Abersoch and St Tudwals Sea Kayak Trip by Hannah Bellamy

On bank holiday Monday, a sea trip was planned from Abersoch out to the St Tudwals islands on the Llŷn Peninsula at the western end of Tremadog Bay, west Wales.

Most of us met at Queensferry so we could car share across to Abersoch and after a scenic drive we unloaded the boats at Abersoch beach. Andy Garland briefed us on the planned route, the expected weather and tides and the 9 of us launched about midday.

Weather was cloudy with a slight breeze, a nd the water quite still as we paddled out to the St Tudwals Islands. We paddled first to the east island, and around the far edge where we met a couple of seals perched on a rock. We then paddled across to the east island around which I completed my first circumnavigation! This island is owned by Bear Grylls as a holiday home and we could see where he had complied to take down the slide he had built before Gwynedd Council spotted it.

As the Islands are privately owned we couldn’t land on them so, as we were all getting peckish, we headed to a beach a little south to where we had launched. The surf was a too strong to get all 9 of us on and off safely, especially with a few of us who had never tried a surf landing, but Pete Thomas beautifully demonstrated before we started back around the headland. We were now paddling against the tide, working up an appetite, and the swell was great fun; there was even a bit of surfing.

We stopped at a little beach for lunch and sat and watched the clouds clear as the afternoon sun came out. A family, also on the beach, said they had seen dolphins at a similar time the day before and we kept an eye out but sadly they didn’t come out for us.

One of the brilliant things about this club is it’s wonderfully encouraging and generous members. So far, I had been paddling a great new club purchase, a small delphin, and to paddle back to Abersoch beach Mark Pawley offered his Greenland boat, a wonderfully sleek and responsive boat complete with Greenland paddle!

We paddled gently back, landed on the beach, and spent some time trying out each other’s boats and playing a little more before packing away about 5pm. Accompanied by a round of tea and Eccles cakes, courtesy of Mark and Dave, we loaded up and watched the refined art of Mark getting four sea boats on the roof of his van.

A superb days paddling, many thanks to all my fellow paddlers (and the bin men of Allerton who helped me get the boat on the car!) for a delightful bank holiday on the water.

For Sale Pyranha karnali, medium £425

One Pyranha karnali, medium size for sale it has the full connect 30 rig, plus airbags.

This boat has never been used for white water running and only has surface scrapes that would be expected from being used a few times. This kayak is in excellent condition and has been stored inside, as you will see by the photos and also on inspection when viewing the kayak. The price that i am asking is £425, so looking for a quick sale.

Also for sale is a composite gorilla paddle, also in good condition (right hander ) £100.

Paul Wilson
Email paulawillo113 AT hotmail.co.uk

For Sale: Pyranha Fusion (Medium) £390

“A versatile boat, suitable for rivers or touring, estuaries/sheltered coastal venues”.  The 78 litre hatch is spacious enough for weekend camping gear. It has been well looked after and is In very good condition, just a few minor scratches on underside.  Comes with paddle, spraydeck and deck pod.  It is the River Tour model.  Full spec at http://www.pyranha.com/kayaks.php?kayak=Fusion%20River%20Tour.

Nigel Waddington
07810 095 157

River Orchy by Hannah Bellamy

Friday 14th April – River Orchy

On the first day of our Scottish Easter break we were to paddle the river Orchy, a 9km stretch from the Bridge of Orchy to the Falls of Orchy. A small group had an early start to paddle the Upper Etive first at 6am, and the rest of us set off at 9am, to meet with the Etive crew at the get in. As a new white water paddler, this was my third river trip and I was a little nervous, but very excited to be paddling (described by the UK rivers guidebook) ‘one of the best trips at this grade [3-5] in the UK!’

Our get-in was by the Bridge of Orchy hotel, about a half hour drive from the hostel. We changed whilst the drivers ran the shuttle and then divided up into groups of 5 or 6, each with a combination of abilities and an instructor. We played in the waves under the bridge until everyone was ready to set off.

The trip began gently, getting used to being back on the water and being in a new boat (I had borrowed a small burn, a perfect fit), until we reached the first rapid. There are a great variety of rapids on this river, nicely spread out, with the opportunity to portage any of them on paths river left. I’m glad that at the time that I didn’t know their names, as I might have been rather more apprehensive!

The first rapid, ‘Big Rock’, was what is says on the tin with lines either side, a great start to the paddle and a rapid that I think everyone did. The next, ‘Chicken Chute’, a fair few of us portaged, but it was great to watch our fellow paddlers. Next came ‘Sheep Trolley Gorge’, a nice lengthy rapid with opportunities to stop and play, followed by Easan Dubha (Black Falls), a grade 5 drop which was another portage for most but again super to watch. To follow, I’ve found out, came a plethora of crazy names; ‘Sore Tooth’, ‘Roller Coaster’ and ‘End of Civilisation’ (!).  I’m struggling now to distinguish between the rapids, as the whole river was 9km of fun and I did portage some, but on one of these I remember throw lines dotted around to catch any

swimmers – I missed the eddy halfway down the rapid and carried straight on to the bottom, playing limbo under one of them.

Before the final rapid came Eas a’ Chathaidh (spray waterfall), a 4-metre waterfall. It was amazing to watch fellow paddlers run this, firstly their getting out looking at and discussing the lines and then running it beautifully. I wouldn’t have thought it could be done, but I look forward to trying it myself in a few years’ time!

The get out was straight after ‘Witches Step’, a nice lengthy and bouncy rapid to finish with just before the Falls of Orchy, and the sun came out just in time for lunch.

The instructors and all my fellow paddlers made this a wonderful first experience of a proper Scottish river and my faith in my ability grew with each rapid. There was always someone keen to show me the line, offer advice and ready at the bottom either with a throw line or a camera! Due to great support, a constant ‘paddle, paddle, paddle!’ inside my head and portaging the higher-grade rapids I managed not to swim on the Orchy and couldn’t wait for the next day (when I was not to stay so dry…).

Before this fantastic full immersion course to white water, I was a novice paddler, but after these 4 days of superb rivers I think I can call myself an ‘improver’! Thank you to everyone who made this trip happen, I’m looking forward to next year!

More photographs……….

Sea Kayaks at the Falls Of Lora by Robin Emley

Monday 17th April Day 4 – Sea Kayaks at the Falls Of Lora

On BH Monday the predicted state of the Falls was green, i.e “suitable for an introductory moving water training or fun in sea kayaks and canoes”.  Roger and I were on the water well before the official start time and found the conditions to be idea for breaking in/out and ferry-gliding across the estuary.

On the Northern side, there was a significant back-eddy downstream of the bridge which we soon found ourselves sharing with a solitary sea otter.  Although we remained perfectly still, our boats were slowly drifting up towards the bridge thus constraining his freedom.  After a couple of minutes, he disappeared for the final time but not before giving us a great demonstration of his swimming and diving abilities.  First his head would disappear, then his back arched, and with a deft flick of the tail he was gone.  A delightful spectacle.

As the ebb tide increased, I attempted to regain the sweet spot just upstream of the bridge but the speed of the water was now too great to make headway against.  After a short excursion downstream, we returned to take lunch on a sunny bench overlooking the Falls.  By this time, it was mid-flow but there weren’t any standing waves of the type that can be seen in Youtube videos.  I would love to return to this place with a guide when conditions are more challenging.

Sea Kayaks at Shuna Island by Robin Emley

Saturday 15th April – Sea Kayaks at Shuna Island.

With a strong North-Westerly forecast, our chosen destination was Shuna Island, around 10 miles South of Oban.  Shuna is a couple of miles offshore and is sheltered by the larger island of Luing.  From the previous day’s contingent of ten, two decided to do rivers and a further four decided not to proceed having inspected the site conditions on the day.

The four remaining paddlers headed off towards a small low island en route to Shuna.  With the wind and swell coming from our 2-o’clock position, progress was far from easy.  Tony soon found it difficult to control his boat and decided to return to base.  Having seen him safely ashore, Roger, Nigel and I continued towards the mid-way island which had a small gap through which we were able to pass.  Then it was a similar haul to reach the northern corner of Shuna.

As we approached, the wind died down and we had our lunch on a sandy beach in glorious sun with not a breath of wind.  We were amused to note that only the three plastic boats had made it.  All too soon, the next squall rolled in and we hurriedly resumed our attempt to circle the island anti-clockwise.  It soon became clear that further progress would be unwise in these conditions and we decided to head for home.

 

At that stage, our cars were due East of us but the wind was coming from the North-West.  Given the strengh of the wind, we decided to head directly downwind and found ourselves surfing along in fine style.  We soon reached our handy mid-way island and passed through the gap again.  By this stage, it was obvious that we would miss our preferred landing spot, but no problem – we could always make our way back up along the coastline.

During this final section, Nigel was broached twice and bailed out.  On each occasion, he was rescued by one of his buddies while the other one stood by to help as necessary.  Paddles on leashes can cause complications when boats are rafted together to pump out any remaining water.

We eventually made it back to the mainland about a kilometer south of our put-in point.  As I messed up my landing and got dumped in shallow surf yet again, the owners of an isolated beach hut were on hand to welcome us ashore.  While Roger and Nigel walked along the road to retrieve their cars, I found a sunny spot to relax and take in the delightful surroundings.

More photos…..

Video of some of the WW action from Scottish Easter Trip

Great fun in Scotland

Posted by Mark Young on Monday, 17 April 2017

Video from Mark Young

Arisaig by Nigel Waddington

Blackwater Hostel Sunday 16th April

Day three saw nine of us make the 60 mile drive to Arisaig, with the sun beginning to make an appearance as we left the rain-soaked hills behind.  The harbour nestles at the head of the short Loch nan Ceall, sheltered to the south by the Rhu peninsula and a collection of small islands and skerries guarding the entrance just a few kilometres to the north and west.  The coastline provides lots of interest and intriguing navigation as the changing tide opens and closes waterways.

The plan was to first explore the islands to the north-west, have lunch and then swing south around the peninsula.

 

Not long after leaving the harbour, the group split with half of us following an ever shallower route between the islands on a falling tide, while the remainder sensibly sought the certainty of open water (ie, deeper than 6 inches).  After some shuffling along the bottom and a little manual labour we eventually made it through to open water, albeit a kilometre or two away from the other half of the group.  However, radio communications and basic paddle waving saw us reunited for lunch overlooking a sandy beach warmed by the hazy sun.

The afternoon saw us in more open water as we made our way around the peninsular.  The clouds cleared to leaving us in light winds and full sun.  With the cliffs of Eigg, mountainous Rhum and the pinnacles of Skye providing the backdrop, it was turning into a great paddle with a lazy Sunday afternoon feel to it – in contrast to the challenging conditions of the previous day!  Next stop was the stunning cove of Port nam Murrach.  This is a natural harbour with a small island at its mouth giving added protection.  With its white sandy

beach topped by a grassy lawn, green-blue water, and a small yacht anchored a few meters offshore completing the picture, Peter’s earlier comment about the area’s Caribbean-like qualities was starting to make sense.

With the weather being kind to us, the return journey continued in similar relaxed style, soaking up the scenery being more important than physical effort.  We didn’t see any otters or basking sharks, for which the area is known … but, maybe next time.

More Photos……..

Liverpool Canoe Club is open to all and aims "to provide the maximum canoeing and kayaking opportunities for all its members"