Sunday, 25 November 2012

Bollington Pool - 16th November 2012

30 minute pool session, usual rolling practice. Trying to do as many LH rolls as possible!

Macclesfield Canal - 18th November 2012

Clarke Lane <-> Bridge 18
Hurt my back "bouncing" the boat to remove leaves from the bow... out in 41:25, back in around 44:30, but back was hampering me. (It got a lot worse and is not right a week later, need to build up some core strength, maybe pilates? Not sure if the intensive rolling sessions are a good idea either.)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 11th November 2012

Finally had a go at the Macclesfield Canoe Club's "Hare and Hounds" handicap race.
4 mile course, completed in a time of 41:19. Paddled the Epic.
Add another mile for the paddle to and from the start from Clarke Lane.

Bollington Pool Session - 9th November 2012

Half hour pool session practising left and right handed rolls.

River Eden - 4th November 2012

Lazonby to Armathwaite, approximately 5 miles.
Grade 2. Pleasant river paddle with Macclesfield Canoe Club with the river at a medium level.
Paddled the InaZone 230, rather strange after paddling sea kayaks.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 20th October 2012

Clarke Lane <> Bridge 18.
Out in 40:23, toured back and had quick chat with Macc CC members who were completing their "hare and hounds" monthly race.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Holy Island Circumnavigation - 6th October 2012

The weather forecast was good for a change when the North West Sea Kayakers met up at Outdoor Alternative on Anglesey for the "End of Season" meet. Over a few beers in the White Eagle pub a plan was hatched to paddle around Holy Island the following day.

A large number of the group had decided to do the same route, so we broke up into more manageable "pods" so we had smaller numbers to keep an eye on. I paddled with Jim, Arnaud and Rob as we set off at about 9:45 from Borthwen (Rhoscolyn beach).

There had been much discussion as to the best time to leave. The circumnavigation has a number of "crux" points where timing is critical. The general plan was to paddle clockwise, using the flood to take us around Penrhyn Mawr and South and North Stack before the tide turned. We would then most likely have to wait at the tunnel at Stanley Embankment to enter the inland sea after high water to let the potentially dangerous "stopper" wave subside before we pass through. Hopefully then we would have plenty of water in the inland sea and by the time we reached Four Mile Bridge the inland sea should be draining into the small estuary that leads back to the open sea by Valley airfield. With high water Liverpool at 3:30pm, and local high water at Holyhead around 2.30pm, we thought our departure time was good, giving us plenty of time to round the stacks with an expected wait at Stanley Embankment.

We paddled out from the bay and around Rhoscolyn Beacon to pick up the main tidal flow heading north. With the wind blowing at about F3-4 from the NE, and some residual swell from the windy day before, the sea was quite choppy, especially with the wind against tide. Despite the sea and wind being against us, we made good progress being pushed along by the tide and we were soon bearing down on the race at Penrhyn Mawr.

We paddled inland for a bit to get out of the main flow to avoid being forced into the more violent part of the race on the outside of the rocky islands and ledges that form the race. As we approached the rough water we could get a bit of a view of the conditions, Rob and I decided to go through the outer race while Jim and Arnaud took an inside passage. Conditions in the race were quite confused, with surging waves from the swell cutting across the waves formed by the tidal flow, so we didn't stop to play and carried on towards the stacks.

We stayed out in the main flow as we passed South Stack and we were checked out by a couple of dolphins heading in the other direction. In Gogarth Bay we took a line closer to the land that meant we were not benefitting from the tide, but it was less bouncy and we could admire the spectacular scenery a bit more. We passed around North Stack without incident and headed for a brief stop at Porth Namarch.

It must have been around 12:15 that we landed, and we were the first of the four groups who would eventually go around the island. We were about 30 minutes ahead of the next group, and each group had increasing difficulty getting around North Stack as the flow had changed to E to W and the standing waves of the North Stack race were starting to form well before local high water.

After our stop we paddled on to the Holyhead breakwater and radioed port control to check that it was safe to cross the busy harbour area. It was about 2.15pm now, and we thought conditions at the Stanley Embankment would not be right to pass through, so we stopped again at the country park (ice cream van and loos) on the Holyhead side to allow local high water to pass. Two of the other groups now caught us up, so we decided to paddle over to the tunnel entrance and have a look at the conditions.

We got out of our boats on the sloping concrete to the L of the entrance and peered in. The flow into the tunnel was a fast drop into a standing wave with the rest of the tunnel looking OK. The exit into the inland sea had a standing wave train of a few waves that looked bouncy but harmless. There was no sign of the dangerous stopper that can form in the tunnel, so we decided to shoot through. Rob went first, then I followed breaking out on the R. We watched most of the rest of the groups down while crossing the standing waves from side to side for a bit of white water practice. I had to deal with one of our group that had a swim and once sorted we proceeded on through the inland sea to Four Mile Bridge.

To our surprise the flow was still against us at the bridge - we tried a few attempts to get through, but initially the flow was too much. Evidently the inland sea had still not filled up to the level of the estuary, despite the estuary being past its high water (which is earlier than HW Holyhead at the other end of the inland sea). After a brief wait we eventually got through as the flow eased as the water levels started to balance.

We then carried on down the peaceful, but sometimes shallow estuary and out into the sea at Valley airfield. A quick surf on a few waves saw us turn for home and the short paddle across Silver Bay and back into Borthwen to get off the water about 4:30pm.

Heading for home

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Greenland Video

I've created a 5 minute video of the Greenland trip. Not an easy task, since I must have over 7 hours of video from the trip! I was also struggling a bit using Windows Live Movie Maker, so I tried and purchased Sony Vegas Movie Studio. This package seems to be popular over on the gopro forums.

Sony Vegas studio has features that makes it easy to overlay voice commentary, include images and then crop/pan over them and fairly intuitive editting of the video itself.

Here's the Youtube version:

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 19th September 2012

Clarke Lane to bridge 18.
Out in 37:51, back in 38:37.
Dark by 8pm now.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Fleetwood Seaquest - 15th September 2012

High winds the day before made the holding of the event from the Marine Hall look unlikely, but luckily the winds had dropped sufficiently to make conditions on the beach not too rough.

I got a reasonable start and was the first boat to checkpoint 1, but I was soon overtaken by the K2 of Ned Price and John Kavanagh who went on to take the overall prize.

Alastair Hornsby tracked me around the course all the way - I seemed to make the clips at the checkpoints and get going again slightly quicker, but he had speed to keep catching me up again. I was still ahead of him after the last checkpoint, but coming back into the rougher conditions on the beach I couldn't match his speed and I came in second K1.

As usual the event was well organised by the OAG, and the post race barbeque and cups of tea were most welcome (not sure about some of the raffle prizes though!). Over £250 was raised for the Leukaemia Busters charity.

22km paddled, time 2:21.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 12th September 2012

Clarke Lane to Bridge 18 (Adlington Marina)
Out and back in about the same time of 38:41.
GPS showed average speed of 9.3 kph.

Great Orme - 9th September 2012

Paddle from West Beach Llandudno to Rhos on Sea, via Great Orme and Little Orme. Accompanied by 3 members of Macclesfield and District Canoe Club.

I drove Rachael to Llandudno, and we met Alan and Alan at West Beach. We unloaded the boats and performed the shuttle to leave my car at Rhos on Sea.

We left the beach just after low tide and paddled into a squally SW/W wind that was kicking up some reasonable sized waves on the shallow water as we started to round the Great Orme. After that excitement things calmed down a bit as we were more sheltered on the N side of the Orme and we were able to explore the rock features and small caves.

Little Orme
After a paddle through Llandudno pier we stopped for lunch and had a cup of tea at the Pool Cafe on the main Llandudno beach and then headed for the Little Orme. The spectacular cliffs had a colony of cormorants with many young birds looking slightly awkward, but the guillemots and razorbills had all gone.

Reversing in to a Little Orme cave
We left the shelter of Little Orme and again picked up the wind that seemed quite variable and this made the paddle round to Rhos On Sea a bit more of a slog with the occasional splash from the choppy waves.

Rachael paddles her Shoreline on its maiden voyage
We landed at the large slip in the middle of the beach but had to hurriedly clear a way for the inshore lifeboat to be launched for a shout. A jetski had been reported to be in trouble after running out of fuel, but the lifeboat didn't seem to find any one in difficulty and was soon back on the slip.

Just under 16km paddled.

The photos are stills from some gopro footage. The gopro cover is a bit scratched hence the blurry area around my head, but I was mainly trying out the new suction mount which seemed to work quite well. I'll try to remember to use a new unscratched case I have next time!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 5th September 2012

Launched at Clarke Lane but turned around at Bridge 18 (Adlington Marina). Not feeling too energetic, out in about 46:15, back in 47:30. "Cruising" speed. Getting pretty dark by 8:15 now.

Macclesfield Canal - 20th August 2012

Monday session on the canal spent with Rachael trying out different boats - she'd rented a North Shore Shoreline LV and Polar from Brookbank and was trying them out. Not impressed compared to my Xplore S!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ringstead Beach - 12th August 2012

Another session with the boys. I paddled for about 45 minutes, they mucked around a lot longer. Allen sat for about an hour just being washed onto and off of the pebble beach by the small waves. Allen also did a capsize drill with the spraydeck. Gavin messed around sinking the Acrobat and playing about putting his head up inside an upturned boat breathing in the air trapped inside. Very scary for any onlookers!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 13th August 2012

Session with Macc Canoe Club, though I paddled off doing some sprints for about an hour (30 strokes sprint, 30 rest).

Portland Harbour - 11th August 2012

Session with the boys in Portland Harbour, launching by ferry bridge boatyard. Allen and Gavin took turns paddling with me, they were wearing a spraydeck for the first time and having a go at surfing the very confused waves. Both seemed to enjoy it, neither fell in!

I was on the water for over an hour, did a few rolls in the Inazone.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 15th August 2012

Clarke Lane <> Higher Hurdsfield Marina.
Out in 52:16, back in 56:49. Quite strong wind helping on the way out, hindering on way back.
Felt a bit faster though.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 8th August 2012

Back to "training" runs on the canal... but it looks as though I've not exactly gained any fitness after 12 consecutive days paddling in Greenland. out in 55:08, then toured back in just over the hour after it seemed to be too much like hard work paddling fast! Nice evening though, so not a chore.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 6th August 2012

Went to the monday session on the canal with the Macc Canoe Club, primarily to get my boat back from Rachael whom I had lent it to while I was in Greenland. Was planning to do a short paddle, but got roped into instructing instead for about an hour. Unfortunately my student capsized and got a bit cold and wet!... doesn't say much for my coaching skills. I hope it hasn't put her off.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Greenland - Sermilik to Tasiilaq - 24th-27th July 2012

We paddled the few kilometers back to Tiniteqilaq, and with the shop open, it would be a crime not to support the local community and buy some more beer...

Our return journey to Tasiilaq would involve retracing our route back to the Angmagssalik fjord - we had hoped to circumnavigate the Angmagssalik island, but the weather forecast wasn't brilliant, and the southern tip of the island is very exposed.

We wanted to get as far up the Lairig Ghru as possible, and we got about half way and made camp. On the way we had found a large amount of wood, so we would have a good fire that night (as we did pretty much every night!)

Sunset in the "Lairig Ghru"
We returned to the island at the entrance to the Lairig Ghru and had another chance to look at the remains of the earth shelters. Pushing on, we then stopped at the deserted community of Qernertivartivit. Not long abandoned, one of the houses has been left pretty much as the last occupiers would have lived in it.

We made camp in a lovely positioned inlet, at the top of which we had a good view over the Angmagssalik fjord to watch whales.

Qernertivartivit - "ghost town"
Our last day on the water saw us return to Tasiilaq, but not before having to wait out some strong winds for a few hours. I must admit this was a fairly pleasant experience - although windy, it was still sunny, but the wind kept the flies off!

Sermilik to Tasiilaq

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Greenland - Karale to Sermilik - 20th-23rd July 2012

We left Karale glacier very slowly - the air was totally still, and the water mirror calm. We didn't want to leave such an enchanting place.

Leaving Karale Glacier
Our route then took us back past the Bluie East 2 airbase and a camp at a fishing cabin.

An early start to catch the high tide to enable us to pass through a shallow channel saw us arrive at the village of Kungmuit where we could restock provisions (beer....) and freshen up.

Carrying on we camped on an island at the start of a long channel that separates Angmagssalik island from the mainland. Martin calls this channel the "Lairig Ghru" as it feels like the Cairngorms feature of that name - maybe not quite the same views, but more to do with the significance of how it cuts through a great land mass.

The "Lairig Ghru" took us a whole day to paddle, and we camped again just short of the village of Tiniteqilaq.

We got up the following day excited at the prospects of the day's paddle - we knew there would be a lot of ice in the Sermilik fjord, and we were not to be disappointed.

We stopped of in Tiniteqilaq for a look around and to view the ice in Sermilik. A local fisherman sold us some Arctic Char that we would have that night for supper.

Inspecting the ice in Sermilik from Tiniteqilaq
We ventured up the Sermilik fjord for a few kilometers, but it was not long before the ice became too thick to continue north, so we turned towards the land and camped. Due to the amount of ice in the vicinity, we thought it prudent to maintain a "bear watch" overnight, so we took shifts of an hour each to maintain a lookout over the camp for any unwanted visitors.

In Sermilik Fjord
Karale to Sermilik

Friday, 3 August 2012

Greenland - En Route to the Karale Glacier - 15th-19th July 2012

Our first camp was the old whaling settlement at Amitsivartik. We explored the remains of the settlement that included old earth buildings, children's play areas marked out with rocks and human burial cairns.

Above the settlement a hill gave us a great view of Angmagssalik fjord where we sat and watched whales.

Our route took us through various channels and around islands. Our initial plans of taking a more seaward route were thwarted by winds that kept us on the more sheltered side of the islands. We encountered numerous icebergs - some adrift in the channels, others aground in the shallower waters. Each one strangely mesmerizing with its hues of blue and eroded shapes.

On the forth night out we camped by the deserted US base, Bluie East 2. Abandoned quickly in the 50's, the evidence of a quick departure is all around - from the trucks through to more delicate intact 1950s coke bottles.

From the airbase we paddled into Sermiligaq fjord and as as we neared the top of the fjord the water gradually changed colour - from wonderful clear water to the milky green characteristic of glacial meltwater. We had a view of the Knud Rasmussen glacier but turned west towards the Karale glacier. A wonderful scene of glaciers and their calved icebergs greeted us - the main Karale glacier plus two other glaciers feeding into the same fjord.

In front of the Karale Glacier
We camped on the rocks and moraine on the south side of the Karale glacier and trekked onto the glacier itself.

Tasiilaq to Karale Glacier

Greenland - Outward Journey - 11th-14th July 2012

On the 11th July 2012, five members of the North West Sea Kayakers (Jim, Kirstine, Chris, Stephanie and myself) left Manchester to fly to Reykjavik to start a near three week trip that would take us to the east coast of Greenland.

We stayed in Reykjavik for two nights, camping at the city hostel, meeting the rest of the team on the last night - our Greenland guide, Martin Rickard from and Dave and Jules from Shetland.

We spent our time in Reykjavik sight-seeing and enjoying the thermal pool adjacent to the campsite. Reykjavik and Iceland seemed very pleasant and I'd like to return for a longer visit with the family.

Reykjavik from the cathedral tower
On the friday, after a short delay waiting for fog to lift in Greenland, we boarded out flight to Kulusuk and we were on our way. As we approached Greenland we could see sea ice and massive ice bergs followed by the dramatic fjords and mountains that make up the east coast of Greenland.

Our planned transfer to Tasiilaq via boat was somewhat delayed - Martin and Lars the boat owner had got their wires crossed over dates, so we nearly had to camp at the airport and wait an extra day! - but luckily Martin managed to track Lars down in Tasiilaq and he came out to pick us up.

Waiting for the boat transfer to Tasiilaq
The boat trip was pretty spectacular - our first close up view of ice bergs, plus a number of whale sightings.

The campsite in Tasiilaq is nicknamed "Vietnam" by Martin due to the campsite's proximity to the village helicopter pad and rubbish tip!

Tasiilaq campsite
We had a chance to explore the village and stock up on provisions for our trip. Apart from drinking water, we were essentially self sufficient with food for up to 12 days away from the Tasiilaq base.

Jim is a sponsored P&H paddler, so he was keen to be seen and paddle a P&H boat, so he had arranged a deal for Martin to buy and ship out a P&H Scorpio for him to paddle. Only problem was that because of our late arrival on friday we missed the chance to get the boat out of the harbour warehouse and we could have had to wait till monday to get it. Luckily, Martin pulled a few strings and the harbour master managed to get us into the warehouse saturday morning to collect it. Inside the boat just happened to be two weeks supply of Clif bars for all of us, plus a wine box! - so it would have been a shame to leave on the trip without it.

The Harbour Master's kids try the Scorpio out
We completed our packing of the boats late saturday afternoon, and we decided to head off that evening on our journey.

Under way at last!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 1st July 2012

Launched at Clarke Lane with the intention of testing out some gopro camera angles, but once on the water I didn't feel too good. Not sure what the problem was - either a dodgy curry from the night before or some stomach bug, but either way I was glad to get off and packed up to go home.

This may have been my last paddle before Greenland! - scary.

On the water for just over an hour, 6k paddled.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Conwy Ascent - 23rd June 2012

Nice social event, but I'm a bit unfit for racing and I was puffing after the first 100 metres... maybe half the problem was I was still laughing at the carnage of the launching attempts of some of the K2s.

There were surprisingly few waves up to the bridges, but once we swung round the corner we caught the strong westerly wind and it was a bit of a slog giving more problems for the thin racing kayaks. At least two boats capsized and I lost a little time going over to a k1 that was being rescued. In the end I was the third veteran, so I got a mention in the prizegiving that I was not expecting.

After tea and a butty, Jim, Aled and I toured back to the start at a slightly more leisurely pace and we finished off the day with some fine fish and chips in Conwy.

I think my race time must have been at least 1:20, and I expect the return paddle was about 1:40, but I wasn't really keeping an eye on the time.

Update 26/6/12: Race time was 1:26:55, 11th single kayak overall.

Macclesfield Canal - 18th June 2012

Short paddle trying out some camera angles with the gopro mounted on a pole on the rear deck. Not had time to process the movie yet, but the system seemed to work OK. On the water for 35 minutes.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Portland Harbour - 2nd June 2012

Short 1 hr potter on the water with Allen and Gavin. First time we've actually managed to paddle with all 3 of together! Would have had a nice video, but didn't realise the battery was flat in the GoPro :(
We launched at Castle Cove beach and they enjoyed the small waves and going in and around the reefs. Gavin said it was a lot more exciting than paddling on the canal, but still thinks there are sharks everywhere!... Too much watching "The World's 50 Deadliest Animals" or such like.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Brereton Lake - 24th May 2012

Sea kayak rescue practice session on Brereton Lake with MADCC. Went through the usual set of rescues, plus did a couple of successful re-entry and rolls. Left hand side roll a bit dodgy, need to practice some more!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Porth Dafarch to South Stack - 20th May 2012

With a good weather forecast, plus easterly/north easterly winds (2/3 gusting 4) I'd decided to head for Porth Dafarch with Rachael Clarke (Macclesfield Canoe Club). Rachael had only been on the sea once before, so the intention was to have a short/moderate length paddle but to concentrate on some boat handling skills. We were joined by Helen Marriott (Chester/NWSK) who had responded to my invite on the NWSK forum.

We would be launching around 10.30, and the tide was coming to the end of the flood. That meant that the tide race at Penrhyn Mawr would not be working, so I thought it would be nice to paddle around Penrhyn Mawr and head for South and maybe North Stack lighthouses. Even once the tide was flowing against us on the ebb, the eddies in the bays would give us options to make progress as required.

We headed out from Porth Dafarch in wonderful sunshine and made our way around to Penrhyn Mawr chatting and discussing various kayaking topics.

As I had predicted, Penrhyn Mawr was dormant as we paddled through channels and into the odd cave.

As we passed the end of the headland to get into "Abraham's Bosom" (the bay between Penrhyn Mawr and South Stack), we encountered an eddy line and the ebb flow against us. We had to work had to punch through this and get into the bay to pick up the eddy that was now circulating anti-clockwise.

Approaching South Stack

On the north side of the bay we paddled through a thoroughfare made between the sea stacks and the cliffs. We watched the climbers dangling/clinging to the rocks on one section of cliff and then saw hundreds of Razorbills and Guillemots nesting on the ledges of another.

Look hard to see 5 climbers!
We approached the gap between the "mainland" and the South Stack island and I was expecting this to be the crux of the paddle. I nosed through under the bridge and picked a channel through the rocks. There was flow against me, and once through the gap the sea state was reflecting the E/NE wind and was pretty choppy. I decided it was getting a committing location to be taking Rachael, with no landing spots before Parliament Cave and the strength of the ebb tide, so after Helen paddled through and had a look at North Stack in the distance we paddled back to the south side of Abraham's Bosom for a lunch stop. The eddy in the bay was now in full flow and when we passed Pen-Las rock to re-enter the main part of the bay we had to cross quite a flow of water with small waves that was pushing us out to the main ebb flow.

After lunch we returned to Porth Dafarch and practised rescues, rolls, and re-entry/rolls in the still rather cold water. I also found out that my plastic flare canisters do not hold enough air to make them float!... I'm rather grateful to a swimmer in a wetsuit that had a mask that could dive down and get one that fell off my deck.

Rachael heading back to Porth Dafarch
Lovely paddle and refreshing to get in the water at the end. 12.25km paddled, on the water for about 4 hours.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 13th May 2012

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 56:43, a couple of boat delays, not feeling very energetic (may be something to do with the previous night's beer and curry....)
Just cruised back in 1hr14min.
Right wrist a bit sore.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ravenglass Seaquest - 6th May 2012

Good turnout for the 6th running of this popular event - 68 boats on the water, with 90 paddlers. The weather was fairly kind with sunshine and a light (but cool) wind. This was the last time that the event was to be organised by Annette Morris since she has relocated to the Ayrshire coast in Scotland. Next year's event will be organised by Copeland Canoe Club who were present helping Annette with the course setting, race admin and course clearing, so hopefully everything should go as smoothly as it has under Annette's reign.

The event was the usual format - a 3 hour score event over a course of about 15 controls that could be visited in any order and were worth 10, 20 or 30 points with time penalties for late finishing beyond the 3 hours.

A feature of the event this year was the very high tides. This made navigation interesting since the high tide flooded fields and the bends in the rivers that are useful navigation aids were washed out. So you took risks cutting across corners in only a few inches of water, and in a couple of points it was quicker to jump out of your boat and portage over a bank or run through some shallow water to get the best lines.

I went up the Irt first, then the Mite and finally the Esk. This proved a popular route and the top 3 male kayaks all took the same route and jossled for position over the first controls. The lead swapped from me (only for the first control!)... then Alastair Hornsby and then Rob Jones. Alastair and Rob then changed the lead a few times - Rob getting confused at the top of the Irt, Alastair over shooting control 4 at the top of the Mite and also a quick ducking half way up the Esk. Finally Alastair's boat speed in the K1 paid off and he finished a couple of minutes ahead of Rob in a time of 2hrs 14min. I came in a couple of minutes behind Rob in third.

Interestingly, the K2 pair of Ned Price and John Kavanagh from Macclesfield finished in a time of 2hrs 12min. Normally they are further ahead of the K1 singles, but they went up the Esk first and this may not have been the optimum route.

Rob Jones with his 2nd prize bottle of wine

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 1st May 2012

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 52:37, back in 54:39.
Funny, thought the wind was against me a bit on the way out. Nice and peaceful on the canal with no boats or fishing contests.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 23rd April 2012

Quick 45 minute paddle while Gavin and his friends paddled with the Macclesfiled club. Did 5km round trip, going south from Adelphi mill.

Macclesfield Canal - 22nd April 2012

Clarke Lane <=> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 54:29, back in 57:30.
Cold, wet and miserable!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Inverie to Back of Keppoch - 8th April 2012

Day 4 of our Loch Nevis and Knoydart excursion.

Feeling surprisingly fresh after the previous evening's excesses, we de-camped and set off back across Lock Nevis in a fresh westerly wind. We passed the group of canoeists that we had been talking to the night before. They were making slow progress across the loch, and we were slightly concerned due to the increasing wind, but they made it across OK and into Mallaig.

With the freshening wind we left Kirstine and Stephanie in Mallaig and the remaining four paddlers continued back down the now exposed coast, back to the campsite at Silversands. With the wind gusting at F4-6, this made things rather entertaining and the rough conditions took our minds off the heavy rain that we were battling through.

With all the paddling now over, we put up tents and finished off our remaining beer and whiskey. We drove home the following day with batteries suitably recharged. It had been a good trip, the first time I had actually wild camped from my kayak. Just a shame we didn't really get any views of the hills on the four paddling days as the weather was pretty dreary. Never mind, I'll just have to go back again!

20k paddled.

Lessons learnt - I took far too much food, even considering the use we made of the pub at Inverie. I suppose I had considered the amount of food I used to eat on mountain marathons (2 day hill running, navigation events) and thought I would need the same number of calories, but I don't think the kayaking was as exhausting. I also took a load of spare clothes I didn't wear. I spent all the trip wearing the same tops and bottoms that I wore kayaking under my drysuit. I suppose if it had been wetter in the campsites, I might have needed to change clothes, but more time would have been spent in tents then.

Sandaig Islands to Inverie - 7th April 2012

Day 3 of our Loch Nevis and Knoydart excursion.

The morning started dry, and luckily we could take the tents down without having to pack them away wet.

The plan was to head south again and camp at the official campsite on the beach back at Inverie. There was little wind and when we re-entered Loch Nevis there was an atmospheric mist hanging on the side of the hills.

With low tide in the afternoon, we decided to go to the pub first, have a couple of drinks and maybe eat, then paddle over to the campsite at high tide so we could get the laden boats easily onto the beach. This plan was successfully executed, although I think we had more than a couple of drinks! The pub was very busy, with musicians playing by the bar and a big group of canoeists from Lancaster that we were chatting to.

Jim, Kirstine and Martin
Seafood Dinner at the Old Forge
Valet Parking, Inverie Style!
Inverie Campsite
25k paddled.

Tarbet to Sandaig Islands - 6th April 2012

Day 2 of our excursion around Knoydart and Loch Nevis.

Leaving Frank's place
We left Frank's place in the drizzle and skirted the south side of Loch Nevis, making our way out of the Loch and into the more exposed waters heading north. A welcome lunch stop in Doune then we resumed our journey north, across the mouth of Loch Hourn into an increasing NW wind.

Luckily as we arrived at our planned campsite, the rain had stopped and the sun made an effort to come out. We made a fire on the stony beach and passed a pleasant evening chatting and planning what kit to take to Greenland.

Campfire stories
Jimski looking pensive
30k paddled day two.