Monday, 25 April 2011

Macclesfield Canal - 25th April 2011

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 56:51, back in 56:51.
Paddling Xplore.

Macclesfield Canal - 22nd April 2011

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina.
Out in 57:35, back in 58:40.
Paddling Xplore.

Monday, 18 April 2011

The Skerries - 17th April 2011

Finally made it out to the Skerries!

With a good forecast - little wind, with hopefully no swell - it seemed a shame to miss paddling on Sunday. Posting on the forum, only Trevor and I seemed interested in a paddle. He'd been thinking of going out to the Skerries, and I was keen because I'd never been out to them before.

Driving along the A55 along the N Wales coast, and on to Anglesey, the weather looked great. However turning off the main road in Valley we could see a fog bank just sitting in Holyhead bay, with Holyhead Mountain sticking its head above the mist. Trevor said we may be paddling on instruments... with the tides being just off springs and running up to 4 knots this got me slightly worried.

Luckily though when we launched the fog bank didn't extend as far north as Cemlyn Bay and we headed off in the sunshine. We set off 2 hours before the end of the ebb with the general plan of paddling in a N'rly direction and then letting the tide take us NW to position us to then paddle more directly to the Skerries.

Our route took us out N of the Victoria Bank marker and passed by Coal Rock. This put us in a good position to be swept in to the Skerries and we made the crossing in about an hour. Trevor clocked us at 15kph at times on his GPS.

We landed in the small harbour, had a snack and explored the island. Two workers were around the lighthouse. They were on the island to give the lighthouse and its surrounding buildings a new coat of paint. I can think of a worse job!

There is a well constructed footbridge to provide access to the NE tip of the island over a small zawn.

On the return we passed the small reef just off the Skerries E side that is only exposed on spring low tides.

The return paddle via West Mouse was uneventful - we had hoped for more bouncy conditions given the tidal stream. Perhaps we had set off too early in the flood. But it was still a great paddle.

The paddle back took just over 1.5 hours. Just under 18km paddled.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Macclesfield Canal - 10th April 2011

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 59:02, back in just over 63. Loads of boat delays on the return.
Paddling the Xplore.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Ravenglass Seaquest - 3rd April 2011

My original plan for this event was thwarted by the weather... or at least the weather forecast!

I had intended to enter with my son, Allen, paddling an Aleut double sea kayak. However Annette had to postpone the event 24 hours due to a poor weather forecast which meant the event clashed with an important football match for Allen. So in the end I paddled the Epic again as a single kayak.

The format of the event was as usual - collect as many orienteering control point "punches" as possible within 3 hours. Each control was worth 10, 20 or 30 points. Severe time penalties in the form of deducted points are incurred for coming in late. Unfortunately a couple of the planned controls couldn't be placed, so this shortened the course slightly on both the Irt and the Mite rivers. With high tide about 2/3rds of the way into the 3 hours this led to the plan of trying to get all the controls in the Irt and Mite first, then heading up the Esk hopefully around slack water, then returning with outgoing flow to finish.

The plan was executed pretty much as planned, apart from the fact that I was still suffering from a cold. Kate Duffus also had the same tactics and we were frequently punching controls at the same time. The only difference would be when I reached the bank near the control I would crawl out of my boat, cough a few times and stagger to the punch. Kate on the other hand was a lot more energetic!

In the end I got all the controls in a time of 2:46, with Kate just a minute behind me. Considering Kate was in a traditional style sea kayak (Cetus) compared to my racing kayak, this was an excellent result for her. She beat all the male paddlers in traditional boats...

I was 3rd single male, beaten by miles again by John Willacy and Chris McSweeney on a surf ski. John was feeling pretty full of energy still and volunteered to go around most of the course again to collect in the controls!

According to Kate we did 21km.

Thanks to Annette and Phil for putting this event on again, especially because Annette no longer lives in the area and came down from Scotland to organise it.