Another great joint club weekend in the Lake District for WKCC and UWCKC (Upton Warren Canoe and Kayaking Club) to follow on from the Brecon weekend last week.
Thanks to Emma J we had a great location at Lowick School Bunkhouse, a family run business who also run outdoor activities.
For Friday nearly all rivers were scrape or empty, so a leisurely time was had by those who travelled early. We all went to a local pub for an evening meal kindly organised by Amanda
On Saturday we split into two groups. Sue T, Steve C, Kev D and Jack H went off to Windemere for a spot of sailing. Conditions were good but gusty and they all managed to rig up various sails. A few minor incidents on the day including a gust capsizing Sue T followed by a great self-righting rescue using all those skills learnt at symposiums and then he who shall not be mentioned leaving his car keys at the start resulting in a long taxi jou
rney to retrieve them.
The rest of us (Emma J, Graham, Dave J, Matt W, Paul (Brian) A, Rita, Amanda D, Lillie and Bobby) went and did a short paddle on the lower part of the Duddon to do a bit of moving water practice. Some great progress was made which would prove to be very useful for Sunday. A small swim for both Lillie and Bobby who were both pushing hard but they both carried on afterwards.
By this time the rain had set in so things were looking good for Sunday so it was off to the bunkhouse where Rita made a stew, Emma made a Polish dish with chorizo and Amanda made a fish pie so we all ate well. This was followed by more of Amanda’s cakes.
By Saturday evening Rainchasers was showing rivers running everywhere so we knew we would have choices but the plan was to do a trip to include the whole group.
Sunday we chose the Crake. It was very close to the bunkhouse and runs out of Coniston Water ending at Spark Bridge. All paddled except Sue who had other plans and Paul and Kev who were poorly.
The river was described as grade 2/3 with the main feature Bobbin Mill Rapid just before the get out.
Lillie paddled canoe with Rita and Bobby with Jack. Steve also canoes with the rest in kayaks. We started with around 2km on Coniston before entering the river which started very slow but lots of weaving between low trees which resulted in a swim for Amanda and a roll for Matt when he caught his paddle. There were plenty of little rapids and surf waves before we soon came to a short grade 3 section. Best plan here was to get Bobby and Lillie to walk this section. Emma, Matt and me positioned ourselves in various eddies and Dave
lead Amada down successfully. I then got the canoeists to take a look and advise on lines including how to avoid the folded pinned old town canoe half way down (just to help their confidence). Steve went first and was going well until he hit a small rock head on resulting in him sliding forward straight through his carrying thwart snapping it and ending up on the front air bag. This also made his kneeling thwart come loose. He quickly scrambled back to the middle and managed to get down the rest cleanly. A few repairs with duct tape and straps but the rigidity back in to the boat 😊. Rita came down next clipped a rock and was heading towards the pinned canoe but smartly went right down a different shoot avoiding main trouble into a tight eddie. After a few manoeuvres carried on down cleanly. Jack was last to come down and had the cleanest run with just one set of corrections for the last drop.
Onwards with more pleasant small rapids and waves to play on. Something for everyone until we reached what should have been an easy 2/3 section was it not for low tree branches and a small tree blocking one channel. This left us one slightly rocky channel to go down which unfortunately caught Rita and Lillie who pinned and capsized and had a short swim. Both smiling we soon carried on.
The river builds up towards the end with the speed slowly picking up and becoming more continuous until we reached Bobbin Mill.
This would normally be regarded as a decent grade 3 but today there was a massive uprooted tree on one corner. I started first and signalled upstream for everyone to stop and wait. When I reached the bottom my first thought was to find a way back to top to take Lillie and Bobby out and give the canoeists an option to get out as it was full of boulders and swim and pin opportunities with some decent stopper waves. Somehow the Chinese whispers of the signals got lost as they were passed up the line resulting in everyone coming down. To my relief and surprise all was good. Everyone was down and buzzing after running it.
Still raining we packed up and set off home joining all the slow Sunday traffic on the M6.
A great weekend and a nice mix of people. Well done to all.