In which brave Sarah goes out into the more than choppy waters of the Dee Estuary and the boundaries of her comfort zone are well and truly pushed.
One of my favourite places in the whole world is ‘The Shining Shore’ – the shining waters and mudflats of the Dee Estuary. Me and Ronnie have walked all along this shore, from Parkgate to West Kirby, and have a default walk which starts at Thurstaston, goes inland through lanes and woodland, and emerges on the beach and the cliffs at Thurstaston for the last stretch. We’ve done it so many times in the last six years I feel I could probably do it blindfold. We also walk further up the shore, further inland where the marsh is gradually encroaching, and we call that part ‘The Marshlands’. And yet each time we walk here there is always something to see – wildflowers, the change in the light, the birds in the estuary…. Here’s a selection of photographs of this part of the world from the last five years.
Over the years we’ve observed the cliffs erode, the marsh becoming larger. And the tidal flow in and out of the cut through the marsh. During our years of walking I didn’t imagine that I would enter the marsh through this cut. But this weekend I did.
My latest kayaking adventure starts at the Dee sailing club slipway, nearing high tide on Sunday 26 February 2017.
My Romany kayak. Ready to launch as high tide approaches, the waves are coming in.
Looking like an OK sea state.
I am one of a group of 16 paddlers on this trip today. Most of us have spent three Saturday mornings this year together at the dock in Liverpool doing an ‘Improvers sea kayaking’ course. Our coaches are Gareth Jones, Alan Peachment and John Fay. John can’t join us this weekend due to a back injury, so Gareth and Alan are joined by some other club members to take the ‘improvers’ on a sea trip. We had hoped we could paddle to Hilbre Island today – further up in this estuary, but it’s been too windy and there is swell in the tide so we’re turning left and making our way towards Parkgate.
So, I’m looking forward to viewing a favourite part of the shore, but from the water. I was hoping to show you photographs I’d take from the water of the cliffs we’ve observed over the last few years walking here.
But, dear reader, the sea state I showed you as we entered the water became much more serious. Here’s a photo taken by Sarah Jones who has been the ‘official photographer’ of our course. (Thanks Sarah).
There was a lot of swell and confused waters. It was a bit overwhelming for me… but part of my kayaking adventure is that it is exactly that, an adventure. And I am pushing the boundary of my comfort zone. It was, to be fair, pushed a bit more than I would have liked. So, no photos, as I grip the paddle and concentrate on keeping my bow into the incoming waves. (Hitting a wave from the side increases chance of capsize, so a sea kayak performs well if it can push through oncoming waves.)
As the seemingly endless waves continue, one of my coaches Alan has very kindly stayed right with me and tells me that ‘soon’ the sea state will change as we will be in the channel. I know there is a channel here, as I have seen it many times during our walking, at various states of tide. Here is is:
So I am quite relieved (that’s an understatement) when we do finally get into the channel, the sea is much easier. Soon after we then arrive at Heswall boat yard, also home to Sheldrakes bar, and we are going to stop on the shore here for our elevenses.
It feels strange to approach this familiar bit of shore from the sea.
And to paddle ‘in the marsh’. It is very shallow.
I am more used to this stretch of shore looking like this:
After our break we head back into the cut. The tide has turned now and the ebbing tide is hard to paddle against, and we are also paddling into the wind.
We don’t make it as far as Parkgate, but raft up briefly here, by the blue railings. The seaside town that is now a marsh.
This strange bit of shoreline where the railings sit like a ghost resort.
We turn back and head back to the boat yard.
As the tide is quickly ebbing out we have an easy paddle back, the wind pushing us easily back, and then a very muddy landing in the marsh.
As usual friendly paddling banter is observed.
A fellow paddler, Mark, has returned by sea and has a van, and we are waiting for him to pick us up. We then go by van to the Dee sailing club, get our cars and return here. And we pack up our boats.
Time to leave here, with a very muddy boat. And back at the Dee sailing club we have a drink and a chat. As I leave the club house the estuary is now looking very different at 3pm, so five hours since we set off, it doesn’t look like it could have been such a hostile environment.
Looking down towards Parkgate – the white buildings just visible in the distance.
Memories of so many happy times on this shore, now seen from a different perspective.
Thank you to my new friends at the Liverpool Canoe Club for a great day on the water. Thanks to coaches Gareth, Alan, John with support from Mark, Ian and Keith.
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The good P&H (round hatch) corelite version not the Venture canoes version.
Yellow £420 ono
Boat – Capella 166 Weight range is 65-120KG (Photo above shows someone lighter with a seat pad to reduce volume)
Usual wear and tear but good condition, Hatches all in good condition. I haven’t used it for a while hence being sold.
Contact number 07855977786
Unit 4 Cranford Court
Phone 01925 818437
Up to15% off RRP for members of Liverpool Canoe Club
Unit 8, Tardy Gate Trading Estate,
Coote Lane, Lostock Hall, Preston, PR5 5JD
Phone: 07903 573585
Up to15% off RRP for members of Liverpool Canoe Club
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Tiderace Xplore X for sale. Now sold
The kayak has been well looked after and had only light use. Subsequently she’s in excellent condition with only minor scuffs and the odd scratch otherwise its damage free and has not been subjected to any repairs.
The Xplore X is designed with the larger paddler (85 – 100kg) in mind who wants a capable seaworthy expedition Kayak with a good turn of speed when loaded and manoeuvrability when catching the wave when lightly loaded on a day trip.
Also included with the kayak is, spray deck, cockpit cover and spare rudder.
Price £1500 ono.
Steve Gille mobile 077888 70588
With the upcoming sea kayak course, here are some thoughts about packing for those longer trips – but remember it’s not the only way!
Time to start dreaming and planning. Single overnighter to multi week trip, its all good.
Sea Kayak Demo Day by Sea Kayak Oban
Sunday 12th March 2016 – Killington Lake 10 am -2 pm
hosted by Killington Sailing Association, supported by Sedbergh & District Canoe Club, supervised by “Cumbria Canoeists” – Mike Sunderland & RDT
To Book / Request a Kayak please E-Mail email@example.com,
or Call Stuart or Cathy for a chat on 01631-565-310.
Before buying a sea kayak it is really worthwhile trying as many as you can and Sea Kayak Oban’s demo days are the perfect opportunity.
We will have at least 4 different brands – Valley, Northshore, P&H, Epic, Perception – of sea kayaks and lots of different sizes and styles. NEW VALLEY SIRONA LV & MV SIZES and plastic Sirona LV & MV and the EPIC V5 & V6.
Also paddles by Werner, Adventure Technology, Epic Wings & Ainsworth & you can also size drysuits by Kokatat and PeakUk.
Bring regular paddling gear and try as many kayaks you want on Killington Lake – Sea kayak Oban team
Stuart and Cathy – on hand to advise and discuss kayak designs, handling qualities, suitability & prices.
Grateful thanks to “Killington Sailing Association” (KSA) for hosting the event – all sailing members VERY welcome.
Please Book and IT is all FREE
Now Sold Pyranha Burn for sale: Size, Medium, good used condition with usual scratches for a boat of this age. Includes 2 rear airbags. I also have a Palm deck with one small good repair to fit this boat which I will sell separately for £20 if wanted.
Viewing or collection from Bebington Wirral.
Please email me at alan AT aksmail.co.uk or call 07974191183
Thanks for looking.
River Dee Improvers Trip 5th February 2017
What a fantastic paddle it turned out to be on Sunday! We all met at Ponsonby arms, in Llangollen, the car park after town falls where paddlers usually get off when they have paddled from Horse shoe falls down to town. Everyone started to arrive at 9:30 am. It was a beginners and improvers trip, we
were there to paddle the lower Dee. We had a great flow of water which was nice and manageable for all levels of paddlers.
There was a good turn out for this nice relaxing paddle on the chilly Sunday morning. Once everyone had got changed into their nice and toasty thermals and paddling kit, the people in cars made their way down to where we were due to get off the river. As everyone arrived back to where the rest of us were stood freezing whilst starting to get to know each other, it was then time to get on the water. Before we did that, the top dog Keith put us all into our groups, it was my first trip with Liverpool Canoe Club and I was there to help out doing some river leading to help me towards my 4*. I’m very grateful that Keith and my group leader Mark (who I accidentally kept calling Steve) Garrod let me tag along.
When we were all ready to start our journey, not to name any names here (simply because I don’t know any), but someone had left their helmet in their car, which just had to be at the get off point…..
Luckily my Mum and Dad took this lovely gentleman back down to his car to collect his helmet.
Whilst the bloke’s group waited patiently behind, the other groups made their way onto the water.
With having so many paddlers on the water close to where we got on, it was packed with no eddies to get into, so we all started to make our way down the river at a nice steady pace.
Sunday was all about building confidence and getting people used to being back on the water and it seemed to work pretty well
It was a good 4 hour paddle with some good laughs and conversation and we also managed to see the sun for a short while, which was a bit of a shock to us all if I do say so myself. Along the way we all tried some different things to bring our confidence and
paddling skills to a higher level, its always good to encourage each other each time you get out there.
Once we had made our way to the end of our long stretch, we got off at Ty Mawr country park with lovely scenery and TOILETS!!! Which I think was a great sight for us all.
The day turned out well with no swimmers or rollers which was a result, it couldn’t have gone any better. Well apart from one small thing, I did accidentally fall of the bank into the water, but that doesn’t count as a swim may I add.
It was a great trip with lovely people and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.