Unfurling carnage on the banks of the Mint – Playing with plasters, bandages and dollies with lungs.

17th & 18th April 2021

The LCC is undergoing an interesting, and in my view, exciting renaissance. With British Canoeing urging increased leadership and safety awareness in clubs across the nation, part of the LCC response has been to subsidise 1st aid training. To that end, 10 of us spent 2 long days at Kendal Rugby Club to learn the dark arts of treating folk who have taken a nasty turn. 

Under the expert tutelage and the hawk eyed supervision of Kelvyn James, we worked our way through classroom theory, CPR on dummies equipped with lungs and mouths, and a whole host of different practical scenarios simulating disaster.

Fun it was. We were put under pressure; we fumbled with new techniques and equipment; electrocuted dummies; and no doubt killed a few as well. And of course we laughed.

For those of us who have done it before, we learned that: 15:1 is now 30:2; those suspected of inhaling water require 5 immediate breaths; the recovery position is now the ‘safe airway’ position; the Heimlich Manoeuvre is now ‘abdominal thrusts’; and for rescuers who struggle to find a rhythm, ‘Nellie the Elephant’ has been replaced by ‘Staying alive’!

If you get an opportunity to do this course, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Pete Riley

With Sten, Emma, Mike, Mark McGuire, Dave Gray, Tom P, Dave Watson, Rachel and Ian.

“Leading the Lune with Dan.”

On a chilly April Fools’ day, but with a promising forecast, 5 Moderate river leaders met up with Dan Wilkinson to test and develop their leadership skills on the Lune.
Dan, the BC leader trainer, suggested a trip from the Crook of Lune to Killington Bridge to give us plenty of variety and hopefully sufficient water. The team agreed. This was Dans’s method for the day, discussion and consensus in everything we did.

Phil C, John S, John W, Rob H, and Mike P, sorted boats and gear by the riverside having returned the vehicles to the top road. Dan was quietly assessing our kit and apparel. On the water for a warm-up as Dan assessed our paddling skills and competency. This all done without us realising, lesson one in leadership, know your groups suitability for the river you plan to paddle. 

We set off down the river, the weather brightened and became warmer. Many aspects of leadership were discussed and questioned. Problems were assessed and solutions suggested. 
Very good instruction and ideas from Dan, and the Lune at this level was superb. Perhaps the lockdown layoff made it all seem so much better.

Both Johns avoided the Stone, the Strid provided entertainment and lessons in leadership, altogether a great day on the river with good company.. Killington Bridge loomed and time for rescue practice, Hand of God rescue for the unconscious casualty and throw line rescue for the swimmer. Off the water and heading home by 5pm. Many thanks to Dan for a great days coaching and CC & LCC for providing the opportunity. 
(see www.danwilkinson.org )


Easy River Group, Open boaters’ refresher I

April 8th

After the success of last weeks sessions for the kayakers it was the turn of the open boaters this week.

The one day of the week with miserable skies and rain, but hey, most folks were just glad to get out in a boat and to talk to someone other than their lockdown buddies.

There wasn’t too much water at Devils Bridge but RobG our coach for the day soon had us working with trim to deal with the wind which was more of a factor than river flow at times. A few tweaks to contact points had us making better progress and some significant changes of position in the boat gave more control both up and downwind. Ferry glides, breaking in and out, effective turning and getting more power from different strokes were all in a busy curriculum.

A quick lunch stop gave us the chance to discuss boat set up, positioning and use of swim lines, kit stowage and weight distribution as well as the pros and cons of kneeling thwarts and saddle things or just good old kit bags to sit astride!

The discussions also covered rescue techniques and at the end of the session we had a go at recovering lost boats and swimmers (thanks to both Robs for getting wet).

On behalf of RobH, Gareth, SueS, ChrisH, and myself, a big big thanks to RobG. We all got a lot out of the session and are looking forward to this year’s river trips, and the development of an active open boating group in LCC.

Leadership on the Leven

Friday April 2nd with Dan Wilkinson

Slight fear of the unknown – and the Leven, tanking, tonking, throbbing…..whatever the chosen adjective, was running high at 1.25. Four of us turned up with a degree of trepidation, to learn about ‘Advanced WW Leadership’.

Wall to wall sunshine and with Dan’s very relaxed demeanour, the 4 of us soon settled into a full day of enjoyment, laughter, and inevitably some learning. The trepidation soon dissipated – only returning briefly as we approached Backbarrow rapid! Twice.

Lots of learning and we all probably got slightly different things out of the day. But we were unanimous on one key learning point: 

River groups should consciously seek consensus on how to deal with harder sections of river. (With respect to style of descent; order of paddlers; signals; protection etc.).

Amazingly we finished the day about 9 hours after we started it! Tooled up with lots to reflect on and some new paddling skills. Phew. Not completely frazzled, we took the opportunity to practice (between parked cars) the river descent style known as ‘eddy hopping’. True eddy hopping takes the brain of an advanced mathematician to understand – but once embedded, it’s a valid way of keeping a group together, within sight, on twisty rivers. 

Thanks to Dan, a great coach; and Rachel, Chris and Sten for jointly facilitating a relaxed, respectful, none competitive, low stress learning environment.

Pete Riley

Footnote: I thought ‘eddy hopping’ was something I know as ‘leap frogging’. Apparently the style of river descent where leap frogging takes place……amazingly….. is called ‘leap frogging’. I’m easily pleased!

Pete R

Easy River Group, kayakers’ refreshers.

31 March and 4th April

Session 1

With most folks having had a pretty long absence from the water it was agreed that a couple of refresher sessions would be useful for those who wanted a bit of a shakedown before heading out on the trips planned for the summer. Two for the kayakers and the same for the open boaters.

Mike S offered his services and Killington Bridge was the venue. Maggie, Sam, and Eric were joined on the first session by experts PeteG and TomP who took advantage of the spare places.

“Oooh it’s still quite high” are not perhaps the most confidence inspiring words to hear from the coach on your first day back! – but we wobbled out into the firmly flowing stream and soon it was all coming back. A few ferry glides, a bit of edge practice on the flatter water and we were all happy to eddy hop upstream into the more challenging stuff. Sam, back on the water after quite a substantial absence was back in the groove very quickly.

The added bonus was that it was the most beautiful spring day, with Dippers a dippin’ and Wagtails a waggin’; and a couple of us thinking where we had put the sun cream all those months ago. Lunch was taken in T shirts in the sunshine before Pete and Tom headed up to have a bit of a play in the rapids and the rest of us got back on the water to do our homework. All smiles at the end, roll on summer.

Session 2

Roll on summer; session II was 4 days later and with snow threatened it was on with the thermal undies. This time it was DuncS, Kate, and Eric, again joined by PeteG and TomP.

The water level was considerably lower but still enough to work on the basics. As with session I, it was not long before the slightly worried expressions turned into growing smiles. With the change in the weather, we decided not to “take luncheon” but press on with a little foray down to the confluence.

The first weir didn’t look too menacing – “maybe” we thought sitting gently on the edge. Mike was insistent that the portage was a good option – Maybe though, we thought. “I’ll run it and you can watch” says he; down he goes, oooh bit of a wobble and a scrabble, Tom next, easy peasy, then PeteG, more wobbles and scrabbles – Portage then!

Stangerthwaite next and after a good look we all decided to give it a go and it ended with no dramas and big grins. Everyone now enjoying the more bouncy conditions and working hard on getting the lines and hitting the eddies.

The confluence gave us a final chance for a bit of a play – and all too soon it was over.

Once again a big thanks to MikeS for leading and coaching and to Tom for keeping an eye on us too.

The Tranquil Sea

(or The Heart of Darkness) Friday 2nd April

Head Safari Guide: Mike H

Other members of the expedition:

Eric D, John H, Pete G, Yukari G.

Report by Pete G

Start Point:  Waterhead, Ambleside

Destination: The source of the Zambezi. 

Distance 7km.

The adventure started well enough, a breezy afternoon gave way to a calm evening with near cloudless skies.  

The intrepid crew set out under a westering sky with high hopes of seeing a bit of wildlife and a starry sky.

Dusk brought out bats and the first star we saw was Arcturus. Any disagreements about what stars we were looking at were soon settled by Eric’s App.  A fast moving star passing through The Plough constellation turned out to be an Ariane Rocket.  

A canada goose patrolled the base of a crag, upon which Mrs goose warms her eggs.

As the sky darkened the display of stars intensified but photo opportunities decreased. 

There were some lights near the water that we couldn’t identify.  After some fiddling with contrast and exposure I managed to make the photo a bit clearer but still couldn’t work out what it was. 

All in all a very pleasant night paddle and something I will definitely do again. 

Maybe next time we will see some wildlife. 

Pete G

First day back

River Greta (29th March)

This was the first club paddle following the (slight) easing of lockdown restrictions and my first club trip since joining LCC last December. Water levels had gone from “empty” Saturday to “huge” by Sunday on Rainchasers so Mike, very sensibly, opted for the Ingleton Greta – a nice grade 2/3, which I’d not done for many years. Five of us (Mike, Pete, Ian, Mark and I) met at the egress where Mike established my expertise, since I was the newbie. Having talked the talk, it was time to show whether I could walk the walk so we shuttled up to the start, Pete keeping us entertained with tales of how he’d “helped out” sheep on more than one occasion, much to Mike’s mirth!

The river was at a sensible medium+ level at the put-in, the biggest hazard being the section of scaffolding in the river which the contractors had accidentally dropped from the bridge repairs (and which we helped retrieve)! The trip itself was nice and mellow – just what I needed after a layoff of a few years from paddling – with lots of opportunities to play. Mark was in his element hitting eddies, getting on waves, and rolling (mainly intentionally!) several times.

There are a few hazards to be aware of, including a length of fencing in the water river-right a few hundred metres down from the start, and several places where the banks have been eroded exposing tree roots.

Thanks for organising, Mike, and great paddling with you guys – hope to see you on the water again soon!

👍 John Wootton

Into the Bay

Wednesday 31st March

Sliding off on a glassy mirror.

Cap shaded the eyes.

Adjust footrest, stretch the legs.

The incoming tide, rough a first

A game of where is it now, persistsfor 10 minute for so,

The the breaking wave forms, a quick sprint.

Mike H, Robin. John S, Sten, Brian and Chris D all on.

The foaming front 150m wide.

Then a surge from behind.

Suddenly its all more ferocious, staying straight is more tricky.

Soon the energy tamed. Cheshire Cat grins all round,.

It just keeps going and going, eases around the wide curve off Grange.

Arms pumped, smiles wide enough for the Cheshire Cat

5km later it dies at New Barns Bay.

Only to reform for the final 500m to Arnside, where two SUP and 3 Rescue jet skis complicate the options.

22km over 10km/h surf back

Simply super.

Mike H

Arnside Bore Wave

30th March

In near perfect conditions, Mike, Sten, Rachel, Andy and Ian set off from Arnside prom. at 9.50 to paddle out into Morecambe Bay to hopefully meet the incoming borewave   After recent rains a swift current helped us make quick progress out into the Bay. 

With perfect timing the incoming tide arrived at 11.20 as calculated……and there was a borewave, small at first but building and speeding up as it moved up the channel. 

First sight – looks big!

A good surf was had by all, Rachel’s best borewave trip ever! Well out of 3 trips. 

Andy, in his sea boat got the most surfing.  He was able catch the wave up after it turned into a series of standing waves before reforming, to far ahead for river boats to catch up with but no problem for a sea kayak. All in all, a great mornings paddle on a gorgeous spring day. 

Chris Dale