Upstream from Briançon among the ski resorts of Serre Chevalier is a long run on generally easy water which may be too low early in the day. There is one long rapid, S-bend – which is harder (possible portage on the left) and has few break-outs, but is essentially a big bouncy boulder garden when the water is at a reasonable level. We ran the river in four groups as there are few eddies or stopping places on this fast Alpine toboggan run. Bertrand, a local French paddler asked to join us in the car park and he joined the first group. From Lille, where there is a small artificial slalom course, he tried to get every eddy and mostly succeeded.
There was enough water in the river to make the run down through the town of Le Monêtier-les-Bains interesting and bouncy. Next we came to the S-bends just before the village of Les Guibertes. The level was lower than normal – there
were several hard moves round boulders at the entry to the rapid which required a little concentration. We ran the rapid and most picked out the right line (further right on entry) and had no mishaps. We re-grouped at the raft get in at Le Freyssinet and continued on down through the small villages of the valley to meet the minibus at Chantemerle.
After lunch most retured to the campsite to paddle on the slalom course while a few paddled on down the Lower Guisane to the pre-positioned car. Later that day the skies darkened and we were hit by a large thunder and lightening storm. Pitch one had now had the new addition of a small swimming pool in the middle of it – bonus.
Nepal Sun Kosi River Trip – coordinator Keith Steer.
29th April 2018
Club Open Day at the Compound at the Docks. Try different disciplines, junior session, come and try it session for non-members, Sunday tour of the docks. Bring and buy sale for any canoe or kayaking gear.
The Ubaye Racecourse is the classic Ubaye run. A consistent stretch of class 3+ to 4 whitewater with fun big and bouncy rapids and surprisingly warm water. 15 rapids in quick succession, including named rapids like Dent de Requin (Shark’s Tooth) and Rouleau de Printemps (Spring Roll) make this section a must for your kayaking bucket list. The scenery is outstanding with views over the wooded valley, and at the end of the descent the river narrows through a sheer sided gorge. Put-in at the rafting base just past Le Martinet. Take out below Le Lauzet at La Source campsite. Class: IV. Gradient: 15 m/km. Flow: 30 m³/s. Paddling time: 2 hours. Distance: 8 km. Best months: May to July.
The best way to describe this river is big boulders and bouncy all the way. The team split into 4 groups and set off down the pinball course. The views were stunning, the rapids fairly continuous and the rafts were numerous. One raft guide flaunting pink bikini bottoms over his wetsuit shorts seemed to be more than happy to help empty boats for the girls. This was the first day without a chilly breeze making every wave train a refreshing splash. We got to the Roman Bridge for a group photo with 1 more rapid to go. Or so Ian said! There were at least 3 more rapids with a tricky bend alongside the gorge that caught us off guard. Gibbo thought we’d lost Hannah to Narnia as she went onto the wall and temporarily disappeared.
While waiting for the shuttle we were impressed by the ‘French approach’. Leaving the van and trailer at the get out and whipping out a mini-motorbike to shoot back to the get in. I guess this is only one step up from Keith on a bike and a motorbike would never make it in the weight allowance. On the drive back the Keith set the 7.5 minute shopping challenge. Those that made it back were treated to an ice cream, those that didn’t were presented with an empty box.
What an experience, my first river in France! It was certainly one I’ll never forget. After an early morning wake up, we had a quick shuttle to St Clement. While the bus shuttle was happening myself and many others took on the rapids before preparing ourselves for the river ahead (Lower Durance). The shuttle back finally arrived and we all headed off; some headed to the slalom course and others headed straight down towards the Rabioux wave. After a long paddle and many play waves the group finally assembled at the Rabioux wave. First time for many, all the LCC group took on the challenge… it was certainly the hardest I have paddled.
After the safety team had set up, the whole team made their way to the wave. A few swims later, (many less than previous years , I believe) we all came out full of confidence and ready to continue. A few memorable moments from the Rabioux that may be shown via GoPro from Sarah Gille. We decided to have a lunch stop at the side of the wave which quickly turned into a WWSRT, with some throwline coaching from the professionals, we all felt confident at the end. A huge lesson learnt for me… pack my own throwline before hitting the wave (I had a small telling off).
Anyway, after waiting for Graeme and Mark, we finally continued to make our way down the river, a large group but a very organised and well trained group. Some very good waves and many more rolls followed before finally hitting the Embrun wave. It was another challening wave that many member of the group played and surfed. After playing for a good 30 minutes we decided to head down to the get out. At the get out we had drag up the hill (15 steps!) but well worth every minute. An enjoyable river with challenging parts that I would certainly recommend to any paddler.
The river followed with a shop in Inter-sport and a supermarket run. All members eventually arrived at camp and shared their experiences over dinner.
On Tuesday we set of on a two day adventure to the Verdon Gorge. After doing a supermarket shop the day before, we packed up the minibus and set of bright an early for the four hour drive. We arrived about midday, unfortuntately to find that the river that usually releases on a Tuesday wasn’t to release because of the drought. This didnt dampen our spirits though, as the Verdon Gorge is one of the world’s greatest areas of ourstandng natural beauty and it was definitely worth going just to see it! We found a little stoney beach (which we marked as a good place for our wild camp that night) and settled down for lunch and a relaxing afternoon in the sunshine, swimming an reading.
Later that afternoon we headed off to swim a popular part of the gorge. Dressed in our paddling kit, we floated down rapids (feet up, bums high to miss the rocks!), swam though syphons and even jumped off rocks into the deeper water below. After a climb up the gorge and through the mountain tunnels, we set off on a scenic drive to the highest viewpoint of the Gorge, to see Europe’s Grand Canyon-an abslutely stunning spectacle.
The Gorges Du Verdon (in French: Les Gorges du Verdon or Grand canyon du Verdon), in south-eastern France (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), is a river canyon that is often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful. It is about 25 kilometres long and up to 700 meters deep. It was formed by the Verdon River, which is named for its startling turquoise-green colour, one of the location’s distinguishing characteristics. The most impressive part lies between the towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where the river has cut a ravine to a depth of 700 metres through the limestone mass. At the end of the canyon, the Verdon River flows into the artificial lake of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon (in French: Lac de Sainte-Croix).
Because of its proximity to the French Riviera, the gorge is very popular with tourists, who can drive around its rim, rent kayaks to travel on the river, or hike. The limestone walls, which are several hundreds of metres high, attract many rock climbers. It is considered an outstanding destination for multi-pitch climbing. The variety of 1,500 routes encompass cracks, pillars and seemingly endless walls, and range in distance from 20m to over 400m. The climbing is generally of a technical nature.
We stopped at a little hotel bar for a drink (and for some-steak and chips!), before heading back to the beach to cook our tea and set up camp for the night. We arranged a collection of ground sheets, mats, blankets and seeping bags and with no light pollution and zero cloud cover we slept under the stars.
On Wednesday we had breakfast on the beach, packed up camp and drove to the lake at the end of the Gorge. It was a lovely, warm and sunny day. A few paddled into the Gorge whilst the rest of us paddled around the lake, stopping along the way to play ball games and for balance and rolling practice-some of us got wet! We then all met back on a beach by the edge of the lake and settled down for lunch and a leisurely afternoon of swimming, playboating and rolling practice in the clear water. We set off back to camp mid afternoon, and after a spermarket shop arrived back at camp to light the BBQ.
After lunch we set off in the van round the twisty roads with great views into the gorge below. The drop below was just a little wooden fence away. The bike was dropped at the get out and we were off to the get in for the 2nd paddle of the day.
A fast safe flow with lots of eddies to hop and waves to play in. Then there was the Keith v tree challenge – the tree won and Kieth rolled. He was just remindng us to avoid trees.
Dom practised his technique of barging people out of eddies and team mamba started a tag team hi-fiving as they weaved in and out of the eaddies together. It was then back to camp via the supermarket to stock up for the 2 day adventure to follow.
1st river of the day…. Low water levels made a challenging paddle round rocks and little drops.
We split into 3 groups, the average weight seemed to set the paddling rate of each team of pddlers as we scraped over some gravely sections. There were a couple of swims, but smiles all round. Off at the rickety bridge for lunch in the sun after Keith had cycled to retrieve the van.
The plans for the next couple of days were discussed in detail and a plan was formulated for the afternoon paddle and for the next 2 days.
With calm conditions forecast and HW just before 11am, I launched from the Old Coastguard Station at 0840 for a scenic outing to Hilbre. After crossing the shipping channel as “Kayak Robin”, I headed for Leasowe Lighthouse which is as far as I’d previously explored along the North Wirral Coast. Wirral Lifeguards were patrolling the shore in a landrover type vehicle. After hearing them sign on with Holyhead Coastguard, I called than up on Channel 16 to let them know of my presence. They said they were already keeping an eye on me.
I soon reached Hoylake slipway which presented a tranquil scene with quaint old boats moored nearby. Despite it being around HW, water then started to become in short supply. For next half mile or so, I splodged along in ankle deep water with the kayak following along behind. [DSCN0530.jpg] I eventually found some deeper water with Red Rocks to my left and Hilbre straight ahead. While making that final crossing there were seals everywhere, too many to count.
With the tide now ebbing, I didn’t want to risk the normal beach landing on Hilbre so continued around to the NW corner where there are some deep channels that are more suitable for latecomers.
After a welcome break, I first headed NW, then N and NE so as to skirt around the end of the Wirral Peninsular. A little way out, I could see two prominent green buoys which I though might mark the Rock Channel back to Liverpool. Designated HE3 and HE2, I’ve since found that they mark the “Hilbre Swash”.
With super calm conditions and the windfarm seemingly not far away, I decided to return to Crosby via a northerly route rather than staying close to the shore. With the outgoing tide, I was drifting north towards the windfarm and soon found myself aiming for the SW corner of this mighty construction. Various boats were working in the area but no-one took any obvious notice of me.
The original set of 25 turbines c.2007 are significantly smaller than those in the Burbo Extension which was only completed this year. When close up to these original monsters, it’s hard to believe that they could be built any bigger [DSCN0553].
The rear line of the original set provides a convenient way to locate “Q1”, this being the outermost marker buoy for Liverpool Approach (inbound). An outward route behind this line of turbines, and returning via the starboard markers of the Queens & Crosby Channels, would make an interesting day’s paddle from Perch Rock. Any takers? The original rear line of turbines had seven units. An eighth one, of the new larger type, has since been added. It looks rather out of place, like a cuckoo in the nest!
From the windfarm, I set a transit for home and soon encountered one of the Burbo sandbanks. Lunch part 2 was taken on my very own desert island in the sun 🙂 [DSCN0555]
After crossing the shipping channel, I found that the Crosby shoreline was adorned with a continuous row of nasty sharp rocks – just what I didn’t need with a new composite kayak. This must be the training wall, only visible at very low water, and best avoided. [DSCN0557]
Having found a way through, I spotted the incoming Sea Cat and decided that this was too good an opportunity to miss. So I launched again and paddled out to a safe distance from the training wall, then waited in anticipation for the Big Wave to appear … which it never did 🙁
When landing on a rising tide, it’s helpful to have a trolley to hand. Mine was in the car, so a brisk dash up and down the beach was called for. Thankfully, the tide had only just turned so the boat was still high and dry upon my return. [DSCN0561]
View from the windfarm: [https://youtu.be/W6dUtUuPC08]
(Sorry, I should have said Seaforth Dock, not Seacombe)
We unloaded all our kit and had set up camp at L` Argentiere La Bessee the night before. After a lazy start and a food run the first paddle of the holiday was the Middle Durance. The brave got on at the campsite slalom course, picking up the less stupid at the bottom to set off down stream in the fast silty white/blue flow for 19km.
Extra sun screen was applied part way down and the trees on the bends were mostly were avoided. The wind in our faces kept us cool in the hot sun. After no swims Keith got everyone in for throw line practise. The initial swim was a chilly wake-up. Although Keiran seemed to enjoy it as he went a few eddies lower than planned. We might need some more practise to improve our aim or less slalom poles to get in the way. After lunch in the sun the big kids went down the slide at the rolling pool to do another lap of the lower slalom course. Some of the others went to check out the canoe shop and Mark sampled the local blackcurrent crumble. It was then back to camp for dinner and BA sewing!