Cumbria Polo tournament 26 Jan 2019

Paddlers from around Cumbria descended on Kendal Leisure Centre on Saturday 26th Jan for a Canoe Polo Tournament hosted by Lakeland Canoe Club.


6 teams including Penrith, Copeland and Duddon participated in this exciting event, which was won by a Lakeland B team.


R to L  Phil R, Jasper(Penrith novice) Mike H, Mike P, Robin.






Lakeland B






Penrith A












Lakeland A






Penrith B












Before the tournament, a course on the rules for referees was held at Kirbie Kendal school, thanks to Robin for  facilitating.  Tim from Penrith presented and led the discussions, with 15 attendees from 3 clubs.

Mike P


River Cocker

Social Paddle Crummock Water to Cockermouth. 27th January 2019

Brian, our leader for the day, had decided to put back the paddle from Saturday to Sunday in the hope that the torrential rain and melting snow on Saturday night would give us something to work with on Sunday morning. Good call Brian.

The slightly complex shuttle logistics gave us chance to contemplate the flow at the put in at Scale Hill. “Ooooh that looks a little faster than we’ve tackled before” was the consensus from the newbies; “Ooooh good” was the consensus from everyone else.

Onto the water; Brian, Mike H, Sue T, Chris, Rachel, Martin, Nigel, John S, Colin and Eric. Rachel started by demonstrating a perfect roll on the weir. The low tree branch after 20 metres was a portent of things to come later.

After last week’s escapades on the Leven the learned view was that this would be less rocky but no less interesting. We were soon into the first of the rapids, with Colin unfortunately a little too far “in” at such an early stage on a chilly day. Eric spent what seemed like an age high and dry on a rock with Mike, Rachel and Brian a pushin’ and a shovin’; and everyone else taking bets on how it would end. 


Fun rapids and quieter sections followed with a few opportunities for the more able to practice their moves, but Nigel was less fortunate. The next section was a sort of slalom through the trees, and gave us new guys a couple of hard lessons in woodcraft – your correspondent suffering a slightly damaged nose and a swim in two separate arboreal incidents! 

Out of the trees, the sun came joined us, and the snow on the high peaks shone spectacularly.



The river was a little wider now and we floated along happily chattin’ – until we turned slightly left into the wind and had to work a little harder with “wind over tide” waves appearing. Mark, sat on an Island in his kayak joined us just above Cockermouth!

The ‘less’ paired with the ‘more’. Everyone made it safely through the grade 3 bits towards the end despite a couple of excursions into places you probably shouldn’t ought to go until you’re older!


Bounced through Cockermouth an out to the ferry glide across the Derwent to the car park – just don’t fall in now in front of the citizens in the park.

Another group of smiling faces; as Chris said “a grand day out”.

Once again very many thanks to everyone for all the help and guidance and friendship on and off the water.

This week’s learnings – it’s not just the bouncy bits that can get you, the trees and those funny little swirly, whirly, bubbly, swirly things need big respect. 


Arnside not quite a Bore

23rd Jan 2019

Beautiful sub zero, still, blue sky day, with snow on the hills. Drove down watching the sunrise over the mountains. Arrived at Arnside to drop down into fog, helped by teh new Grange lighthouse .


After a brief paddle in the mist on flat calm water the sun broke through.

Mike H, Mike S and Phil had all paddled the bore before, so for me as a first timer, there were tales told of racing breakers and little ripples and everything in between. We paddled out into the bay looking for the channel which seemed to be almost non existent.


Spent some time towing boats behind us as we searched for deeper water, but what a beautiful place to be while we waited!

When it came, it came with a low swishing sound, about 30mins after the expected time, first round to our left, then across to our right, almost surrounding us before we felt a lift from the sand and a gentle drive forward. Had about three short rides, as we caught the wave before it petered out each time. Turned into the eddies and paddled back out into the tidal flow to play for a bit before we got back to Arnside. Great day, thanks pals.


“Improvers” session II – River Leven

  20th January 2019

With very little water in the rivers anywhere it was looking like the improvers weren’t going to get an improvement opportunity this weekend – until Mike stepped in with a suggestion to try the Leven.

What we newbies didn’t quite appreciate at the time was just how much of an opportunity to improve it would be!

Colin, John S, and Eric set off accompanied by responsible (but slightly grinning) adults Brian, Mike H and Sten, what could they possibly be holding back on. – Off into the mist.

Gently through the ‘Racecourse start with a few scrapey bottoms giving a warning of bumps to come.

Mike had been emphasising the need to assess the water and chose a line; so that bit was easy at the brick chute weir, it was just staying the right way up at the bottom which was difficult. A quick bank side chat of options, guided by Brian before the next drop Miill force.

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Colin made the first eddy, – joe cool; John and Eric took the same option only to watch Colin fall in breaking out of said eddy!

Squeaky bum time down the next broken boulder barrier, with John the first to find one of those bowl you over rocks.

I think it was the first time down the front of a weir for us all, but I guess it’s a bit like sex really, you don’t know what it’s going to be like, but then it’s OK and you want to have another go.

The improvers portaged around the bridge at Backbarrow, but gave us an opportunity to see how things should be done – mind your head on those big rocks Sten.

Below, on the next ledge, we were tested even more, With a tricky line sending two of us over to the right when we were aiming left.

A bigger, sloping weir led directly to a long grade 3 where we tried to play ‘follow.’ Every time you miss one rock you hit another – plenty of opportunity for improving here and telling tall tales of improvements made; I now understand why Mike is so keen on everyone developing their backwards paddling techniques! 


The next weir was soon upon us and following the previous analogy I was playing really cool, just drifted up to it; and … stuck on the precipice. Here the analogies will stop.

The decision was taken to go to the left of Fisherman’s Island although the slide into a narrow slot at the bottom was a bit of a surprise to everyone.

The Lakeland Motor Museum Café provided welcome coffee and cakes and an opportunity to recount tales of daring do. We certainly agreed that it had been a pretty challenging day for us all but just the thing to push us on that little bit further. As the adrenaline subsided, the conversation turned to the possibility of a visiting the actual motor museum, maybe on a rainy day sometime – but then if its raining there may be more water in the river ………

Once again very many thanks to Brian, Mike and Sten, without your time and guidance, (and throw lines) we wouldn’t be able to enjoy kayaking as we do.



Saturday 19th. Brian. Sten. Mike H, Martin. Rachel With no  significant  rainfall  for weeks Brain decided the Leven at 0.80 was the only option.  Reluctantly we dragged out of bed;  to be enthused on the drive, by low laying fog banks below snow covered mountains.

Lots of playing and spins brought us to Backbarrow bridge where we split into the ‘main chuters’ and the ‘right variation’.

Despite low water an enjoyable day out with good friends, cemented by coffee at the car museum.



Wednesday 16th January. Andy Gillham’s plan for a sea-kayak paddle round the central islands of Windermere. Forecast was for rain most of the day but didn’t stop 7 hardy kayakers from converging on Ferry Nab at 10.00. Andy, Phil, Tom, Sue, Richard, MikeS and JohnS. The conditions were calm and the rain held off as we headed north past Belle Isle towards Hen Holme, Lady Holme to Rough Holme. Turning south west next, to take in Thompson’s Holme and the Lilies to land by the Claife viewing station cafe to warm up with coffee and hot chocolate. Then onwards south past Ramp Holme to our final turn at Storrs Temple. Back to Ferry Nab having enjoyed good company and surprisingly good paddling conditions.

Improvers on the Brathay

No rain, but a little dribble fell over the weekend. Just enough to enable a  float down the Brathay.  Nine of us John, Colin, Eric, John S, Chris, Phil  Mike H, Dave and Guess Sue and  Tom gathered at Ambleside Rugby club. The low water level meant we could float , paddle and chat without fear of incident. A Dancer and Kendo were retro amongst the kayaks on show. As Elterwater approached, the sun joined, bringing additional reflection to the ever so smooth water.

After Portaging Skelwith Falls, a few were tempted by the play wave.  The section of grade 3 below to Skelwith bridge challenged the improvers.  All succeeded without help.


On to the Rothay confluence and the final challenge, an upstream paddle to the get out.  A fine day out , in good company, with some new friends.


North of Sweden

Wednesday 9th Jan

We were entertained at the Factory tap in Kendal with an illustrated talk by Mike Hayward and Andrea Barr, relating their trip to the Lanio river in North Sweden.

Starting on arctic tundra by helicopter drop and  float down the Lanio river 240km, 8km up the Piipionjoki, and  Torne Alven to the  bifurcation then finally 53 km down the Tarendo river.  A total of 305km in 12 days. Were informed about wild tundra, mosquitoes, lavu, shelters,  the lack of other river users  an unexpected canyons and rapids that went on and on.

Next LCC lecture is on  Wed 6th Feb at the Factory Tap in Kendal 8pm Sea kayaking in Greenland.