WKCC and UWCKC Lakes Weekend

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.

WKCC wet weekend in Wales!

Well no sooner had Ed and I crossed the border into Wales on the Friday evening and the rain started. What we didn’t know then was it would continue for the next 24 hours! I think we were the last to arrive and just as we did the others started to drift back from the pub. Tales of the days activities were told, several members having paddled the Dee at very low levels, others having sat and had a cream tea! Eventually all was quite except for the patter of raindrops!

The next day after a good breakfast plans were devised and the group split into two (with Paul already departed to meet up with his 4* group). The groups were split between canoeists and kayakers, although both groups were intending to paddle the same stretch of the Dee. As we drove up the valley we could see the river had swollen overnight. At the get in much discussion was had, but the reality was plain to see – the conditions were not suitable or safe for the skill set of a large number of the paddlers and paddling had to be abandoned for the day.

After reconvening at the hostel plans for non paddling activities were discussed over tea and cake (and a very good Victoria sponge it was too!). A larger portion of the group decided to visit Betws-y-Coed and Conwy falls, with the remainder of us staying in Llangollen. Apparently the falls were impressive – photos available courtesy of Max on FB.The few of us left in Llangollen took a walk along the canal, stopping to look at Serpent’s Tail – apparently there is a channel through the rocks, but you wouldn’t have known it. We walked on up to Horseshoe Falls which were almost washed out. The volume of water was huge (a technical term used by Rainchasers). We stood on the metal bridge and watched two groups bob along the river. There was also a huge amount of debris floating down. Returning to Llangollen we stood by the bridge and watched a few kayakers pass through, making the whole thing look rather easy. Satisfyingly they followed the line that had been discussed during the day!

After that we retired to the hostel, ate a wonderful meal and waited for the rain to stop.
The next day, after another hearty breakfast, the group again split into subgroups. Some headed for home, some went walking, some went to canoe on Bala Lake and a group of twelve went off to find some white water. The weather for the day was a complete change and we were treated to glorious sunshine. The Bala group enjoyed great scenery and Dave’s poling demonstration!

Those of us that went off to find some whitewater (Max, Graham, Nat, Guy, Sue, Kelli, Matt, Emma, Elise, Owen, Ed and I) headed north into Snowdonia, to Beddgelert and the Glaslyn. After sorting the ferry and looking at the get out we got on at a spectacular lake and set off. The river was still high and flowing fast. We hit as many eddies as we could and stopped to play and practice our skills at various points. All was going well until a clump of rocks decided to jump out at me and after a couple of knocks to my head I watched my boat disappear down the river with Elise shouting Swimmer! At the top of her voice. After a conversation with a man sitting in his back garden drinking coffee (‘how did you get here?’ and ‘good job you weren’t here yesterday ‘ followed by ‘someone got stuck there in their boat back in January’) he showed me how to get back to the road.
Recovery complete we set off again, dropping down to the final get out. Ed, Owen and I took the sensible (easy) get out, most of the others the more tricky get out and finally hats off to Graham, Max and Matt who took the challenging one. Fortunately no-one headed down the gorge! We were soon all off the water, changed and ready for the long trip home. Sundays paddle was a good one and I learnt a lot from it.
Despite the weather I think the weekend was enjoyed by all. Thanks to Claire for organising, to all of those that organised food or cooked, to the coaches for their patience and for everyone for the good company. Roll on the next one!

Simon

New Members Club Kit Demo

Demo kit afternoon is still happening tomorrow afternoon  Saturday 7th January 2017 at Pershore Riverside Centre, so hoping to see as many new joiners as can make it.

If you are coming down then please ensure you bring warm clothes – base layers and thermals, tops, bottoms and socks (if you have them) as well as dry clothing for after, if needed (let’s hope not!)

Equally, if you’re a more experienced paddler/club member who may have someone trying your kit, and we manage to get out and paddle as a group then please make sure you bring some additional clothes you can paddle in (we’ll have open boats remember – so walking trousers and a down jacket would work).

See you at 2pm 👍

Sunday 4th April Lugg Paddle

Sunday 4th will be a kayak paddle. Lugg Green to Leominster based on who responded to comms.
Meet Leominster car park by fire station at 10:00. There is likely to be portaging due to high levels.
It may be a bit nippy so take a hot drink and snacks (doesn’t apply to me).