Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 8th December 2013

Last round of the club "Hare and Hounds" handicap race over a 4 mile course.
Made a 1 minute 32 second improvement over my time earlier in the year and the way my handicap unravelled meant I came in first with a time of 41:28.
Headed off to the Cock and Pheasant for a pub lunch and quiz afterwards.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

River Eden - 16th November 2013

Lazonby to Armathwaite, approximately 5 miles.
Grade 2. Pleasant river paddle with Macclesfield Canoe Club with the river at a low-medium level.

Bollington Pool - 15th November 2013

20 minutes in the pool rolling practice.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Bollington Pool - 8th November 2013

30 minute pool session rolling practice. Hand roll not even close :(

Monday, 28 October 2013

Menai Straits - 27th October 2013

With the open sea being pretty wild, we opted to take cover in the Menai Straits for a short paddle between the two road bridges.

We launched at the slipway in Menai Bridge and headed off SW against the incoming tide and strong wind. We punched up through the fast flow under the arches of the Menai Bridge and picked our way up the Anglesey side keeping to eddies to allow us to make headway "upstream".

We had lunch in the woods just before the Britannia Bridge and once back on the water I hugged the bank and forced my way up against the flow and now very strong gusts to go through the bridge and around its central pillar. I rejoined Rachael and Jim and we headed back "downstream" playing about in the eddies breaking in and out of the flow.

Jim was due to be taking his 4* assessment this weekend, but it was cancelled due to the weather, but Rachael decided he could do with some rescue practice and threw herself in accordingly. With Rachael now rather cold we headed back to the slipway.

On the water for about 2 hours, just over 5km paddled.

Trearddur Bay - 26th October 2013

Because a planned trip to Bardsey was cancelled the week before due to bad weather, I decided to join up with the NWSK meet on Anglesey. Unfortunately, the forecast for this weekend was even worse, so everyone had dropped out for one reason or another, so it was just Jim, Rachael and I who stayed at Anglesey Outdoor for the weekend.

On the Saturday, with a S-SW force 5 to 6, then gale 8 forecast, we decided we'd opt to play in the surf of Trearddur Bay. The bay gives some protection from the wind on its southern side and the reefs in the mouth of the bay take some of the energy out of the waves, leaving manageable sets for us to surf.

We arrived about an hour after low tide and there wasn't much in the way of surf on the beach, but as is the case with a number of surf beaches, the surf builds on the incoming tide such that by time we got on the water there were some small waves big enough to surf on.

It wasn't long before bigger sets of about 2 foot were coming in giving some fun rides and a good introduction to surf for Rachael. We had lunch on the north side of the beach, sheltering in the lee of the public slipway. We re-launched and paddled across the bay in very strong headwinds to the mouth of the bay where there was another group surfing the bigger waves. A quick hello was followed by a surf back to the beach and some more rides on the beach break that must have been about 3 foot by now and fairly entertaining.

On the water for about 2 hours.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 13th October 2013

Clarke Lane <> Bridge 21
There and back to my usual halfway point - back/hip have been playing up a bit so didn't push it.
60 minute round trip.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Rhoscolyn to Trearddur Bay and back - 29th September 2013

Return trip from Rhoscolyn to Trearddur Bay. Paddling with Alan, Alan and Roger from the Macc canoe club.

With strong E winds (4-5, occasionally 6) we headed for the west side of  Anglesey. The original plan was to paddle from Rhosneigr to Trearddur or maybe Porth Dafarch, but in the end we opted for a there and back route from Rhoscolyn to save doing a shuttle.

Technically we were doing it the wrong way round with the tide against us in both directions, but with neap tides and the fact we had the option to hug the shore, it didn't make much difference.

On the outward leg we did a lot of rock hopping and exploring the caves, though the not insignificant swell made this very entertaining, one particular gap caught Roger by surprise as a large set of waves made a channel full of white water. Alan Tonge thought better of it and paddled around that one!

We had lunch at Trearddur and as we were launching to return there was a moment of excitement as the inshore lifeboat made a speedy launch to answer a mayday from a fishing vessel. In the end it was a false activation from their automatic alarm on their radio.

On the way back we swung out into the wind to visit Rhoscolyn Beacon.

About 13km paddled, launched at 11am, off the water around 3:20pm.

Getting ready with Roger

Approaching Rhoscolyn Head


Alan and Alan

Alan A explores a deep gully

Lively rock hopping

Lunch in the sun at Trearddur

Alan T heading for Rhoscolyn Beacon

Followed by Alan A and Roger

Alan T at the Beacon

Alan A at the Beacon

Friday, 27 September 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 25th September 2013

Clarke Lane <> Bridge 18.
Out in 38:57 (funny... it felt faster?...), back in 40:22.
Return leg mainly in the dark... can I keep this up over the winter?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Hilbre Island Race - 22nd September 2013

Bright sunshine and ideal conditions made a pleasant surprise compared to last year's race that had to be moved to Liverpool docks. A new race base at the Dee Sailing Club made for a longer race and great facilities including changing rooms, showers, toilets and a bar!

About 50 boats lined up for the Le Mans start and soon after the starting hooter Ian Tordoff, Chris McSweeny and James Mayers were setting the pace heading down the estuary en route to the Hilbre Islands. A light headwind and small waves built up as we approached the NW side of the main island to create some choppy conditions and a few larger waves pushed us back south to start the return leg. The following wind and waves sometimes quickened my speed and sometimes slowed me as they pushed me offline.

I finished in tenth, in a time of 1:34:54, some 21 minutes behind the winner and 12 minutes behind the boat in third place. Well off the prizes this year, though I wasn't expecting to do well with the much stronger field and having done a lot less training this year.

Nice to have a chat with a few friends at the barbecue on the lawn of the sailing club after the race.

Thanks to Liverpool Canoe Club for organising the event.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 15th September 2013

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina.
Out in 53:47, couple of boat delays, blustery wind on my back.
Back in 58:21, headwind, boat delay plus I had to retrieve a ball for a dog owner - the dog couldn't be bothered getting it!
Saw a kingfisher at bridge 18 which was nice - along with the now common half dozen or so herons.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 8th September 2013

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina.
Out in 52:23, back in 56:19...
Bit of a following wind on the way out, a couple of boat delays on the way back.

Macclesfield Canal - 4th September 2013

Clarke Lane <> Bridge 18
Out in 39:17, back in 39:14.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 1st September 2013

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina.
Out in 53:50, back in 56:17.
First decent paddle in quite a while, so not too bad.
Saw 6 herons, nice to see so many, must mean the canal isn't too dirty!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Portland Harbour - 25th August 2013

Short paddle with Allen and Gavin launching from Castle Cove beach and paddling along the Western Ledges to the harbour breakwater and back again. Gavin had a quick go in my Xplore sea kayak, not sure if he understands correct posture for efficient paddling though.....
Allen below Sandsfoot castle

Gavin chilling

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 19th August 2013

Clarke Lane << Bridge 21.
90 minutes session, 8.5 km paddled, some time spent chatting to MADCC members on club night.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Brereton Lake - 15th August 2013

Rolling practice at Brereton Lake. Right sided roll fine, still can't get left sided roll very reliable.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 29th July 2013

Clarke Lane <> Bridge 18.
About 90 minutes round trip at a steady pace including brief chat with the Macc CC members out on their club night. No detailed time, helps if the GPS actually has batteries in....

Brereton Lake - 25th July 2013

Rolling and general mucking about for 90 minutes on the lake with Gavin and his friend Harry. Left-hand roll still needs work!!!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Moelfre to Bull Bay - 21st July 2013

A last minute pass out enabled me to join up with Alan, Alan and Roger from the Macclesfield Canoe Club for a day trip on Anglesey.

A route had been selected on the NE side of Anglesey, but with a E-NE F3-4 occasionally 5 wind forecast this was not going to be a flat paddle in the sunshine.

And so it turned out that when we arrived at Moelfre there was a brisk wind and choppy sea conditions.

We decided to go for it anyway, the choppy seas would be good entertainment compared to paddling flat water and anyway, the sun was out!

Moelfre Beach
Launching from the beach was a taste of what was to come when Roger got a face full of sea water as he timed his launch with a breaking wave on the beach.

We were soon paddling in waves of about 2-3 foot, occasionally 4, and these conditions would be the norm for the day apart from the odd spot where we managed to get some shelter.

Leaving Moelfre
We made our way via Ynys Dulus and rounded Point Lynas giving it a wide berth. The tide was ebbing, so the easterly flow was in the same direction as the wind and swell, so the race on the end of the point was not too intimidating.

Ynys Dulus
We stopped for a well earned lunch and comfort break in the idyllic bay of Porth Eilian before carrying on down the coast via Amlwch Harbour, East Mouse and then across the bay to Bull Bay, our final destination.

Porth Eilian

Amlwch Harbour
Amlwch Harbour
Approaching East Mouse
Approximately 16km paddled.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Stacks from Porth Dafarch - 13th July 2013

We arrived at an already heaving Porth Dafarch just after 10am and unloaded the kayaks and parked the car up on the road above the beach. We readied the boats in amongst groups of divers, fishermen and "coasteerers" and headed off in bright sunshine towards Penrhyn Mawr.

With HW Liverpool at 15:10 and just a few days after springs, I was expecting the overfalls to be fairly exciting, but with little swell there was just fast moving water and small waves so we passed through the "outer race" and turned back to paddle up the inland eddy to get some moving water practice.

After playing in the race for a while we set our sights on South Stack staying in the main flow reaching groundspeeds of over 16kph, soon reaching our second objective.

After South Stack we paddled closer inland and lost the benefit of the flooding tide and made our way across the impressive Gogarth Bay towards North Stack. We momentarily contemplated whether it was worth trying to raise the money to buy the old fog horn station that is for sale, but thought it was a tad expensive. It was now midday, and the tide was not due to turn until about 1pm, but there was already flow in the westerly direction at North Stack as we took a quick look around the headland.

We turned around and headed back to Parliament Cave looking forward to basking in the sun that was just creeping into it. However it was not to be - no sooner as we landed and got a brew on, a mist rolled in and blocked the sun for the next hour. We didn't let the lack of sun ruin our leisurely lunch and we were gradually joined by other parties enjoying the fantastic summer conditions.

Heading off again the sun returned and we watched climbers high up on the Gogarth cliffs and explored the large caves as we made our way back towards South Stack.

As we went round the bay the radio crackled into life with a mayday call from a boat that had engine failure and was pinned against South Stack rocks. We were part watching this episode unfold, but increasingly more aware of our own situation as some unexpected swell and wind kicked up some rough conditions. The inshore lifeboat arrived to give the boat a tow and we rounded South Stack to regain some calmer conditions.

We cruised back through Penrhyn Mawr amazed how different it can be depending on the direction of the tide and made our way back to the hoardes of Porth Dafarch, arriving about 4:30pm. Approximately 16km paddled.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Brereton Lake - 11th July 2013

90 minutes session on Brereton Lake practicing rolls and rescues with the Macclesfield CC. Lovely sunny evening and the water was surprisingly warm!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 1st July 2013

90 minute paddle on the canal while Gavin paddled with the club. Round trip to bridge 18 from Adelphi Mill, steady pace. Hmmm.... need to get out on the sea again soon!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 26th June 2013

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 51:16, passed through bridge 18 at 37:20, average speed 9.8 kph.
Toured back in about an hour.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 23rd June 2013

Clarke Lane <> Bridge 18
Out and back in about 41 minutes, but didn't push it because I hurt my back lowering my boat into the canal :(

Macclesfield Canal - 19th June 2013

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Didn't time either leg accurately due to stopping to chat wih MADCC members at the shed, but was averaging 9.2 kph according to the GPS.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Conwy Ascent - 16th June 2013

Annual race on the incoming tide on the River Conwy.

Difficult conditions this year, with a significant headwind meant I did a PW... a "Personal Worst" time of just over 1:45. In previous years I've finished in 1:06 and 1:08, but everyone's time was a fair bit slower, but I'm also not as fit as I have been in the past. Without the incentive of an Eddystone race to train for I'm not putting the work in on the canal.

Getting ready for the start
After the race I toured back to the start in about 1:30... quicker than my race time because I had the tide and the wind with me. At least it was sunny!

Yours truly

Le Mans start of the K2 event

Jim Krawiecki finishes

Touring back to the start

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Macclesfield Canal - 10th June 2013

1 hour paddle from the MADCC clubhouse to bridge 18 and back again while Gavin was paddling with the club. Good fun trying to race Andrew + partner in their K2 on the way back!

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Ormes - 9th June 2013

With a decent forecast (sunny, F2-3 variable winds), I was keen to get out on the sea rather than a canal session, so I joined up with Jules, Gary and Dave from the NWSK on their trip around the Ormes.

We set off around 10:20am from the West Shore Llandudno and headed off to round the Great Orme. The tide was flooding, giving us a bit of assistance, but this was due to change to a westerly flow around noon.

As we made our way round the first headland, the wind increased and small waves coming from the NE were reflecting off the foot of the cliffs to give some choppy conditions, nothing too scary, but not what you would expect given the forecast.

The cliff ledges were packed with birds - mainly Razorbills and Guillemots, along with small colonies of gulls and Cormorants. Occasionally some of the birds would leave their nests and dive down seawards to pick up air speed before skimming the surface and heading out to sea.

Looking back towards the Great Orme
We stopped briefly for a tea/coffee break on a small pebble beach, just before Pen-trwyn and the final headland before Llandudno pier.

We set off across the east bay of Llandudno towards the Little Orme. Dave decided he didn't want to put too much strain on his wrist that had been bothering him, so he opted to have a snooze on the beach to wait for our return.

En route to Little Orme
Continuing around the Little Orme, we again encountered choppy conditions. Once round Jules landed for a comfort stop on a stony beach that had small surf landing on it. I wasn't that desperate for either a pee, or to damage my boat, and neither was Gary, so we stayed in our boats and waited for Jules. (Jules has the advantage of an electric pump in his boat, so he can get in his boat in deeper water in the small surf and it doesn't matter if waves swamp the boat, because the pump can deal with it - this protects his boat from damage on the stony beach.)

We paddled back to meet Dave on Llandudno east beach and had a relaxing lunch and brew.

After the lazy lunch we retraced our route back around Great Orme and returned to the West Shore and the long carry up the beach.

About 23km paddled, off the water at 4:30pm.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Circumnavigation of Taransay - 30th May 2013

I was unsure about paddling a third consecutive day because I was feeling a bit tired, but Nancy seemed happy for me to go out again, so how could I not go out on another sunny day?

I opted to go round Taransay since the forecast was for no more than F4 winds from the north/north east, so I was assuming it would be fairly sheltered.

I launched from Horgabost beach and struck out across the sound and headed straight for the beach at the back of Loch Na h-Uidhe. I hauled the boat high up the beach and went for an explore of the remains of the old houses then headed uphill to find the dun on a lochan in the interior of the island.

The remains of the dun in the interior of the island

From the high ground I could also get a view of the sea conditions on the exposed west side of the island - there was some waves hitting the rocks and skerries, but didn't look too bad.

Looking SW across Traigh a Siar

Looking SE towards Ceapabhal
I set off again and looked into a couple of caves on the south eastern part of the island before rounding the southern tip, Rubha Sgeirigin. The sea conditions were markedly rougher now, with confused waves due to the reflections from the rocks and small cliffs and I was glad to reach the calm waters of Traigh a Siar, the beach on the west side of the narrow strip of land that joins the two parts of the island.

Approaching Traigh a Siar in a following sea

Traigh a Siar

Traigh a Siar
After eating my lunch I paddled out again and passed between the rocks of Sgeir Laith and their breakers and made my way up to the northern end of Taransay, Rubha Nan Totag, to re-enter calmer waters. As I paddled down the east side by Eilean Thuilm I startled what I think was an eagle and watched it fly off north.

Looking north across West Loch Tarbert
I stopped again on the beach on the north side of Corran Ra (sand spit) I'd visited a couple of days before, and this time explored the remains of the houses on the east side.

Looking across the Sound of Taransay towards West Loch Tarbert

I reluctantly left this beautiful spot and paddled along the beach to the tip of the Corran Ra sand spit and crossed the sound again back to my starting point, ending a fantastic day's paddle. 25km distance.