Improvers – Hitting Lines 2

Date: 10/10/2020 Paddlers: Simon L, Julian, Pete G, Emma

Location: River Lune, from Crook of Lune bridge (Beck foot) to Rawthey confluence Water level: 0.6m

The Lune, was at a perfect level 0.6.  We weren’t the only ones who thought so.  There were about ten people getting on the river around the same time as us.  One brave man in a shiny Royalex Nova Craft canoe (with spray deck).

Despite its grading (2/3) the Lune has some pretty challenging rapids.  A reasonably long stretch, remembering each is a challenge.  We started slowly, inspecting pretty much everything from the bank.  It’s worth it, the Lune offers a plethora of options and eddies.  Hitting the one you intended requires decisiveness.  We entered the main event warmed up and looking for a challenge.

Dropping into the first major rapid, hitting my chosen tricky eddy and feeling rather pleased, I caught the tail breaking out and flipped.  Quicky rolling back up I hoped it had looked intentional!  Signalling the others down, Pete managed one of many impressive rolls of the day.  As we made our way down, entering progressively bigger and trickier rapids, everyone looked comfortable and enjoying the reward of an eddy well earned.

As the river narrows, the waves get bigger.  Julian heading confidently down first, through what was probably the biggest feature so far, managed to tip in with what I can only call a pure, momentary loss of balance.  He found the shallows, uncharacteristically missed his roll, and took a brief bath, quickly swimming to the side.  I was following close behind and managed to hover up his paddle and boat before long and signal the others down.  Julian didn’t look shaken, which was a good job; we had a bigger rapid just ahead.

The start of the gorge below can be easily inspected, but not the bottom rapid. Any swimmer in the first will likely swim the second.  Heading down to setup safety at the bottom, I messed up my line, flipping in the second rapid and bodged two roll attempts.  Gladly up on the third attempt, I signalled the others down, one by one, hoping my failure hadn’t scared them off.  Emma made it look rather easy, with a perfect left line where I had gone wrong.  I was glad of Pete’s bombproof roll as he flipped at the middle.  Julian powered through without issue.  This was the toughest rapid out of the way.

Stopping above John’s stone, remembering the difficulty on inspection and poor view from the bottom, Emma and I set off first.  Surprisingly finding it far easier than remembered.  Ah… this isn’t John’s stone!  Well, it was a good way to run the rapid anyway.  We later found John’s stone and ran it the same way.  Useful having the dry run earlier.  Pete rolled again, Julian bashed his way through in the Machno, but otherwise uneventful.

We were walking the Strid today.  It’s not much loss, there are so many other great rapids to play on, so many lines to pick, so many challenges to set yourself.  Julian hadn’t paddled the bottom section from Killington before.  It’s not exceptional, but worthwhile I would say.  We just portaged the two weirs. They’re not much fun anyway, and easy portages.  More eddy hopping, one final rapid by the confluence, a bit of egress spotting, and we were carrying back up to the cars.

With around five hours on the water, we certainly got the most out of our trip.  Focusing on picking and hitting your line on every rapid is tiring, but everyone, including me, was paddling better at the end than the start.  Deliberately working on your skills is something we seldom do when just having fun.  It was worth the sore shoulders.

Driving back up to get the cars, we came across first, an ambulance, then kayaks propped against the bridge wall, then the water rescue team van.  It didn’t look like training.  We didn’t stop to ask, but not a pleasing sight.  Fingers crossed everyone was OK.


Sea kayak rescue session – A

The Coniston 6 – Do We Really Have to Get in that Cold Water? 

Am I a softie? I’m sure the other 5 in Sue’s Bubble A must also have felt cautious about committing to 4 hours of lake immersion in Autumn. But we turned up to a 12 degree air temperature, a healthy amount of sunshine and surprisingly ‘warm’ water.

What a great session. Sue sharing some of her 5* sea kayak training, and others parting with decades worth of accumulated wisdom. Various towing methods were tried and compared, and of course, lots of immersion and re-entry. And chats about equipment and various other techniques.

A really useful and enjoyable day with plenty of laughs as well as learning. Long live Sten’s inverted thumb technique, Sue’s kitesurfing improvisation and John’s whistle.

Paddlers: Sten and Angela, Pete and Linda, Sue, John H.

Pete Riley

Sea kayak rescue session – Bee


Sue’s “double bubble” of sea kayakers headed south to test and refresh their rescue skills. 
With Sue’s A bubble claiming Coniston Water, the Bee Bubble headed for the south end of Windermere. Put on at 10.00 above the weir on the Leven at Newby Bridge, John S, Ray C, Richad M, and doubling up in a beautiful Valley twin sea kayak, Andy L & Elsie R.
A gentle paddle upstream in sunshine to Fell Foot we climbed ashore to chat about safety routine and planning and equipment. While the sun shone we agreed our plan for on and in the water. Peer rescues and self rescues were planned and Andy and Elsie discussed the best plan to self rescue in the double kayak. Ray rescued John, Richard rescued Ray then on to the big one.

Richard rescues Ray

Valley over, Andy tried a role with two aboard. Not quite, Elsie exited and up came Andy, successful role!

Next both in the water, Elsie braces, Andy clambers in, boat steadied and Elsie clambers aboard. Success and much learned on recovery of a double sea kayak.
John then tried to rodeo up the back of his kayak, nearly made it, but Help-was required to get back in. Finally Richard gave a master class in the use of a paddle float. Two minutes to inflate and do a solo re-entry. I wonder if that paddle float for sale on Mike’s news letter is still available!

Back to the put in on the Leven for 1pm. An enjoyable and very useful exercise.

John S

Duddon take two

Advanced peer river trip 10/10/20

The sound of rain through the night had me excited. The prospect of a good selection of rivers to choose from in the morning would not only make my job easier but simplify the WhatsApp group chat. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and to only see low or scrape everywhere the prospect of running the Leven again was looming. With no other choice and nothing updating I reluctantly amended the calendar to meet at the Leven egress. No sooner had I done this and ‘hey presto’ the Duddon pops up green with a very healthy 0.75 later to peak at 0.77. A very hasty back track on the calendar, update on WhatsApp and an agreed time to meet and we were sorted.

Meeting at Duddon bridge with all four making there own way there it was a pleasant surprise to see Dave G and his friend Tom have exactly the same idea. As the number was a nice round six, it made sense to paddle together. Shuttles sorted with mitigation ( Sten making his own arrangements with Angela) we were again at the Seathwaite put in. 

On the water with glimmers of sunshine and a gentle warm up of boulder gardens followed by a drop past ‘the waterworks’ brought us to our first challenge, Jills Folly.

Having personally avoided the right line the day before, the extra water was covering a tricky boulder sufficiently, so this was today’s choice. A mix in the group of left and right lines had everyone down safely, even though Tom was determined to show off, pirouetting on a boulder 😁.

So far so good then. Well the next section is a fun boulder garden run culminating in a rush of water through the tight gorge. Unfortunately Tom and Matt both went fish counting, tripping up on hard to see boulders delayed things slightly, but no harm done and we soon on our way. 

With the main run into the gorge enjoyed by all, we continued on to Ulpha where a short break was taken.  The level was holding well, even though it had visibly dropped a bit. (A boulder I use as an indication was covered on the way up to the ingress was now showing).Continuing then we were treated to some lovely flowing rapids, play waves and more 🌞.

As usual the next big challenge is the run into Rawford bridge.

With everyone pausing in the eddy river right to discuss lines it was again a mix of choices. An exhilarating drop for any ability, had everyone successfully through, except Tom who couldn’t make his mind up which side of the large boulder he would go. A swift rescue with no harm done to man or machine meant it was just his pride that took a beating. A challenge for anyone but as it was Tom’s first time on the river he did very well. 

One more testing rapid then to negotiate with complete success and onto the egress at Duddon bridge. Three hours of fun went by in a flash. 

Great company and a nice catch up.

Paddlers Sten, Mark H, Matt, Dave G and Tom

Mark M

Thank god for the Duddon.

Peer trip, last minute.  09/10/20 Advanced

Well when you’re ready to go and you’ve planned the day off work, there’s nothing more disappointing than a cancelled river trip.  Not much rain the night before left Brian struggling to find us a river to paddle, so (I’m sure)with a heavy heart the calendar trip was cancelled. 

A quick scan of the levels on rainchasers and hey ho the Duddon was up to medium (just). With a scrambled message to LCC what’s app river group to see if anyone was up for getting out I waited. Rob was quick to reply with a definitive yes.

Fortunately for both of us the Duddon is our local river so only 25 minutes to the egress. (Unlike the three lads that had traveled all the way from Manchester, which we met when we were getting off the river)

10.15am meet then and once changed we were on our way to the put in, which this time was new to me as we decided to put in at Seathwaite and Tarn Beck. This welcome addition with some nice grade 3 boulder gardens added an extra 15mins to the trip. 

With the river covered and no scrapes we made our way down stream challenging ourselves to find the hardest route through the boulders. Playing in the waves and spinning on rocks (well trying to) we were soon at Jills folly. Memories of a recent trip and seeing that it wasn’t as clean a line as would like we opted for the chicken route on the left. 

Next the gorge section which was great fun and flowing nicely. Soon we were at Ulpha bridge so a 5min stop and a Scooby snack was well earned. 

Once on our way again the sun that had blessed us for most of the way relented to a barrage of heavy sleety rain. This didn’t last long though and the sun was soon out again. More boulder rapids then Rawford bridge. No inspection required so a run round the right was the selected route, and both successfully. 

Before long the fun was over and we were at Duddon bridge, with big smiles and two and half hours of memories. 

A brilliant river at all levels it’s a river you just can stop loving. 

Thanks to Rob for keeping me company 

Mark M

Thursday evening fun

Thursday 8th October..

With the river at 0.75 at Killington bridge the Lune looked ideal for a short but energetic workout. JohnS, MichaelP, RobW, JohnG, EricD and JamesS (guest), gathered to test their skills at eddy hopping up steam as far as possible. Play boats make hard work at this, while RPM’s are more suited. JohnG with his gorilla paddle and his gorilla physique made best progress upstream. The rest did well and were steady apart from a couple of small mishaps. On to breaking in and out of the available current, good practice for all, RobW showing good improvement in quick time. With 30 mins to go before 6.00 we carried up to above the short rapid section and had an exciting run back to the bridge. An energetic two hours, back home for a beer as the light began to fade.


Open Boating in the Yorkshire Dales – day 3

Day 3 of 4 Monday 5th Oct. Wednesday 7th Oct. River Tees, Winston to Croft on Tees  25km grade 2(3) then1(2)

A lovely stretch in more glorious sun. lots of grade 2 intermingled with flow. Tom recalled and found a sulphur spring on the left bank.  Eventually we drifted past Pierce bridge, a few km later the rapids decreased in frequency, often through islands. Until a rather large weir brought our progress to a halt. Pete and Linda in their inflatable double kayak took the middle left ramp through turbulent water. Those paddling open boats declined the lure. Bird life increased in quantity and volume. Before  Croft appeared around a corner much sooner than expected- the flow was afters than it seemed

Mike H

Open Boating in the Yorkshire Dales – day 2

Day 2 of 4 Monday 5th Oct. River Swale, Richmond to Great Langton  24km grade 2(3)

Today we were joined by Pete and Linda in their inflatable double kayak

Starting from the park and ride we revisited the last 2 km of yesterdays paddle , the colours even today more orangey in today’s sun. Portage the falls before turning the corner and entering a wide gorge where some lovely slides and waves tested our skills. As we passed onto Catterick a variety of  class 2 rapids kept us entertained. Even long meanders held small secrets of egrets and high sand banks and the like.

Mike H

Open Boating in the Yorkshire Dales day 1

Having delayed this trip form September due to lack of water and then changed location as Mrs Sturgeon didn’t want visitors, we had decided to stay on campsite near Leyburn and do day trips.

Day 1 of 4 Monday 5th Oct. River Swale, Grinton to Richmond. 19km grade 2(3)

Mike H, Tom and Ian Mc enjoyed a fine sunny day with enough water remaining from storm Alex to provide challenge, but not too exciting for upsets.  Easy flowing water lead to grade 2 or occasionally straight forward grade 3 rapids. Some rocky, some shingly. All read and run, until km 15km Lownenthwaite bridge , where as short inspection was need to find the best way. The final rapids to Richmond falls looked over by Richmond Castle and early autumn colours.

Mike H