St Bees – 12/05/2018

 

A lovely day as the early mist burnt off to leave a beautiful day, not a breath of wind but some swell left from the previous few days of wind.

Five of us launched our sea kayaks off the beach, Robin, Sten, Harry, Jenny and myself. Robin provided a watching eye and described how the tide splits around the head, with one stream setting North and the other setting South.

Off we went at high tide and kayaked under really impressive, high sandstone cliffs with nesting birds crowding on ledges, think I may have spotted a Black Guillemot, and I think St Bees is the furthest south they breed.

Conditions were a little choppy right under the cliffs but the sun was shining and from a lunch spot we could just make out Burrow Head over in Galloway- maybe another day? 

Returning to the beach in St Bees proved more eventful, some quite nice surfing for some but a bit of a learning experience for others and well it wouldn’t be a day’s kayaking if I did not have to roll at some point.

We were talking in the car about a good day out should have more kayaking than driving, it is quite a short trip but it was good to get out feel the sunshine and boat moving around in the water, a chance to meet up with old friends and meet some new ones.

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Walney island circumnavigation

It is always a gamble when you plan a trip weeks in advance. The Sunday evening Country File week ahead forecast, depicted a large area of low pressure and strong winds for the end of the week. Not really what we needed for a paddle around Walney on Saturday. Thankfully by midweek all the usual weather resources agreed that the winds would be manageable and by Friday they all were all predicting light winds and little or no precipitation. The trip was on.

Robin, Ian, Angela and Sten met as planned and set off from Roe Island bang on time. Breaking into the flow we hopped on to the conveyor and for little or no effort were carried North up Walney Channel, passing the open dock gates and steering to avoid buoys, posts, and moored boats as we were pushed along.

Jubilee Bridge and the meetings were soon passed by, breaking out into a eddy at North End Haws we stopped in the sunshine for a brew and early first lunch. Divorce was a threatened when Angela realised Sten had not packed any fuel for his stove. Thankfully their marriage was saved by Ian who provided hot water using his stove complete with gas canister.DSCF0553

Once around the North End of the Island we were confronted with a westerly head wind, but this soon veered around to the North assisting our passage down the West coast. A glance over the shoulder revealed some dramatic storm clouds to the North.

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After a stop for another brew (courtesy of Ian’s stove) and second lunch on a breezy beach near the car park at Biggar, we continued to make good wind assisted progress around to SE point. Around here we split with Robin (who was on a dead line) pressing on at a pace with Ian, leaving Sten and Angela to continue at a more relaxed speed.

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Once around the point the force of the Northerly breeze was somewhat less helpful.  Though the 14km of wind assistance far outweighed the 3km of hindrance.

All around the South End we had the company of varying numbers of seals, and we kept our distance passing the colony hauled out on the beach near the NE point.

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A good trip with assistance from tide and wind nearly all the way and not a drop of rain.

Coniston Water Social Paddle Sat. 22 Apr.

After meeting at Machell Coppice car park the four of us (Angela, Sue, Eric and Sten) paddled into the freshening SW breeze.  The cool wind chilling fingers but not impeding progress we crossed the lake in an attempt to find some shelter with a little success.  After lots of chatting, some refreshing old and some making new acquaintances we arrive at an unusually deserted Brown Howe. Stopping for a brew and a sandwich we continued various discussions and admired the passing Gondola.

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We broke the wind assisted return journey with a brief visit to Peel Island before continuing back north. Optimistically trying the channel between Fir Island and the shore, this was clear of trees and provided easy passage to the lee side of the island.

In shelter of Fir Island the three of us in dry suits set about getting wet by practicing assisted rescues.

 

It was sobering to realise how rust I have become. These were new skills for Eric but everybody learnt something.  The most important lesson for me being; more practice required.

 

Morecambe to Arnside- A first timers perspective

At Morecambe: Carrying the boats down to the water and waiting for the tide – it was almost surreal – and what a perfect day. It could have been much different in the wind and rain.

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Once we got going: slightly nervous about the bore – Alison particularly so. But couldn’t help smiling at the minimal amount of effort that was required to be going at a very healthy speed over the ground.
When we caught up the bore: much happier now that we could see what we were dealing with. Absolutely blown-away by what an amazing, natural phenomenon it was and that we had front-row seats to witness something so spectacular.

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Again, it was incredible at how little effort was required, but also very aware (thanks to great instruction) of how things could go wrong if washed up onto a sandbank.
Rocks: we saw a rocky outcrop ahead – a couple of Oystercatchers standing on them, enjoying in the sunshine – all was peaceful. We moved left to navigate between the rocks and the shallows. As the bore reached the rocks, in an instant the scene changed from tranquillity to a maelstrom of boiling, brown water – it was like a scene from a disaster movie. It was a sobering reminder that if we were caught in the wrong place, it could be quite serious.
Grange-over-Sands: as we were nearing Grange, things began to change every minute or so. Areas of the channel would go from calm to confused in moments. Pathways would appear which weren’t there a few seconds ago. Throughout the trip, Mike showed his great experience and incredible ability to read the situation and predict what was about to happen. The route he navigated us through around Grange was a perfect demonstration of this. In what clearly could have become challenging situation, Alison and I felt in good hands at all times.
Arnside: Arrival (a few minutes after the bore siren) was the perfect end to a great experience. Thanks to Mike and to Phil for our superb first outing with Lakeland Canoe Club.

Morecambe to Arnside

 

Mike H, Phil,  Colin, Alison

Finally after two previous attempts we hit lucky on the first hot day of etc year. Wall to wall sun with very light  southerly winds. HW Morecambe 14..21 with 9.57m of tide.

After meeting at Arnide we shuttle down to the battery at Morecambe, to find laser expanses of sand , where previously a channel had been, But a good vantage enables us to see the required channel. So a carry to the sea, a short sunbathe before ewe crossed the first channel. Over the sand bar and we were away. Slight tidal assist and wind behind.

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We followed the river channel, as it grew ever wider on the incoming tide. Carefully avoiding the ‘side suck’ on shallow  sands. After 20 minutes or so the bore wave formed, never seen it so far out. A surfable height which gained in strength as we flowed north – heading for Warton Crag!!! 300m wide, right across the channel.

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The big curve left soon began, the bore wave persisted until we reached two rocky outcrops where confusion became the key idea, waves and current direction rapidly changing height and direction.

The wave reformed intermittently as we now headed west towards Allithwaite.  Then a big curvet the right, north again. We slowed to allow the usual confusion of Holme island and the rocks offshore to settle. Unfortunately the channel , was very close to Grange , so the basin fill time was longer than in the past, So we arrived at the confusion just behind the incoming tide front. Carefully reading of the water was needed, to overcome a surge of current , flowing out from upstream! crazy channels as always. We adopted a slow  then sprint approach, with a zig zag route , to avoid the worst of the confusion.

The final 2km to Arnside proved more straight forward.

23.7km in under 3 hours –  how delightful.

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Morecambe to Arnside paddle, with 4 of us enjoying some spring sunshine, a big S bend of a route and plenty of assistance from both tide and the Arnside Bore;

Leven Estuary Sat. 14th April

After strong wind forecast for Sunday the trip was moved to the previous day.
Jen and Harry decided at the last minute to go anyway. We set of at 9.30 Canal Foot and encountered  a lot of rocks under the viaduct along with  big waves coming back at us but manageable, got very wet. We continued up the river to the bridge excellent trip returned to viaduct at 2.45,  rocks starting to appear had to navigate through.  Only just made it, any later and we wouldn’t have.
The channel had changed need to watch for the rocks under viaduct. HW morecambe  11.15  with  8.88m, for future reference need a bigger tide. but a good trip anyway.