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.

Sound of Harris - 29th May 2013

After spending the afternoon at Horgabost beach, where Gavin and I had a short paddle, I managed to grab an evening jaunt into the Sound of Harris that separates the Isle of Harris from North Uist. The sound is dotted with islands and skerries and unpredictable tides that make it an interesting place to paddle.

I launched from the ferry slip at Leverburgh, mindful of the ferry that was due around 6:30, and headed north west. There was quite a headwind, and I was also fighting some current, so I glided westwards, working my way across behind some skerries, and then striking out for Ensay. I landed on the the beach on the eastern side and got out to explore the chapel and the house.

Heading north west from Leverburgh


Ensay Chapel
I returned to my boat and set of again, rounding the southern tip of Ensay and ferry gliding across the channel to Killegray. I passed down the east side and out past the skerries on the south eastern tip of the island. The wind dropped and I was floating in the middle of the sound looking towards Uist in mirror calm conditions.

I returned to Leverburgh by the ferry channel, passing an otter scurrying about on a small rock. 15km paddled.

West Loch Tarbert, Isle of Harris - 28th May 2013

Whilst on holiday with the family on the Isle of Harris I had the chance to explore the wonderful coastline of this part of the Outer Hebrides.

The first couple of days of the holiday had strong winds and blustery showers, kicking up impressive, over head height surf on the beach near our cottage.

However on the afternoon of the third day the weather had quietened down enough for me to venture out into West Loch Tarbert. I launched from the rubble beach just down the road from the school and headed off along the south side of the loch under the impressive northern corries of Beinn Dhubh.

I was uncertain of my route, not quite sure what the wind and the conditions were going to be like, but when I got the end of the mainland I decided to strike out across Caolas Tharasaigh and visit Tarasaigh (Isle of Taransay). The crossing was short, but the wind was still gusting pretty strong requiring concentration.

I landed on the northern end of the beach under the deserted buildings of the north east side of the island and headed off on foot to explore towards the site of the village of Paibeil and the ruins of a "dun", the fortified houses/forts that date back thousands of years.

The view back up Lock Tarbert, where I had come from

Conscious of time, I returned to the beach and headed north across the Loch towards the islands of Sodhaigh Beag and Sodhaigh Mor and passed through the narrow channel between them. By this time the wind had died down and the conditions were idyllic.

I stopped on Sobhaigh Mor for a breather, and enjoyed the company of an otter for a few minutes. Only the second time I have seen one in the wild.

The return route took me up the middle of the Loch, passing by small islands (Duisgeir and Iosaigh) into a freshening headwind that made it a bit of slog. About 27km paddled.