Easy River Trip; Loyn Bridge to Halton 26th July 2020
After the recent trip up the Lune from Glasson towards Lancaster the ‘Easy Riverers’ chose to go the opposite way this week, down from Lyon Bridge to Halton.
We looked forward to welcoming two paddlers new to Lakeland CC. Rob Wilson brought an open boat but unfortunately Oscar Riley was unwell so we were down to 5. Julian had his Machno with Chris S in an open boat and Mike S and Eric sharing a Hoo.
The levels seemed to have held up and there was quite a flow going for an “easy” trip. As we passed the junction with the Wenning the wind started to pick up and soon we were battling into what the BBC called a Moderate Breeze. It might be moderate in the studio but in an open boat on a wide river other terms were being used. Mike swapped in to help Chris whilst Rob and Eric practiced technique into the wind. At times it seemed as though we were just about holding our own despite the flow. We got round the islands at Aughton but it was time for plan B. Doubling up in Rob’s boat and towing Eric’s was much better, it almost felt like the wind had dropped. Progress was so much improved that it was easy to forget that we had a “butty” in tow; especially near the trees!
The wind kindly dropped for lunch but then picked up as we got going again. Over the little weir at Caton and then on to the bigger one at Halton. We got out and had a long hard look. It was certainly a little higher than planned and certainly not something Rob or Eric had tackled before. Chris had, and she sensibly decided to give it a miss. It wasn’t so much the weir but the Grade III bit after it that looked daunting to the relatively inexperienced. Julian in the Machno was positively relishing the waters; and even the prospect of an open boat floor show!
Boats tidied, crash hats on and off we go. Rob had a squeaky bottom moment teetering sideways on the top of the weir before performing a neat backwards descent, with that “meant to do that” look on his face afterwards. All safely over and into the rapids – Mike lead through and admitted to having a couple of moments negotiating an “over it or round it” step. Unfortunately Eric was too slow with the over or round decision with the inevitable consequence of sideways on the top and a less dry outcome than Rob’s. Good practice in using the swim line ensued and we were soon back up and running for the short hop to the finish at the Lancaster Uni boathouse.
A good challenging trip with lots learned – the quote “nobody said it would be easy” comes to mind – hmmm!