Midweek on the Duddon 19th Feb

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Phil, Mike and Stu caught the river at 0.69. Enough for a fun run. First time for Phil and Stu.

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Not the Troutbeck – 17th Feb

The meeting point for Brian, Mike, Sten, Ian Mc, Martin and Rachel was set for the car park in Troutbeck Bridge – maybe we would be lucky, the overnight rain may just bring the rivr up just that little bit to make it runnable. But no! it was too low even for the over enthusiastic.

It was back to the Kent (at 0.39 on the Bowston gauge) and run from Scroggs Bridge, through Staveley and down to Burneside.

All successfully dropped the 2m fall below scroggs Bridge and down a flattish bit to the first of the 4 weirs. We each found a slightly diferent line,  leaving varying amounts of plastic behind us. Wilf’s weir run on the left was not as scrapy.

In the following km Sten saw an otter as we played in the garden 2 rapids. After one wave Martin commented you’ll never get back  upstream to play on that wave. Oh dear, red rag to a bull!! We all had a really good go trying proving him wrong, various
numbers of attempts and degrees of success.

All the time in the back of my mind was Cowan Bridge and sure enough it could be heard and sure enough it came into sight. Sure enough out we got to inspect and sure enough the butterflies arrived in my stomach. Red admirals are lovely things!

The approach across step weir pool is blind, until just before you boof over the 2m over the weir lip. Seeing the  first kayak disappear over the edge does not really help. A good start though raised adrenaline levels, paddle hard to get through a twisty corkscrew type gaps, as the gradient is steep the boat gained speed rapidly, so fast, clip my marker rock on the right , before heading right,  into the last drop!! oooh a little to far right, over the drop onto the mushroom, all done – relax – for some but Brian went over – focus – go for that roll, still moving fast, swirlly water everywhere and I am up – just – but hey I’m up, paddle down to a waiting Mike (who does have an instinctive brace reaction) – big smiles and such an adrenaline release.

 

Next down was Rachel, who seemed to have all the time in the world, so cool, so calm – she made it look really easy.
Down to the small weir by the gauge and play around in the stopper. I may have been watching too much ice skating at the Olympics but Sten seemed to be doing quadruple salchows and a tripple Lutz at leisure just bobbing round in the stopper flicking his paddle from one side to the other.

The final weir provided a slide and 3 steps, each of which had a slot just narrower than a kayak is wide- as we found out!!

Roeburn

10th Feb. We have been waiting for the combination of enough water, available paddlers to descend the Roeburn for some time now – maybe a couple of years.

So even though we had programmed to go down the Kent the opportunity for the Roeburn was just too tempting.

We arrived to a river full of brown water and a level at two stones from the bridge parapet an official level of 0.85. Soon the team assembled, Mike, Sten, Brian, Rachel and Martin, Dave and John

This  was there was quite a large group for the small river so we agreed to ‘loop through’ and soon got the hang of not congregating in the same eddy, leap frogging out way down a really enjoyable river – well worth the wait.

Very continuous grade 3 rapids, perhaps a little rocky in places  with a few interesting!! tree hazards, lead after 4 km to the main event.

The run into the large eddy before the drop was interesting, from the height of the bank above the gorge it looked quite straightforward and yet at river level it had much larger waves than I imagined and the looming, undercut, limestone cliff seemed a lot harder to keep away from. Some of us ran the 2m drop down the twisting right route, others on the left chute- both sides OK. Eskimo rescues are wonderful things.

The obligatory cafe stop was held in the Garden Center just by the bridge in Wray, nice coffee, nice scone, superb homemade jam and a chance to talk kayaking and the events of the day by a warm fire.

Brian

Another episode of ‘Up a creek a tiny bit of a clue…’

At the end of a very positive morning I felt much less inclined to restructure my Redline kayak with a chainsaw; although it did manage to exact its usual punishment – instantly rewarding  misdirection and wrong-sided lean on my part and giving it its usual swill out (fortunately up-stream of the sewage works…)
I had taken up the offer of some basic tuition on a flatter but flowing section of the Kent upstream from Scroggs Weir and was extremely lucky to have Mike’s undivided attention. Lots of patient, well-explained advice and plenty of demonstrations – it looks so easy!
Some breaking in and out and then back to the cars to move upstream into Kendal. My car loaded with boats, kit inside – along with the keys. Here we have a mixture of two parts numpty (me) to one part over-zealous security on the part of the Skoda, it decided to lock itself, necessitating a speedy round-trip to home to collect another set of keys…
Back to the river and an enjoyable, dare I say – fun, trip back downstream.  Starting to surf waves.
The ornithological interest being provided by: grey wagtail, heron, dipper, little grebe, jay, oyster catcher, black-headed gulls, mute swans, red-breasted merganser, mallard and, what was possibly, an otter  but more likely a mink.Little Grebe, Flixton GP, 27-Aug-05 (B1) L
It is more fun fun my way!- the little grebes efficient on and under the water.

A tale of two estuaries

Friday  2nd Feb. Mike H, Ian Mc, William = 1  guest

Arnside and out into the bay.

A fantastic day.  Blue sky, no wind, snow on mountains, water flowing in estuary.

It seems every time the route followed by the river channel changes. Since January it moved towards Grange Over Sands, then headed off towards Humphrey Head, before a long long curve out into the bay. The incoming tide front waves arrived but only broke to enable us to surf on the right. A big suck to the right. It came and went, sometimes larger, sometimes just a green wave.  As we approached Holme Island the wave broke right over etc rocky outcrops, and so ensued very bodily and swirly  conditions.

Soon the wave reformed for the next 2 km to New Barn Bay, but aghast we saw a person , casually walking out onto the sand , 1km from the shore. Who was he? was he mad?  Casually taking pictures, he seem oblivious of the incoming  tide, the speed and depth to which it might very soon attain. Seems like a crazy risk to us. After a warning word he walked swiflty to the shore… we assume he made it………

Saturday 3rd Feb. Mike H, Ian Mc, William = 1  guest

Ulverston and out into the bay

Mike H, Sten, Brian Andy M.

Well it was supposed to be so wet and heavy rain, but as we meet at Greenodd only cold overcast skies greeted us. A short shuttle to Canal Foot and off into Morecambe Bay. The outgoing tide and river flow enabled us to travel 6km in 75 minutes, before the flow of the incoming tide reversed our direction, No sign of a wave front today. The 6km back took a mere 50 minutes to the Leven viaduct, where the incoming water paused, before pushing on through the 1km wide rapid between the viaduct arches. Boils survived, a gentle float gave us time to appreciate  the birdlife and surf the odd wave as the water battled to fill the estuary. Some greeting from fishermen at the get out was much warmer than the now below zero air temperature.

Lead us into temptation

Event details Social Paddle: Kentmere Village -to Staveley Village From Memory I cannot recall many eddies and trees are an ever present danger Not one of our regular rivers, probably not a premier river but a good journey down the valley. I have done the river when it has been very low and providing you don’t mind the odd scrape on a rock it is still interesting. There is an easily portable Grade 4 section at Scroggs Bridge and the final weir would be optional

Every bit of the information is true – It is just a question of interpretation.

Brian, Matt, Mike H, Sten, Ian H, Dave, Phil C, John.

Despite being worried about water levels the rain was kind and came in – just in perfect time. I looked on my marker rock at 8:30 in steady drizzle I noticed levels had risen – looking good..  0.63 on Kent gauge at Bowston.  

All cars loaded 4 boats on each and for once no walkers at the Kentmere Institute, I can’t think why! it was a perfect day of low cloud and rain.

On with a bounce, down the narrow quite steep section weaving round trees and through stoppers – there is a nice series of little shelves.

Into Kentmere tarn with an apparently rare flock of Whooper Swans and a time to chat and listen to a John’s talk on Diatomite and why the tarn exists. Then mazed our way through the mangrove swamp at the outlet, it was still water so not too difficult – just overhanging tree branches. 

To protect the (not so) innocent from this point on, trees will not be mentioned again!! Thanks to sterling work from Sten, Matt, Mike and all – just a good story and no harm done. I must remember to advertise a White Water Training and Rescue Course in the Event Details for future trips.

Anyway back to the river. A canalised section through the factory followed by a steep grade 3 rapid, only one, but it was about 1.5 kilometres long. It was good, it was very good and the intrepid team misled by the information in the event details coped admirably.  one enthusiastic local even whistling at us. Trickiest, a small island with a tight drop on one sideGOPR0991

 

and tree blockage on the other was little more challenging and saw them throw lines used effectively to retrieve a pinned kayak. A very experienced kayaker was heard to mutter something about reassessing his skills and arranging a multiday trip to Idaho because he did not really feel ready for rivers suitable for “improvers”.

We were nearly at a easier section but the river was not done with us yet, tricking some us onto what looked like an innocent looking play wave. The wave proceeded to have lots of fun tipping a couple of kayakers out of their boats, who no doubt were looking for crayfish and fresh water mussels.

Next was Scroggs Fall, lots of head scratching and muttering. A tree in right channel of the first 2m drop. Finally avoid by using the fall on the left with a bounce but not too much trouble,

fullsizeoutput_334more steep chutes followed, until just above the second drop.

I was just at the top of the second drop chatting to Ian when he announced he had to go. Now we are all of “mature” years and over the years I have got used to our groups frequent stops and the importance of having relief zippers especially in purple undersuits – but I did think that this was a very inconvenient time for the Godfrey’s  Syndrome to strike. Low and behold Ian promptly disappears down the drop. Now it was Dad’s Army’s private Frasers turn “We’ll be doomed”. I thought I’d better follow – fortunately Ian was not being mangled around in the stopper under the fall or that could have been interesting. I have just a small boat (not quite sure why) but still I am sure Ian would not have appreciated a little lump of red plastic balanced on his head or more probably bouncing up and down on it. The group followed with differing success.

Now all we had to do was limp down the last few hundred yards – but even this proved too much for Matt’s boat. It had split it sides no doubt laughing at us. I believe he is now looking for a second hand Dancer and rumour has it a Dancer sits more securely on my roof rack than a modern boat.

Off to Wilf’s for the customary café stop, lots of happy animated faces – a good day was had by all (I think)