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.