A blustery day

With all the rain we had choices; do we head north to the Irthing as on the calander or change. As most people had never paddled this river collectively we agreed to stick to plan A.

Arriving at Gilsland 10.30am was good going and then the shuttle/shuttles as we dropped cars off in strategic places just in case took time, so we were on the water for 11.45am.

The forecast was for strong winds force 6 gusting 9, and as it’s a long trip for a short paddle, so  the option to put in 10km higher up was it proved to be an interesting decision.

It wasn’t long before we all realised just what we had let ourselves in for. Paddling into a head wind with gusts of 40/50mph was starting to take its toll.
 A brief respite while we portaged a tricky 3m fall with a nasty hole. Brian pondered for a while but sensibly decided against. Rescue would have been very difficult.

Onwards into the wind often being blown up stream was energy sapping with very little shield. Eventually things started get exciting,

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however short lived as the approach to Crammel Linn meant a tricky portage and lowering of boats down the valley side to the bottom of the falls. 

After admiring the falls and with all of us discussing which way they would take it, it was back to reality and off down the most popular section of the Irthing.

4 km of bliss. Lovely boulder garden rapids interspersed with some slides. Great fun and everyone soon forgot about the long windy section before. 

During this section we caught up with a group of open paddlers that we had noticed earlier in the day getting on. One of there group had been injured but after checking with them they were fine and help was on its way. The injured person was comfortable and happy to wait for the rescue team. ( directions to the rescue team by some of our group proved very helpful 

We carried on and before too long the get out was upon us, four hours on the water in total.

And no swims or rolls from anyone. 

A quick change and then the long trip back for the cars meant we were too late for the much anticipated coffee and cake. 

Never mind, always next time.

Gauge 0.52 when we started and 0.42 at egress. Paddlers Mark M, Rob, Ian Mc, Grant, John H , Brian, Mike H, Chris D, Pete.

Mark M

A visit to Swaledale

So much rain! trying to avoid spate rivers. 10.50 found us at egress word Arkle Beck near Reeth. The drive over saw flooded fields in Wensleydale and Swaledale. Sleet added to the sunny intervals.

River gauge suggested top of medium 0.75 but looking at flow behind tree trunks and lack of eddies made us reconsider. Knowledge of recent super floods  probably creating tree strainers, we opted for plan B. But what was that.


Well! How about  go downstream. A few bouncy rapids ran Arkle Beck into the Swale 0.9 on gauge but in flood.  Mellow enough, though fast flowing. Soon a few sections of standing waves, then more, then bigger. At one point almost 800m long.  A prickly flow around and over a flooded island needed care. The wavetrains persisted, quite unusual for UK rivers.


Very soon we had covered 10km in only 1 hour. So we shuttled back to Arkle beck Egress, where plan A was invoked as the level had dropped by 8cm.

Off to Whaw where a friendly but concerned local  warned us of doom and demise, telling tales of a dead paddler( from 7 years before. He filmed his conversation, without out permission, and said it would be useful in the Coroners court!

Undeterred we evolved a plan of descent, one a little out front, 3 closer together to follow. The first section narrow and steeper continuous grade 3. Only one tree had lain across the river, easily spotted and portaged.



Soon the river heads south and less steep, but another tree defied our progress.still grade 3 but with Cranmer sections between. After  some km the river braids interesting route choices and one more short portage.


In the last few km the gradient increased and bouldery rapids ensue. another tree portage, then immediately a land slide saw 5 trees to walk around, 100m paddle then more walking. but then clear fun bouncy rapid to the end. Brian was so excited he had to paddle on more rapid and take a longer walk back to the car.


So thanks to the local who showed concern and comment from Jim Pullen on Facebook

Jim PullenI rarely kayak anymore, not least because of what happened on Arkle Beck 7 years ago. Bad luck with tragic consequences. Having said that I’m glad people are still paddling it. There are many streams like this in the uk that only rate a 2/3 grade, but can become lethal after high winds. Stay safe everyone.”

Gauge level at egress 0.65, and refreshments at Dalesview cafe

Paddlers  Mike H, Brian, Mark H, Pete R,  and Andy M Rachel and Martin


Taking advantage of  sodden ground and even more rain.  Last minute decision was made to explore the Lyvennet, A new river for all of us.

staring in Crosby Ravensworth we were treated to 10km of grade 2 paddling.  Several easy angled weirs and surprisingly no tree blockages.

Always flowing, and occasional hanging branches to avoid, but very straight forward.

RE river flow s through a lovely landscape of fields and occasional crags.  Just downstream of Maulds Meaburn the river had been ‘ reshaped’ and planted  to reintroduce the original meanders. Local friendly farmer relate dhow he had been flooded 3 times but now not so, so he was pleased with the changes, despite in increasing meanders which had eroded sand banks and left wire fences dangling.  In the final third more grade 2 rapids provided interest.  Before eaten Egress at Cliburn and cafe in Morland.

Miek H , Brain, Rachel, Martin



Lakeland 3rd in polo tournament

Polo library pic_v2.jpgCumbria_N.Lancs Canoe Polo Tournament 8th Feb 2020

Lakeland’s team for this tournament was Andy L, Amber O, Phil R, James W and Mike P.

8 teams were present at the Penrith pool, including Copeland, Duddon and 3 teams from Lancaster University.    

Lakeland had a great start with a 3:1 victory over Copeland, with 2 goals from James and 1 from Phil, but then suffered 2 losses from Penrith 3:1 and Lancaster Uni 4:2, with Andy scoring all Lakeland’s goals.  Lakeland came 3rd in our mini-league then beat another Lancaster Uni team in the playoffs.

The final was between 2 Penrith teams.  Overall it was a fun evening with good skills and enthusiasm on display from beginners to experienced players, and everyone got home safe after an unpleasant drive back through the height of storm Ciara.  

Thanks to Tim from Penrith for organising and reffing most games, and congratulations to James and Amber on playing well in their first tournament.

Looneys on the Lune

The day started with a fine sunrise but rain was forecast. There were 5 of us tackling the mighty Lune – Sue,Mike H, Alex, Greg and Dave H. level was at 0.70.
A leisurely start for 2km before the rapids started with plenty of good grade 2.


all the way to Johns Stone just above Lincoln Inn bridge. There was one early bath at this point, always a tricky spot with rocks and strong currents.
Then down towards the strid at a fairly amiable level. All managed well with one refusal which was probably a wise choice.


Then down we headed into the mad mile as us locals call it. All went well until another swim right at the end. All was in hand as I bobbed past around the corner and headed off for an early coffee. Up at the top of the Killington road get out I decided it was time to check the viability of a seal launch from the top, without me in the boat of course! Well the boat made it comfortably to the middle of the river, heading towards the weir. I was thinking about the swim just as Mike H arrived to save the day. Cheers guys, a fun trip on an average day.
Dave  H

Improvers Trip on the Lower Rawthey

12 February

The third in this much appreciated series of coaching opportunities for those wishing to gain skills for river running took place in the lull between Storms Ciara and Dennis.  A surprisingly gentle and sheltered trip took place down this attractive stretch of river, starting from Sedbergh.  There was interest from the start with small rapids and weirs providing plenty of opportunities to pick lines between rocks and practice skills breaking in and out of eddies.  Mike H gave close coaching to the weaker members of the group (me) and it was gratifying to avoid rock traps as a result that caused some more experienced paddlers to get temporarily marooned.

Shingle rapids and small limestone ledges round every bend were passed without trauma but halfway through the trip a weir / limestone edge combo caught out John S who went for a short swim down to the rock pool beyond.  Mike H guided the Improvers (Minus) through the easy line but in the chute under the following bridge Phil C became momentarily perched on a rock, causing Mike P some consternation as he was rapidly bearing down on him with dubious brakes.  A flatter section followed with a friendly play wave and a stunning cast iron arched railway bridge. 

The Railway Falls that followed were the highlight of the trip for most – a two tier technical challenge with a hole “where you don’t want to be” at the bottom if you failed the test.  I skipped the challenge via the easy portage but enjoyed watching the others successfully negotiating it – John for the first time, determined not to be put off by his earlier swim, and Brian C doing it three times by the hardest routes possible, including via the “hole” which disappointingly didn’t actually eat his low volume boat.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome nice wind down rapids led us to the get out near the confluence with the Lune


and after the short shuttle back, warm soup and rolls were enjoyed in a Sedbergh café.

Paddlers Julian, Miek P, Mike H, Phil, John S, Brian


Somewhere new

With many of the standard rivers huge after the menace of Dennis, Brian correctly suggested Cowside Beck, above Arncliffe.  After negotiating floods to get there the Beck looked in fine fettle. We started high up on the Pennine Way where the water was pouring out of the ground, a bit shallow at first but soon plenty of fast flowing water swept us at great speed around numerous switchbacks and into the remote valley below, with the knowledge of many fences across the beck to help us concentrate.

Breakouts were small and scarce, Mark found him self clutching at straws above one fence, eventually having to bail out and let his boat run the fence.

After portaging more fences and a low bridge the valley narrowed, the gorge was upon us. an inspection showed it was all runnable, 500 m of continuous confined rapids mainly small drops, a very fine section.

The gradient eased now, more water was in the Beck, but you still had to pay close attention to the numerous boulders. ….. and so to the final drop, causing one roll and one tail ender.


Cowside Beck. A great spate run, due to lack of breakouts and water speed, it’s best run by a small team operating in pairs. Thanks to Brian for suggesting and leading and to Mark and Ian for support, truly a team effort.

Chris D

Dennis the Menace

 Following hard on the heels of Ciara, Storm Dennis was due to arrive with a vengeance by noon on Saturday. Given the already saturated ground any rainfall was bound to move quickly into the watercourses. Rachel, having checked the forecast and river levels, wisely opted for the Keswick Greta which was lowish but would clearly be rising later. Ten enthusiasts congregated in the rain at the Threlkeld put in; the white line marker on the bridge parapet clearly visible approx. 8cm above water level. To give space for manoeuvres we broke into two groups of five, the red/yellows and the blue/greens, and descended separately until well into Keswick. Tree debris was widespread from the previous storm but fortunately not in any crucial places and the rapids all behaved providing a fun trip.

Talking of fun; most was had playing, or being played with?!, in the large standing wave below the stone-arched bridge. Andy was first to be gobbled up and spat out (very impressive), others followed more cautiously but no-one matched Andy’s spectacular `launch`. Brian persisted in trying though, eventually running out of steam, and breath, and unexpectedly providing others with rescue practise. By the end of the run the rain was heavy and the river clearly rising rapidly. Back at the put-in the white mark had disappeared but by now we were enjoying hot drinks and cake at the Threlkeld Community Café (recommended).

Paddlers: Rachel T, Brian C, Paul H, Mark McG, Ian Mc, Andy M, Simon L, Rob H, Sten S, John H


10th Feb We’d hoped to paddle the Upper Duddon, but despite the best effort of Storm Ciara, sadly  hadn’t left enough water in that river…so we went to do the Lowther because Rainchasers said it would be “Huge”1.5 on Eamont bridge gauge.  Driving over Shap summit, the air temperature dropped to 2 degrees and the wind picked up. Lovely. Shuttle to Brougham Castle, then back up to Askham to start. By the time we started the level was 1.4. The central channel through the broken weir was tree-free, so we took that, then ducking and diving through the boulders and down to the footbridge. Nice paddling, no dramas avoiding the big hole, far left , at end of caravan site. Around the corner three more holes hid,  between a large consumed section,  all was well until the very last hole: Phil relaxed too early and took a bath as a result. Then down via the last rapid on the Eamont and off at the castle. Most of us were cold and tired, but Mike’s enthusiasm is unrelenting, having seen water coming over the dam. We shuttled back up to Wet Sleddale reservoir. Jumped on below the last (big) sheep fence, and down to the first gorge; twisty, rocky, tree bound and narrow. Safely through, and into the small weir, then a long sequence of fridge-freezer sized boulders, “Never liked pinball” said one paddler, but with clean enough lines, we were starting to get into it a bit. At this point the wind picked up and we had more horizontal sleet, but the river was also picking up; seemingly endless grade 2+ rapids, with lots of interest.

Eyes on stalks because this river has a reputation for fences, but they’d all gone. Back to Rosgill to collect the van and battle roof straps with icy fingers. Paddlers were Mike, Chris, Tim and Phil.


Duddon Dash

Saturday 1st February saw generally low river levels which were still still falling. The Duddon was at 0.66m and the trend was flattening so Paul, Emma, Rhod and Sten met for a short blast down the Lower Duddon from Ulpha Bridge to Duddon Bridge.

Only the four of us so the shuttle was as simple as they get, meet at the take out, four boats onto a car and up to the put in. As expected the level was low but with the exception of a couple of shingle beds and the last rapid the lines were pretty clean (if you were on line of course).

The only upsets came at Duddon Hall where Paul caught a rock and had to deploy a very deep support stroke to avoid capsizing and narrowly made it to the eddy above the drop. The straight route down the fall proved to be rockier that it looked and Sten slightly too far right ricochets from the rock and found himself searching for his roll at the bottom. He was relieved to find it working this time. 


The conditions were pleasant, sheltered from the wind for all but the last 200m of flat water to the take out. We even managed a brief stop for a brew on the way down and Rhod almost got away in time to make it home for the Rugby.