Derwent 27-11-17

Overnight rain brought the empty upper river to paddlable flow. Sour Milk Gill falls and similar steep becks, that fed the main river, were running white. Water so clear but also so chilly.

Two 80’s kayaks( guests)  Chris Helm in open boat Mike and Phil gained  the river at Seathwaite. Fast flow and a few trees lead through walled banks. The occasional grade 2 easy enough. Then more open and some steeper rockier boulder rapids started taking revenge, but always a clean line to be had.

Cloud on the tops, but the scenery fab as always. The youth hostel rapid proved the most tricky, followed by ever decreasing difficulty.

Mint –  so refreshing – for some

meall bank - mint.JPG

25-11-17  Mike H  John H  Matt  Brian.

The flood came  peaking at 1.7 midnight Wednesday and went !

O.62 ON EA gauge – too low? No a little scrapey for the first km then 2 side streams add to the volume.

A tree across step river. Then fun. The old weir, 2m drop –  a mint roll- but a good one.

Meall bank drop with stopper was sticky. NIc etc see some play boat tricks and body surfing. The last long rapid was so nice. One more Mint roll!

A fun paddle.


Phil C Mike h And 2 guest from West Cumbria canoe club. 21-11-17.

A leisurely mid day meet.

Two river boats from the 80’s  SO long and directional- how did we ever manage.

A pleasant run down from Grasmere to Windermere.  Even enough water for the shallow Pelter bridge rapid to be fun.rtahy grasmere.JPG

Dalbeattie Coastline -Solway Firth

Sea-kayak trip Sat 11th November 2017

Trip Leader Robin E, John H, Brian C, Ian H, Andy M.
From MOD land at Burn Foot paddle past Airds Point and Hestan Island to Kippford: About 18km, 4.5 hrs. Start 11.30am.

Hestan Islet: LW 1120, HW 1720.

Sometimes, when looking at the calendar of trips available, I’ll visualise the destination, examine the line-up, ponder numerous weather forecasts, weigh up experience and only then calculate the likelihood of a favourable enjoyment vs. suffering quotient.

On every club event I’ve ever been on, the benchmark seems to be those trips on the east coast to Flamboro’: both last year and this . You must have heard about it (a lot) but I didn’t go. And those who do mention it (a lot) always say “where were you?”

And here we are in autumn with the usual strong westerlies which often blow for days on end with little prospect of ‘safe fun’. On Tuesday it looked terrible and on Thursday it looked terrible again. Ongoing reviews and information through the week from Robin (the one who specialises in laminated maps, chart datum and wave-buoy obsession) had me twitching that he was twitching: not likely.

 “FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Winds are calming, N/NW F3-4, swell should drop overnight, though should be some playful overfalls off Airds Point! Meet as planned.”

Sure enough the 18 hour weather came in as he predicted and off we go. All on time at the leisure centre with the usual blistering rate of kit organisation and packing which I can just about keep up with and … it’s a beautiful crisp morning with no wind and easterly sunshine over the Howgills. Then further up the M6 images of autumn leaves in low flickering sunshine thanks to this welcome lull between systems.

At Kippford we met Ian and drove to Dundrennan and through the military firing range for a launch at Burn Foot. At low tide the long stumble over slippery boulders had most of us thinking that we’d overdone it on the clothing.

Thankfully Ian was there with his very nice boat so we watched him launch first, in vain efforts to minimise any damage to our own gel-coats. Those with plastic seemed more confident and they were off before I was on.

The flood tide here goes east and with a gentle wind shear following behind we cruised along – easing into the flat calm seas and soft orange hues of the local stone. Within a minute John H had spotted an otter but those lagging behind could only take his word for it.  And then the biology lesson continued as he identified the skills and artistry of the Honeycomb worm.

No need for any shouting above the roar of surf or wind … just a peaceful glassiness in the lee of high cliffscapes with relaxed contentment and friendship all round.

Spouty Dennans, Adams Chair and Lot’s Wife, rock and reef-hopping to get the best of the day with plastics first (and Brian second) as the benchmarks for gauging the likely extent of future boat maintenance. A few deep caves and scraping arches and the blasts of adrenalin that always come as you go deeper and deeper in to see what’s there.

The overfalls of Airds Point weren’t running and the gentle NW cross-wind to Daft Ann’s steps out from Auchencairn Bay did little to disturb the water in the afternoon light; and then lunch at the N end of Hestan Island. Just 5k to go now and the rest of the afternoon, a stable sea and an incoming tide had us relaxing with the lion’s share done.

It’s always worth staying in the deep channel of the estuary on a new flood tide by avoiding the temptation to take the ‘longer’ short cut and in the gathering darkness we were greeted by young families as they built the last sand-castles before the night and tide would sweep them away.

Thanks very much Robin and to all the team for such a grand day out… it was surely as good as Flamboro’ … wasn’t it?

route track sea kayaking Nov 11 2017


Leven Estuary 20-11-17

Phil C organised a trip starting from Canal Foot , Ulverston. Phil , Sten , Mike H and new member Eric, with 4 guests from other clubs set off just after the incoming tide.

After sorting a dip under the viaduct, the current pushed us the estuary quite rapidly, past shallow sand banks to some small rocks where we took a short rest. Attacking a ferry glide into the ever increasing wind, to the next headland  brought us the calmer waters of the upper Estuary. Lunch was taken at the old railway bridge where we could shelter from the wind. Fortuitously this meant that the return journey started a little earlier than expected. As we reached the  open estuary the wind was still blowing force 4. But since we were early this enabled us  to cross the shallow sand bank on the west side of the estuary thus staying up wind.   The outgoing flow then rush dup nicely back to Canal foot  by 2pm just as Phil had planned.

Busy week part 4 _ Wednesday 8th

Seven paddlers (three members, four guests from Cumbria Canoeists), turned out at Askham to paddle up the Duddon Estuary. Clear, bright still weather with lots of sunshine made the 500m carry to the end of the Pier slightly less painful, and we were on the water about 11:30. The incoming tide pushed us upstream at 3-4 knots judging by the buoys, and we quickly reached the shallows past Millom. Here it got tricky; with lots of alternative channels, all of them very shallow, but surrounded by lush grass on top of the mud flats, which were a metre above the water level. We found the right channel, (ho ho), and kept on until it narrowed to paddle width. Then it narrowed to boat width. Then we stopped. Reconnaissance from the bank showed we had become navigationally challenged, with clear channels being at least a kilometer away to the left, or the right.

Busy week part 3

Sunday’s Bore trip

07:50 on a cold bright and calm Sunday Morning saw Phil C. John H. and Sten paddle out from Arnside with the hope of returning at least some of the way on the tidal bore.

The channel was quite wide and well defined with only two short shallow sections requiring the use of knuckles or feet. The route out had us crossing the estuary where the channel passed around the rocky outcrops west of Holm Island, it then turned SW parallel with Grange promenade. As we paddled past Grange John spotted a person walking on the sands. They were striding towards Kents Bank but would have to wade across the channel to get there. Needless to say with about half an hour before we expected the bore this was a worrying sight.

With the channel now heading South East and widening we stopped to stretch our legs. As we stood chatting about if and when the bore would arrive we spotted a rescue hovercraft in the distance. Then with the sound of approaching bore we hastily got back into our boats. As we caught the breaking wave it was about a foot (0.3m) high and moving quite quickly. We rode on and behind the wave, past the hovercraft. As the channel narrowed the wave built in height peaking at about 3 feet (1m). When the wave was at its most powerful John had a brief taste of being bounced along the sandbank caught on the wave with no water in front of him. This is never a fun place to be but he handled things well and managed to slow his progress enough to allow the following body of water to catch him up.

The bore was dissipated into some very confused water around the rocks near Holm Island. As we loitered waiting for the tide to gather itself and continue inland, the hovercraft approached us. A crew member told us they were searching for somebody seen walking on the sands and we were able to tell them what we had seen.

As the flow resumed we set of in the hope of getting to the front of the tide to be in pole position if the bore reformed. As we started paddling the Coast Guard helicopter passed overhead joining in the search. The bore did reform and dissipate a couple of times giving those of us in sea boats a couple more surfing sessions and John in his river boat a really good work out trying to catch the wave.

At New Barnes Bay we passed the Coast Guard jet sk,i presumably waiting for the tide to come in so they could join in the search.

Back at Arnside, as we were getting sorted, a Coast Guard vehicle stopped and the driver told us that they had been tracking the missing person across the sands and along the course of the channel towards Holm Island until they lost sight of the person behind the rock outcrops. Later reports said that the person was not found and the search was called off, it is assumed that whoever it was reached shore safely.

Great weather a fantastic bore with some added interest.

Busy week part 2 Saturday

The original plan was to paddle the Greta at Keswick, but the water levels were desperately low, and prayers to the rain gods on Friday night fell on deaf ears. So it was the Leven again. Four paddlers did the run from Newby Bridge to below Fisherman’s island, with the two boldest tackling Backbarrow Bridge as well. It was a great day out; there was a large group ahead of us, so we waited them out above every feature, and so effectively had the river to ourselves. The sun shone, the water was warm(ish), and despite the low levels, it all flowed pretty well. Thanks to Sten, Matt and John H for making the day.

Busy week part 1- Wednesday

The mid-week trip on the Upper Kent did go, tho’ 2 of the 3 people had to cancel. (Perhaps they’d actually seen the EA river levels forecast?).

Despite this, a solo paddler descended from Green Quarter down to Staveley in clear, bright conditions, even tho’ the water was very low. Points to note;
1 There is one very large tree down at the exit from the Tarn to the river proper, but it’s an easy portage river right.
2 There is another tree down on the RHS of the last “island”, but the LH channel is clear.
3 If the Gauge is below 0.8, it really is a scrape, especially on the easier sections.
4 The Grade 3 section below Kentmere Pottery is really good, even in low water; lots of small drops and interesting route choices, but always plenty of breakouts and so time to work it out.

Storm Ophelia defied by Robin and Sten.

On Saturday 14th October, 2 members decided to continue with the planned trip – Jubilee Bridge to Piel Island and back. The forecast was SW 5-7, thanks to the start of Ophelia, but very mild air temperature. The paddle down didn’t have the head wind as expected, with the wind more on the rear quarter and slowly building as the journey progressed. As we turned round the corner from Roa Island to Piel, you had to keep your head down to keep the hat on! We decided not to visit the seals to avoid the battle back, but stopped for lunch and explored Piel Castle instead. The return journey was in two halves. A stiff head wind/beam wind up to the training wall, before having the wind on the rear quarter for the home leg back to the bridge. There was no other traffic to be seen, apart from some windsurfers at Roa roaring across the channel having great fun. As we approached the slipway, the sun was out and the wind had dropped (more like sheltered)…why did we feel so salt encrusted!