Archive for the ‘Kayaking’ Category

A week in Val Sesia

June 24, 2012

I spent a week in June in the beautiful valley of Val Sesia. We were a bit late getting our act together and only organised it 2 weeks before we drove out, but it came together nicely and a great week was had. We arrived just in time to catch the end of the kayaking festival, it was great to see some of the events and catch up with old friends but did mean the camp site was a bit busy!

Andy Mason on the top drop of the Egua

The levels were good, varying from day to day due to the overnight rain, but we managed to paddle most of the classics.

Martin Linford on the Sorba Slides

It was nice to be back in a boat on beautifully clear rivers, enjoying tasty European food and drink with good friends.

Maddy in the Semenza’s top gorge


The British boating season has returned

December 15, 2011

Its December and the UK is once again cold and damp.

We’ve been lucky and the wet weather has lined up with a couple of weekends, bringing some of the North West’s finest rivers into condition. At the beginning of the month we got on the upper Swale at 0.82 on the EA gauge, which equated to some great levels.

Tom Hainsworth on the Swale’s Lower Kisdon

Then this weekend the rain came again and we got down the Keswick Greta, Leven, Clough and Lune.

Beth Hume on the upper Clough (Photo Maddy Boddy)[Rawthey gauge 1.9m]

Me on the Clough’s Lemmings Falls (Photo Maddy Boddy)

With frosts and snow on the horizon, let hope this wet weather continues into the new year.

Pastries for breakfast – Cheese for dinner

June 28, 2011

I’ve just come back from a week in L’Argentiere, reliving my student days exploring the Hautes Alps province of France and boating in the sunshine. This was my fourth trip to the area and I was still surprised by how much fun I had.

Part of the team on the banks of the Upper Ubaye

The Durance valley didnt have as much water in it as when I have been previously, but this was no bad thing as it forced us to explore some of the other offerings in the area. In my week I managed quite a few personal firsts, with the Fresquire section of the Ubaye and the Grand Canyon of the Verdon being the most memorable. Beth’s headcam footage of the Fresquire can be seen here.

Tom in the Styx, Verdon

It took us 7 hours to paddle the Verdon, with a 4 hour drive either side it was a full day, but most definitely worth the effort. With towering cliffs on either side and rapids that run through caves and underground its like nothing else I’ve ever paddled.

Beth about to drop into the first cave, Verdon

Later in the week there was a bit of rain and we headed to the Guil valley and had fun on the two upper sections and the classic middle.

Katie on the middle Guil’s staircase

Before I knew it, it was time to drive home. 2769 miles is a lot of driving for a weeks holiday, but I’d do it again any time.

A week in the Highlands

May 13, 2011

I’ve spent a week up in the Scottish highlands enjoying the weather. The sun was shining and at least the dam controlled rivers had water in them. The Garry and the Meig both providing some entertainment.

Beth playing on the Garry

Darragh on the Meig

Other than that we went on a few walks, explored the upper Roy valley, climbed Ben Nevis, had a wander around and float on Loch Etive and cycled some of the Nevis range Witches Trails. A busy fun filled week without one drop of rain!

Maddy and I on the summit of Ben Nevis

Dinner by Loch Etive

Two Classics & Two New Runs:- Another Wet One in the North West

February 7, 2011

I’ve spent another weekend in my boat. Saturday morning we drove up the Duddon valley and had a great time on the upper section. Its a long time since I’ve paddled the Duddon and we were slightly concerned the level may be a bit high, but it was perfect – kept us on our toes and Wallowbarrow gorge certainly provided that buzzing feeling we all crave.

Beth on the final drop in Wallowbarrow gorge

With the Duddon taking a bit longer than we expected it was getting late in the day by the time we were ready to find something else to paddle. A quick peruse of the guidebook and we saw that Torver beck wasnt far away and at 1km of grade 4 it sounded just the ticket. It was a new run for all of us and good fun, about 4 drops with a few rapids inbetween before you end up in Coniston Water.

Sunday I had a bit of a lie in, but managged to paddle the Wenning for the first time and then a blast down the classic Ingleton Greta at a pretty high level.

Danny Riley on the Wenning wave

Annother great weekend, made even better by still having dry feet at the end of the day – thanks to the new drysuit 🙂

When the rain came – Artle Beck and the Roeburn

January 17, 2011

It rained at the weekend. With the Met office heavy rain warnings all over the news, texts were going backwards and forwards between kayakers around the country and I agreed to meet some friends at the take out for Artle Beck at 7.30am. Being a bit too keen Tom and I were there early and it was pitch black. With the aid of a torch we could see that the river wasn’t as high as we were expecting, to be honest it was quite low. We sat solemnly in my car awaiting the arrival of the others. When they arrived we had another look and to our disbelief it had risen a good 20cm in 20 minutes..We were on!

Me on the Artle Beck weir (Photo Tom Hainsworth)

It was my first run of Artle Beck and its great fun, all of the portages I had been warned about had gone and we paddled all the way down. Its a continuous run with some nice rapids and scenery and reminded me very much of the Roeburn. So at the takeout I only had one river on my mind, and as it was only 10 minutes drive away we shot over to Wray, met some more paddlers and jumped on the Roeburn at about 10.30.

Data from the EA gauge on the Hindburn, this is below the Hindburn Roeburn confluence and the best gauge available for the Roeburn.

Things started out OK, the levels were high and we were blasting down the river in record time. Until I called the group into an eddy above the gorge and the carnage ensued. Of the seven of us, we had two swimmers above the gorge one swimmer in the gorge and me stuck in a tree halfway down! Thanks to the swift rescue efforts of the other three we were successfully assisted and reunited with our kit. Making it down to Wray by about 1pm.

That was it for me for the day, returning to Lancaster in time for tea and medals with the parents. The other guys headed up to the Kent and ran down from Scroggs weir in what sound like enormous conditions.

Its melting…Fun on the upper Swale

December 12, 2010

With a brief respite in the freezing temperatures the rivers in the North East looked as though may have some water in. We made the journey across the Pennines, but with 1 metre snow drifts at the side of the road I wasn’t very optimistic. However when we arrived at Wain Wath Force we were pleased to see a nice level on the Swale.

Wain Wath Force (Photo Maddy Boddy)

The water was absolutely freezing, with ice stalactites hanging from the cliffs and broken bits of sheet ice 30mm thick in the eddies!

Beth on Rainby Force (Photo Maddy Boddy)

Me on the lip of Rainby Force (Photo Maddy Boddy)

We did take a camera on the river with us, so had lots of nice photos of the rapids on the way down, however trying to get the camera down to Beth on the river after running upper Kisdon Force resulted in the open Peli Box falling in and the camera disappearing beneath the water. 😦

As the light was fading we made a mad dash down to Richmond to run Richmond Falls

Richmond Falls, you can just about make out the two paddlers (Photo Maddy Boddy)


October 24, 2010

Over the past few weekends I’ve been busy attending kayaking gatherings. First of all was the Wet West Paddle Fest in Fort William, then the Etive River Race and finally the Pyranah Fest in Bala.

Chris Lyon on the top drop of the upper Morriston

The first weekend saw us paddling the Etive, Garry and Morriston, before returning down the M6 for a week of work. 5 days later we were back up to Scotland for the race on the Etive. The river was low, so no new records were going to be set.

Tim Burne on the first of tripple step in the individual race

Chris and I entered as team MOG (Manchester Old Gits) and came middle of the field in 7th. Sunday after the race a few of us walked up the Allt A’ Chaorainn for some low water fun in spectacular scenery.

Allt A’ Chaorainn

Pyranha Fest was held on the Tryweryn. Loads of people were there to demo boats and enter in the various competitions, however we paddled from the top to the bottom and managed to miss most of the river based activities! Still had a good time though. Camping besides lake Bala provided both a stunning sunset and an eery morning mist.

Sun set at the side of Bala lake

Nazagawa Gorge

September 2, 2010

The Nazagawa gorge is an amazing feat of nature just a few hours drive from Tokyo. From the car park on the 140 highway we walked 4km along a jungle track up the valley, passing tens of beautiful falls.

Walking in (Photo Paul Smith)

We put on at the top and paddled as many of the falls as we could.

Paul on the top set of drops

Me on one of the falls (Photo Paul Smith)

Beth on one of the falls (Photo Paul Smith)

It was an amazing adventure in an awesome location. Unfortunately the river flattens out and is interspersed with large weirs later on, meaning after we took out we still had to walk 2km back down the track to the car.

Yoshino River

September 1, 2010

After leaving Kyoto we took a long drive south and spent 5 days on Shikoku. Our time was spent paddling the two canyons of the Yoshino, ‘Oboke’ and ‘Koboke’. Although we only paddled 25km of the river it was so good we had to do it again, and again! We camped at the local rafting company base, right on the river, next to a little side creek for evening entertainment.

Me on the Yoshino (Photo Paul Smith)

Beth and Paul on the Yoshino

Beth on the local side creek (Photo Paul Smith)