“Into” the Eden

Improvers park and play, The Sands, Carlisle. 11th February 2019

After cancelling a couple of weeks ago in the teeth of some cold and wintery weather we were greeted by sunshine and a hint of Spring at Carlisle today.

The object was to have a skills session with Mike Sunderland and Anthony from Border Kayaks our coaches for the day. Anthony had also brought a great selection of boats for anyone to try and gave us a detailed review of what each could do – if you know what you’re doing.

Mike inspected the water and decided it was a little higher than expected. JohnS, Colin and I inspected the water and decided it was likely going to be park and pray!

Onto the water, Chris was looking for a boat to replace the recently demised dancer and was soon making everything look easy in a range of different coloured craft. Alex and John were also going well.

Mike and Anthony were observing our efforts from the bank – as we splashed around, I started to wonder if it was a bit too much for them; but eventually they joined us with constructive feedback. Yes Mike, I did look terrified, because I was! 

Ferry gliding was the order of the day. With some folks making things look ridiculously easy and with Anthony’s advice – “keep looking at where you want to get to” battling with one’s brain which was saying – “look at those scary waves coming at you” we all started to make some progress.

We split into two groups and whilst the experts continued just below the weir the improvers headed down to the road bridge where things were a little smoother but with an equally rapid flow. More progress here. 

A follow my leader took us back upstream under the bridge and across the tricky flow running around the bridge columns, Eric was the last to stay dry.

Short but sweet, everyone quite knackered but buzzing at the end. Perhaps the conditions were a little too challenging for learning fine technique, but it was great to experience the conditions in a safe place.

Very big thanks to MikeS and Anthony for all the help.

Today’s learning – keep looking at where you want to get to – It works!


After the rains

Too little water can be a problems and of course, so can too much and that is what we were woke up to on Saturday morning, the wind and rain had been hammering away at the windows all night, leaving me to wonder if the Crake with its’ overhanging trees was a good idea after all.
Wondering up from Spark Bridge to look at the bridge that I was worried about being able to get under, it looked tight, too tight?
On past occasion on a run down the Crake with rain pouring into the river from every tributary and across the fields, levels at first gradually rose and then rapidly rose when we arrived at the point where we could see the bridge , it dawned on us there was no way we could get under.
A pow wow at the bus shelter and we decided to leave the Crake for another day and with the Crake there would be plenty of other days – maybe next week?
Off to the Duddon and the put in at Hall Duddon by the phone box.
The river was at a very nice level (0.8 ish) and the sun came out, water was cold but so clear, so nice to be out, we moved nicely in a controlled way down the middle section. The river was full enough to interesting but not too hard, still needing to concentrate not in any danger of calamity but having to stay switched on to avoid catastrophy.
The section through the gorge was especially enjoyable, the river gradually steepening and then turn a corner and out of the gorge.

Passing Ulpha we met up with Rob, Paul, John and Mark and onwards through the crystal clear views and for the first time in a while a feeling of warmth from the sunshine.

Soon the rapid by the bridge came into view and we inspected, each of us identify our lines, walking back to my kayak just in time to watch Mike provide a demo forthe watching crowds. Well that looked easy someone remarked – I smile, fallen for that in the past.
Happily the rest of the group runs the rapid with a similiar degree od aplomb.
Soon, sadly, the take out bridge arrived and the end of another days kayaking…until tomorrow that is.


Death of a Dancer

Monday 4th Feb saw the normal flurry of messages before it was decided that the Greta at 1.3 would be worth a visit, paddling from Threlkeld to Keswick. A select group of Phil, Mike, Dave, Tom and Chris had an easy put at the bridge with nice views of Blencathra, having remnants of the melting snow, followed by some pleasant easy rapids.

The river gained momentum, one steeper section an incident with a submerged tree followed Phil demonstrating the only bow rescue I have ever seen outside a pool, so thank you for rescuing me. Various rock fields followed, the new bedrock section holding its own surprises.


The final(for me) rockiness negotiated, but then ended with my Dancer impaled on a rock, by the caravan site. A big hole, a bit like a boiled egg after being hit by a spoon- but larger. Old brittle plastic with cold water, add rock impact!  After much jiggling I was released from the projection and mad ether bank as the Dancer sank,

The others disappeared,  and enjoyed the rest of the run. When I get a new boat, I hope to complete it as well!

A very pleasant day out with good company, hopefully soon to be repeated.

Chris T

Cumbria Polo tournament 26 Jan 2019

Paddlers from around Cumbria descended on Kendal Leisure Centre on Saturday 26th Jan for a Canoe Polo Tournament hosted by Lakeland Canoe Club.


6 teams including Penrith, Copeland and Duddon participated in this exciting event, which was won by a Lakeland B team.


R to L  Phil R, Jasper(Penrith novice) Mike H, Mike P, Robin.






Lakeland B






Penrith A












Lakeland A






Penrith B












Before the tournament, a course on the rules for referees was held at Kirbie Kendal school, thanks to Robin for  facilitating.  Tim from Penrith presented and led the discussions, with 15 attendees from 3 clubs.

Mike P


River Cocker

Social Paddle Crummock Water to Cockermouth. 27th January 2019

Brian, our leader for the day, had decided to put back the paddle from Saturday to Sunday in the hope that the torrential rain and melting snow on Saturday night would give us something to work with on Sunday morning. Good call Brian.

The slightly complex shuttle logistics gave us chance to contemplate the flow at the put in at Scale Hill. “Ooooh that looks a little faster than we’ve tackled before” was the consensus from the newbies; “Ooooh good” was the consensus from everyone else.

Onto the water; Brian, Mike H, Sue T, Chris, Rachel, Martin, Nigel, John S, Colin and Eric. Rachel started by demonstrating a perfect roll on the weir. The low tree branch after 20 metres was a portent of things to come later.

After last week’s escapades on the Leven the learned view was that this would be less rocky but no less interesting. We were soon into the first of the rapids, with Colin unfortunately a little too far “in” at such an early stage on a chilly day. Eric spent what seemed like an age high and dry on a rock with Mike, Rachel and Brian a pushin’ and a shovin’; and everyone else taking bets on how it would end. 


Fun rapids and quieter sections followed with a few opportunities for the more able to practice their moves, but Nigel was less fortunate. The next section was a sort of slalom through the trees, and gave us new guys a couple of hard lessons in woodcraft – your correspondent suffering a slightly damaged nose and a swim in two separate arboreal incidents! 

Out of the trees, the sun came joined us, and the snow on the high peaks shone spectacularly.



The river was a little wider now and we floated along happily chattin’ – until we turned slightly left into the wind and had to work a little harder with “wind over tide” waves appearing. Mark, sat on an Island in his kayak joined us just above Cockermouth!

The ‘less’ paired with the ‘more’. Everyone made it safely through the grade 3 bits towards the end despite a couple of excursions into places you probably shouldn’t ought to go until you’re older!


Bounced through Cockermouth an out to the ferry glide across the Derwent to the car park – just don’t fall in now in front of the citizens in the park.

Another group of smiling faces; as Chris said “a grand day out”.

Once again very many thanks to everyone for all the help and guidance and friendship on and off the water.

This week’s learnings – it’s not just the bouncy bits that can get you, the trees and those funny little swirly, whirly, bubbly, swirly things need big respect. 


Arnside not quite a Bore

23rd Jan 2019

Beautiful sub zero, still, blue sky day, with snow on the hills. Drove down watching the sunrise over the mountains. Arrived at Arnside to drop down into fog, helped by teh new Grange lighthouse .


After a brief paddle in the mist on flat calm water the sun broke through.

Mike H, Mike S and Phil had all paddled the bore before, so for me as a first timer, there were tales told of racing breakers and little ripples and everything in between. We paddled out into the bay looking for the channel which seemed to be almost non existent.


Spent some time towing boats behind us as we searched for deeper water, but what a beautiful place to be while we waited!

When it came, it came with a low swishing sound, about 30mins after the expected time, first round to our left, then across to our right, almost surrounding us before we felt a lift from the sand and a gentle drive forward. Had about three short rides, as we caught the wave before it petered out each time. Turned into the eddies and paddled back out into the tidal flow to play for a bit before we got back to Arnside. Great day, thanks pals.


“Improvers” session II – River Leven

  20th January 2019

With very little water in the rivers anywhere it was looking like the improvers weren’t going to get an improvement opportunity this weekend – until Mike stepped in with a suggestion to try the Leven.

What we newbies didn’t quite appreciate at the time was just how much of an opportunity to improve it would be!

Colin, John S, and Eric set off accompanied by responsible (but slightly grinning) adults Brian, Mike H and Sten, what could they possibly be holding back on. – Off into the mist.

Gently through the ‘Racecourse start with a few scrapey bottoms giving a warning of bumps to come.

Mike had been emphasising the need to assess the water and chose a line; so that bit was easy at the brick chute weir, it was just staying the right way up at the bottom which was difficult. A quick bank side chat of options, guided by Brian before the next drop Miill force.

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Colin made the first eddy, – joe cool; John and Eric took the same option only to watch Colin fall in breaking out of said eddy!

Squeaky bum time down the next broken boulder barrier, with John the first to find one of those bowl you over rocks.

I think it was the first time down the front of a weir for us all, but I guess it’s a bit like sex really, you don’t know what it’s going to be like, but then it’s OK and you want to have another go.

The improvers portaged around the bridge at Backbarrow, but gave us an opportunity to see how things should be done – mind your head on those big rocks Sten.

Below, on the next ledge, we were tested even more, With a tricky line sending two of us over to the right when we were aiming left.

A bigger, sloping weir led directly to a long grade 3 where we tried to play ‘follow.’ Every time you miss one rock you hit another – plenty of opportunity for improving here and telling tall tales of improvements made; I now understand why Mike is so keen on everyone developing their backwards paddling techniques! 


The next weir was soon upon us and following the previous analogy I was playing really cool, just drifted up to it; and …..got stuck on the precipice. Here the analogies will stop.

The decision was taken to go to the left of Fisherman’s Island although the slide into a narrow slot at the bottom was a bit of a surprise to everyone.

The Lakeland Motor Museum Café provided welcome coffee and cakes and an opportunity to recount tales of daring do. We certainly agreed that it had been a pretty challenging day for us all but just the thing to push us on that little bit further. As the adrenaline subsided, the conversation turned to the possibility of a visiting the actual motor museum, maybe on a rainy day sometime – but then if its raining there may be more water in the river ………

Once again very many thanks to Brian, Mike and Sten, without your time and guidance, (and throw lines) we wouldn’t be able to enjoy kayaking as we do.