White Water Safety & Rescue Day part 1

Sunday 26th Jan.  A few members had requested WWSR input. Dave Gray stepped up and guided us through basic aspects of WWSR.

We were humorously guided thorough various aspects. Given time to absorb. practical tasks and embed before moving on. We covered: Personal safety equipment and correct fitting. Group safety equipment with correct Inspection, storage and deployment techniques. Moving/freeing  kit mechanical advantage

After a short coffee it was into the water for; Self rescue, active and passive swimming. 

Sue, Alex, Chris T, Andrew, EricD Simon, PhilC threw themselves at each task with enthusiasm. Dave directed support of Brian, Mike H, Mark H. 

All enjoyed  the input an opportunity, even the swimming in the cold January Lune.

Part 2 promises to be wetter, with boat recovery and rescues /strategic thinking during an incident.

Thanks Dave for your enthusiastic input.


Esk Estuary

25th Jan. It was a bit of an early start but eight of us set off form the beach  at 9.00 near Drigg. High tide of 9.2m at 11:28  the tide waits for no-one. There had bene no wind all week, so it was a bit of surprise to find  A 3′, occasionally 4′ swell.  Forecast on the day for a Force 3-4 South West wind. We worked our way through the surf until out pastel break, where  the sea settled down to just tree swell, the breakers behind us, Navigation is pretty easy here, follow the coast south towards Ravenglass then turn left at Drigg Point, The point  proved very interesting with lots of breaking surf as the sea bed became shallower. So

interesting that one of our team caught a crab and so ended up in the drink. Rescue proved tricky with surf flowing over the boats, however on the second attempt success! until a second paddler succumbed. Brian led 4 further out and rounded the breakers into the estuary, where we all regrouped. Continuing a little further to the south part of the estuary and it all calmed down. Once past Ravenglass it was a diferent world – not quite a mill pond but definately a lot less hairy than open sea.


Paddling up the Esk past Muncaster Castle, gun shots from the local shoot and touch the road bridge at high water, then find a nice spot for a bit of lunch. I would love to say we basked in the warming sun, but sadly not the case. Back on the water and get some warmth in the muscles from exercise !!

Leaving the sanctuary of the estuary, through the breakers and (can you guess) turn right, back up the coast and back to the beach. Well not quite that simple just a slight problem of the breaking surf. 5 of 8 made it to the beach 3 needing assistance. Needless to say one way or another we returned safely, everybody with a buzz from a great days paddle.


Paricipants RobinE, MikeH, JohnH, JulianC, JohnSh, BrianC, RobH, PaulH

Oh and most important – coffee at the craft shop by the railway crossing – very convivial



Repair, Re-use, Recycle

Two of the party hadn’t paddled the Leven for about 20 years so their memories were hazy. It was at 0.96 while we were on it: that’s inside Rachel’s perfect level window so we had high hopes of a great trip when we all set off.  FE01A655-1DC0-4868-86DA-2993A83C36BBPhil had collected Pete’s welded boat and all was fine for the first 100m!  Safely thru the Brick Chute, Pete discovered his newly-welded Pyranha Burn was trying to become a submarine, with a golf-ball sized hole beneath the seat.  Mark H made a brilliant riverside repair with Flashband to the rather large hole left where the weld had been knocked clean off. 130A3BE8-9223-479E-A066-63C92DC6181D


We set off down and played along the way.  Just after the ”Graveyard” rapid Pete was sitting in water again.  That repair had been rubbed off on a rock too.  It really wasn’t at a rocky level.  This time Mark H repaired it with “Plumber’s Mait” to block up the hole completely and a layer of flashband on top.  It was great to see a master repairer at work setting light to the patch to melt it.  This repair held up for the rest of the river.

We all got out to inspect Backbarrow and confer on our chosen line.  It seemed the best line was straight through a cleavage between two waves to be pushed into the right place to have a sweet ride on top of the foam.  Rachel said it was at the “Goldilocks level”; high enough to cover the rocks, but not too fast, so we all ran it. Rachel advised a line to the left, (and Phil went so far left he nearly ended up in the hotel car park), but everyone got through upright.

E821DEA4-C5AC-41D4-970A-D3C000460629F65DCAC6-D71C-4900-9D36-8FF1455EB7B3Later Pete was a little indecisive as to whether to eddie out below the second brickc hute type weir.  The water decided for him but he managed a good roll.  Everyone said they had a great time today and we learned, in real life, about repairing boats.Anybody who wants a Pyranha Burn as a garden planter, contact Pete




Paddlers Pete R, Mark H , Phil C Rachel



Phil + Rachel




Ducks to Water?

On Friday 17th Jan we ran the first of four sessions aimed at equipping paddlers with the skills to enjoy running whitewater. This free course is run by qualified Coaches, and is aimed at a range of people, from beginner to improver.

Water levels were rising after overnight rain and we were keen to have an easy first session, so the Coaches decided to do a run from Kendal RUFC on the River Mint (0.8 of gauge )thru’ Kendal to the Waste Water plant to the South. 12 paddlers turned out, including 4 Coaches, so we split into 3 groups, and set off down mint , over 3 small weir ledges to Poll where Mint and Kent join forces. We stopped to discuss and practice the finer points of ferry gliding, breaking in and out, edge control etc,

Then putting the skills into practices we progressed through town. A nice day on the water, a fair bit of chat, and all the boats stayed the right way up. As one paddler said afterwards; “It’s like Outward Bound for grown-ups!” (More sessions are planned in Feb, see club calendar for details). Paddlers were PhilC, Russell, JohnS, Catriona, Julian SteveM, EricD, Alex Miek H , Dave, Pete G, Brian

Phil C

Ice and the River Crake

Sunday 19th Jan.   

River Level: 0.6

Paddlers: Sten, Emma, Paul, Brian, John, Alex

Honestly, at 8.30 on Sunday morning as I’m scraping thick frost off the car and the lights on the dash reliably inform me it’s -3 degrees, I’m debating the wisdom of today’s trip. Didn’t I see a kayaking film of Greenland once where the river was a frozen slush? Surely someone will call this off. 

I check the club calendar. Nope. Calendar still says ‘Crake, 9.45am meet’. Hm. I hopefully check my phone, mentally planning all the other warm activities I could be doing with my day. No messages. I slowly gather my things together and optimistically check my phone one last time. 38DA7B42-B1D0-4E28-A586-414E37BD934D

John: Meet you at Gilpin Bridge.  

So. Kayaking it is then.

Breaking ice at the edge of Coniston to get the boats into the water feels like dubious start but, in truth, it’s a magical morning. The lake is glass calm, mists rising off the water around us and sun sparkling on the frosted reeds. Two moorhens flap across the water leaving a rippling wake and we paddle near silently and appreciatively to the head of the Crake. 

I’ve been warned about the low hanging trees on the Crake. Basically, it goes TREES, trees, river, trees, river, trees, river, river, trees. TREES! Two felled trees, river wide, below Spark Bridge require a portage. Or, in one case, making a Sten-shaped hole between the smaller branches. His commitment to staying in his boat is impressive. 

Brian and Sten play expertly on every wave they can get on…and that’s pretty much all of them. Paul paddles serenely through every obstacle as if it’s not there, pausing to drift elegantly on and off the waves of his choosing. Emma and John grow in confidence, joining in more and more of the wave-surfing as the river descends. I try to stay out of trouble and practise ferry-gliding in the lesser flows below them. 

We stop for coffee and a snack, and the more experienced paddlers discuss their fear of particular rivers which, as a novice, is strangely reassuring. 

If you break the river into three sections, there is a swim in each section. The first two manage competent self-rescues. The third, me, with a bit of a battering and swimming the rest of the rapid on the back of Sten’s boat, I arrive in an eddy where Brian is waiting with a throwline and my lost paddle. Paul and John are already emptying my boat. Emma waits reassuringly against opposite bank, checks I’m ok, and tells me my river swimming skills aren’t bad… If only it was a river-swimming club, not a kayaking club. 

A deepening mist descend as we arrive at the cars: the sun is gone and we get changed and snack and chat. There’s enough time for a quick café stop and recce of Backbarrow Bridge for a future trip. Despite my bruises and still-dead leg, it looks kind of fun. 

A good day’s paddling by everyone, and much gratitude for the team rescue. 


Lower Tees

River levels went from looking good to low…but then…there is always the Tees.

Across the country through a very cold looking frosty morning, meeting up with Rachel and Martin confirmed it really was cold…but then…we found a nice little sun trap whilst the shuttle was run.

It is quite a long river but there is plenty of interest so time it flows very nicely feature to feature, the first interesting feature Abbey Rapids we all thought was harder at this lower level…but then…the play holes were a not as retentive and more playful at this level.

The long slabs re always fun, and Whorlton falls make you giggle. Some nice play waves too!

All too soon the take out bridge came…but then…there is always coffee and trying to attach five boats to Martin’s car

Coffee consumed and off back across the Pennines…but then…a glorious sunset and there is always tomorrow.

Another Day on the Troutbeck

Wed 15th

The rains of the afternoon before were not quite as much as expected and had dropped away disappointingly by this morning.  The Upper Duddon would have to wait for another (wetter) day.  The river was fairly low (0.76) but proved to be enough to get down.  There wasn’t much choice in lines and plenty of rocks tried to divert us from our paths but it was still fun.  It was a great introduction to the river for me (Rachel) at not a pushy level.
There was one tree limbo and one tree portage; well me and Tim portaged while Mike managed squeeze his way through a tangle of trunk and branches on the water.
Thanks to Mike for introducing me to a Lakeland gem, with at least his third trip here recently!
Trip participants: Mike H, Tim Mather and Rachel”


Sunday 12th Jan.

Some overnight rain, brought the Troutbeck up just enough. 0.86 on gauge. Mark M keen to expand his knowledge of rivers.
Just below the new high footbridge, an island, with rock guarding  the exit channel, caught him unaware, subtle disguised as a wave. Only pride dented. Teh gradient increase to a tree  across the river.  Portage right. Soon the S bend all went well. Aslow slid err left on the 4th ledge.  The pure delight, large cushions and tongues down 4 more ledges  in a small gorge to the pipe bridge.

The sun emerged as the river opened up. steep bouldery rapids now the name of the game. An interlude to remove tree, that had decided to sleep on the river bed. 15cm diameter the trunk,  but soon it was free and lots of tugging  cleared the paddling line.


Steeper again until a new tree hazard, limbo far right! The old weir rapid now just rocky and bobsleigh run running nicely, led via the stepped ledges to Troutbeck bridge.

Nice one guys.

Mike H , Mark M,  Brian








To the Esk with it

Sat 11th Jan River Peer trip Intermediate

Friday night had promised some good rainfall however by sat morning most rivers in the area were still only low. Dilemma then.

A good scan of the forecast and a chat with Rachel on where we might predict the rain falling and a decision was made to head to Duddon bridge. The lower Duddon was on 0.67 which although low was still runnable, but we decided to travel to the Esk hoping for more.

Arriving at Forge Bridge (the get out) things looked promising and the rain was starting to fall so hopefully levels would stay up. (0.7 getting on to 0.75 getting off was the result).

Everyone changed and up to the put on we were all underway by 11.30am.It was increasingly windy and this meant it was fairly cool especially with the rain too.The river was still a little shallow in places but there was still plenty to keep most interested all the way. Trees were probably the main concern.

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The gorge section was good fun while it lasted and only one roll on the day, by me playing in a tricky wave.

Two and a half hours on the water and everyone was ready to be warmed up, so a stop off at the café in Broughton was the perfect ending.

Paddlers included myself, Mike H, Brian, Pete R, John H, Martin, Rachel, Emma and Rob. Apologies from Mark H and Sten.

Mark M

Back to Eden


5th Jan

Despite some rain, Sunday 5th January saw no improvement on the water levels from Saturday so any plans of doing the Duddon or Esk had to be abandoned.

Three participants from Ian’s outing on Saturday (Brian, Mike, and Sten) returned to the River Eden again with three new recruits (Peter Riley, John Gallagher and Emma S).

The level was only three centimetres lower than the day before at 0.76m but it was surprising what a difference this made to the quality of the play waves. A few had disappeared altogether, most were still there but were a lot smaller than expected  for such a small change in level.  There was no need to scrape though and we did plenty of playing on the way down.

There were a few rolls mainly as the result of playing and Brian learn the you cannot take the spray deck off a play boat mid river without it filling with water.

Another good trip, in good company thanks to all for coming.