Not another dry weekend…..

March 6, 2011

This weekend former Manchester Uni canoe club members met up for a weekend of boating and catching up in the Lake District, and as has become the norm on these type of events there was no water anywhere. We managed to keep ourselves busy and I’m glad to say my boat stayed on the roof of the car all weekend. Friday afternoon saw a walk up Torver beck, where we found a few caves and some interesting rapids with must make moves to avoid the 15m drop into the quarry!

Maddy in one of the quarries, with the Torver Beck fall in the background

Saturday we headed over to Grizedale for a bike ride, unfortunately the West half of the forest was closed due to the Malcom Wilson Rally but we managed to entertain ourselves for a couple of hours in the East.

Chris Lyon

Heading back to the car we went to see if we could get a glimpse of any of the rally cars, we were able to stroll up and stand right at the side of the track watching the cars fly past at about 80mph. It really was quite an experience.

Sunday saw us ghyll scrambling in Church Beck. Its a beautiful little gorge and being able to slide/jump/swim/abseil down it really gave you the opportunity to appreciate it.

Naomi mid abseil

Its only a kilometre long, but we spent most of the day playing our way down to Coniston.

Maddy on the slide

All in all a great weekend. Its nice to be reminded that its doesn’t have to be raining to have fun in the Lake District 🙂


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 🙂


February 7, 2011

Last weekend Mads and I walked up Langdon Brook, a Ribble Tributary in the Forest of Bowland. We didnt go far, just upto Langdon castle, which is anything but. An old barn at the junction of a few streams, but the scenery is amazing. Its a very desolate valley and certainly doesnt give the impression your only 20 minutes from the road.

A frosty Langdon valley

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.

A weekend in Dublin

December 22, 2010

The snow is back. Airports around the UK are cancelling flights and we’re booked to go to Dublin for the weekend. We travelled to Manchester and joined the other passengers uncertain as to whether we would get away, and as it was only for a weekend whether it was worth the hassle. Well I’m glad to say it was.

Leaving snowy Manchester behind

We arrived around Midday, giving us about 30 hours to explore the city, go out for dinner and then fly home again!

The Millennium Spire as seen from the banks of the Liffey

Samuel Beckett Bridge

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)


December 10, 2010

There has been snow all around the UK for the last week or so, with some areas getting more than others. Last weekend I headed up to Ambleside for some winter walking.

Looking down the struggle

After leaving the car in Ambleside we walked up the side of Stock Ghyll and onto the struggle by Kirkstone Pass. Here we dropped our bags at the pub, had a quick pint and went to play in the snow on the surrounding hills.


We spent the evening by the fire in the pub and headed to the hills again the following morning. Calling at the Kirkstone on route.

The Kirkstone from which the pass derives its name

Up the Red Scree slopes, which weren’t very red and onto the summit. Then returning along the ridge back down into Ambleside to collect the car and head home for a well earnt cup of tea and slice of cake.

Chris and myself on the accent (Photo Maddy Boddy)

The team on the summit


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


September 5, 2010

On the way back to Tokyo we paddled two short sections of grade 2/3 on the Tamagawa and Arakawa before arriving in the bright and crowded city at around 7pm.

Tokyo street scene

First thing in the morning we headed up to the top of the Mori tower in the Roppongi Hills district of Tokyo. The top two floors contain an art museum with a couple of crazy installations, but the main draw was the viewing platform on the roof. From here we had impressive 360 degree views of the city.

View from the top of the Mori tower, looking past the Tokyo tower and out over Tokyo Bay

On the technology front the activities included visiting the Sony building to play with the latest gadgets on offer and wandering around the enormous electric city in Akihabara.

Paul playing with a HD video camera at the Sony centre

Our final evening in Japan saw us wandering around the bright lights before enjoying a beer and some more sushi.

Maddy and I amongst Tokyo’s bright lights (Photo Paul Smith)

We got up very early the next day (4am) to visit the fish market and see some of the impressively large tuna butchered and sold. The market was huge, with every type of fish and sea creature imaginable available to buy.

Fresh tuna

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.