Not the Troutbeck – 17th Feb

The meeting point for Brian, Mike, Sten, Ian Mc, Martin and Rachel was set for the car park in Troutbeck Bridge – maybe we would be lucky, the overnight rain may just bring the rivr up just that little bit to make it runnable. But no! it was too low even for the over enthusiastic.

It was back to the Kent (at 0.39 on the Bowston gauge) and run from Scroggs Bridge, through Staveley and down to Burneside.

All successfully dropped the 2m fall below scroggs Bridge and down a flattish bit to the first of the 4 weirs. We each found a slightly diferent line,  leaving varying amounts of plastic behind us. Wilf’s weir run on the left was not as scrapy.

In the following km Sten saw an otter as we played in the garden 2 rapids. After one wave Martin commented you’ll never get back  upstream to play on that wave. Oh dear, red rag to a bull!! We all had a really good go trying proving him wrong, various
numbers of attempts and degrees of success.

All the time in the back of my mind was Cowan Bridge and sure enough it could be heard and sure enough it came into sight. Sure enough out we got to inspect and sure enough the butterflies arrived in my stomach. Red admirals are lovely things!

The approach across step weir pool is blind, until just before you boof over the 2m over the weir lip. Seeing the  first kayak disappear over the edge does not really help. A good start though raised adrenaline levels, paddle hard to get through a twisty corkscrew type gaps, as the gradient is steep the boat gained speed rapidly, so fast, clip my marker rock on the right , before heading right,  into the last drop!! oooh a little to far right, over the drop onto the mushroom, all done – relax – for some but Brian went over – focus – go for that roll, still moving fast, swirlly water everywhere and I am up – just – but hey I’m up, paddle down to a waiting Mike (who does have an instinctive brace reaction) – big smiles and such an adrenaline release.


Next down was Rachel, who seemed to have all the time in the world, so cool, so calm – she made it look really easy.
Down to the small weir by the gauge and play around in the stopper. I may have been watching too much ice skating at the Olympics but Sten seemed to be doing quadruple salchows and a tripple Lutz at leisure just bobbing round in the stopper flicking his paddle from one side to the other.

The final weir provided a slide and 3 steps, each of which had a slot just narrower than a kayak is wide- as we found out!!


10th Feb. We have been waiting for the combination of enough water, available paddlers to descend the Roeburn for some time now – maybe a couple of years.

So even though we had programmed to go down the Kent the opportunity for the Roeburn was just too tempting.

We arrived to a river full of brown water and a level at two stones from the bridge parapet an official level of 0.85. Soon the team assembled, Mike, Sten, Brian, Rachel and Martin, Dave and John

This  was there was quite a large group for the small river so we agreed to ‘loop through’ and soon got the hang of not congregating in the same eddy, leap frogging out way down a really enjoyable river – well worth the wait.

Very continuous grade 3 rapids, perhaps a little rocky in places  with a few interesting!! tree hazards, lead after 4 km to the main event.

The run into the large eddy before the drop was interesting, from the height of the bank above the gorge it looked quite straightforward and yet at river level it had much larger waves than I imagined and the looming, undercut, limestone cliff seemed a lot harder to keep away from. Some of us ran the 2m drop down the twisting right route, others on the left chute- both sides OK. Eskimo rescues are wonderful things.

The obligatory cafe stop was held in the Garden Center just by the bridge in Wray, nice coffee, nice scone, superb homemade jam and a chance to talk kayaking and the events of the day by a warm fire.


Another episode of ‘Up a creek a tiny bit of a clue…’

At the end of a very positive morning I felt much less inclined to restructure my Redline kayak with a chainsaw; although it did manage to exact its usual punishment – instantly rewarding  misdirection and wrong-sided lean on my part and giving it its usual swill out (fortunately up-stream of the sewage works…)
I had taken up the offer of some basic tuition on a flatter but flowing section of the Kent upstream from Scroggs Weir and was extremely lucky to have Mike’s undivided attention. Lots of patient, well-explained advice and plenty of demonstrations – it looks so easy!
Some breaking in and out and then back to the cars to move upstream into Kendal. My car loaded with boats, kit inside – along with the keys. Here we have a mixture of two parts numpty (me) to one part over-zealous security on the part of the Skoda, it decided to lock itself, necessitating a speedy round-trip to home to collect another set of keys…
Back to the river and an enjoyable, dare I say – fun, trip back downstream.  Starting to surf waves.
The ornithological interest being provided by: grey wagtail, heron, dipper, little grebe, jay, oyster catcher, black-headed gulls, mute swans, red-breasted merganser, mallard and, what was possibly, an otter  but more likely a mink.Little Grebe, Flixton GP, 27-Aug-05 (B1) L
It is more fun fun my way!- the little grebes efficient on and under the water.

A tale of two estuaries

Friday  2nd Feb. Mike H, Ian Mc, William = 1  guest

Arnside and out into the bay.

A fantastic day.  Blue sky, no wind, snow on mountains, water flowing in estuary.

It seems every time the route followed by the river channel changes. Since January it moved towards Grange Over Sands, then headed off towards Humphrey Head, before a long long curve out into the bay. The incoming tide front waves arrived but only broke to enable us to surf on the right. A big suck to the right. It came and went, sometimes larger, sometimes just a green wave.  As we approached Holme Island the wave broke right over etc rocky outcrops, and so ensued very bodily and swirly  conditions.

Soon the wave reformed for the next 2 km to New Barn Bay, but aghast we saw a person , casually walking out onto the sand , 1km from the shore. Who was he? was he mad?  Casually taking pictures, he seem oblivious of the incoming  tide, the speed and depth to which it might very soon attain. Seems like a crazy risk to us. After a warning word he walked swiflty to the shore… we assume he made it………

Saturday 3rd Feb. Mike H, Ian Mc, William = 1  guest

Ulverston and out into the bay

Mike H, Sten, Brian Andy M.

Well it was supposed to be so wet and heavy rain, but as we meet at Greenodd only cold overcast skies greeted us. A short shuttle to Canal Foot and off into Morecambe Bay. The outgoing tide and river flow enabled us to travel 6km in 75 minutes, before the flow of the incoming tide reversed our direction, No sign of a wave front today. The 6km back took a mere 50 minutes to the Leven viaduct, where the incoming water paused, before pushing on through the 1km wide rapid between the viaduct arches. Boils survived, a gentle float gave us time to appreciate  the birdlife and surf the odd wave as the water battled to fill the estuary. Some greeting from fishermen at the get out was much warmer than the now below zero air temperature.