Friday, 31 August 2007

Rolling and rescues at Sale WP

Four paddlers from NWSK turned up for an after-work rolling and rescues session at Sale Water Park. We had a general paddle around and lots of rolling, including re-entry and roll practice. Some Eskimo and X rescues were performed when the rolling didn't go quite to plan.

A bonus of paying to use the facilities at Sale was that the excellent showers kept us from smelling of dirty water when we went to the pub!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Kids on the canal

I met up with an old friend from university after work today. Until very recently, we hadn't spoken to each other in years but it turns out that we have children of similar ages and with similar interests. We decided that a paddle on the canal in double boats would be a good idea.

We paddled from Walton Park to Dunham and back:
This paddle should take an hour and a half or less. We took over two and a half hours - the kids were playing around, picking blackberries and generally having fun. It was a good evening.

We used a pair of Perception Horizon double touring boats. These are big and stable but relatively quick. My three year old was wearing a life jacket and the two five year olds used buoyancy aids.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Runswick Bay to Staithes

Jim, Mike and I finished the weekend with a short paddle from Runswick Bay to Staithes, leaving the dog with Kirstine:
By some miracle, we managed to get on the water exactly at our planned time of 7:30am:
The weather was perfect and there were a few small waves to play on. Unfortunately, our plans for a full breakfast in Staithes were scuppered by the fact that very little opens until 10:00am. We managed to get some oranges and bananas from a small butcher's shop.

A little rolling practice to finish showed the dangers of trying a roll on your off-side in a borrowed plastic barge after a two-year break from paddling:
(Mike's first roll, on the right hand side, worked perfectly.)

It was a nice end to the weekend before the Bank Holiday drive home - our thanks go to Kirstine for the dog minding service!

[Photos by Jim.]

Runswick Bay to Saltburn

Ten paddlers from NWSK set off from Runswick Bay at about 9:30am on the Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend. With complete disregard for tradition, the weather was beautiful. The scenery was beautiful too, particularly when compared to some of the more dishevelled and hungover paddlers.
The group split at Skinningrove, with four of us continuing to Saltburn-by-the-Sea while the rest had a protracted lunch break and another stop at the tea room in Staithes on the way back. The first map gives a rough idea of our route:Our first stop was Staithes, on a (successful) mission to find tea and ice creams:
A minor incident on the reef outside Staithes started from the first paddler paying more attention to conversation than to the possibility of breaking waves. We had a second swimmer when another paddler in the group was too busy watching the first swimmer to pay attention to the possibility of breaking waves! Everything was sorted out fairly swiftly and without injury to people or boats.

The paddle past big cliffs on the way to Skinningrove was uneventful but very pleasant:
Skinningrove to Saltburn-by-the-Sea was a short jaunt around the next headland:
The beach at Saltburn was remarkably busy. We struggled to find a place to land without risk to swimmers, although some rather selfish and thoughtless jetskiers didn't seem to find it a problem to simply frighten the swimmers out of the water.
All told, it was a fairly long paddle. The estimate for the round trip was about 38km but I imagine that the actual distance paddled was over 40km.

The plans for a night paddle were dropped through apathy - the call of a pub meal was too strong.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Runswick Bay to Whitby

The NWSK trip to Runswick Bay in Yorkshire over the Bank Holiday weekend was organised by Bob Mark:
Some people turned up to the campsite on Friday night but my brother drove Jim and me across early on Saturday morning. Mike had double booked himself for the weekend, arranging to go sea kayaking with me but also to dog-sit for my parents. Efforts to combine the two were only partially successful:
We gave up on the "paddling with dog" idea and Mike plus mutt went for a walk along the cliffs, hoping to meet us later.

The plan for the Saturday was to paddle to Whitby and back. We added a little to the trip at the last minute by going to the next couple of sets of rocks:
We turned in to Whitby harbour:
and found a place for lunch:
On the way back I met Mike on the beach between Whitby and Sandsend. We swapped boat for dog and I went back along the cliffs to Runswick Bay. By running some of the way, I was able to time my arrival to match that of the kayaks.

Fairly strong winds were forecast for the evening, so we showed our determination by abandoning the plans for a night paddle in favour of an evening in the pub.

Friday, 24 August 2007

"Training" on the Bridgewater canal

Jim and I are planning to make an open sea crossing in his double kayak in the near future. We thought that a bit of practise in the boat might be a good idea, so we paddled to Lymm for some chips.Chip stop at Lymm, where we turned around:
A view of Dunham Massey over the canal boat of some other NWSK members whom we happened to paddle past:
The hardest part was probably the walk from Jim's house to the canal with the boat. The walk to meet up with further NWSK paddlers in Sale was easy by comparison and the paddle seemed fast but relaxed.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Blackberries and swans

Lojska and I had a little paddle first thing in the morning on the Bridgewater canal to feed the swans. We paddled my single kayak with Lojska in the back hatch. Blackberries for breakfast, again!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Menai Straits swim

I didn't swim - I just acted as a rescue/support boat.

Friday, 3 August 2007

The Historic Bridgewater Canal

There's lots of industrial archeology in the Manchester area. Some of the best bits can be seen on a paddle along the Bridgewater canal that takes in the mines at Worsley and the aqueduct over the ship canal.
I went out and did this little trip with my brother and two of the kids. We were dropped off in Boothstown (near Worsley) and picked up again at the edge of Sale. It was an interesting paddle, particularly since we got to see the "swing aqueduct" in action.
I had the kids in the Perception Horizon double kayak:
and my brother borrowed my Perception Carolina:There's a marina at the edge of Boothstown, close to the start:
It's not far to Worsley and the little branch off to the Duke of Bridgewater's mines:The entrance to the mines is now rather overgrown:But you can still see the remains of one of the "starvationers":After a bit of a slog, you come to the Barton swing bridge that takes the road across the Manchester Ship Canal. There's a matching aqueduct to take the Bridgewater canal across. What you don't really want to find when you are in a hurry is that the canal stops dead:The "swing aqueduct" in the open position:With the tower in the middle of the ship canal:and the point on which the aqueduct turns (while full of water):
Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long before the aqueduct started to move back into position:We watched with anticipation as both sets of double gates were opened (presumably after using a valve to let some water into the space between the gates to equalise the pressure):Going over the aqueduct:Looking down on the Manchester Ship Canal:It's not all industry though:
We saw geese, ducks and moorhens and ate a fair few blackberries along the way.