From the Pennines to the lower Kent

Sat 28th Dec 2019

The planned trip into the Pennines to explore had switched and we settling for a low level run on the lower Kent.

The four (Mike H, Mark M, Brian and Ian) became five with a late addition of Simon. Meeting at the get out for 10am, and then up to Scroggs weir for the put in we were efficiently on the water by 10.40am for a very pleasant start. No gloves required.

Steady progress and a little bony in places (the level was 0.49) brought us to Prizet Bridge where we met up again with a group from Sheffield, they decided to put on here.

The following sections proved to be still plenty of fun and before we new it we were at Force falls for the finale. Two rolls were required, myself on Gun barrel and Ian on the last drop. 

This was all completed however in just 1 hour 10 mins and left a few of us wishing for more. The plan then was that I loaded all the boats in the van whilst cars were collected and off to the Leven for a short run down to Back Barrow bridge. Simon decided he’d had enough so the five became four again.

Although quite busy (we bumped into the lads from Sheffield again) with little choice over where to paddle group’s spread out and there was plenty of room to play. The Leven was low but still ok to run the bridge and cover the main central boulder, 0.94 earlier that morning.


Surfing and practicing rolls etc down over the many play waves before all safely through under the bridge. 

A good finish, which only took another hour and with everyone changed it meant only one thing, a fruit scone or cake at the motor museum washed down with a latte.


Boxing Day

Rob H. Mark M, Emma S, and Sten took a break from their Christmas festivities to enjoy a low water Boxing Day run on the River Crake. The level was 0.54 on the gauge at Nibthwaite, this proved to be a good level. There were clean lines down all the rapids, the overhanging trees could easily be negotiated and there were a few small play waves to be found. The trip was reasonably uneventful, thought there was one roll executed on the rapid before the Bobbin Mill weir, (for those who know the river) when the victim tripped over their edge on a sneaky rock.

The absence of the box of cookies that appeared on the Christmas paddle was commented on, but judging by how tight spray decks were (on tummies not cockpits) this was probably no bad thing.


Xmas paddle 2019

Santa  came in his sleigh with his elves from Barrow. Two wise old men follow the star north from Preston. A reindeer from Warton and shepherds from Kendal met 3 bringing cookies from Ulverston, making 14 in all. A jolly jape was had by all sliding over the weirs below Killington Bridge. Then plying on ledges to the Rawthey confluence.
The river gave us presents of a throw line and paddle- thank you.
The long  flowing km interspersed by the odd riffle and rapid  brought us to a shingle beach- where cookies were shared.- thanks Sten.
Some might have swam many times the  previous year, but improvers had become intermediates, independent  paddlers – just got to smile. So nice to see 14 kayaks bimbling down, all playing, chatting and interacting. All friend sharing adventure brought together bu love of  what river running offers. Maybe it is what being in our club is all about.
Soon after the  more picturesque section of river from Underly bridge, more distinct rapids:  some played , some played then got played  with, some  were  played with and didn’t manage the chocolate log roll, Still is it wasn’t too cold.

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Paddlers were.: Mark M, Mark H, Phil C, Mike H, Brian, , Sue, Sten, Emma, Rob, Paul, Ian, Andy M, John S, Rhod
Mike H


While one group were off down the Derwent the midweek river kayakers  decided on the Eamont since we rarely venture to this river. Phil C, Mike H, Russ, Dave G, Paul, Mark H, Rachel. Martin, John S met at brougham Castle  bridge and ingress onto Ullswater to avoid the new bridge works.

We were soon being sped along by the water at a medium level 0.80 on the gauge.
Russ gained some paddling tips from Mark H whilst the rest floated and chatted to be interrupted by the occasional rapids and weirs.

No incidents at all, the sun even joined us. Russ so pleased to complete his first  river without swim.

Mike H




The Derwent,

On Wed 18 December 5 LCC, 9 other paddlers from around Cumbria and a dog joined forces in seakayaks, open canoes and river boats to tackle the River Derwent from Bassenthwaite to Cockermouth.  

There was a squally wind on the lake, which resulted in nice surf waves as we paddled to the outflow.  The river was a twisting Grade 1 to 2 and presented lots of breakouts and small waves for the assorted kayakers.  The seakayakers tried to keep out of the way of the more nimble boats, and it was a good introduction to moving water for those seakayakers not used to it.  The main hazard was trees, one of which managed to topple a seakayaker into the river, but apart from that the trip passed pleasantly, without incident.  

It was the last of this year’s 7 midweek seakayak trips planned by Mike S, so thanks to him for organising this one and all of them.

LCC paddlers were Chris B, Eric D, Richard M, Mike S and Mike P.

Mike P


The Ribble Link

Wed 27th November 2019

4 LCC sea kayaks and 1 guest started out at Tarleton lock, south of Preston, which is where the Leeds Liverpool canal joins the River Douglas.  We had been watching the tide flow quickly up the Douglas without much enthusiasm, so started out just before it turned.  It was a pleasant paddle down this river, past some boatyards with seagoing yachts moored alongside.  It widened out and joined the Ribble, with BAE Systems Warton not far downstream.  Unfortunately the ebbing tide that had been assisting us on the Douglas was now against us on the Ribble, about 5 knots in the middle of the river.  We stayed as close to the edge as we could, but it was hard work getting upstream of the sewage works which occupies the North bank.  

Finally we turned left up Savick Brook, and about 0.5km upstream found a sea-lock.   This was now a weir, as the river level had fallen so much.  There were 2 ways up: to climb onto the slippy concrete structure supporting the rotating lock gate in the middle of the weir or to climb the steep muddy bank about 8 feet high.  Neither option looked attractive, but we made it, and entered the Millenium Link canal, more info here: 

This is the first canal to be built in UK since the Manchester Ship Canal in the 19th century, and was completed in 2002 at a cost of £6.5m.  It was a disappointment.  We were paddling in a ditch with high muddy walls and difficult lock exits which absorbed much time.

At the 6th lock there we doubled back to join the Lancaster Canal.  It was now 5pm and getting dark.    We completed a 6k section of this canal in darkness, but it was very pleasant paddling and the orange glow from Preston seemed to reflect in the clouds to give us sufficient light.  We finished at the Hand and Dagger, where we had a celebratory pint.

Thanks to Chris B, a native of these parts, for the idea and to Mike S for coordinating.

Paddlers were Mike S, Eric D, Chris B, Mac, Mike P

Mike P

Great Greta

Snow melt overnight topped up lots of rivers, but we decided on the Greta because it was also being fed by dam release from Thirlmere, and was a healthy 1.37m. Six club members turned out, plus two Guests, Tim from Penrith CC and Jemma from Cardiff University CC. A cold day, but with blue skies and snow on the hills it was a very ice day to be outside. The river was running quickly, but we stopped to play in the eddies and the waves on the way down and had a couple of hours on the water.


No dramas, just a few old trees in the river to steer around. Mike P’s boat was shipping water and doing it’s best to become a submarine, but he didn’t need a periscope to complete the trip. Coffee, scones and cakes in Threlkeld’s village hall helped to thaw us out at the end.

Paddlers Phil C, Mike P Mike H, Mark H, RAChel Martin, Tim Gemma.

Phil C

Fun on the Ribble


Locks Weir/Stackhouse gauge read 0.48 at 0430hrs.  The showers since kept the level topped up to 0.42 for our trip.  This level provided plenty of water to make things quite exciting.  

The start was delayed at Horton-in-Ribblesdale while a snow storm passed through.  This gave great views of Pen-y-gent with snow but meant everyone, who had remembered to bring them, wore gloves and extra hats.


A fairly easy start to Helwith Bridge gave us chance to warm up / thaw out before the main action started on the Twin Bridges section. 



At the Twin Bridges section there were rapids through the whole section and two bigger drops.  Mike arranged us into 3 groups to tackle this part.  The final drop was the hardest, steepest , biggest waves, and enticed  Sue and John into swimming.



6173B7C9-142E-48BE-86D6-CC4F180AA2F4Here is Mark H bringing the boat over while

Andy provided John with a spare paddle.  Another group was sorting Sue’s kit out further upstream.





We portaged Stainforth Force involving a tricky lower down a slippery bank.  



872ECC54-7907-41B3-A4D3-64CFBF8EA167A bend in the river with the water pushing against a cliff was another tricky spot.  




564D5A12-2F46-4864-83D6-B2E56F51437FBrian got chance to practice his rope skills again while Mark M quickly inspected the floor of the river for John’s paddle but not finding it he rolled back up.

E3F1D3D8-8296-49E4-BB14-D05B0622E3F3_4_5005_cThe weirs are always “heart beating faster” moments.



65921D93-21B9-4ECD-90A1-33A57B0F36CE_1_201_aMike gave excellent instructions, far right, aim right, last paddle stoke off the lip to boof, , how to paddle the steeper weir which we all tried to follow with varying success.



We approached the final rapid class 4.  People found just aiming downstream seemed to work just fine.  


What a great finish to a great river.  We spent three and a quarter hours on the water in the freezing conditions but all 10 of us came away with big smiles on our faces, especially while putting on our second warm coat at the end. after paddle treats were taken in the Watershed Mill  next to the river.

A big thanks to Mike for stepping in and organising a great day and for getting us to work together as a team. 

The paddlers today were: Mike H, Sue, Brian, Mark M, Mark H, Rachel, Martin, John H, Andy M, Pete R


Always room for more improvers/improvement.

Phil’s planned improvers paddle saw perfect weather and pretty good water level 0.51 on the Kent from Staverley. The start time of 12.30 was perfect for those needing a lie in.
Phil, MikeH, MarkH and JohnS assembled in Burneside. Shuttle up to Weir above Staverley. JS got over enthusiastic about the Weir, should have followed Phil’s example and walked round it. Anyway an early sit in shallow water seemed to sharpen the senses. All went well through Staverley and over Wilfs Weir. Lots of chance for improvement as we paddled in sunshine and blue skies.
Cowan Head Weir and rapids looked spectacular in sunshine, we all had a look, two walked but MH promised and gave a perfect demonstration. MarkH couldn’t resist, spectacular over the Weir then backwards through the rapids! John and Phil rejoined in the calmer stuff lower down.
Steady progress to the get out at Burneside.
Thanks to Phil, Mike, and Mark for sharing their expertise.

Intermediate to Advanced skills

It is not often you can plan a trip 6 weeks ahead and have perfect water levels. But Duddon on 0.9 turned out that way.

Mark M, Mark H, Mike H, Brian, IanMc Sue, Dave, Phil met at Duddon Bridge, ingress ingressing the Duddon at Crosby Gill.

A quick discussion about some more advances skills, bow draw, paddle reverse side draw, falling onto stopper sideways, using stoppers to facilitate turns and sliding bow over rock to ensure gain upstream eddy end. We split into pairs and round the first tricky corner to  burst a rather large hole.

The idea for individuals try new skills, by working the river features and where even  following the route set by the pair. only 1km to Duddon bridge, so the exercise was repeated.


We then floated off putting our newly practised skill into action, on a run of the lower Duddon. Unfortunately  river scrimblies won at least 5 times but did not deter form the trip.

Snacks were taken in Cafe in Broughton.