Monday, 5 January 2015

2014 paddling memories

Ian from Mountain and Sea put up the challenge, wondering what our 2014 paddling memories were.
This has been a hard one, having had a fantastic years paddling with so many great trips.
Was it finding the peace and quiet of Dunalistair Water once the Kayakey Kid had returned home?
Could it have been the Big Bash?
What about open canoeing in Knockando?
Then there was the Summer Isles again!
Of course there was Jersey
Closely followed by Islay
It might have been the Women's Sea Paddling Festival on Bute
Or possibly our bumpy jaunt out from Easdale
In between all that, I've had some great fun on trips locally and further afield, with friends from FCAG, FSKC and LSKC, whether it's been river trips, open canoes, sea kayaking or getting pounded in the surf, but I think Islay probably wins. How couldn't it? We had a great laugh, great paddling and of course the occasional great whisky!

English Canoe Symposium

Blimey! I didn't realise that once I retired, I'd be so busy, I'm thinking of going back to work just so I can have some "me" time and catch up on important things like blogs and planning more paddling trips!
It now seems ages since I attended our 3rd big meeting of 2014, the English Canoe Symposium held down at Lakeside on Windermere. I still feel quite a newbie at open canoeing, so was looking forward to picking up lots of helpful advice.
Boats on roof, Hubby dear and I set off for the long drive over the border from Scotland. It was a wonderfully warm evening and was strange to see folks sitting outside pubs in tshirt sleeves, this being the beginning of November!
After our long drive all the way from Scotland, who was the first person we met? Willie from Scotland!

For our Saturday session we had chosen "white water intermediate- solo go for it attitude!"
We made our way over to the River Kent and split into 2 groups. Dave taking one group and Chris taking our group. Just after our put in, we were over a weir, then onto quite flat water, bobbing  along. We stopped at one point to practise cutting in and out, ferry gliding back and forward, down a bit further then a stop for lunch.
 So far the river had been fairly tame - that was all about to change!
Chris at Hawes Bridge
 Before long, the river narrowed. We pulled in to have a look and decide what line to take. Hubby dear was on the bank with the throw line. Chris set off first, followed by Blokey 1(sorry, forgotten names!), he got down fine, then clipped a jutted out bit and went for a swim. Me next. I got lined up fine, went over the drop. Unfortunately, it was at this precise moment that my "go for it attitude" decided to up and leave. That was the first time I had fallen out of my boat by mistake! I've no doubt it won't be the last!

 Blokey 2(sorry, memory must be in retirement mode!) came down next making it look easy followed by Hubby dear, also making it look easy - boo hiss!

A bit further down, we were out scouting the river again before running it. Before long we were out again. After seeing the next section, I had decided my "go for it attitude" was still on leave. Chris went down first, unfortunately had a wee swim, breaking a spar at the same time. Blokey 1 and I humphed the boats downstream, whilst Blokey 2 and Hubby dear lined the first drop, then ran the rest again making it look quite easy!
Slightly damp

Over another weir, then another big and bouncy drop to check out. There were a lot of undercuts and generally lots of water pushing in that direction, so thankfully the boats were lined down this section. We were now at the get out. It was a great days paddling going from Grade 1 to what at times seemed like Grade massive in no time at all.

Back at Lakeside I met up with Sue who I bought my boat off, had a bit of a natter, then off to listen to Ray's talk about Canada.
Rydal Water
Next day, Hubby dear abandoned me as he set off for Rydal Water for a day poling and sailing. I had opted for a morning  "open water, wind and trim - solo" again with Chris. We were using weight to shift around to trim our boats. As I only had a smallish bag, Chris gave me a loan of his bag. I'm still not entirely sure what he carries around in it, possibly a dead body! either that or an enormous packed lunch. I'm not surprised he's a wee bloke, I'm sure he started off a 6 footer, but after humphing that bag, he's shrunk! It was a great and interesting session where we did eventually get a bit of a breeze.
Windy Windermere!
The afternoon session was "flat water Canadian freestyle " with Jorg. Another really interesting session, pushing the edges.
All great stuff, learnt lots and looking forward to the Scottish Symposium later this year