Monday, December 24, 2007

Exiting Euthanasia

Introducing some New Forest Explorer Scouts to Grade 4 proved very successful - I was pleased with this photo of Rees exiting Euthanasia

Monday, December 10, 2007

Running for Higher Ground

Dartmoor saturated - time to look for some opportunistic runs. Trekking around 'Gutter Tor' with plenty to float our boats even at the very top of the Plym

And plenty more within 1km

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rhossili - a sight for paddle starved eyes

Towards the end of October and the rivers remain dry - Rhossili proved a sight for paddle starved eyes. Moderate clean surf uncluttered by other boards and boats

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hedging Bets

Dartmoor remains boney but a Classic surf weekend was on the cards - would the clean swell reach Kimmeridge on the South coast?
Just as well I loaded the sea boat!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Off the water

A few weekends without floating my boat - it was time to build a toy shed

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sand in the face

Redend Defaced
A short paddle out to Old Harry took us past Redend Point on Studland at the weekend. Here the coloured sands, in the Redend Sandstone of the Eocene Poole Formation, are well-exposed (in more ways than one).

For the technical bit .... "Iron oxides have been reprecipitated in the sandstone at various horizons in an irregular manner that does not correspond to the bedding There is liesiegang banding that has probably originated when pyrite was oxidised and iron-bearing solutions moved out from the pyrite source. The colour yellow or brown is typical of limonite or goethite, but in patches the bands are represented by a red iron oxide like hematite"

But all that doesn't stop some idiots leaving their mark

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Summer Rain

Mid August - and a planned sea kayak weekend was diverted to Dartmoor rivers (all running at a good winter level). What a crazy year. And the next weekend, all rain had vanished and it was to the coast . . . .

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Verdon Canyon - paddling underground

During the course of a family holiday, Andrew and I managed to include the surreal experience of paddling through the Verdon Grand Canyon in Provence. Aided by Deb Pinniger, who knew the route through the numerous siphons and sieves along the way (negating the need for endless scouting), we managed to complete the 35km run in 7 hours.
An excellent but wierd paddling experience - something between canyoning and kayaking
Deb also came with a 'shuttle bunny' and so we were able to avoid many additional hours of shuttle driving at either end of the day. Consequently, we were back to the Gite in time for dinner with the girls

Monday, July 09, 2007

Weather Window

For some inexplicable reason, and after a soggy month, the weather cleared up for a weekends paddle from Sidmouth to West Bay.

Bad weather chased us east along the coast on Sunday but never caught us up. Rain returned on the drive home.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A River Avon Blog

Over the last few years I have been receiving an increasing number of phone and email enquiries concerning paddling the River Avon. Many of these are tourists visiting the area, many others are 'locals' who have, perhaps, enjoyed canoeing during their holidays on the continent and want to take it up here. The vast majority have been blissfully unaware of river access issues.

Rather than explaining the situation again and again I have finally got around to setting up a 'blog' that provides some information

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Calm Day

The Dorset Coast doesn't get much more benign than this (heading West from Lulworth Cove)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

High Queue

It's a msitake to walk up Snowdon on a bank holiday monday. The queue stretched 5kms along and 800 metres up!

Monday, May 21, 2007

SORTed by Ryanair

Sort, Pyrenees (for a weekend!?)
I usually consider the 5 hour drive to North Wales a long Haul for a weekend, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity for one pence flights for a weekend's boating in the Pyrenees.
Leaving in the middle of the night, for an early Saturday morning flight to Pau followed by a 4 hour drive across the mountains to Sort we didn't get on the Rio Noguera Pallaresa until 4pm.
With 35kms to paddle to the take out I questioned the wisdom of the plan. But, the river was tanking along. A big, bouncy continueous grade 3 and 4 run woke us all up and we reached the get out by 7pm for well deserved cervezas
Sunday proved to be more drive than paddle as we searched for sections suitable in the high conditions. We found a 3/4 section way up in the alpine meadows that fitted the bill.A long way for a weekend's boating - but great fun all the same

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Debating Access

I attended a Consultation meeting called by the Environment Agency on ‘Strategic planning of water-related sport & recreation’ held at Bovington 9th May.

This was one of four meetings held across the South West to discuss local and regional access issues. The Bovington meeting specifically targeted the Dorset, Wiltshire (Avon), Poole & Bournemouth area.

There were about 20 organisations that attended, including Surfers, water skiers, horse riders, sailors and, of course, anglers.

It has to be said that Brighton Uni organised the day very well. Each organisation produced an A1 poster prior to the event stating the main issues. Participants were split into two groups and each group ran through four workshop sessions

The fact that the BCU and RCC both attended meant that canoeing interests could be represented in both groups.

The value of the exercise, no doubt, will be known in the fullness of time but the river access issues and case were strongly aired. It was staggering how many attendees at the meeting did not know that canoeists were unable to paddle the rivers! At least our attendance afforded the opportunity to educate the un-informed and, hopefully, bring new allies to the cause!

I didn’t come away from the day too jaded – but neither did I come away fired up with enthusiasm and optimism!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


n. pl. sym·po·si·ums or sym·po·si·a (-z - )
  • A meeting or conference for discussion of a topic, especially one in which the participants form an audience and make presentations.

  • A convivial meeting for drinking, music, and intellectual discussion among the ancient Greeks
  • [Latin, drinking party, from Greek sumposion : sun-, syn- + posis, drinking; see p (i)- in Indo-European roots.]
Well, I guess 'Symposium' was an accurate name for the Anglesey gathering of sea kayak 'anoraks'. There was certainly plenty of drinking and talking going on over the weekend - with a, perhaps, unhealthy bias towards the one subject.

200+ sea kayakers from around the globe met to chat, paddle, drink, padlle, snore, paddle. Although I felt a little like a (river) 'fish out of water' the Symposium did give me the opportunity to experience the handling of big boats in big swells, overfalls and tidal races. I did learn that sea kayaking doesn't always have to be a mellow side of paddlesport

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Floating My (new) Boat: Quest LV

Picked up my spanking new Quest LV on Friday afternoon.

6am Saturday I was off to 'float my boat'.

I hated the sound of those pebbles crunching against that brilliant white hull as we seal-launched off the beach but at least we didn't head West down Chesil Beach (pictured), opting for a more interesting 'around the Bill' trip in the sun.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Kayaking is Not a Crime

Once a year we are 'allowed' to paddle our local river (Hampshire Avon) - and this year, through negotiation with 7 new landowners, we were given permission to paddle an extra couple of miles. All in all, 10 kms from Alderbury to (almost) Woodgreen.

We were shouted at and challenged before we put on the river, and again a couple of times on the float down. Why? it was outside the fishing season so we disturbed no fisherman, we left no footprints and drifted quietly along disturbing nothing and committing no crime.

Despite the angst we enjoyed our quiet day on the river - It's too bad that there are some miserable folk around that, through snobbery and intolerance, do their best to spoil life for others

Monday, February 26, 2007

Global Warming - perhaps not such a bad thing for paddlers?!

It's the end of February 2007 - we only have a few weeks left of the 'white water' season - but what a season it has been! I love mild and wet!!
I have managed to get down to Dartmoor/Exmoor more times than I should have over the season, with runs on all sections of the Dart, the Walkham, Tavy, Erme, Lyn, etc. Indeed, it's been 8 home runs on the Upper Dart so far. Not once have I had to cancel a trip due to low levels. And only once have I had to scrape ice off the windscreen as I set off on a Sunday dawn.
No numb fingers, no ice-block feet, no hunting around for rivers with enough water to paddle. And they are now forecasting a long hot summer for Sea Kayaking! Life is good
This last weekend it was to the Erme again - enough water and sunshine. The 'Slot' provided some entertainment (rope retrieval of swimmer, boat, paddles and a left shoe) and the Gorge was magnificent

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What have I got him into?!

While Andrew was running Huka Falls during his paddle tour of NZ I was perusing the latest issue of the Canoe & Kayak magazine.

There was an article by Doug Cooper on river running techniques. As chance would have it Doug had used a photo of Andrew and I running a section of the Coruh (Turkey) a year ago. I just happened to be in the front and Andrew was behind.

Doug had used this to illustrate what he calls

'The Mother Duck' approach "where an experienced paddler leads a less experienced paddler" blah blah.

I don't think Andrew would appreciate the "duckling" inference!!!

Who will be leading who next time? (and, will I follow :-))