Archive for the ‘River trips’ Category

Paddle the Bann 22/04/2010

April 23, 2010

Ok Ok I know! Its been a lifetime since I have posted anything on here!!  Well what have I been at? Work, started a PhD, got romantically attached and well did very little kayaking!!

Fresh start now alone with a fresh paddling season!  My first outing was with UUC and CCKA last night and what a beautiful evening it was.  The “other half” towed along assuring me he had “paddled once or twice before”  as we travelled into the Uni.  In total there was 9 of us, Gary a coach from CCKA (I’m sure its 3 or more!) Heather, Matt and myself (level 1coaches), Steph, Roy, Clare, Elaine and Jason.

Before even getting on the water, we couldn’t get boats- the powers that be had decided to chance locks to the doors and then not give us the correct key!!  After a mere 45 mins of flaffing about we eventually got on the water.

We travelled from the watersports centre heading the direction of the Barrmouth. I dont think I have ever been on the Bann in such a calm and beautiful day.  Even so it was apparent by the wobbles Jason had never been in a “kayak” before and it was “them open boat things” he had been in.  After 15 mins or so he was paddling like a pro!

Everyone had a great time – including the seal who followed us down stream for most of the way.

A beautiful evening – may there be many more

The Craic…

May 18, 2009

Well its been a while since I have posted anything of interest- the last few weeks have been manic to be honest! Dissertation handed in, impromptu trip to lower lough erne, exams, and now freedom to paddle every day. I don’t know myself now!

The Lower Lough Erne trip was fantastic, my first real trip out in albert! We paddled to Devenish first and had a wee look arounf before heading up to Castle Archdale, checking off all the wee islands on the way up. One of the islands was in full bloom of bluebells which was so beautiful. Passing the Manor hotel we were entertained by a sailing regatta. Definately a trip to do again.

Just last week I was out again with CCKA paddling from Portballintrae to Portrush, via the Skerries. It wasn’t really off to a good start when I decided to follow the more proficient for a bit of rock hopping and managed to go for a swim (thanks Steve, for fishing me out). The rest of the trip was amazing. I have never seen such beautiful coastline and I never ever realised that it would be right on my door step. Dunluce castle from the sea- outstanding, whiterocks- equally, if not more outstandig. I was a bit apprehensive paddling out the Skerries, I had never ever been that far away from the coast (or the harbour before). The Skerries were beautiful, a seal and a million or so birds came to great (and poo) on us.

On Sunday I took my two sisters to the have a go day in Portstewart. They had a great day orienteering and shooting arrows at targets. Their day was made when Steve (from xplore outdoors and fisher of Michelle fish!) took the pair of them out sea kayaking. Its great now to have two sisters so very keen to kayak however I apparently have to purchase 2 more sea kayaks and gear to take them out!!

My mission this week is too work out how best to fish from my kayak without swiming and without having to drill big ignorant brackets onto my boat.!!

Group picture

Sunday sessions – ‘shesk and surf!

April 5, 2009

I had promised myself lots of revision today and no deluded thoughts of kayaks, canoes, rolling and the like. Took Paul to say paddle? and I was already in my wetsuit.

I kinda have been wanting to surf, ok well it was a thought at 8am this morning when the sun was saying “paddle paddle” and well since then I wanted to have the life scared out of me with a bit of surf kayaking. First off was the glenshesk river. For those unfamiliar with the river it is mainly brown/red which flows into the sea at Ballycastle and has a rare species of fish living in it called “golf balls”. As a child we used to get chased by the wild bears who lived at the “golf course” because we were fishing for their balls!!!

I was in the perception dancer and Paul was in the fox. The perception is like a um big floating rock. I didn’t like it when I was on the Bann a couple of weeks ago as I couldn’t keep the thing straight. I am either getting better at this kayaking stuff or the boat has bonded with me and loves me. The river was peachy although there wasn’t much water in it, we ended up lifting the boats over the rapids at the golf course bridge so as we could get up the river a bit further. The paddle up was beautiful to the Carey bridge but we didn’t go further as I couldn’t be bothered lifting the boats again. On the way down we did a spot of fishing. I have 16 balls for sale if anyone is interested J, first use of my new “swag bag” as well.

The flow of the river isn’t long getting you down to the sea. I was bricking it but I knew it was now or never. Two waves in and an immense amount of screaming and I was following the boat back to shore. It certainly make you feel alive getting a rattle over the noggin with a wave or three. Oh and I loved it.

I watched Paul out on the water for a bit before emptying half the Atlantic out of my boat. I really hadn’t a notion what to be at. Paul came out of his boat and hauled be back into the surf giving me guidance on getting though the waves. Getting out was wee buns although the airborne feeling coming off the waves nearly made me throw up the first time it happened.

Was more craic again trying to come in. No matter how much I tried to brace into the surf I ended up half rolling and my sinuses cleared. Was class craic. Going to invest my golf ball earnings on a surf boat J.

 

More river before home??? Oh yeah. Fox time for me?? Definitely!! Paul told me this one was jumpy and unforgiving, we are very alike. I had an interesting entrance to the water a kinda seal launch off the sand cannel that the river had carved –oh fun!! I nearly tipped the fox over a couple of times but after 2 mins we were best mates. I love it. Its quick , I can throw it about abit and it responds well to my shambolic stearing strokes. I would have to say that I now appreciate the purpose of stern rudder now, I had lots and lots of practice today.

As the water was uber shallow I decided to practice a wee roll, and failed !! Paul tried to rescue me but whatever half assed way I reached for his boat bailing out was the best option. Water freezing and red yuck, the surf was so warm. I so cold I forgot what I had messed up on the roll, meh not to worry! Oh yeah what a fun day!!

 

Paul thanks so much for the paddling was fab!!

Sea kayaking 28th March 2009 which turned into Paddle the Bann

March 28, 2009

Weather forecast for this morning was worse. High tide was about 9am. As I drove coast road into Portrush and it was white with foam, I realised there was going to be no 2* assessment today L We made the decision to paddle from Coleraine Marina to Camus (3 miles-ish). To the mad people who went into the sea at Portrush today- you are mental, I am nearly sure the Ross Thompson Unit were looking for you !! 2 doubles and 9 singles woohoo. After organising the very important shuttle it was onto the water .

 

coleraine-to-camus

The northerly wind and tide starting to retreat made the river choppy and I felt sick. I couldn’t handle the boat, there were loads of people around me but I felt scared, I really wasn’t feeling the love at all.

When everyone else started to head off I was busy moving to the rear of the group and round in circles. I never wanted to get into a kayak again. The feeling was the same as last Sundays outing with Paul in the Dancer, wind throwing me about and no control and difficult to go straight and turn. In my mind this should have been easier as I was in the P&H capella, a sea kayak which should (I thought) stay straight.  Every gust of wind caught me and took  me and unwanted spin 😦

 

Robert to the rescue again! After abandoning an attempt to get the keel down (the wire was bent, I will never land with a keel down, this damage caused me no amount of nearly tears) Robert patiently paddled with me, correcting my mistakes and trying to get me to relax. By the time we had made it to the old bridge I was paddling better (if not straighter) and it was time to change boats in the middle of the water!! Robin assured us that with university education we could work out what to do without getting wet. He was correct apart from Martins issue with fixing the foot rest to his height (I’m 5ft Matin is um probably 6, a quick wiggle and I got the foot rests up but it’s not as easy to get them down if you have big ganglely legs).

Awe little purple avocet I don’t think I can live without you. Much easier to paddle, my fear had left me and I was torquing away nicely up to the new bridge J even in the choppy river J I didn’t really appreciate how much difference a boat can make. The Cappella was like manoeuvring a 40footer in my driveway compared to the Avocet!! We all headed through the lock at the Cutts which was fun and saved lugging a kayak out of the water.

 

The rest of the Bann was beautiful, very little wind, no smelly tide to worry about just lovely!! From such a miserable start to such a nice paddle up to Camus. It’s that part of the trip made me appreciate how lucky I am to live here. I had a go with Roberts “cranky” paddles which I didn’t like very much. They are probably like red wine though – you learn to like them.

 

At the end of the trip I was mega impressed my new buy (ooohh a dry bag) had kept my clothes, biccys and car keys nice and dry J Heather was probably chuffed to as there was no wet bum on her car seat!

 

Leaving the house at 8:30am and getting home at 2:40pm however is not fun. I will probably plant my lazy bum in bed for an hour after I get a cup of tea in me!! Two star assessment next week?????

Sundays 13 march 2009 Trip Planning

March 13, 2009

 

Fun Fun FUN!! We (Paul V and myself) are planning of paddling the Bann on Sunday at 12noon woo hoo!! I reckon the tide will be on its way out then which will be grand for the way down the river but will be pants when we are tired and trying to get back to the car. I am wondering if it would be better to canoe south from Coleraine up to the Cutts then back down again (with the tide) to the car. Bah I haven’t a clue !!

Must remember to get some Scooby snacks J