After spells of wild, wet and windy weather it was a contrast to be greeted with a bright, dry morning with a cool Northerly blowing. Temperature in the morning was reading 2-3°C. Five of us met at the slipway on Walney – Angela, Sten, Mike H and new member Chris – and after kitting out the sea kayaks we were away at noon. A smooth paddle down Walney Channel needed sunglasses against the dazzling brilliance. As we came to Piel Island, we continued to the South end of the Island in search of the young pup that has been in the news as this is the first time this seal colony has had one (it is a non-breeding colony). Alas no joy – they could be seen in the distance in the water, but if we went further, we would have a longer paddle against the tide to get back to Piel Island and lunch! The remains of the castle provided a stunning and elevated scenic spot as we found a sun trap out of the cold breeze. We waited until the turn of the tide at low water and headed back up the channel. The forecast strengthening wind died away and we had a calm passage back to the slipway arriving 2 minutes before sunset!
October was a dry out with all trips cancelled but then it rained. Session 3 had more water than was necessary but I was joined by new member Duncan, 2 potential members from Sedbergh & Dist Canoe Club, all sporting the new and borrowed S&DCC Dagger GTX white water kayaks and of course the loyal John Hooson, fielding his new Hoss bought from Stuart Mair.
The coaching session wet well, with the paddlers performing well, under the fast water conditions – only 2 swims from the least experienced paddler. We concluded with a short river run through the narrows, above Killington Road bridge, joined by late comer and member Maddy to support my supervision on the faster water. All in all a great morning out.
I hope to programme further park and play sessions on the Lune – so look out for these in December.
River Runs – grade 3
Session 1 – River Tees In bright sunshine and a dropping high water level we headed over to Middleton in Teesdal, after tea and toast in Hartley. The small team consisted of Stuart Mair, ben Miller and John Hooson. Middleton was ideal for a first run of the season for most of the group – deep water, easy routes and plenty of safe runs down. Gathering at Eggleston the group made the decision to move the bar up and run the race course – Eggleston to Cotherston – in prime condition. The bigger rapids caused no issues, as many of the rock obstacles were covered and the routes were clean and obvious with plenty of water to carry us through any difficulties.
The final rapid was pushing grade3 plus but all did well, as they punched through the small stoppers and worked their way round the dog leg and to the bottom of the rapids. However one un-named paddler decided to practice his rolling half way down and executed an outstanding self rescue in the bottom eddy – all was well. A safe and great day was had by all.
Session 2 – river Lune
Water, water, water everywhere ……………….. and too much for most. Joined by the team of Phil Clayton, Stu Mair and John Hooson we made the prudent decision to run the lower Lune, as the water was still rising from an empty situation at 8am. Killington Rd Bridge to Kirkby Londsdale By 1pm we had sorted the shuttle and were on the water, pasing the first weir, which was high and a little stickier than usual. Weir two (Stangerthwaite) caused the greatest interest as Mike demonstrated to the group how not to shoot the weir and when to bail out due to ferocious stoppers – his self rescue was text book and his back and front strokes quite memorable, in his shorts and single top, designed for agility in the water – fortunately it was warm!!
On a serious note – the river gods were on his side and after 5 mins his paddle floated out and 45 mins of bobbing in the FUxx OFF stopper the Hoss popped out, throw bag and all and floated into Mike arms. The group worked as a team and a quick portage was executed and back onto our journey – though Mike was not the only swimmer of the day, was he Phil! The rest of the run was fast and furious and non-eventful (thank goodness) as the river rose 3ft on our journey to the Devils Bridge on the near alpine river. Sadly it was 4pm and the burger van had shut up shop – quite a disappointment. So the morale to this story is always inspect the weir from the bank not the boat.
The group had a safe and exciting day with lots of learning.
October 31st River Tees
River run was excellent – 4 paddlers, high/medium levels on tees – Middleton to Cotherston – grade 2/3 with great waves and one grade 3 plus 3 rolls and one safe swim!
Scotland trip Mike H ,Brain Rachel and Martin Powell, Brian C and ex chairman Chris D
Saturday 24th Drove north paddled Evan water grade 10km grade 2/3 with a few 4. Stayed in a nice spacious cottage.
Sunday 25th River Helmsdale 6km grade 2/3 1 portage 1 grade 4+ 1 swim
Monday 26th River Oykel 12km Including tributary which was low grade 3 with falls of Oykel to Portage and some big bouncy stuff to finish
Tuesday 27th River Laxford, where? Shhhh. 5km grade 2/1 but I km of classic grade 3 in a fantastic mountain scenery with the sun out.
Wednesday / Thursday on MTB
Friday 29th 3 surfing at Keiss Beach North of Wick. Some 6 foot surf saw 3 swims after decks imploded under breaking waves. But lots of nice wave rides as well.
Also half the team paddled 3km Upper Meig grade 2/3.
Saturday 30th river Garry on dam release. 6km grade 3 /3+
Well done to Penny Taylor, who applied for and succeeded in getting a grant from the Keswick2Barrow walk to support the club.