your skills. Using these strokes are a great way of increasing your manoeuvrability in bigger water.

The article is adapted from Paddlerezine……


27/08/15 Congratulations to Laura and Darren Bohanna, married on the Island of Rhodes on 12th August.


I know everyone in the club wishes Laura and Darren a very happy time together following their recent big day in Lindos, Greece.  It looked a fabulous location for the ceremony with a great honeymoon to follow.




27/08/15 Dudley Tunnels 22nd August 2015


It was an early start, for me there’s only one 5:15 in a day and that’s when I have my tea!  My brother and I had loaded the car the night before so at least that was one less thing to worry about.  It was about 94 mile from my house to the Dudley Canal Trust car park and at that time in the morning we made it in decent time.

On arrival we were greeted by Alan Reay who had organised the trip and told us were to park, we were also informed that a rather irate boat driver wanted us on the water by 8’oclock, it was now 5 past!  Apparently there had been a breakdown in communication and they only told Alan of the time change at the last minute.  So after a bit of rush 12 paddlers hit the water in 11 boats.


The Dudley tunnel was constructed I believe in the 1700’s in order to quarry the limestone within the hillside (according to Google anyway J ) but fell in to disuse until the canal trust undertook the restoration.  Our journey began at the entrance of the Dudley tunnel which is some 3km long, with helmets donned and torches on we entered in to the blackness.  It wasn’t long before the narrow bricked archway gave way to several large caverns, scanning the torch around the ceiling revealed a stars cape of reflections from the crystals embedded in the rock face above.  In one of the caverns there is a mock setup with some quarrymen at a table; it’s very unnerving when the light from your torch picks out a plastic face in the blacknessJ.


Out of the 1st tunnel and in to the warmth of the sunshine, the weather had at last picked up for us, a short paddle later we hit our 1st portage down a few locks, we all helped each other over the gate with the canoes and kayaks and after a little rest  we were all back on the water.   We paddled a few more miles through a strange combination of industrial landscape and beautiful countryside until at last we came to the little canal side café just before the entrance to the Netherton tunnel.  A couple of lattes and coffees soon revived us and off we were once more in to the darkness.


Netherton tunnel is more straight and much wider than the Dudley with quite a bit more detritus in the water too,  I looked behind me to see Rosie’s canoe all lit up like Santa’s sleigh on a Christmas eve!  Unlike the Dudley it also has toe paths running either side; it must have been a strange site for the people walking down the tunnel to see a flotilla of lights bobbing around in the middle of the canal!  Every so often there was a shaft of light beaming down from the ventilation shafts, along with cascading water running down the sides of the shaft, I squeezed my kayak to the side to avoid the showers.

Immediately after the tunnel we passed under a viaduct which was to be our last portage, a steep climb up the path to the canal above and off we went on our final leg.  I noted the clarity of the water, I’ve never seen the bottom of a canal before, it was full of Lilly pads and you could even see fish swimming among the weeds (and the odd trolley of course).


Three of our intrepid team paddled on ahead to explore and as my brother and I reached a branch in the canal we couldn’t see which way they went so we decided to stay put until the rest of the group caught up.  A wise decision as it turned out as the guys that went ahead took the wrong turn and added another 2 miles on the their paddle J

Not long after we arrived back at our starting point, the end of a really interesting paddle, one I would definitely recommend if you get the chance.


Thanks again to Alan for organising the trip and hope to paddle with all on the trip again soon.


Karl Winrow       More Photos……..


25/08/15 The Skerries / Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid - 22nd August 2015

On Saturday, taking advantage of a brief break in the recent windy conditions, a small team of us headed out to the Skerries 3k off shore northwest of Carmel Head on Anglesey on an unusually calm sea for this part of the world.


After meeting for breakfast at Bangor Services, the north going flood  tide allowed us a leisurely start at around 1100hrs from Church Bay from where we headed north a little way along the coast before striking out to the west on a bearing that would bring us to the southern end of the islands. The crossing was very settled with a light SSE breeze aiding our passage quickly across to the tide race building at Flood Point where we had a play and a little rolling practice for one of our party who was exploring the eddy lines in great detail. He needed to see what was going on underneath the surface and so took a quick peek before rolling up and confirming that all was in order!


From here we saw a small pod of porpoise out to the SW which seemed very active and were clearly visible for a good 10 minutes. Although going into neaps, the flood at this stage was making getting round the south west side of the islands hard going and so we decided to head up and round the sheltered north end before landing in the lagoon beneath the lighthouse. On the way getting very close to the resident seals that seemed unusually surprised and interested to see us! After lunch, and quick chat with Nick Cunliffe (Kayak Essentials) and his party of 5 Star trainees who were also out for the day, we headed back towards the mainland, still on the flood, which took us just west of Carmel Head by 'the White Ladies' beacons. From there we rock hopped and caved our way back to Church Bay on the ebb tide and finished the afternoon off with a some more, planned, rolling practice by all the team. A lovely day out and nice to paddle without a howling gale for a change this year!


Paddlers: Martin McCoy, Brian Green, Dave Blake, Julian Davies


24/08/15 Warrington Dolphins Long Distance Swimming Club Donation.


Warrington Dolphins Long Distance Swimming Club have made a donation to the club for the help and support offered by club members in providing safety cover at their Albert Docks Championships on 1st August 2015. 

Many thanks to John Worswick and his team of volunteers. 


We have also received a donation for Safety Cover at the Liverpool Triathlon on the 26th July 2015 for £2240 so again many thanks to all those that volunteered to support this event again.  More information…….





24/08/15 BTEC Level 3 Extended diploma in Outdoor Adventure (2 years A Level equivalent) Hugh Baird College in Liverpool


There are still places available on both the BTEC level 3 and Foundation Degree in Outdoor Adventure at Hugh Baird College in Liverpool. Contact matthew.giblin@hughbaird.ac.uk for more info.


Hugh Baird College is the only college or training provider in Liverpool or Sefton to offer this course. The course is designed to help students build the knowledge and skills needed when working in the outdoor industry. You will learn and develop skills related to outdoor education activities and expeditions, alternative pursuits for outdoor education, land-based and water-based skills, and environmental studies for the outdoor education industry. The programme will also include Maths and English to help you achieve you future career aspirations. There are eighteen units to be completed over two years. Some of these will be practical-based and include outdoor trips and expeditions.

You will study a range of units which will include:

·                     Principles and Practices in outdoor adventure

·                     Equipment and Facilities for outdoor and adventurous activities

·                     Impact and Sustainability in outdoor adventure

·                     Environmental Education for outdoor adventure

·                     Skills for water and land based outdoor activities.

·                     Leading water and land based outdoor activities.

·                     Principles of Anatomy and Physiology in sport.

·                     Outdoor and Adventurous Expeditions

There will also be the opportunity to gain training and assessment for the following awards (depending on experience):

·                     BCU 2 and 3 star awards (Sea, WW kayak and Canoe)

·                     BCU FSRT (safety and rescue course)

·                     BCU/UKCC Level 1 Paddle sports coach

·                     MTE - Climbing Wall Award

·                     Basic Expedition Leader

·                     Outdoor First Aid



Foundation Degree in Outdoor Adventure Studies. (new for 2015)


Do you have an interest in the outdoors? Do you love to kayak, climb, canoe or spend time in the hills and mountains? If so then this is definitely the course for you. Subject to validation by the University of Central Lancashire, the Outdoor Adventure Studies course aims to give you a solid grounding in both the practical and theoretical aspects of outdoor adventure. 

Your tutors will promote personal growth through challenging, flexible and high quality learning experiences that stem from years of involvement in the outdoor and other related industries.

Due to the excellent local links we are able to access high class venues including two climbing centres, a state of the art high ropes course and three water sports venues, all within ten minutes drive of the University Centre. We have established links with other outdoor centres in the immediate area as well as further afield, all of which are a great asset for the application of skills developed during the course and also for work based learning opportunities.

Outdoor Adventure by its very nature is a highly practical area and as such the Outdoor Adventure Studies FdA contains an excellent balance for outdoor practical and classroom-based sessions. During the course you will develop a wide range of vocational based skills that will equip you for the demands of operating both safely and effectively in the outdoors. 

One of the main aims of the course is to develop well rounded outdoor adventure practitioners, who have both the practical skills and theoretical underpinning knowledge to be effective coaches, leaders and educators within the outdoors. 

You will study a range of modules, including:

Year 1

o                                            Grassroots of outdoor education

o                                            Understanding and managing risk in the outdoors

o                                            Adventure Media

o                                            Experiencing the outdoor industry

o                                            Practical land-based development

o                                            Practical water-based development

Year 2

o                                            Developing research skills

o                                            Coaching principles and practices

o                                            Psychology of adventure leadership

o                                            Teaching and learning in an outdoor setting

o                                            Practical outdoor leadership

o                                            Expedition skills



If you are interested in either or know someone who might be feel free to contact Matt Giblin on either 

0151 353 4444 (6542) or email matthew.giblin@hughbaird.ac.uk 



21/08/15 River Ribble Paddle Sunday 16th August


Having had great fun on Rosie Divers Introduction to Open Canoe’s course in June and more again on the Rescue’s course that Mike Alter so ably held, we decided that it would be a good idea to try more of this “Open Boat Lark”.


We enrolled for the Wye trip with Carl Leung. Unfortunately the dates conflicted with other planned events and it ended up with only us joining Carl, but the experience was good.

Our next venture into open boating was to be with Rosie on the River Ribble, but as we were up in Orkney during the preceding week and travelling home on the Saturday, and then collecting an Open boat was out of the question.  We decided that Sue and Irene would use their Plastic Capella’s and I would use our almost unused by us Inazone. [Image: P1010825_zpsb3d40775.jpg]


We arrived at the allotted hour and place to find a lot of “Open’s” and some Sea boats. The transfer of boats to allow for shuttling went smoothly and we then drove to the “Put In”.  The weather was glorious.  After a short introduction and briefing, leaders were chosen and teams sorted.  Launching went well and the first team got away. 


We were second off going reasonably well, but I very soon realised the shortcomings of my Steed. I always knew it was a bit on the small side for my weight, but for playing in the Surf at Crosby it was adequate.  Trying to make it go where I wanted was to say the least difficult. The bow was acting like a submarine and if I stopped paddling for a short time it would firstly go quickly into reverse and then broadside.  Another problem relating to being overloaded was found in a very short time. The water level was a touch low and it seemed to find every opportunity to ground. I was really struggling to go where I wanted.  Anthony suggested using a towline to try to keep it pointing ahead, but it just point blank refused and turned side on.


Everyone seemed to suffer from  the lack of water to some degree and it added to the fun and excitement.  I had great fun watching the pair in the tandem boat struggling to re float and wondered how the conversations were going during their efforts.  We had a rest stop at about the 1/3rd distance and I managed to get some life back into my now dead leg. The hip pads were removed as prime culprits for this.


Off we set again and I was like a “Chimp” with arms extended down to lift and drag me through the shallows. It was probably only 10 yards, but felt like 100. Right I’m in deep water now, at least 6” and off I go------in reverse.


After a short time the dead leg returned, I shouted “BARLEY”----I just had to get out again. This time Anthony took pity on me and I became a passenger in his boat, with him towing mine.   I stayed with him until we got to the Weir. He was one of the few to shoot over it.  I got into my Steed here and managed to make the final part unaided.


The river here is very nice and in an Open would be great fun. I made a mistake with the boat I used and am still aching today from my exertions.   Another of my outdoor pursuits has been motorcycle trail riding. Now there are those that get this a bad name through excessive speed, noise and land damage and the walkers hurl abuse at all regardless.   I did not expect to receive the same treatment when out paddling on a river but we got it on Sunday.   I had my photo taken, so I imagine it will be on a dart board somewhere now.   So much for tolerance.


Thanks to Rosie and everyone,  Regards  Bob Hamilton



20/08/15 Orkney 2015


For more than 25 years we have travelled to Orkney for the annual,(sometimes twice a year) trip .

It is always a Diving trip, and up to this year our base has been on a converted fishing boat, The Sunrise, that was our floating Hotel.

As our numbers have depleted, the cost of chartering the boat has become prohibitive and this year we joined 3 of the “old crew” in land based accommodation. “Brecks Barn”, a really lovely place on South Ronaldsay


 We have always used the ferry from Scrabster to Stromness, but this year used the newer, alternative from Gills bay (by John O’ Groats) to St. Mary’s Hope. A much shorter passage.


One of the lads has my old RiB and even though we have lived on the “Sunrise” in the past, he has taken it for the ride and provided some safety cover. This year it was our diving platform. He has rigged it out with more electronic devices than NASA!!!!!


We have previously taken the kayaks for use in the afternoon. This year was going to be the same, but in fact they got more use than expected and the diving was a little less than normal. In fact everything was more relaxed.

While the waters around Orkney can be very wild, there are also many areas to get shelter and we took advantage of this.


 During both World Wars the gaps between the various islands above South Ronalsay were blocked from Submarine attacks by Scuttling ships and attaching anti-submarine nets between them. While this was very effective the Royal Oak was in fact successfully attacked and sunk and as a result Winston Churchill ordered permanent barriers to be built-------The Churchill Barriers.  These provide excellent shelter from either Easterlies or Westerlies and the shoreline from N & S.


We were quite amazed by the number of seals we saw. On one occasion over 30 were encountered near “Hunda”, this is a small uninhabited island joined to Burray by a man made reef. They are really inquisitive and come very close at times.

There are plenty of good launch sites suitable for Kayaks and always a sheltered Put In.


It is a long way--------we did 1,300 miles altogether. It is over 500 miles to the ferry. The rest were done on the islands. But worth the trip.


YouTube Video of the trip……….. by Bob Hamilton                                                                    More Photos……



18/08/15 Loch Lomond, Ross of Mull and Iona - August 2015


On our recent family holiday to the west of Scotland myself and my daughter Manon took advantage of the fine weather to do some loch and sea paddling between mountain walks, bird watching and feeding the midges!


We were heading for the Ross of Mull in the Inner Hebrides but stopped off at Loch Lomond for a couple of days to break the journey. We escaped the rising midges by having a fabulous evening paddle from Milarrochy Bay on the east shore heading north along the shore to Cashel then out to the islands of Inchlonaig, south to Inconnachan and then back in to Milarrochy Bay via Buchinch with glorious sunset and a light westerly on our backs.


Our next stop was Fidden Farm in the far  west on the Ross of Mull. Passing by the 'Falls of Lora' on the way to catch the ferry at Oban it all looked very quiet (check out 'This is the Sea 3' to see this formidable tidal race going full tilt!). Fidden Farm is an excellent base for sea kayaking on Mull, just across the Sound from Iona with access to the sea direct from your tent there is miles upon miles of excellent coastline to explore with sea eagles, golden eagles and sea otters galore! I had another evening sortie to Erraid, a small island just to the south of Fidden which is the location of Robert  Louis Stevenson's 'Kidnapped' and the basis of his island in 'Treasure Island'.


My main objective however was the Island of Iona, two kilometres away across the Sound of Iona, and considered one of the most 'iconic and sacred' places in Scotland. Fair weather and favourable tides allowed me to complete a solo circumnavigation of the Island - details of this trip can be found in Scottish Sea Kayaking guide (Trip No. 7 - Grade B 18k). I carried out the trip clockwise rather than anti-clockwise as described in the guide book due to a relatively strong south-westerly breeze which would have been hard going on the western shore. It was a great paddle with some exposed paddling in swell at the rugged southern end of the island followed by a more gentle sea as I headed along the western shore towards the more sheltered north end and back to the safety of the Sound, taking in the fine views north to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles all the way, (Trip No. 8 in the guide) a project for next year I think!


Fidden Farm was great base, not just for sea kayaking and , if you're lucky with the weather like we were, the Ross of Mull is a stunning place to visit. Midges weren't too bad either!


Paddlers: Martin and Manon McCoy. Paddled: Valley Anas Acuta, NDK Greenlander-Pro.



12/08/15 Photo of the Month (August) competition

Photo of the Month (August) competition.  There is a shortlist of 9 excellent photographs for this month.  Please vote now for your favourite and why not send in a photo that you have taken for next months competition.  Just email it to website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk


Click here to see this month’s photos……..



11/08/15 Paddler of the year Awards 2015

We are already receiving nominations for paddler of the year and associated awards (Please see below for the 4 categories).  This nomination by Sarah Gille is especially welcome as she has documented the event for all to see.  It is a very distinctive boat!


Click here for YouTube Video…….


Nominations for our four Club Awards presented at our AGM on Wednesday 21st October 2015

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 Wednesday 21st October 2015


During August we will be taking nominations from club members for :


  • 2015 Nominations for Paddler of the year  (club member who has either made the most progress or achievement in paddlesport)
  • 2015 Nominations for Young Paddler of the year (Under 18 club member who has made either the most progress or achievement in paddlesport)
  • 2015 Nominations for Volunteer of the year  (Club member who has given their services to help the club)
  • 2015 Nominations for Swimmer of the year  (Club member who has had the best out of boat experience)


        please send the name of the nominee, the category and a brief description or reason for the nomination to: website@liverpoolcanoeclub.co.uk


10/085 Lofoten Island Expedition 2015 Norway

In early July 2015, nine Liverpool Canoe Club members successfully completed and anti-clockwise circumnavigated Austvågøy, one of the main islands in the Lofoten archipelago in Arctic Norway.

The weather gods were kind to us and throughout the 143km of relatively easy paddling, we only had one short problem area to contend with. At the North Western point there’s a harbour town called Laukvic and, as we travelled westwards along the coast towards the harbour, we spent about 30 minutes negotiating some confused sea set up by clapotis reflecting back off the cliffs, even though there was only a slight swell and little breeze.


We paddled amongst dramatic scenery and wild camped throughout bright sunlit nights on secluded island and white coral beaches.


Getting there took most of a day we flew from Manchester to Oslo on SAS tickets, then on to Bodø and then one last flight to Svolvaer. The island`s main town.  Our kayaks, decks and paddles were hired fro the very generous Jann Esgstad who owns Lofoten Aktiv http://lofoten-aktiv.no/en/   He looked after us very well, even though he was extremely busy running the main thrust of his business which is guiding and coaching.


Would we go there again? – Yøubetcha!!!     More Photos…….    (For the full Article) Click for More.    



09/08/15 Alpine Paddling Holiday 2015 - Austria, Slovenia and France

This year’s road trip saw a deviation from our usual formula where we usually base ourselves on the campsite in Le Argentiere la Bassee.  We formed two groups, the minibus and two cars heading to Austria and the Imst Gorge and John Cookes team who went straight to Slovenia for week 1.  The plan was to spend a week in Slovenia before driving across the top of Italy and into France to Briancon.



This year’s group included: Keith Steer, Sara Bergqvist, Dom Buckley, Pete Thomas, Carole Thomas, David Brockway, Fiona Barry, Sarah Gille, Nick Coughlin, Sam Preston, Leanne Murray, Helen Siertsema, Mark Garrod, John Cooke, Sue Cooke, Kirk Williams, Gerry Williams (Flying), Chris Murphy, Stuart Toulson, Kurt Toulson, Mark Benson and Marianne Benson.


Photographs……….              More information on the trip……..     (For the full Article) Click for More.    

09/08/15 Day 10 Alps 2015 – 10b Le Fresquieres to Le Martinet - Kurt Toulson                                           


Grade  5  2.5km   time about 1 hour


“A powerful section; big water; enormous stoppers. The first rapid has changed a lot as a result of a landslide in recent years and has some very jagged rocks so this section is not really to be recommended.”  Alpine Playground…..


Keith and I were keen to run this section again so Stuart dropped us off at Le Fresquieres bridge and watched as we paddled off between many of the giant boulders near the start of this steep and powerful section.  The level was fairly low but the pour-overs still powerful enough to hold you if you got it wrong.  At the first really difficult drop we were a little cautious with only the two of us so we carried over the large boulder and put in avoiding the difficult first drop.  This still gave us a difficult run out rapid with some powerful waves.


A little further on and we were below the road and we ran the next drop on-sight through some difficult boulders and channels.  This led to the short 500m run down to the raft get in at Le Martinet and the rest of the group sunning themselves on the beach.  A great run but does need some confident paddling.

Kurt Toulson                                            More Photographs……

/08/15 Day 14 Alps 2015 – 14 Departure Day – The Gyronde - Mark Benson                                             


The weather forecast had been showing a damp departure day and sure enough the rains came on the Friday evening and carried on through the night. By morning the Durance was running fast and brown. I had been hoping that the rain would make for a good last day run on the Lower Gyronde, but maybe there was now too much of a good thing.   Not everyone was up for a last minute paddle, so it was just Keith, Sara, David and I making our way up in the direction of Vallouise, courtesy of Pete supported by Sarah (thanks both!). 


The van pulled over and now came the first surprise for me; it’s been a couple of years since I was on the Alps trip and it turns out that the “normal “get-on is now at the top of the harder (Gr IV) section by Les Vigneaux;  I was expecting enough of a challenge for me with the Gr III section almost 2 Km down-river!  Oh well, a hike down the path was to ensue. In fact, the whole team portaged the first 750 metres or so, as the upper part of the river was looking too risky considering this was supposed to be a drama-free quick run back to camp. 


Leaving the rest of the team to put-in, I kept on portaging along the track following the river down to the road bridge. I arrived just as Keith appeared in an eddy, closely followed by Sarah and David. 


At last, if with a little apprehension at the speed of the water flowing past the eddy, I was in my kayak and ready to launch.  Following Sara’s lines helped me avoid the initial two or three larger pour-overs as I got used to river and started to enjoy the first of the many wave-trains created by the high flow conditions.


Keith led the eddy-hopping to control our descent, especially as we approached the weir. This we sneaked around, well away from the main flow.  Now the river eased, and we enjoyed the conveyor belt to the Durance confluence and on to the top of the slalom course which by now was running black on one side.  The swirling slabs of water provided a final challenge or entertainment, depending on the paddler, and all too soon we were at the get-out and hauling our boats towards transport home.    A good end to a fortnight of varied river paddling.


Mark Benson                                             More Photographs……


07/08/15 Day 10 Alps 2015 – 10c The Ubaye Race Course - Helen Siertsema                                            


Following a lazy lunch of cheese and tomato baguette, the first bouncy ride down the Racecourse is always a bit of a jolt to the system. Levels seemed lower than in previous years but it was still wise to be switched on for the initial bounce. The Ubaye was disappointingly grey and murky due to a lot of silt which was being deposited as dark silky mud all over the place.

A weird line around the first huge boulder was taken, could have sworn river left was much more straight forward - meh! Once we had all settled down, it was a pleasant bounce around the never ending bends of the Ubaye with a few rafts getting in the way. despite the grey colour of the water, a glance behind you revealed fantastic views of the rising peaks in the valley.

More continuous rapids and then the "Sharks Tooth" is soon upon us.  This was very straight forward in these levels and everyone got through without any nonsense. A few gnarly members of the LCC entourage didn't waste any opportunity for a spot of playboating whilst waiting for everyone to get through.

We stopped for our usual photo opportunity just before the rapid which takes you under the Roman Bridge and into the gorge. This is a straightforward drop into a bouncy rapid which everyone nailed with ease.

A few more bends and rapids and we were soon at the get out in Le Lauzet. A final haul over the rocks and a snarl at cocky raft guides and their silly hair.


Helen Siertsema                                            More Photographs……


/08/15 Day 12 Alps 2015 – 12d Mountain biking from the Col Du Galiber to Briacon

After initially failing to get a bike for the day due to being there too early I (David) decided to return to camp and I went back an hour later. On my return to the shop it was really quick and easy to secure a bike so I was soon on my way back to camp. Once back camp I rode around a while to test out the bike and eventually I bumped into my fellow biker for the day Mark Benson. We discussed a plan of action for the day which was to drive to Col Du Galiber and ride the track down the valley and along the Guisane to finish up in Briancon.


The plan was to set off around half 10 however we were going at the steady speed of Mark so we got away at 10 past 11. He drove whilst I took up the co driver seat and Marianne took up the rear seat. On our way up to the Col we were taken aback by the scenery of the towering mountains. Once at the Col Du Galibier we endure some difficulty with one of the bike racks so some force by Benson was needed to get his bike off the rack.


Eventually when we got under way it was just gone 12. We searched for the put in and off we went on our decent. It was steep and rocky decent which meander on down. Occasionally we made a break out in order to capture the surroundings which including a glacier among many cows and the odd donkey. Once we reached the road we had to ascend in order to reach Col Du Lautaret were Marianne met us for a sport of lunch.


At about 10 past 2 we searched for out next put in which did take us a while. This decent was more gradual than the previous one as there were fewer rocks to dodge. However about half way down this decent is when I realised to why my arms were taking a pounding and it due to forgetting to unlock my suspension from ascent just before lunch. After the correction my ride down the track took much less of a strain on my body.


Soon enough we reached the source of the Guisane. Then on from there we started to come across many small villages, It was in one of these villages that we stopped for an ice cream in which I kept it original with vanilla and Benson went for strawberry. As we ventured on from our ice cream at Le Cavallion bar we carried on the track following the Gusiane and as we did the area became more familiar with recognising the river (S Bends).


Finally we were nearing the end of our ride as we crossed the river at the put in for the lower Guisane and carried on the track mostly along the left bank of the river, Once we reached the take out at half 5 there was no Marianne and it turns out she decided to do a quick shop. So worried about time I left Mark and headed off back to the bike shop as I needed to get the bike back by 7. I managed to do an hour’s ride in just over thirty minutes even seeing off a road bike on the way.


Cheers to Mark Benson for a great ride down the Col’s!!!


David Brockway                                           More Photographs……


06/08/15 Day 12 Alps 2015 – 12a  Château-Queyras - Via ferrata


The day began in the minibus as usual as we went to scout the upper Guil. The plan was to run the upper Guil, stop at Chateau Queyras to do the Via Ferrata, lunch then run Chateau Q and some of the middle Guil. Unfortunately the upper Guil, which flows down from the mountains on the Franco Italian border, was very low and especially for myself as one of the "porkier" paddlers, would have been too much of a scrape.

It was therefore decided that we would do the Via Ferrata before lunch then paddle afterwards. I have never done any Via Ferrata before as I went for lunch in a nice restaurant last year [Plat du jour 15 Euros with wine] and missed all the fun. All of us without our own harnesses went and hired the relevant equipment and after a little safety briefing from Keith, off we went with Sam leading the way.


Our timing was out as we managed to hook on just after a family of mother and two sons. The younger boy was obviously part monkey but his older sibling had all the climbing ability and sure-footedness of a half hour old foal. As we began to edge along the rocky gorge everyone who had done it before noticed that the route had changed, with both the bridges over the gorge decommissioned.


About half way along a couple of the new bits involved edging along a bridge consisting of three steel cables, two as handrails and one to walk on. I did look back to see how Helen, who is not keen on heights, was coping but she seemed OK so I set off across after Stu and Kurt. There seemed to be a bit of a tricky climb to get off the bridge and "foal boy" was struggling thus causing a bit of a backlog with more and more people stepping onto the bridge. I did have a little prayer to the French god of epoxy resin as that was how the bolts were fixed into the rock but all was well, unlike some later not as important bolts pointed out to me by Stu. After another bridge and a bit more climbing we reached the end and walked back down the road to the start, disappointing the people who had been looking forward to an ice cream from the shop at the top [who's owner is now probably destitute]


Nick Coughlin                                           More Photographs……


06/08/15 Day 12 Alps 2015 – 12b  Château-Queyras Gorge


I had been looking down into the Chateau-Queyras gorge as I climbed and thought "that doesn't look too bad" as lots of things do when you look back upstream at them so when asked if I was going to run it I said yes.  Note to self: next time attempting something like this have little warm up paddle first.


I got down the first half OK and without incident but then came to a narrower section that was a bit like a corkscrew under an overhanging rock, now I know you're supposed to "love" the rocks and lean towards them but at the speed I was going I didn't fancy smashing my head against it so leaned away, flow to the edge and over I went. I can see from my camera footage that I tried to roll three times but every time the boat got halfway up I was banged back against the rock wall. I only swam down the next drop and was rescued by Kurt [again, Thanks Mate] and back in my boat. Then managed to get stuck on a rock after breaking out but was pushed into the flow by a passing Sarah [Thanks Mate]


There was a tricky bouldery bit at the end because the levels were low but everyone got through OK.


Thanks to my fellow paddlers; Sarah, Helen, Sam, Stu, Keith and Kurt.


Nick Coughlin                                             More Photographs……



06/08/15 Alps 2015 – 12c  Middle Guil


Well at this point in time, I shouldn’t be paddling as my poor dagger nomad had gained an extra drainage hole.  Unfortunately this was on the hull and no bung would fit this beauty, as it is very useful to empty the kayak, it was not as useful as staying afloat while on the river! Thanks to a very kind member of the club, they let me borrow their very unique pink Pyranha burn (as it was the mark 3, I thought a test drive would be good). I was very eager to get on the water and was suited and booted within minutes, being the last one to get dressed and the first on the water surfing the… eddy!


Shuttle done, we started by the gauges at the road bridge and we split into groups with myself leading the first group. Later on I realise that Carol was leading the way with style, positioning herself perfect for every rapid. With some tight and technical lines to find with few eddies, we progressed smoothly down the grade 2/3 section. This section of river was certainly less shallow so I could afford to play around a little without damaging the ‘£1500’ boat I was in.

As we approached surprise drop, we eddied out and waited for the following group. This is where some paddlers got out to consolidate their awesome skills just performed on the previous section… “Don’t touch that boat Pete!!!”

From here, Keith, Sara, Sam, Stuart, Kurt and I continued on down the grade 4+ section. At this point I had made my mind up with what boat will have the pleasure of ‘the beast’ for the foreseeable future, when funds allow! This made it relatively easy to play down this section with the odd boof here and there (without leaving any plastic behind). A really enjoyable section of rapids with small drops, stoppers and waves only managed to trip up one member of the group, but we won’t mention their name, no it wasn’t Keith, Sara, Sam, Kurt or myself.

After a quick self-rescue came a long wait for Kurt to empty his full boat as he tried to help with the rescue. Continuing on, we approached ‘staircase’ but as we were short on time, we jumped off at the top and picked our line for next year, then got back on below. A bit further down river we could see the tunnel where the rest of the gang were waiting for us, cameras at the ready! We all styled the last rapid as that would be unprofessional to mess it up on camera, before getting our boats chauffeured up to the minibus… “Pete! Leave that boat alone!!!”

Great section of river, thoroughly enjoyed by all, now im off to find a good deal on a new Pyranha Burn Mark 3… See Ya!!

Mark Garrod                                             More Photographs……

/08/15 The mini open expedition - that was actually quite long!


I think I had slightly miss advertised this open boat trip as mini, so decided to send a second email to let everyone know how far we were going. In the end, there was just Lee and I to paddle the 60km from Llangollen to Farndon.


We met at Fardon, sorted shuttle and eventually launched 11am at onto the river Dee at the Ponsonby Arms. There was a reasonable flow and the boats were a little sluggish due to kit, but this much assistance was promising as we had over 40km to go on day 1.


Ten minutes in, a couple of people called us from the bank to ask if we knew that we should not be canoeing here. I replied that I didn't know that i shouldn't be canoeing here. The nice man then asked me to come over and he would explain it to me. I politely replied that, "No, its ok i will just paddle on thank you." He kindly stated that in that case he would meet us at the country park to explain it to me. Unfortunately we forgot to get out at the country park, I do hope he is not still waiting for us (LOL).


Anyway, after that the sun shone and the miles passed by as we wizzed along the g2 river. We stopped for coffee at the boat pub, apparently paddlers should ring ahead, and were amazed at the rules. Lee and I managed to keep to the no heavy petting rule, but we just could not stick to the no stuntmen and daredevils rule. 


Day 1 done at just past Bangor on Dee. 41km at 7kph, not too shabby


Day 2 saw us entering the meanders that have very limited flow. We paddled the 19km to Farndon, if we had gone in a straight line it would have been less than half, and enjoyed chatting with the fishermen we met on the day.


Reaching Farndon just after noon it was time to look back at those 60km and think what a good paddle. 


Mike & Lee


04/08/15 Canoe Rescues Course 19 July 2015


A sunny but slightly breezy Sunday morning saw a flotilla of open boats heading out from the pontoons to the far side of the dock - it was open boat rescue time!

The initial plan had been to practice near the concrete slip but due to the wind there was too great a chance of bumping one of the nice barges, so we headed to the deep water were there was no chance of bumping the barges and no chance of our candidates cheating by standing up!


The morning safety briefing given, i.e. this day is going to be about how to rescue these big heavy boats with ease so if it feels like hard work, stop and let go as it’s probably going wrong. Personal safety is key, no back injuries please.


We looked at approaching the victim, rolling the boats the right way up and then emptying without lifting. Everyone did great and appeared pleased with how easy it was.


Next stage, how to get a swimmer back in their boat. We scooped, we rolled, and we climbed. Everyone managed to get back in to their boat as victim and also to be the rescuer.


Final bit; put it all together. Fantastic!! WELL done to everyone who attended and thank you for being such willing participants.


Phrase of the day, "That was so easy, why curl?"


Mike & Ruth


31/07/15 Day 13 Alps 2015 – 13 Lower Durance (Sunshine run)


We ran the Sunshine run in one large group of nine- some paddlers needed a day off to recover from the two weeks worth of strenuous paddling and non-paddling antics and some simply wanted to utalise their last chance to soak up the rays. We started our paddle at St Clement slalom course. While Carol, Dom and Pete took the opportunity to show off their stylish breaking in and out skills the rest had a go at surfing. Fiona and Nick surfed across the waves stylishly and with no carnage. Sara showed off her play boating skills in Sam’s boat- while Sarah took photo footage to teach Sam a few tricks. Fiona (aka Mark in Fiona’s boat) and Keith demonstrated to the group how surfing is done. David had a late arrival to the water after buying his new shoes but surfed effortless. Mark Benson was so skilful that he was able to chat on the phone- I think while surfing!


After playing on the slalom course we drifted down the river enjoying the wave trains, sunshine and the no so enjoyable confused water before arriving at the Rab Wave. While Keith prepped the group well ensuring that we were positioned in a good eddie and advised us of the best line many of the group still appeared anxious. Keith, David, Mark and Sara taking a left line all wizzed through without flinching. Sarah then smashed through the middle with no problems, skilfully positioning herself in the closest eddie to take photos. Pete then bravely bit the bullet and volunteered to go next. Testing the LCC tradition he asked Ms Rab’s permission to let him through which seemed to work as he floated on through with little effort- I think the wave actually parted to let him through.


I went through next with less success but luckily got T-rescued by David who was waiting to pick up the carnage. Dom styled the Rab with a slight roll afterwards but gained enough gloating material to end his white water career on a high. Nick also styled it with little effort and enthusiasm to have a second run. Carol followed bravely but took a swim but enjoyed her first experience of taking on the Rab. Carol and I have vowed to ask Mrs Rab’s permission to let us through next time! Mark Benson smashed straight through- I think while still on the phone. Keith and David really showed off their skills by surfing the Rab, Sarah and I decided to swim through while the group enjoyed a sunny lunch while watching all the carnage of other kayaker’s and rafters.


After lunch we then set off to take on the wave trains down to Embrun. Sarah styled the waves by going down backwards to snap the rest of the group who put a bit more effort in to remain upright. Meanwhile the seasoned sea kayakers made the wave trains look like flat water paddling! Sara and David maximised every opportunity to surf every stopper possible and gave us good viewing at the two surf spots.


Overall it was a really enjoyable sunny paddle and a great way to end a fabulous two weeks of paddling. We ended the day off with a BBQ with our Cork allies while Dom was able to recall how he styled the Rab wave.


Thanks to all involved in this paddle and all paddles during the trip- the river leaders, those who picked up the carnage and simply those that made the paddles great fun!


Leanne Murray                                             More Photographs……


29/07/15 Day 11 Alps 2015 – 11 Lower Guil to Rabioux


Whilst waiting for the shuttle we recognised a familiar boat on the opposite bank. This was Sara’s boat to which she said early she wasn’t paddling but obviously after discussion back at camp with Aid she decided to paddle with him and friends. So we waved her on by as she passed with her favoured group of paddlers for the day. After a long wait we got sight of Tony and Keith crossing over the bridge. As they met us on the river bank everyone geared themselves up.


We all got onto to the river and some of us braved the cold water to practice some rolling. Sarah with the normal roll for most however Sam with his nifty back deck roll. As we navigated on down the river as one large group we eddy out in order to then practice our break ins and outs. Then we carried on further on down river until we made another large eddy to where we could continue to practice doing our break ins and outs ready for Clements.


As we reached the end of the Guil it merged to join the Durance to which the group then drifted on down to St Clements. This to where Sam showed us how to style the play waves in his Jackson shame it’s not a Mamba though! After quick stop for some lunch there we then got back on and drifted down the big and bouncy waves trains to eventually reach the Rabioux wave. We eddy out near to the top car park to where Tony, Pete and Carole got off.


The rest of the group then paddled on down the usual left fork of the river and eddy hopped on down the left bank to a suitable place to shoot the Rabioux from. One by one we were signalled down and on the whole we were successful. Plus we needed to be with the two eagled eyed sea paddlers of Pete and Carole Thomas on the banks watching our lines. Once we all got down we all got out and watched a number of rafts, hotdogs and hydro speeds run the Rabioux.



David Brockway                                           More Photographs……

31/07/15 August 2015 Newsletter Published 
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