Christmas treat

Sunday 27th December

Rainfall brought by storm Bella peaked the Hindburn at 1.7 by 11p.m. but by 8 a.m. it if had fallen to a sensible 1.0.

Mike H , Rachel, Martin and Nigel met at middle bridge before shuttling up to the ingress. The treat was we were starting 2km upstream from the usual put in, potentially a first, as the local farmer had never seen kayakers there before. A trog down the RUPP to the put in bridge, where just enough water still flowed.

After 2 seep fences Frequent rapids at grade 2 or 3 keep us amused as we rotated the lead. A nice long slab being the pick of the bunch.

One log across the river, was submerged enough to just pass over. On reaching the usual ingress, we reminded ourselves of them slabs below and risk of trees hazards after Bella’s storm winds.

The 4 long slabs brought smiles as usual

Then more grade 3 all the way.

Interspersed with tree issues which caused 4 portages

Another fun day out, with 2km of new river and interest all the way.

Mike H

Wast Water sea kayaking

23 December 2020

Wast Water often reveals its most brooding magnificence when the weather around is dark and foreboding. – Should be OK today then.

The last of the Sea Kayak trips to the western lakes saw 6 brave souls gather in less than optimal conditions, rain and white horses on the water. Stu had arrived the evening before hoping for a change in the weather but when daylight arrived he, being wise, decided to give it a miss.

Once on the water at the Overbeck NT car park, AndyG, TomP, Julian, MikeS and Eric headed north towards the top end of the lake. Although it was into a stiff breeze the going seemed relatively easy. A quick exploration of the inflow from Lingmell Beck and it was time to turn south along the base of The Screes. With wind behind the only paddling required was just the steering strokes as we happily surfed our way down the lake, all good fun but everyone knew that nothing is for free.

We managed to find shelter from the increasing wind behind a little promontory at the outflow to the Irt. “Lunch” – “….but it’s only 11.30” “lunch!” Fortified, it was soon time to start the short 3.5Km hop back to the cars, but not before a small festive libation provided by our leader.

Once out from behind the shelter the magnitude of the short 3.5 Km became clear as we battled Force 6 on the nose. Up the shoreline grabbing the occasional shelter, 1 2, 1 2, 1 2, …….. At the start someone who shall remain nameless suggested that we set up a contingency shuttle. After just over a Km we found a small beach and whilst grabbing more shelter agreed that a brisk walk along the road would be a very pleasant way to end our day out. Unanimous. Good call as the squalls at times had us battling – on the road!

Are we having fun yet?

Back in the car, hot chocolate and flapjack and the heated steering wheel on!, Another grand day out, good fun, challenging at times but what can you expect if you go up Wasdale in winter. Big thanks to Mike for putting on the whole series of lakes trips and keeping the sea kayaking going in the deep midwinter.

Slalom practice on the Leven

Roy G, John H and Sten met in the layby by the A590 Road bridge over the River Leven. Roy had posted a park and play session on the calendar to be held at the slalom gates upstream of the bridge. Only Roy had a slalom boat John and Sten hoping for a bit of skills honing in our river boats.The Newby Bridge gauge was at 1.38 m and at the slalom site the only eddies were amongst the trees on the river banks and all the usual rocks were well covered. Roy made the decision to cancel the slalom practice, it was not a viable option for the group at that level.John was quite keen to give his new boat it’s second outing so he and Sten set up a shuttle and between Newby Bridge and Backbarrow. Effectively the old test course for those with a long memory. As the river was high many of the eddies were washing through ant the best play spots washed out. That said we managed to spend a very enjoyable hour and twenty minutes practicing skills and trying to surf some fast and difficult waves.We both felt we’d had a bit of a workout by the time we got off the river by the weir above Backbarrow. Sten

Report by Sten Sture.


Intermediate river trip 19/12/20 Greta (Ingleton) Bubble 1

Saturday morning and we had choices. This was Ian’s trip so after a bit of WhatsApp chat a decision was made. The Greta (Ingleton) it was to be. 

Ironically there was another group from the club out that day, and they too had chosen the Greta. Bubble 2 had beaten us to the put in at New bridge. With social distancing in action they were soon on there way leaving us to ready ourselves. 

This was my first time down this particular river, so with the new briefing process, river signals and discussions on what was to come taken care of by Ian, we too, were soon on the water.

The sun was out and the water was glistening, sometimes making it tricky to see your line. It felt low in places but generally everything seemed to be running ok.

Playing and messing on the many play waves along the way definitely kept you warm.

Arriving at Burton in Lonsdale the bridge has a lovely play wave under the river right arch, this is where Rachel, Mike and Martin displayed there superb surfing skills.

Immediately after this are a series of shelf’s which were a little tricky to negotiate, but everyone managed ok. More opportunities to surf some waves before getting to a river wide shelf, 1.5m high. This wasn’t inspected but was clear of trees and could have been run in several places. All electing to follow Rachel’s line, river left. Again all through fine.

More grade 2 rapids led us to Greta Bridge where bubble 2 had egressed.

We had another couple of miles to go as we chosen to egress at Loyn Bridge on the Lune.

The weather had definitely changed and with sun gone the winds picked up making the last section that bit harder. It had turned much colder too so we were all pleased to see the bridge, get out and get warmed up.

An interesting paddle that has me intrigued as to what it would be like with a lot more water.  A river I need to revisit at a higher level for sure. 

Paddlers  Martin, Rachel, Ian, Mike, Pete and Mark M


This might just save a life

White-water Rescue Skills, Devils Bridge

If this WW rescue skills session sounded a bit dry, it certainly wasn’t!  It was thoroughly engaging, at times entertaining, and most folk got thoroughly wet. For the participants it was also potentially life-saving, one’s own or that of a fellow paddler.

The event outline was to cover throwlines, in particular the `clean-line` principle; also `reaching rescues`; and swimming techniques including defensive and offensive approaches. No boats required but we had to bring our own paddles, throwlines and tapes/slings.

Two groups worked simultaneously but entirely separately with the session delivered by 5 excellent trainers. A tight programme of elements was covered giving an essential structure which adhered to the latest British Canoeing guidance. After introductions and some discussion about participants equipment we were quickly onto `dry` throwline practice using different techniques for throwing and re-packing. Only one spaniel and two small children were caught in the carnage of flying ropes which followed!  Lots of theory around use of throwlines such as `position of maximum usefulness`, bracing and belaying, caring for equipment was covered before moving on to use of tapes, reaching with a paddle and more. Finally, we discussed swimming; from catching lines to the eddy roll.

After a quick lunch and the chance to make safety improvement to inadequate kit, it was off to the riverbank for the practical element.

The “throwbag of shame” – making safety adjustments.

This was where it all got applied in realistic situation with a swimmer moving in a fast rapid. Participants got to have repeated goes at defensive and offensive swimming, throwing a line, bracing or using a belay buddy, and using a tape to create a vector and ease hauling the swimmer. Of course, the implementation didn’t go perfectly, but patient observation and advice from the tutors and the opportunity to repeat and repeat meant that understanding and improvement happened for the participants.

Spot on Sue……practice makes better.

The venue on the Lune at Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale, is fantastic for delivery of both the theory and practical, with the advantage of a burger van on hand if nourishment required. 

In conclusion I would seriously recommend booking on one of these events – there’s always something more to learn, re-learn and practice. You don’t want to be flapping on the bank when a situation requiring slick action arises.

Using a 5m tape and teamwork.

Report by John Hooson

Ennerdale by kayak…and time machine

Exploring Ennerdale Water

8th December 2020

My good friend Mike Mills, lived for many years at the Ennerdale Field Centre, so he was my first port of call as he set up, negotiated and caretakes the lake  access many moons ago.
We met Mike at the village school and swiftly followed his lead – until we left the tarmac and headed for a slippery farm track, heading downhill to the site of the deceased “Anglers Hotlel” right on the edge of Ennerdale Water.  All that’s left is a few foundation walls – pics below show the Hotel in all its glory.

This weeks team was Rob Wilson, Ray Clarke, John Gallagher, Dave Watson and Mike Mills – as we had a last minute cancellation and Mike decided to paddle with us.
The weather predictions were for a miserable day – the usual grey sky, rain and a stiff breeze, however we saw very little of this dreary weather, enjoying some blue sky, clear shades of grey/silver and a breeze at the far end of the lake, as we snook in to the shore, leaving the river Liza quietly filling the lake.

Ennerdale, is crystal clear, prestige, small but beautiful:

Area: 3 km².    Length: 4.17 km.    Surface elevation: 113 m.    Width: 1.28 km
Inflow source: River Liza.                Outflow location: River Ehen

Mike’s knowledge of the history, the popularity, the geology and the human industry – charcoal burning, proposals to store nuclear contaminates! Etc were enlightening, making the day.

The banter was relaxed, paddle peaceful and the circumnavigation with all its nooks and crannies just very interesting.

So for a remote winter’s paddle it was a perfect day.
Not that I could say that of the exit back up the muddy and broken track, after the rest of the team had created deep ruts and muddy tracks, designed to make the drive out the biggest challenge of the day!
My grateful thanks to our local, guide Mike Mills.

By Mike Sunderland

New tricks for an Old Dog

19th December

Having recently re-joined LCC I was keen to improve my kayaking skills as I had not been in a river kayak for at least a decade. I signed up to the intermediate/ advanced skills coaching session. At the last-minute Mike Hayward had stepped in to run the session as Dave was unable to lead the group. 

Water levels were low ( 10.06 on Brigflats garage) as the group (Rob, Duncan, Sten, Emma and myself) met at Middleton bridge for a run down the Rawthey from Sedbergh. I had remembered all my kayaking kit and had even read the required homework provided by Mike the night before to help us with our learning.

At least I could talk the talk, even if my paddling skills would be lacking !!!!

As we approached each rapid, we were given specific skills to practise, and given individual feed back under the watchful eye of Mike. River speed, angle of approach, edge, boof strokes !!! My memory was tested to the limit! Others in the group demonstrated the skills with fine precision. 

Feedback from Mike was always positive, on one rapid my line was wrong, my speed was slow and my boof stoke was on the wrong side!! Feedback “You have still got the survival paddling techniques Rob” smiles all round.

As we approached Railway Falls, we got out and discussed the various lines and put safety in place. 

As I walked back to my boat, trying to memorise the line, that little old feeling in the stomach returned, that I remembered years ago when running bigger rapids “Why am I doing this?”

But once the rapid was run smiles all round. A great day we all learned a great deal. A big thanks to Mike for stepping in at the last minute.

An old dog but still keen to learn more.    

Rob G

WWSR – kayak rescue

17/12/20 -Devils Bridge, Lune. 1.09 on Killington Gauge. There were two groups for this course, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I was in the afternoon group of Martin and Rachel, Ian McC, Chris Dale and Chris Wood and a robin. After a short introduction of equipment and basic issues, we were soon on the water to practice.  Recovering a runaway boat, which has shed its occupant is an essential skill.  Here we were focussing on recovering the boat once the swimmer has been secured.  1st attempt solo, after which we discussed an identified the main points. Key is the need to push the boat into a chosen eddy, using your own boat to do the pushing.  It soon became clear that there was a distinct technique involved in this, which involves keeping the boat pointing towards the eddy, with your own boat at 90 degree, so positioned on the outside and slightly down stream of the target.  This technique was well summarised by Mike and then put into practice by most of the group, albeit after a few errant attempts on the first try.  We then worked in pairs.  On our final run, the rescue boats were launched further into the flow, which guaranteed they would pass through a short rapid, before they could be rescued.  Suddenly, the situation was made more realistic when we had a swimmer and extra boat to recover.  All aspects of the course were called upon and with our newly honed skills, there was a positive outcome.  Thanks to Mike Hayward for his expertise and coaching skill.  We all learned a lot.


Lancaster canal paddle.

To prove that LCC caters for all tastes, Roy G, Chris S and John S headed out in glorious sunshine from Tewitfield to glide slowly along to the Canal Turn Pub in Carnforth . Knowing it would be closed, but planning to use their outside seating area for coffee and sandwiches. 1.5 hours each way, not much happened, but that was the point!

The last 500 metre sprint race was won yet again by Roy. Perhaps it was the lighter boat, or maybe his years of slalom training!

A very pleasant trip, thanks to Chris and Roy.

Derwent part 2

Easy river, less so the lake. Lower Derwent, Bassenthwaite to Cockermouth.

Sunday 13th December.

During the week everyone had been looking forward to the resumption of the Easy River trips but driving along the side of Thirlmere in lashing rain looking down on the white horses, one wasn’t too sure!

When Peter C arrived at Peil Wyke he accused us of messing about and hiding the boat he’d dropped off earlier; after a few moments we realised neither were joking. The paddle was gone, and the boat had been hidden presumably for “collection” later – low lifes. Be warned folks. Fortunately, this was a home game for Peter and a replacement was quickly sourced.

The wind eased a little and looking out across Bassenthwaite it was decided to hug the shoreline round to the entrance to the river. Two open boats, Tom and Sandra, and Eric, and three kayaks, MikeS, PeterC and Julian nosed out from the underpass. All was going well and we started to cut the corner a little towards the Sailing Club. But then a monster squall came hooning down the lake. The only good news was that it was onshore. With white horses becoming breaking rollers, Tom and Sandra got swamped as all made for the shore.

Time for plan B.  Tom and Sandra decided to wait for another day as the rest did a short shoreline portage to the mouth of the river. How can two places be so different? On the river it was breeze behind and a full but gentle flow.

The rain eased off and the wind dropped. Julian and Mike were taking the opportunity to practice grabbing every eddy they could find, and Eric was getting the hang of going for the inside eddies on the bends to avoid being pulled to the outside and the waiting trees! Mike set off to explore a side creek loop which gave us a chance for a leg stretch and quick brew while he walked his way out.

Having spent a little longer than planned on the trip, the gloom was starting to gather, and the rain was back as we got to the weir outside Cockermouth. The wind, with perfect timing picked up again just enough to spin the front of the open boat back up the weir as Eric began his descent. Arriving backwards with a “meant to do that” grin it was only a short hop to the get out in downtown Cockermouth.

As ever, fun and smiles and lots learned by all. Thanks again to Mike, always appreciated.