Monday, 1 February 2016

Bridgewater Canal - 31st January 2016

The River Goyt wasn't running at a very exciting level, so Jim and I decided to get some miles in on the Bridgewater Canal instead.

We parked up under the M60 bridge and as we were getting ready some poor lad in a rowing boat capsized about 50 metres away from us, so we got on to offer assistance. He was pulled to the side by an attending bank crew, but Jim offered up some warm clothing and a flask of coffee. He was pretty cold, only wearing a tee-shirt and tracksuit bottoms and I bet it took a while for him to warm up again with the water temperature only being about 4-5 degrees C.

After that excitement we carried on down through Sale passing many new apartment blocks and people exercising on the towpath. Urban gentrification has taken hold hereabouts, especially since the tram line was installed giving quick access to the city centre.

As we made our way out of the southern Manchester sprawl, the scenery comprised of alternating industrial complexes and apartment developments, interspersed with the odd cluster of traditional canalside cottages.

An abrupt change to the surroundings occurs when the canal leaves Oldfield Brow and makes its way past Dunham Massey park. I'd just been talking to Jim about seeing kingfishers on the Macclesfield Canal, and he said they were also present here. Then on cue a kingfisher flew past us and stayed just in front of us for a couple of hundred yards.

We clocked up the miles chatting about future paddling trips and the merits of different styles of rolling a kayak and eventually arrived at the town of Lymm. Refreshments in Lymm normally involve visiting the excellent fish and chip shop, but being a Sunday, this wasn't an option. Luckily however, a recent new option is a canal barge that has been converted to a cafe and we partook of its excellent hospitality (and warmth) with a bacon and egg butty and a cup of coffee. (

Suitably refreshed, we relaunched into the increasingly heavy rain for the uneventful return trip.

We returned to our launch site and as we were loading up a police car passed us and went over to talk to the occupants of two other cars that were parked up further under the bridge. No idea what they were up to, but perhaps it isn't the safest place to launch from. We made our own getaway and had a post paddle crumpet and coffee round Jim's to warm up.

We paddled approximately 30km. Weather was pretty miserable all the time! Must have been paddling for about 5 hours total.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Macclesfield Canal - 2nd January 2016

First paddle of 2016, a fairly slow paddle on the canal from the clubhouse to Adlington Marina and back.

Macclesfield Canal - 24th December 2015

Quick jaunt on the canal trying to stave off the excesses of the Chrismas holidays. Launched at Clarke Lane and went our and back to Adlington Marina. Can't remember my time, wasn't spectacular!

Nice to see a kingfisher again, I hope it survives the winter. At the current rate there isn't much prospect of the canal freezing.

Macclesfield Canal - Hare and Hounds - 13th December 2015

Final round of the club handicap, and I did exactly the same time as the first event of the year!... 41:58. Nice to finish off with a Christmas lunch and prize giving in the Cock and Pheasant. Didn't do too well in Neil's quiz though!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Nottingham White Water Course - 5th December 2015

I've been wanting to paddle the artificial white water course at Holme Pierrepont near Nottingham for years. As a student I sent some money off that started the fundraising to get the course built and it was finally constructed in 1986. So it's only taken me nearly 30 years to get there.

The river Trent that supplies the water for the course was very high, and this meant the lowest drops were washed out, but the remaining features were quite interesting and lively.

We "warmed up" in the pool above the course by doing some rolls. It was freezing, and this put me off doing anything too spectacular once out on the course.

I did about 5 runs down the course, generally able to make the eddies that I wanted to, but I didn't really play in any of the waves. I managed to stay upright, but I wasn't really pushing myself. Would be nice to go back sometime when it is warmer.

Compared to the Teesside course, I think Holme Pierrepont is a bit more interesting, and the features more challenging, but that may only be because of the high water level. I must admit though the conveyor belt at Teesside makes it much more civilised compared to carrying your boat back up at Nottingham.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Moelfre to Benllech return trip - 28th November 2015

With the wind gusting force 8 from the SW, we had a look at launching at Bull Bay and heading west into the tide and increasing wind, but it didn't take too long to work out that was not such a good idea and would only give us limited options.

So we high-tailed it round to Moelfre where conditions proved to be more sheltered and we had a longer stretch of coastline to go at.

We launched as the local lifeboat team members were erecting the village Christmas tree; surprisingly we didn't get any awkward comments given the conditions. We hugged the coastline as best we could to try and avoid getting caught in any offshore wind.

By paddling so close in, you see things you wouldn't normally see, since in normal conditions we would be further out to sea and perhaps motoring along on a longer paddle. Therefore I hadn't realised there was a small harbour tucked away in the back of the bay at Traeth Bychan that was interesting to explore.

We pottered on around the headland at Penrhyn (Welsh for headland or peninsula...) mindful to stay out of the small surf break on the end doing the odd bit of rock hopping.

As we neared Bennlech there is a small stream that passes through a pipe under the road and then enters the sea. The lack of excitement so far was obviously too much for Bruce to bear, he got out of his boat and proceeded to paddle the stream. He must have made all of 5 metres before getting stuck on some rocks and having to man handle his boat back into salty water.

The sandy beach at Bennlech had some reasonable small surf that provided entertainment as we landed for lunch. We struggled to find a spot that was both out of the wind and also away from the discarded bags of irresponsible dog owners (why pick up your dog's poop in a bag, then leave the bag???)

Once suitably refreshed we made our way back, getting in a bit of towing practice to provide some interest.

Just over 8km paddled.

The picture don't show how wild the conditions were out of the shelter... here's picture of Penrhyn Mawr the following day, and it would have been similar the day we paddled.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

River Goyt - 15th November 2015

Macclesfield Club trip down the Goyt from Roman Lakes to Chadkirk.

Fairly high water level (up to 0.9 on the online gauge?) made for a bouncy ride with some nice wave trains.

The horseshoe weir was in a dangerous state with many logs being re-circulated and the toe-back into the weir went out for a good few metres.

Here's a video of the weir:

Here's a video of Sam shooting the broken weir near Chadkirk: