For info attached are the most recent minutes of the Shoreham Harbour Leisure Safety Group
A dozen of us had been lucky enough to get a place on ‘Cath’s Ouse Cruise’ with numbers being limited because it was Cath’s first outing as a trip leader and because it was a six mile, canoe only trip that would require an amount of relevant paddling hours. Cath’s superb trip planning meant that even though she had a puncture – to be accurate it was her van, not her – all paddlers, boats and kit still arrived at the rendezvous point (Barcombe Mills’s car park) pretty much at the agreed time.
By 10.45 we were kitted up, briefed, moved from the car park to the get-in about 250 meters away, and on the water for the outer, against the flow and wind, leg of our journey. The low – but adequate – water level kept us out of the chill wind and the mostly bright sunshine offered some warmth, but wind-over-water made it an active paddle with plenty of correction strokes required – or maybe that was just me?
Our initial journey was along open river with occasional bridges as we progressed north. Some of them were proper regular bridges and some of them just about scrapeunderable things. One of the easily passed under bridges seemed to us casual observers like a dilapidated old railway bridge but on google maps it is named as Elsie’s Bridge and gets a single five star review where KG describes it as the ‘Greatest bridge of my life <3’. There has to be a story there!
As we progressed north the river took on its narrower form and in time there was lots of work to be done to manoeuvre around trees that were partially, or in one case totally, blocking the river. It wasn’t quite ‘Apocalypse Now’ territory but it certainly wasn’t Cuckoo Corner-like and the tree blockage saw some inventive and unconventional techniques used to good effect.
We carried on past Isfield Church and arrived at Isfield Weir – our intended stopping and lunch point. Having argued about whether to stand in shelter (out of both the wind & sun) or in the open, (in both the wind and sun) we concluded that neither were particularly warm and we ought not to hang about!
Our journey South was aided by a not inconsiderable flow and making our way through the trees was great turning/steering/manoeuvring canoe experience. We made great speed back and the major hazard this time was the bright, bright low sun that gave zero visibility at times. This must have been why we passed the pub on our return leg without stopping L
We were back at the car park in what seemed like no time and all told we were probably on the water for about four and a half hours. Great teamwork got all of the boats back to the carpark and loaded on cars in pretty short order.
At the end there was a unanimous view that it had been a super duper paddle and that Cath had done a great job in arranging and leading it. Roll on the next one J
If you fancy joining the ‘secret’ canoe club trips then get yourself out on an open/canoe – start with green tides – and discover the joys of kneeling in a boat with a single blade paddle!
Our good friends and neighbours at Cuckmere Valley Canoe Club invited us to join in with their exclusive booking of the Lee Valley Legacy Course in September. We had a fantastic evening on the water with paddlers relishing the opportunity to try the grade 2- 3 features course without having had to pass their assessment beforehand – one of the advantages of an exclusive booking.
Nicola Hern from CVCC wrote this trip report. “If asked, I would say that for someone who began kayaking in April, heading up to the Olympic white water course in September was a little ambitious, but hey no-one said I couldn’t go. On arrival at the impressive Lee Valley White Water Centre, Steve Douch walked us around the course and reassuringly pointed out that we would be using the non-Olympic course, and that one really didn’t look too scary.(I decided to ignore Amy’s comment of “It’s much worse than it looks once you are in.”) David Marchant very clearly explained and demonstrated, to those of us new to white water, how to be rescued: “Lie back with your feet out in front of you and raise your hands above your head ready to catch the throwline.” The vital bit of information that was missing was: do all this while you are in a human sized washing machine in its final, kitchen shaking spin cycle.
A generous number of coaches gave up lots of their time on the water to line the course and be ready to rescue those in the water. And it was carnage but fun carnage. I successfully made it all the way down the course, once, but it would be fair to say that the only skill I exhibited was to grab a place in a canoe with expert paddlers at the front and the back, so all I did was scream a bit and pretend I was being an effective team member. The other times when I failed to get past the second step, I still learnt a valuable skill, that of being rescued, which is not as easy as it sounds- see the earlier washing machine reference.
So even for a novice, this trip was excellent fun. It gave me a chance to experience white water with no rocks and lots of help, and to witness the skill of those mastering the rapids. Members from Bewl Water and Adur joined the trip, making it possible for us to have the course to ourselves for hours for only £15 per head. Definitely one for the 2018 calendar.”
This is a link to
Analyses of marine accidents involving vessels from the merchant, fishing and recreational sectors.
The digest is produced so that lessons can be learned and recurrances prevented
Pool sessions start 13th Octoberat Wadurs Shoreham, and are now on Fridays from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. Bargain price of just £6 a head, so get your bookings in now! https://webcollect.org.uk/acc/event/pool-session-1
|Harbour Master/Director of Marine Operations|
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So, 10 months later and I’m still at it!
Infact I’ve been so busy with it all I haven’t had time to write a post about any of it. However, I’m the club Junior Rep now so I figured I should actually do something for the club and update this blog!
Right, where do I start? In these 10 months I’ve found what I really love in kayaking: Slalom.
Now, you may be wondering what slalom is? Basically, in slalom you have a course set up on a piece of water. Normally they do it on a bit of white water or strong flow just to make it harder. They will set up a number of gates, which are essentially dangly poles tied onto string frames above the course which hang over the water and you have to kayak through them. However, you have to do it in the right order and the right direction. Sounds easy huh? Well, it’s not always easy but it is crazy fun!
I have now done 4 competitions with the club: Winchester, Shepperton, Harefield and I have literally just got back from Cardington. No two were the same and they all tested different aspects of our paddling while ultimately trying to achieve the same goal.
Winchester was the first competition. It was a good one to start on as there was no white water or flow at all and it just introduced the idea of doing a course, with only 12 gates. The best part for me was the celebrity judge who shall remain unnamed as he was there as a dad, not as Peter the dad from my favourite comedy series Outnumbered!
Shepperton was a great one for me because I somehow managed to get promoted which was pretty cool. Esther and I also competed (and sat in) the C2 (two-person canoe) for the first time at Shepperton. It was such a fun weekend and we didn’t just utilise our paddling skills but also had a go at judging too! (I got a free ice lolly out of it!).
Next was Harefield which was a weird one. This was the first course that we were really challenged on as a group, and it didn’t help that the flow increased throughout the competition as the club couldn’t control it. Although this course caused me a lot of frustration I’m still glad I did it as it’s all just good practice!
Finally, the most recent competition was Cardington. It’s a man-made piece of white water (the first white water course in Britain) and it was an odd one. One of the main problems on this course was that there just wasn’t enough space to turn a boat and you ended up getting stuck or scraping your boat along the walls. Overall though, it was a fun event and Esther and I even got a promotion in the C2!
Deviating away from slalom slightly: I have just passed my Lee Valley assessment (along with Flo and Kurtis from the club)! Lee Valley is the white water course that was used in the 2012 London Olympics. I don’t paddle on the Olympic course (yet!) however, just its slightly smaller friend, the Legacy course. And now I’ve passed my assessment I can paddle on my own there anytime without a coach.
Speaking of coaches……quick shout out to all the guys at the ACC for being so amazing!!! Particular mention to Danny, Lew and Nick for all their help and support.
The formal paddling/coached element of trip was scheduled to start on Monday July 3rd but the six paddlers (Adrian, Esther, Ian, Jen, Nick and Steve) had collaborated on travel plans to share costs, driving etc. which meant Nick & Steve would arrive at the campsite (Camping des Allouviers) on Saturday, Adrian & Jen on Sunday and Esther & Ian on Monday. The campsite was quiet, shady – important given the 30+ temperatures we had all week – clean and friendly. We all agreed we would be happy to stay there again. It was also very good value; typically we paid about €50 each for our various permutations of nights, cars, leccy etc.
Grahame Moss from Escape Outdoors was our coaching provider for the trip; logistical problems meant Grahame wasn’t able to come himself but the ‘substitute’ he provided was Jon Smith a hugely experienced alpine paddler and as we were to find out superb coach and all round good egg. Jon took us to the St Clements slalom site on the Durance in the morning so we could all do some calibration of where our paddling was at. St C. doesn’t have any big features but the water is fast flowing, in fact *very* fast flowing. We spent several hours in the sunshine playing in the flow and on the waves and getting used to the speed and temperature (coooooooold) of the water.
For the afternoon Jon took us on more of a bimble down the Lower Guil. The section we were on might be class 3 in its prime but with the generally low water levels in the region it was more like 2. We got on up near the hydro station and paddled back down to the get out near the dechetterie.
Esther and Ian arrived in time for dinner and we ate and drank communally as we had done the night before and did all week. This wasn’t a given as the trip remit was that we would spend our time on the water together but after that people could do as they pleased. As it happened we were all very happy to cook/eat (very well) and drink (copiously) together each evening.
We were back at St C for Esther and Ian to get their eye in for alpine water whilst the rest of us tried to refine and build on our efforts from the day before. After lunch we did the ‘sunshine’ run on the Durance from near St C down to Embrun via the legendary Rabioux wave. Along the way we had some heroic/crazy seal launches from Adrian and Esther! The Rabioux was negotiated safely by all – probably grade 3 or 3+ given the level it was at – and the Embrun wave was pippsy in comparison. Once at Embrun we made our way across to the lake and enjoyed a swim in the lagoon
We travelled a bit further afield to the Ubaye valley which was about a 90 minute drive through some lovely Alpine scenery. We got on at the bridge by le Martinet ready to run the ‘racecourse’ – 7km of solid grade 3 and some 3+ thrown in for good measure. At the end of it we were mentally/physically exhausted to varying degrees but universally exhilarated at how much fun it had been! There had been big wave trains, tricky rapids, stunning gorges and much much smiles and giggles. Jon’s coaching came into its own here with his emphasis on using positivity and mood to help us all to paddle at our best. The only way to ‘warm down’ from this was obviously a trip to the inflatable zone at Embrun Lake. And to finish the day we had an awesome BBQ – and a few drinks.
In his quest to give us new experiences each day Jon took us to the Briancon gorge and we will always be able to say that “we paddled the gorge in conditions that everyone else walked away from”. And no one need ever know that this was because the level was so low! It didn’t look too bad at the get on but there after it was complete bump and scrape albeit on a new river, in spectacular scenery and in beautiful sunshine so very bearable. And there was a really fun wooden chute bit that had a fairly sizeable drop at the end of it – well probably a meter or so!
For the afternoon we decided to head for where we knew there was water i.e. the Durrance and the Rabioux wave to Embrun section. People took more time to play on the wave this time and the developments in skills and confidence were obvious to see. As he had done elsewhere during the week Adrian led the group down this section as part of his Leader training – and needless to say he did it superbly. At the end of the day there was an even more superber BBQ – and poss some bevvies too.
Our last day! The plan had been to paddle the mighty Argentier slalom course but when we got there it was closed for a competition and wouldn’t be open again till 7pm on Sunday – it was 10 am Friday at this stage. Jon called on all his apps, knowledge and sneaky scouting of rivers that he had been doing and said we should head for the Gyronde instead. And yay when we got there, there was enough water to make it well worth running. We got on at the campsite and given that we were all now hardened Alpine paddlers it was well within our limits although it was quite technical and had some tricky rapids to be negotiated. It was such a nice run – and because we didn’t want our trip to end – that most of the group ran it twice! And then it was to the bar at Armentieres for our trip/paddling review and debrief. The review can be summarised as ‘It was all Fab, we were all Fab’. We finished the trip by treating ourselves (€13 treat level) to ‘Moules frite’ in a fab bar in Argentieres – first one on the left as you drive in from the South! And then is was back to campsite, start to pack up, get ready for journey back, prep for bandit run in St C course (no names mentioned) etc.
In conclusion it is safe to say that we all came back (safely!) with improved paddling skills and confidence. As a bonus we also had a really, really nice time in terms of comradery and fun – on an ACC trip; who knew? We all agreed we would be up for doing it again next year alto there were some murmurings about the Soca or maybe Austria etc. etc.
As ever, so many rivers, so little time!!
KM driven c 2,200
Tolls and fuel £150
Ferry Newhaven Dieppe (with cabin) £100
Food (and drink!) £75
Approx. cost per person =< £600
Fun factor 11/10
A bright and sunny start to the day as we all arrived at Swanwick Hard. A small hiccup as we found a very small and very busy car park – top marks to those who arrived early enough to get a space and to get breakfast, definitely something to consider for any future trips.
After keeping an eagle eye out and pouncing on anyone leaving, we all managed to park and unload and three opens and a range of kayaks were on the water by 11:30.
The trip started with a short, careful paddle around the big boats – lots of quite impressive yachts and cruisers… though obviously nowhere near as much fun as a canoe! After paddling under the motorway the river opened out into a beautiful, wide and gentle piece of water. Lots of people out on the water having fun, including a stand-up-paddleboarding dog which was surprisingly stable.
A lovely paddle upstream to the Jolly Sportsman at Curbridge where we stopped for some much needed ice cold drinks and a picnic lunch before setting off back down the river. We made good use of some overhanging branches to practice our limbo moves whilst paddling backwards – all good skill improvement and not as hard as it sounds. It wasn’t quite so easy for those people who had a go at standing up in an open and stepping over the branch – which mainly meant swimming practice, Hazel made a valiant attempt but not sure how ably she was helped by Robbo … harder still was trying the stand-up step challenge in a kayak (only tried by Will and Sam – no one else foolish brave enough to try it).
Continuing the trip we took a right fork in the river towards Botley Quay. Finding a deserted piece of water we stopped for a while to play involving lots of water time for Eliyah who really is a mermaid, playing Frisbee with seaweed as an alternative and the chuckle brothers (aka Neil and Robbo) doing their best to make sure everyone had a refreshing swim – them included. We were having so much fun we didn’t quite make it up to Botley – think that means we have a good excuse for a return trip sometime! Well done to Chris and Dave who had a very useful and effective pump which proved to be a very useful bit of kit to help empty out the rather waterlogged opens.
As the tide had turned we started to head back downstream with Vanessa and Elaine effortlessly leading the way. Flo showed excellent balance by standing on the front of an open for a large part of the way back with barely a wobble, while Kate proved everyone wrong by happily managing the whole trip in a playboat.
Huge thanks to John Kennett for what was a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxed and fun day out – the first ACC trip for me and Sam, looking forward to the next one already.
Lots of pictures of the trip can be found here – https://goo.gl/tukJmt
Although officially only a ‘day trip’ a dozen or so club members had made their way over to Cobnor on the Saturday for some ‘peer’ paddling and a nights camping. The peer paddling involved a trip for some kayaks and SUPs from Cobnor as far as the Anchor Bleu in Bosham in the glorious weather that trip supremo John Kennett had arranged.
Sunday was the day for the trip proper and by 10am there was a flotilla of about 20 (Canoes, kayaks, sea-kayaks and a dog!) ready to set off for East Head at the Witterings. The weather was still glorious and it was a lovely paddle down with an increasing volume of (much) larger boats also making their way to open waters. Having made good time to East Head we decided to paddle around to West Wittering beach in search of ice-cream. The fab weather meant that the beach was *very* busy – the police closed the road later – but paddling to it meant that we were able to find a quite spot and avoid most of the crowds. We pootled about here for an hour or so and when the lifeguards on their assorted quad-bikes, jet skis, jeeps and RIBs started telling people to make their way back from the sand island we knew that the tide was turning and we could have a leisurely paddle back.
We made another stop at East Head just to visit the ice-cream boat – it would have been bad form not to – and some of our group apparently also stopped alongside a moored craft to share cold beverages with some yachties who were obviously up for a bit of hanging out with the common people! The trip back was very pleasant and all those involved in the water fights were willing participants. How two very competent canoe paddlers ended up in the water – unaided by anyone else – is still something of a mystery but pictures were taken so we have some early ‘SOTY’ candidates.
We were off the water by 4pm and by virtue of being in Cobnor managed to avoid what would have no doubt been horrendous traffic queues to get away from the Witterings. All told it was another really good ACC trip with a lovely mix of paddling and socialising.