Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Macclesfield Canal - 16th April 2014

Clarke Lane <> Bridge 18
Out in 36:46, back in 40:08.

Macclesfield Canal - 13th April 2014

Club Hare and Hounds handicap, 4 miles, don' t know time yet, but came 3rd (again!).
After 4 races, I'm leading the points table!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Macclesfield Canal - 9th April 2014

Clarke Lane <> Bridge 18
out in 38:25, back in 39:56.
First after work evening paddle of 2014!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Cemaes Bay to Bull Bay return trip - 5th April 2014

Note to self... don't drink till 2:30am on the Friday night and expect to be bright and breezy when paddling on the Saturday morning...

Launching from Cemaes just after 11am I felt in surprisingly good shape, but that may have been because the hangover hadn't set in yet. We had chosen to paddle on the N coast because of the forecast force 4-6 winds from the SE veering to SW during the day. Leaving the relative shelter of the bay we headed E with the tide and hugged the coast avoiding the worst of the wind, playing in amongst the always interesting rock formations.

This was the NWSK "Start of Season Meet" and we'd split into two groups to keep organisation on the water a bit more manageable. I was paddling in a group of five, with Jim, Kate, Helen and Bruce and being a fairly strong group we opted to paddle out to Middle Mouse for a bit of interest. Heading out about 1km offshore, we lost the shelter of the mainland and felt the force of the wind and its effect on the flooding tide. This made conditions in the vicinity of the island a bit "sporty" with swell, claptosis and a bit of a tidal race contributing to create some confused breaking waves. We didn't hang around for long and it was nice to get back to the "mainland" and continue on rock-hopping along the coast.

We paddled into Porth Wen and past the ruined brickworks as we worked our way towards Bull Bay. Just at this point the VHF radio sparked into life with a mayday call from an open rowing boat that was struggling to get back to shore. The four rowers plus helm were adrift to the N of East Mouse after having launched from Bull Bay. The communications between the coastguard and the rowing boat were strained - I could hear both parties, but the coastguard could not hear the rowing boat very well. I was about to offer to relay messages, but another kayak group in the area performed this task. Initially there was some confusion over their location, and we kept an eye out in case they let off their flare, but they were found OK by another boat and eventually towed to shore by the Moelfre lifeboat. Although the rowing boat was carrying a radio, they had no GPS to give their position.

We had lunch in Bull Bay, but I didn't really feel like eating much. We set off on the return leg at the end of the flood tide, again entering caves and gullies. We found an L shaped gully that I had never navigated before - a tight squeeze to get my 17'6" boat to make the turn. This section of coast has some of the best rock hopping on Anglesey. The return was a bit of a slog with the wind being slightly against us and I was very tired (sleepy!) when we got back to Cemaes just before 4pm. The round trip was about 16.5km.

I packed up and drove back to Anglesey Outdoor where we were staying and fell asleep in my car once I parked up.

It was a good social weekend meeting up with friends from my Greenland trip, and also having an interesting chat with Sam Cook (?) who was a member of the 1975 Nordkapp Expedition. He described how they invented a lot of sea kayak features we take for granted today - deck lines, pumps, bulkheads and hatches. I'd like to paddle the same part of Norway sometime, so it was interesting to hear his stories.

I still had a significant sleep deficit by Sunday morning - I was camping and the wind on my tent kept me awake most of the night - so with the weather on Sunday not being special either, I headed back home. I'm getting too old for late nights and wild weather camping!... next time I'll stay in the centre and have an early night.


Monday, 31 March 2014

Macclesfield Canal - 30th March 2014

Clarke Lane <> Marple (1km up Peak Forest Canal)
30 km round trip, building up distance for future trips/races.
Out in 1:41:44 (15km), average speed according to GPS was 8.9kph.
Returned at 8.5kph to Higher Poynton for a break (~45 minutes), then completed the leg back to Clarke Lane in 59:07 (8.4 kph).
Nice and warm compared to last week, paddled in tee-shirt.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Macclesfield Canal - 23rd March 2014

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 56:57, back in 56:23. Cold wind from the N... seemed to veer round and be a bit against me on the way back too!
Didn't feel very fast/fit... need to get some more regular mileage in.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Macclesfield Canal - 9th March 2014

March Hare and Hounds club handicap race.
4 mile course, 3rd boat back, PB time of 41:07. Managed to overtake all the boats that started in front of me, but John Kavanagh and Adrian Fisher got me in the last few hundred metres.
So nice to be paddling with no cag and no pogies (mitts)!!!