An excursion into Morecambe Bay

Monday  28-10-19        Chris D,Mike P, Dave H, Tom P.

On a glorious autumn morning Chris, Mike,Tom, and Dave paddled out from Arnside. As often happens, the shifting sands had altered the channels, out from New Barnes bay the channel had widened from last time, resulting in a short stretch of water too shallow to paddle. A 2 minute walk ensued.

Mirages: was that the bore coming? No. Just the reflection of a train moving on the still waters opposite Grange. Another bore coming? no. Just a rapid running out to sea.

After negotiating the tortuous route through the rocky outcrops near Holme island we arrived in the Grange channel. A few hundred meters up the channel, there was no mirage, just the bore, travelling fast, breaking on the left, standing wave in the centre and flat water on the right. Very strange, difficult to catch and a bit intimidating. I missed it, Dave caught it on the left and got pushed onto the sand and got rolled over, making a very fine recovery from a difficult situation. We followed it back towards the the rocky outcrops, where it caused very confused powerful water and huge moving eddies, quite unnerving.
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So, not a success as a bore wave but an enjoyable and thought provoking paddle, in stunningly beautiful weather.
 Chris

In search of the green dots

Here we are again heading north to somewhere we have been before: Lairg, hoping to find some rivers we have not done before!   we did.

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Saturday, our first river was the Ericht, 0.87 a yellowfins dot on WTW at the Craighall gauge made all the more interesting by lowering kayaks down. Small cliff using a throw rope and a hand over hand descent. Nice river, grade 3. Mike went one eddy too far and had to be assisted to escape via small eddy just above the boily slots.

A finish in Blairgowrie and off to Aviemore to stay in the Youth Hostel.

Sunday. River Avon, pronounced A’an  high on the WTW gauge 0.98 – A red dot and a sunny but bitterly cold day. It was the first day of the year with cold hands- probably not the last. Gaining a bit of confidence on the Distillery rapids .

Then on to Lairg, our home for the week and a very nice house as well.

Monday WTW showed two green dots,  Helmsdale was up, 0.87 on Kilphedir gauge so off we went grade 3 hoping to have a look at two harder falls, well we took discretion before valour on this occasion.

Tuesday, WTW showed a green dot on the Carron, Brain so wanted to the Carron, but eventually had to concede, there was just not enough water and mountain bikes around Balblair were the best option. The gauge calibrated wrongly. Back home and off to the trail centre at Balblair. Driving home popped in at Falls of Shin to have a look. We always look at the falls of Shin and say “that’ll go but we’ll do it another day”. Well today we did it.

A trail centre and a park and huck on the same day – we don’t often do that!!!

Wednesday. Still no rain, off to the see Meg, well the Meig to give it the proper name. The dam release  only 2 cumec or so, but bed rock and narrow, so steep in places. Class 4. Some nice features. 2 portages  and only 2 inverted episodes.

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Lots of chanterelles dotted the forest floor, soon we had 1kg.

Thursday, Some rain overnight  in the west and maybe the Loanan is running.

PA240046.JPGWell it wasn’t,  But , the Inver was. 0.68 on  Little Assynt gauge. WTW showed scrape. But 3 gorge sections turned out to be medium with the more open between sections being low great river. In fact  quiet chinky grade 3 with some powerful flows. After a dam the 3’s joined to make a steeper grade 4. Ian decided to use the footpath. Soon we portages ‘cave’ rapid, before more chunky 3 lead us to the sea.

Friday, Still a bit of wetness around,  Oykel gauge at East Turnaig showed 0.6 , too low for the Oykel but providing the opportunity to go and look at the Einig.   Some funny feeling in the stomach as we carried kayaks down the river.  A grade 4 bedrock gorge with 2 portages finish with the double stepped  Enarg falls to. Another great river.

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Delayed start on Saturday, lots of adrenalin and England were through to the Rugby Final. Fortunately it rained while we watched  Quick look around the rain gauges we risked the derive north to the Vagastie– it was running nicely.

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Easy meander lead to  2m ledge. Some nice grade 3 slides and soon the river gorges in. The entry a sticky V slot, negotiated carefully, then the fun begins all 3/4 slides ledges run-on sight, made us giggle.

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The big event, a 3m drop into a boil pool. Leads to a steep slide then longer steep slides to the eddy. We set safety cover and creamed it. The final 500m continuous 3+ ledges slides, holes and brought our week to an end- but what an end.

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England through in the rugby and the Vagastie in the afternoon – days don’t get much better than that.

In fact the whole week worked out really well and for the second year on the trot provided a great week’s paddle and as always yummy  food and great company.

WTW= where’s the water  ( SCA map of river gauges)

Paddlers  Mike H, Brian , Matt, Ian Mc

Lune 26th Oct

Mark M, Rachel, Sten , Pete, Chris

Having studied the weather forecast  for the previous couple of days I was hopeful for some good rainfall in the lakes/north lancs area. However the predicted rain never ventured this far north.

This left little to choose from without travelling some distance. The usual whatsapp messages were flowing and it was agreed the only thing really was the Lune (again) this was to be Sten’s third trip to the Lune in as many weeks..

Sten, Chris D and myself made our way from Crooklands, while Rachel and Pete Riley made there own way to the get out at Killington. It was still raining when we arrived at the get out and Pete introduced himself to Chris and Rachel.Shuttles sorted and with everyone ready we made our way up to Lowgill for the start.

The levels weren’t great but 0.6 was respectable and meant there was plenty of interest still on the water. Nearly three hours on the river, practicing all the usual moves was good fun and made the trip more than worthwhile. I even managed to get through the strid upright this time, as did everyone.

Sten wasn’t 100% and did struggle throughout the day. He still managed to soldier on to the end though. Well done. A great river with lots to offer for all levels of paddler, however I think its safe to say we can give this river a miss now, for a few weeks at least.

Mark M 

The Lancaster Round

 

The trip starts and finishes in Glasson, which combines sea, river and canal to complete 18mile in a loop in the Lancaster area.

Early Sunday morning myself, Paul, Mike, Mark, Duncan & John set off from Glasson, up the Lune estuary towards Lancaster.  We set of at 9am. HW Glasson was 10.30

 

With the high flooding tide we made good progress even with a strong wind against us.

In what seemed no time at all we were at the Golden Ball (Snatchems)

Paddling along above were the road is.We then paddled through the sheltered waters of historic Lancaster. After a portage around the right of Skerton weir we were at the impressive canal Aqueduct It was time for a brew in preparation for the 30 metre carry up to join the canal.

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Making our way down the canal as we were entering Lancaster, a young Roe  Deer dived and swam across the canal.The Water Witch was soon in sight and we thought it would be rude not to stop and sample their fine Ales.

After lunch we headed for Galgate and the turning for the Glasson spur, after bridge 86.

 

Team work was required for the portage round the 6 locks. There was even time for another brew at lock 3. We were then back to where we started 6.5 hours earlier

Another great day with great company.

Mark Gledhill from Halifax cc
Paul Hartley
Mike Douglas
Duncan Scott
John Jenkins

Rob Hitchmough

Rob

Improvers step up

Monday 28th October.

Alex had co-ordinated trip but then decide to go off to Scotland so John S and Duncan met at Killington Bridge supported by Phil, Mike H and Mark H

They decided that they would like a longer river trip , and given Lune gauge was only on 0.5 the Lowgill to Killington bring exception seems suitable.

The emphasis was on reading the river and making  your own choice about how to proceed.

 

We stopped occasionally to discuss things to consider. Steady progress was made without mishap, John and Duncan reading and running, all quiet impressive really.

After  inspection  of   the narrow boily boulder section and the narrow slot,John and Duncan  added them to their  ‘next time’ list.

A lovely sunny day enjoyed by all.

Mike H

 

 

Easy River paddle

Easy River paddle 19th October

Low water levels forced the downgrading of an easy river trip to a park and play session on the River Lune. Alex, Emma, Nige, Rob and Sten met at Killington New Bridge.

This was first time some of us had met so after brief introductions, we set off carrying our boats upstream along the path through the nature reserve, there was a pause and discussion about how far upstream to go. Alex who had recent experience from a similar trip then led the way to the put in.

With a great deal of practicing our ferry gliding, high crossing, surfing, breaking in and breaking out we managed to make one run down this short section last almost two hours.  One person, much to our surprise, elected to test the group’s rescue skills by practicing his capsize and wet exit drills at the top of the first rapid. Later in the session another keen individual did some combat roll practice. Most of the group, some a bit reluctantly, did practice some rolls in the calm water under the bridge at the end.

A short but worthwhile trip that helped members of the group build their skills and confidence.

Sten

 

Rothay

 Wednesday 16th Oct 2019

After our Roa Island seakayak adventure on Mon 14th Oct, John J and I were up for a paddle on Wed 16th.  I mentioned it to a few folk at the Film Night on 15th, and Phil said he would put it up on Whatsapp.  Late Tues night, John and James S responded so there were 4 of us on the Rothay the next day.

Despite rain in the morning, the river levels were low so it was a bit scrapey at the start.  The highlights of the trip were the sun coming out and the Rothay playwave, where we spent a long time playing.  John J and James were in our club Piranhas, which performed admirably. 

Mike P

River Annan in an Open canoe

two day open canoe trip with one night wild camping: 25th – 26th September 2019 It was a small group of adventurous paddlers who took on the beautiful River Annan this September.  A very small group.  (Just the two of us if we are completely honest – Andy and Tom!)

We put on at Johnstone Bridge to a river swollen by recent rainfall and with a nice flow to help us on our way.  After a pleasant hour or two of canoeing between scenic wooded river banks the character of the river began to change. It widened and the current became almost imperceptible.  At the same time the landscape changed to open grazing lands and we were exposed to the strong south-westerly winds which really slowed our progress and made the next few miles quite arduous.  Once through these however we were back amongst woodland, its shelter and all the wonderful wildlife that it supports. 

Our camp for the night consisted of hammocks and tarps set up in a peaceful riverside wood.  A small fire (well – a Swedish log) and a dram of Scotch kept us toasty and warm as we chatted the evening away.

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Next day we set off early.  The river was flowing nice and strong again in this region and whereas the first day’s travel had consisted of paddling almost exclusively on green water, the second day’s paddling took us through a number of grade I and II rapids.  There was nothing too serious but just enough to add some fun while traveling through this very scenic section of the river.

At the infamous Brydekirk Weir we got out on river right to inspect it to find that there was a torrent of water pouring over the shallow edge of the weir which can otherwise serve as a mini-portage area.  No chance of drifting slowly up to this and simply lifting the canoe over it then.  To make matters worse there were three hefty tree trunks stuck in the bottom of the weir just below us.  Leaving only one sensible option, we took to ‘Shanks’s pony’ and portaged our camping gear and boats to a place downriver of the weir.

After a short rest and coffee we were off on the last leg past Annan, under the road bridge and through the last of the white water – the broken weir that is visible from the B721.  We had no trouble paddling this at this generous river level. 

DSCF8445 Our pace then slowed as we battled against a stiff head wind for the last 500 metres as we made our way up this tidal section of river to the get-out point, Annan Harbour.  The get-out itself onto the slipway was uneventful as we had timed our arrival to be close to high tide.

The day ended with me learning something new about transporting two canoes on a single car by placing them both on their sides.  Tom bolted on his vertical kayak bars to aid in this and I must say it worked a treat; the boats didn’t move an inch on the drive back to the start point. 

Looking back, the second day of our trip would be good to re-visit as a one day paddle as it contained most of the ’interesting’ water.  However, there is something deeply refreshing about spending a longer period of time in the outdoors, and especially spending a night outside.   That makes the two day trip the winner in my eyes every time, despite the period of adversity it entails.  I’ll definitely be back to do this exact trip again!

Andrew

Sea kayak Trip Roa Island

 Monday 14th October

A total of 12  sea kayakers set out from Roa Island on Monday 14th October on a trip organised by Mike Sunderland.  This was trip 2 of 4 of his introduction to seakayaking, and there were a range of abilities present from novice to experienced paddlers.

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High tide was about 12:30, so there was a decent flow as we got going on the water at about 10:00am.  We paddled up towards Jubilee Bridge past the entrance to the dock system.  An intrepid paddler tried to paddle through, but the ABP sentry thought otherwise “You can’t come in here”, he shouted.

We made it to the bridge, and parked just upsteam to sample the delights of the Ferry hotel.  Some had beer, some had coffee, some nobly made sure the kayaks didn’t wash away in the still-flowing tide.  

We split into two groups to head back, the Walney coasters and the Piel Island explorers.  The Walneyites had some hard work against the tide initially, but were rewarded as the tide switched by seeing 30-40 seals off the South coast of the island.  The Piel explorers initially took the eddies close to the disused shipyard slipways, then headed down the central channel as the tide switched and explored the Piel castle ruins, trying also the front door of the pub, sadly shut.

Both groups met at Piel and had an exciting ferryglide back to Roa Island at about 3:30pm.  A grand day out, thanks to Mike S for organising

Mike P

Improvers trip. Lune/ lower Rawthey

Alex invites LCC to the Lune. Monday 14-10-19

The idea was for a few of the clubs improving white water paddlers to organise a training session with the help of the more expert club paddlers.
Not wanting to be left out, five more experienced paddlers joined us at Killington Road Bridge over the Lune. They headed off to Crook of Lune for the standard to run down to Killington Bridge.
The Improvers, Alex, Sue, Duncan and John S under the guidance of Phil, headed 500m up the river to find an interesting play location.
An hour of play and learning under Phil’s instruction all went well, breaking in and out of the flow, crossing the current to eddies on either side of the river.
Time to run back down the river to meet Mike H at the bridge, three of us got bit carried away in the faster flow and decided that a cooling off swim was in order. Phil and Duncan ably sorted out the mess, watched by Mike from the bank. Good swimming in fast water practice.

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Alex had to head back to the real world, leaving 5 of us to move on to a quick run down a stretch of the Rawthey. With a couple of cars dropped at the get out by the Railway Falls, we headed for the put in at Sedbergh New Bridge. Great water level for us improves, guided by Mike and supported by Phil we made safe progress over weirs, grade 3 rapids and many hidden rocks. All enjoying a great stretch of beautiful river. The last challenge was the two level drop at Railway Falls. Mike and Phil demonstrated professionally, Duncan made it look like he’d been doing it for years, Sue made a very brave attempt, John thought a walk was a wise end to a great days paddling.
With much thanks to Phil and Mike for looking after us all.
Cheers,
John Speakman