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Sun, surf and pain au chocolat 2018

TEAM FRANCE 2018

Author……Tommo

It was a super early start this year for the five members of the Bideford Canoe Club….I picked a surprisingly chirpy Sue up at 03.30 to meet up with the others at 4 am to head off to the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone. We arrived in good time but unfortunately weren’t able to catch an earlier train so a sit down coffee it was. Foil wrapped pasties were placed on the van engine to warm ready for the train journey.

Sunshine greeted us as we arrived in France and we headed off to the man-made slalom / white water course at Saint-Pierre-de-Boeuf, just south of Lyon. We arrived early evening to pick up the entrance barrier access card left for us so we could drive straight to our pitches. The tents were erected and we settled down for a well-deserved drink before bed.The morning greeted us with delightful sunshine and a clear blue sky as we headed off to the local bakery for the morning ritual of flutes and pain au chocolate. After breakfast we booked in and kitted up for the first run down the course. This year we had one creek(ish) boat and four play boats. St Pierre offers some lovely warm up areas and parts of the river were perfect for practising and improving all of those basic skills that are essential for when you move up to the faster flowing water along with a few play waves.

We were all soon bashing down the best of what the course had to offer from grade 3 drops to a gentle paddle along the lake at the bottom. The best feature of this place was the travellator which took you from the lake back up to the top of the course.The prize awarded to the first swimmer was a run down the course on an inflatable unicorn and it was duly awarded on the first day. Sue looked to have so much fun we all decided to have a go! As we were camped on the side of the course this year time out was made very easy. Walks to explore the local town and wildlife resulted in finding the local beaver and many birds. The opening times of the town’s pizzeria were found so the last evening’s dinner was sorted!

After 3 excellent paddling days and plenty of evening wine, cider and merriment we moved camp 1.5 hours away to our second destination, Sault Brenaz.This course offered a twistier route with some slightly more challenging features and drops. The weather was holding at 35 degrees with the water temperature tipping just over the 20 mark so no worries if you took a swim. Skills had improved and we soon found our favourite set of play waves, Playtime for everyone! We even managed to introduce Sue to the wonders of the Pyranha Rev playboat!!3 more days of fun and merriment followed with

Tom continuing to be either upside down or tail-squirting.Chris nailing his combat rolls,Sue going for the “Man-line” on every drop….no photo!Me sorting my flat spin on a wave…and Nathan just continued being Nathan….Another fabulous Team France expedition !! 

ROLL ON NEXT YEAR

 

 

 

 

Five Went Wild….The really true story of a Club trip

Pete Thorn’s account of an epic adventure.

After 262 nautical miles (288 statute miles), four sea kayakers from Bideford Canoe Club landed on Holy Island in Anglesey. This was after thirteen days paddling, a day ahead of schedule. Our passage from Appledore in North Devon had been made in ideal conditions with sunny days and light winds. A day later, heavy weather arrived, so the timing was excellent, if entirely outside our control.

Five paddlers had set out but one had to withdraw, a result of a shoulder injury in a tide race in Pembrokeshire. The adventure began on Friday 13th July, when unphased by superstition, the group paddled away from family and friends, towards Bideford Bar and the open sea. In our heavily laden kayaks were all the things needed to live for two weeks, including tents, camping equipment, food and enough water for that day. Leaving Hele Bay on the second day, we crossed 24 nautical miles of the Bristol Channel to Port Eynon on the Gower. This took 6.5 hours of careful navigation, crossing strong tidal flows and was an early crux. We wild camped in the sand dunes, which was to become the daily norm for the next two weeks. On landing, it took four people, (and Henry) to carry the heavy kayaks clear of the water. Then all equipment was unloaded and carried up the beach in big bags. So, several trips were needed to get all the kit above the high-water mark. Wet clothes could be exchanged for dry and a meal prepared. Time to relax, though on a few days the group did not land until well into the evening. Small tents were erected and sleeping mats blown up before sinking into an exhausted sleep. In the morning all this was reversed, finally pulling on wet paddling clothes and doing it all again. It took at least an hour and a half from waking to paddling away into a new vista of coastline. During the trip, the group only found one accessible commercial camp site so used stony storm beaches or scrubby grass sites as well as the unpopular sand, which got into everything including our food.

On departure, litter was picked to leave the beach cleaner than we found it. It was remarkable how unpopulated the Welsh coast was, with long stretches of wild and beautiful scenery and few accessible shops. We crossed the expanse of Carmarthen Bay, helped along by an ebb tide and southerly wind, landing in the pretty Manobier. The next day proved to be our worst. Heavy rain that morning soon cleared up and we approached the MOD firing range at St Govan’s Head. The recorded message had predicted no firing but this proved out of date and we were stopped by a range boat. Firing was planned till 3.30 so we had to wait on a beach till this ended. By then the tide had turned against us and it was a slog to inch round the main headlands against turbulent tide races. Using back eddies in the bays we made slow progress, finally pulling clear of this seven mile stretch at 7.30 to camp in the sands of Freshwater West after four hours paddling non-stop. If we had failed to clear this big range area we would have been stuck for days as both day and night firing was  planned.

The next day we crossed the busy shipping channels of Milford Haven and were properly in Pembrokeshire. Bird life was abundant, with puffins unafraid as we slid past within touching distance. Almost every day we saw pods of dolphins, sometimes surfacing very close to the boats. They were curious and apparently friendly, though efficient hunters of fish. Most striking was the plethora of jellyfish, seen in great variety all the time. The warm summer seemed to have allowed an explosion of numbers. Does anything eat them apart from turtles? At St David’s we found a camp site after a steep climb and were able to get a shower before walking into this tiny city for coffee, ice cream and much needed shopping. On the following day we crossed the strait to Ramsey Island, upstream of the notorious Bitches tidal rapids. To go around the island seemed essential, as it is an iconic kayaking destination. We shot through the Midland Gap into a welter of confused white water as the incoming tide compressed and accelerated. Some good skills were needed to stay upright. After another tide race we passed through a sea cave and then used the helpful tide to get around St David’s Head. The wide expanse of Cardigan Bay started to open up before us. 

We spent many hours paddling, having long conversations with friends or day dreaming while paddling your own course a little distance away. Every hour we would have a brief break for drink and a snack to keep up energy levels. Pee relief was very basic so boats and shorts needed swilling out at the end of the day. In choppy conditions and with long stretches of cliffs there were few alternatives to just letting go!

Part of the trip challenge was to raise some money for the RNLI. We called in at seven stations on the way and were made very welcome with tea and biscuits. In Aberystwyth we landed on the day of their annual barbecue so were fed until we could hardly walk back to our stony campsite. We used their showers so were less smelly than usual. The crews have strong community groundings, with members as young as seventeen working with veterans of thirty years service. They need our support and our giving page is still open at https:/mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/a2a


As the changing coastline passed by we saw abandoned quarries and stunning rock formations, ranging from strangely eroded glacial moraine to volcanic columns and twisted layers. Arches, caves and sea stacks were dramatic, usually unseen except by local fishermen.

The slog into Barmouth seemed never ending. Were those distant blocks of colour beach huts? They turned out to be four storey houses which never seemed to get bigger.

The following day we were due to complete the last open crossing to the Lleyn Peninsula. Two options were considered, a direct crossing, or a more scenic route along the coast followed by a shorter crossing. In view of the benign weather forecast, an amicable split was made, with our very experienced solo paddler opting for the scenic route. The  remainder of the group, who had less time available,  took the direct crossing which proved to be  particularly tedious on an oily swell. A distant speck gradually became a lobster boat which in all that sea sounded his horn to get us out of his way. He then asked us if we were lost. As the Tidwal Islands took shape we discussed Bear Grylls who owns one of them. His large floating pontoon was too attractive so we lay flat on the black plastic to soak up some warmth in the sun. Thanks Bear!

Holy island……the finish line in the distance!

With a helpful tide we completed the distance up to the Menai Straits and camped on a stony storm beach.  This was to be our last wild camp as only 16 nautical miles remained to Porth Dafarch on Holy Island. The tide would be against us till late in the day, but a helpful southerly wind sprang up. We put up our sails and made rapid progress, landing after four hours paddling among holiday makers and many jellyfish. A friend ferried us to Anglesey Outdoors, a campsite just one kilometre from the beach. We were able to access a washing machine and drying room, so we quickly became nicer to know. A good meal in Treaddur Bay rounded off a fine last day.

To  our great surprise our solo paddler arrived in the gathering gloom, just seven hours behind the main group, having tailored his efforts more to use the tide more effectively. The reunion was jubilant with congratulations all round. It was a tortoise and hare story.

Medal presentation 

There was more sunshine the following day so we played in the tide race at Penrhyn Mawr before paddling round into Holyhead Harbour to visit the RNLI station. The staff were particularly friendly and told tales of dramatic rescues. We reflected on the storm force 12 conditions in February which had destroyed the marina at Holyhead and sunk almost every boat there, apart from the lifeboat which they had moved into the dock area. A sobering thought that July is a better time than February to visit Anglesey.

Back home in North Devon the summer continues as we plan to take young people from Bideford Youth Centre out on the estuary to start their own adventures.

Author Pete Thorn.

Club members take on epic ‘A to A’ paddle

On Friday 13th five local sea kayakers from Bideford Canoe Club set out on a 300 mile adventure. Ignoring superstition regarding the date, it was chosen to suit tide times rather than as an antidote to the arrival of a certain president. The trip title has been shortened to ‘A to A’ by the team, meaning our own Appledore to Anglesey in North Wales.

Leaving from the RNLI station in Appledore, the team aim to visit other such stations along the way, raising money for this, their favourite charity, while being determined not to be rescued by them. The trip will be self supporting, carrying all their equipment in their kayaks, camping on the way and cooking for themselves, unless a convenient fish and chip shop is discovered.

The team has massive experience of ‘living out of the boat’, some having travelled in Greenland, the USA and the wilds of Scotland. For Emily Harding it will be a wrench to leave son two year old Henry but as a cross channel swimmer she is used to endurance events. John Rowe quipped that future trips could have the same ring to them, such as Croyde to Corunna, or Bideford to Budapest, but for now A to A is challenge enough. Ian Dring is something of an ‘ultra paddler’, having previously set out from his south Devon home to solo up to 50 miles along the coast. Kevin Sumners has done much of his sea paddling in the Americas, on both east and west coasts, gaining some of the US highest awards in sea kayaking. Pete Thorn has been paddling since he was 12 years old and now, at seventy sees the trip as ‘adventure before dementia’.

The big challenge of the trip will be the Bristol Channel crossing, from Ilfracombe to the Mumbles area, an exposed passage involving nearly thirty miles of effort across a busy shipping lane. All the team have mini sails on their kayaks which may help, depending on wind direction. As they follow the Welsh coastline they will experience all sorts of weather on the exposed west coast, while searching out the best ice-cream shops.

Their destination is Holyhead on Holy Island, part of the big island of Anglesey. This is the area of monstrous tide races, where spring tides flow at up to eight knots and can create huge standing waves. Anglesey is a Mecca for experienced sea kayakers and other club members will meet them there to explore its big waves and strong currents, before giving them all a lift home. The trip should take no more than 13 days before arrival, but this is weather dependent. Pete was last there in February during ‘Beast from the East’, experiencing 20 knot winds and snow, so the July conditions have to be an improvement.

The trip can be followed on the internet through the A to A Facebook Page and their live tracking page.  Your donations to the RNLI would also be warmly welcomed.

Bideford CC has a large group of sea kayakers as well as enjoying year round surf kayaking and winter river paddling. Two groups have recently returned from France, one visiting white water slalom courses near Lyons and the other paddling the icy Alpine rivers near the Italian border. The club offers all standards of experience and welcomes beginners through its indoor pool pool sessions.

Summer Programme 2018

MAY 2018

Regular features and one-off events are listed below. Details will show up on the Club Facebook page or email as we go along.

Regular features

Monday – 2 Star Training   

13502943_625509124284644_2559738633375640607_oEvenings from 21 May through to 24 July. This aims to equip people new to paddling with all the basic skills and strokes you need to be a competent member of a group on placid water.This year it will include a weekend feature (23/24 June ) at Upper Tamar Lake, where we will do four sessions on open boating. There is to option to camp over, have a BBQ and enjoy a great new location with friends. The training will comprise of 10 sessions with an optional assessment. [Contact Paul Greenway].

Thursday – Indoor Pool Sessions  Indoor pool sessions at West Buckland School starting again in September, for intro work and rolling etc. Email at the beginning of the week that a session is on, to members.

Thursday – 3 Star Sea Kayaking already been advertised and underway. [Contact Pete Thorn]

Friday – Kayak Surfing  Friday evenings at Westward Ho! at Sandymere beach. Introduction to kayak surfing when conditions are good and waves are small. Otherwise a great opportunity for the Club to meet and cream some waves. In the case of no waves there will usually be a short coastal paddle option. Details issued weekly by email or Facebook, conditions dependent. [Contact Pat Williams, Nathan Mower, Tommo]

Ad Hoc – Junior Training Sessions

DSC_2651End of May onwards, introduction to moving and open water to learn some basic skills and have some fun for the juniors. Venues will be the Taw at Newbridge, Torridge at Puffing Billy, estuary and coast, very much subject to conditions. Full details will be by email. [Contact Pat Williams].

Ad Hoc Trips Short notice trips on the estuary, rivers or coast, on weekday evenings or weekends, subject to conditions. Details by Facebook and/or email.

Weekend or Weekday Evening Sea Kayak Trips Weekend or weekday evening sea kayak trips. If you are interested in getting into sea kayaks, let Pete T know and get on a circulation group. During the season we will offer introductory sessions, basic training and rescue sessions. Otherwise there will be trips at a variety of levels. Details by email to group. [Contact Pete Thorn, Clive Doe]

Dates for Your Diary

Most trips below are not official club trips but are based on a group of friends and peers.  Most have already been advertised.

 Gozo  Sea Kayak Trip    28 May – 3 June. A peer group sea kayaking around the Maltese island of Gozo

Alps White Water Trip   2 3 June – 1 July. Not a Club trip but a group of peers, looking after themselves and each other. This is a trip for competent paddlers. Water is mainly grade 3-4. Based on car share. [Contact Kevin].

France Slalom Trip   25 June- 3 July

Not a Club trip but a group of peers, looking after themselves and each other. Paddling and camping at two slalom courses close to Lyons. Water is mainly grade 2 with some grade 3 drops. A chilled out and laid back experience. Based on car share, but people can come and go as needed. [Contact Tommo]

Upper Tamar Lake    23/24 June.   This is the weekend of 2 Star open boating but camping open to others with a big lake to explore. Bring your own boat and camping gear. [Contact Paul Greenway]

Cardboard Boat Race Bideford Quay   22 July. Help required to cover safety for an hour or so. Good fun and lots of spectators.

Youth Club Sessions 26 July – 10 Aug. These are four sessions we provide for the Youth Club as a condition for using their premises. We will need club members to help run and provide safety for these sessions. More details to follow [Contact Pat Williams].

Falmouth Sea Kayak Trip   8-16 Sept. Easy and intermediate trips will be lead, advanced trips will be by peer group. Details to follow but will be based on a campsite near this stunning coastline. People can come and go, as diaries permit, joining groups exploring the coast, islands and tide races. Sea kayaks only, with some experience required. [Contact Pete Thorn]

Lundy   Trip Date to be decided. A weekend camping on Lundy and circumnavigating the island by kayak. River kayaks will cross to Lundy by boat, sea kayaks will paddle there and back. A stunning weekend with scenery and wildlife but weather/tide dependent. [Details to follow]

For information on these and other short notice opportunities, keep an eye on your emails and the Club Facebook page.

2018 Spring Trip Programme

Below is the list of proposed padding trips from January 1st to the end of March.  The actual river may change due to weather and river levels, but we hope to have alternating easy and harder trips throughout the season. There may also be additional trips which will be advertised. Also shown are various away trips planned for the summer with a contact name.

Where you share cars, please pay your share of fuel costs and don’t wait for the driver to ask. Some of the trips are quite a drive.

 If you use Club kit, be sure to pay your £5,  but also enter the details of the kit on the sheet. Note all the equipment has numbers on them and this needs entering too. Please make Mario’s job of Kit Secretary easier, so we can trace any missing items.
 Monday   A very short email will be sent out on Monday to all club members advertising the proposed trip and its difficulty for the following weekend. No reply required.  (It will also ask for volunteers to lead the trip by Wednesday.)
 Thursday   An email confirming details (river, meeting place, times etc) to be sent by noon Thursday to all members. If you are interested please reply at this stage

Friday   Anyone wishing to go should reply by email / text by the end of Friday, please indicate where you intend to meet.

Saturday   A confirmation email / text, including who is meeting where, will only be sent to those going on Saturday.

DATE RIVER TYPE Proposed river, may change Suitability
Sat 30 Training Swift water rescue training Discuss with Pete
Jan
Sun 7 Improver Barle – Tarr Steps to Dulverton (6.5 miles) A small step up for beginners but worth it
Sun 14 Proficient Walkham / Tavy (4.2 miles) Suitable for competent paddlers
Sun 21 Improver Torridge  –  Blinsham to Puffy Billy (5 miles) A very easy trip suitable for anyone
Sun 28 Proficient Dart Loop (3.2 miles) Suitable for competent paddlers
Feb
Sun 4 Improver Tavy – Tavistock to Denham (6 miles) A small step up for beginners but worth it
Sun 11 Expert Erme (3 miles) Strong paddlers only
Sun 18 Improver Exe – Bolham to Tiverton (3 miles) Suitable for most paddlers
Sun 25 Proficient Walkham / Tavy (4.3 miles) Suitable for competent paddlers
March
Sun 3/4 Event Dulverton slalom . The course will be up in the spring for practice
Sun 11 Proficient Dart Loop (3.2 miles) Suitable for competent paddlers
Sun 18 Improver Barle – Tarr Steps to Dulverton (6.5 miles) A small step up for beginners but worth it
Sun 25 Expert Lyn or Upper Dart Strong paddlers only
Trips  / Events
28 May-3 Jun Trip Gozo Sea Kayaking trip (Emily) Discuss with Emily
23 Jun-1 Jul Trip French Alps WW rivers (Kevin) Strong paddlers only
18-28 Jul Trip Team France Lyon Slalom Courses (Tommo) Ok for most
8-16 Sept Trip Falmouth Sea Kayaking (Pete) For all standards

Falmouth Sea Kayak Trip 2017

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 Pete’s  Diary

 

Friday 19th May

Folk started arriving at the Tregedna Farm site, which is close to two beaches and very relaxed. Nice enough facilities and just £8.50 a night/person. Quite a bit of alcohol flowed and we were bothered by midges.

Saturday 20th

Quiet and mellow was the request for the first weekend so we launched, with some difficulty, in Gweek at the top of the Helford River estuary. Setting for romantic novels this was a lovely float, with a following wind and outgoing tide. Mario led, assisted by Emily. As we approached the sea it became more lively and the last section round to Maenporth beach was more challenging than mellow. Coffee and ice-cream gave succour to the needy. 10 nautical miles done.

Sunday 21st

The plan was to go up Carrick Roads to Malpas, with a pushing tide and following wind. While shuttles were driven, nervous paddlers gazed at a choppy sea which promised a challenging start. 15 paddlers eventually launched at Swanpool, led by Emily and Mario in two groups. No capsizes though a few anxious moments and soon we were round the corner into a sheltered cove for a breather. Things settled down as we headed north up this big ria or flooded valley. Avoiding the many sailing vessels and the odd ferry we came across ocean going ships anchored. A rocky beach was all we could find for a short lunch break before pressing on to Malpas. With a delayed start we did not want to be fighting the tide. At Malpas we had nearly reached Truro, covering 11.5nm.

Monday 22nd

As the wage slaves returned to work a smaller group of ten headed for Coverack, aiming to paddle to Maenporth by way of The Manacles, a notorious set of rocks where many sailing ships have foundered. Five lingered there to practice rocky landings with a one metre swell adding zest to the challenge. We all made it onto the rocks and eventually back to our boats, learning much about rope handling. Richard led the day. One poor soul suffered with sea sickness in the lumpy conditions. On the way into Maenporth Richard noticed two hapless SUP novices being blown out to sea, so throw-tows to the rescue. More coffee and ice-cream.

Tuesday 23rd

After three days of trips we needed a shorter day, so Paul led eight of us from Maenporth to Swanpool and back, practising scenarios and rescues. A total panic capsize led to a swamped bulkhead compartment and a rescuer swimming. Much amusement but some good learning too.

Wednesday 24th

With a strong south easterly wind we transferred over to the other side of the Lizard for a trip from Mullion to Kynance Cove and return. Spectacular cliffs and some adventurous rock-hopping illuminated the trip. Mario led the group all day. Kynance is worth a visit as it has caves and sandy beaches with sea stacks. At Mullion we grabbed teas and ice-creams just as the tea shop closed, at just after 4pm!

Thursday 25th

A visit to the SeaKayakingCornwall shop gave us useful information and people flexed their plastic to buy bits of kit. We had intended to go to the west coast for a surf day but discovered our own Maenporth had surf up to one metre and few other surfers. We enjoyed some excellent rides and very few capsizes. The mission was clear. Get those rolls sorted.

Friday 26th

We were joined by Adam, our distant member from Teignmouth and Alex, a 4 star trainee from Germany, here to do a course with SKC the following week. With easterly winds we headed over to Portreath to paddle down to Godrevy Point and back. Sunny conditions and a west coast swell made for a fantastic day with some excellent rock hopping for this competent group . At Godrevy we landed on the tourist beach and harvested some excellent mussels for tea. Godrevy Island has a lighthouse and a dramatic passage through the cleft which splits the island.
18738842_696848153839390_6190255363101003106_oEven bigger mussels on the walls as we flashed through the gap. For the last section to Portreath we faced a strong wind at F6 but clawed slowly round into the bay to land through minor surf.

Saturday 27th

Ian arrived from Dartmouth but a planned trip round the Lizard was postponed due to wind. Instead we concocted a paddle out of Church Mylor round to Zone Point.

18700833_2038679926359501_4220656456457297126_o  18739196_2038680036359490_2808225596915509436_o

This passes the lighthouse of Fraggle Rock fame and gives access to some interesting caves, one of which we backed into for some distance.

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Clive’s shoulder ruled him out for the day and the rest of the week.

Sunday 28th

On our last day six succeeded in rounding the Lizard, having launched from the iconic Cadgwith Cove, setting for that fishing series on telly. Clive and I drove, so no shuttle required.

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Dave and Mario led jointly. We  tracked them past the Lizard, after which the lumpy conditions settled down. The drivers went off for lunch, nursing injuries, while the paddlers cruised round past Kynance to Mullion. We introduced our new German friend to the delights of a cream tea before breaking camp and heading home.

In all a great trip which catered for all levels of ability. Thanks to the aspirant 4 star leaders who did the work to make it safe and enjoyable.

 

Summer Programme 2017

Regular features

Monday – 2 Star Training evenings from 8 May through to July. This aims to equip people new to paddling with all the basic skills and strokes you need to be a competent member of a group on placid water. This year it will include a weekend feature (15/16 July) at Upper Tamar Lake, where we will do four sessions on open boating. There is an option to camp over, have a BBQ and enjoy a great new location with friends. The training will comprise of 10 sessions with an optional assessment. Details and costs to follow by email to members. [Contact Paul Greenway].

Wednesday – Indoor Pool Sessions….Indoor pool sessions at West Buckland School, through till mid May, then starting again in September, for intro work and rolling etc.( One more session on May 24th.)  Email at the beginning of the week that a session is on, to members. [Contact Sue Ambler].

Thursday – Introductory to Moving Water and slalom ….Thursday  evenings from April onwards, introductory to moving water at Newbridge on the river Taw. This is tidal water so no access issues, though an occasional high tide may disrupt. Flows are gentle but great for learning the basics before next winter’s white water trips. Details will be by email to members. [Contact Doug Smith].

DSC_7423

Thursday – 3 Star Sea Kayaking ….already been advertised and underway. [Contact Pete Thorn]

Friday – Kayak Surfing….Friday evenings at Westward Ho! at Sandymere beach. Introduction to kayak surfing when conditions are good and waves are small. Otherwise a great opportunity for the Club to meet and cream some waves. In the case of no waves there will usually be a short coastal paddle option. Details issued weekly by email or Facebook, conditions dependent. [Contact Pat Williams, Nathan Mower, Tommo]

Ad Hoc – Junior Training Sessions.….End of May onwards, introduction to moving and open water to learn some basic skills and have some fun for the juniors.DSC_2651

Venues will be the Taw at Newbridge,  Torridge at Puffing Billy,  estuary and coast, subject to conditions. Full details will be by email. [Contact Pat Williams].

Ad Hoc Trips…. Short notice trips on the estuary, rivers or coast, on weekday evenings or weekends, subject to conditions. Details by Facebook and/or email.

Weekday Evening Sea Kayak Trips….Weekend or weekday evening sea kayak trips. If you are interested in getting into sea kayaks, let Pete T know and get on a circulation group. During the season we will offer introductory sessions, basic training and rescue sessions. Otherwise there will be trips at a variety of levels. Details by email to group. [Contact Pete Thorn, Clive Doe]

Dates for Your Diary

(Most trips below are not official club trips but are based on a group of friends and peers.)

Falmouth Sea Trip..…  20-28 May. Easy and intermediate trips will be lead,  advanced trips will be by peer group. Details to follow but will be based on a campsite near this stunning coastline. People can come and go, as diaries permit, joining groups exploring the coast, islands and tide races. Sea kayaks only, with some experience required. [Contact Pete Thorn]

Upper Tamar Lake …..15/16 July. This is the weekend of 2 Star open boating but camping open to others with a big lake to explore.13528240_625507920951431_4768662026565727922_o

 Bring your own boat and camping gear. [Contact Paul Greenway]

France Slalom Trip ….  21 July – 3 Aug. Not a Club trip but a group of peers, looking after themselves and each other. Paddling and camping at two slalom courses close to Lyons. Water is mainly grade 2 with some grade 3 drops. A chilled out and laid back experience. Based on car share, but people can come and go as needed. [[Contact Tommo]

Youth Club Sessions ….These are three sessions we provide for the Youth Club as a condition for using their premises. We will need club members to help run and provide safety for these sessions. [Details to follow]

Lundy…. Trip Date to be decided. A weekend camping on Lundy and circumnavigating the island by kayak. River kayaks will cross to Lundy by boat, sea kayaks will paddle there and back. A stunning weekend with scenery and wildlife but weather/tide dependent. [Details to follow]

For information on these and other short notice opportunities, keep an eye on your emails and the Club Facebook page.

2 Star course starts May 8th 2017

Each year we try to run a 2 star training course which aims to bring relative beginners up to a standard where you can be a competent member of a group on a moderate/easy trip.

If you are a current paid up member of BCC you are welcome to apply for a place this year, we will be starting in early May.

There are ten sessions in all, six evenings, (usually Mondays from 18.30 to 20.00) and four sessions covered in one weekend.  All of these sessions will involve meeting at the club hut to get a boat, kit and any additional equipment required. The weekend will have a focus on open boating which is part of the syllabus.

Upper Tamar Lake –Open boat training 2016

Click here  https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/courses/2-star-award/  to view a copy of the syllabus so you know what is involved. In past years, participants have ranged in age from 11 to 70+.

In the first week, we will meet on the Monday evening to book out and organise any equipment required and run a dry session.  The aim of the dry session is to run through some keys points which will include general safety, terminology and basic paddling techniques etc. On the following Wednesday May 10th (club night) from 19.30 to 21.00 at West Buckland pool, we will run through capsize drills and rescues. This pool session will enable us to carry out the wet work in comfortable surroundings. Once the pool session has taken place we will be continuing the training in an open water environment at various locations, subject to tides and weather conditions.  These sessions will take place on a Monday evening. The weekend open boating dates will be confirmed nearer the time.

The cost for this training will be just £50 and will cover the pool hire cost and any coaching expenses. This will be payable at the first session and will include all use of equipment.

Places on this training will be limited and priority given to members who haven’t had an opportunity to do this level of training in the past.  Please email paul*fordahill.com to book a place on this course. 

Any club members who attended the two star course last year and now wish to take their assessment will be welcome to join the group to refresh their skills prior to the assessment.

 

Sun, surf and pain au chocolat!

Team France 2016 

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Eight members of the Bideford Canoe Club headed off to meet up just south of Lyon at the manmade slalom / white water course at Saint-Pierre-De-Boeuf  . We arrived late at night in darkness after arranging for the entrance barrier access card to be left hidden for us so we could drive straight to our pitches. The tents were erected by the light of our head torches and we soon settled down for a well-deserved drink before bed.

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The morning greeted us with delightful sunshine and a clear blue sky as we headed off to the local bakery for some flutes and pain au chocolate: this became a morning ritual!! After breakfast we booked in and kitted up for the first run down the course.

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We had a mixture of Creek, Play and Slalom boats as the water suited all types. St Pierre offers some lovely warm up areas and parts of the river were perfect for practising and improving all of those basic skills that are essential for when you move up to the faster flowing water.

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We were all soon bashing down the best of what the course had to offer from grade 3 drops to a gentle paddle along the lake at the bottom. The best feature of this place was the travellator which took you from the lake back up to the top of the course!

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After three excellent paddling days we moved camp 1.5 hours away to our second destination, Sault Brenaz . This course offered a twistier route with some slightly more challenging features and drops. The weather was holding at 35 degrees with the water temperature tipping just over the 20 mark so no worries if you took the odd swim. Skills had improved and we soon found our favourite set of play waves. Playtime for some!

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Three more days of fun and merriment was enough for some and car by car people started to head off home. Some took a day to explore the neighbouring hills and villages by foot, some with bicycles went further afield…the beauty of the trip was that you could do as little or as much as you’d like, come and go as you please….it was a holiday after all!

Article written by Tommo 🙂

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Dulverton Slalom 2017….Pete’s report

White water, rapids and adrenalin. It was all happening in March in the heart of Exmoor.

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The third annual Canoe Slalom competition was held on Sunday 12 March on the River Barle at Dulverton. This town is a canoeing honey pot for lovers of moderate white water, with groups coming from all over the south of England and South Wales in the winter in pursuit of excitement and to enjoy the beauty of the valley.

Canoe/kayak slalom is a time trial competition, where competitors negotiate ‘gates’, which are coloured poles suspended above the water. Bideford   and Taunton Canoe Clubs jointly organised the event.  The aim was to awaken more local interest in Slalom, a sport in which Great Britain won gold and silver medals at the 2016 Olympics.

This competition had twenty two gates and was aimed at people relatively new to slalom. The stretch of water, locally known as the ‘Camel’s Hump’, is fast and channelled with rocks and eddies, making it a challenging experience for relative beginners. Course designer Doug Smith had set the course to make use of its natural features, with five of the gates taken upstream, using eddies  to help people turn into them.

On Saturday the course was open for practice and by lunchtime there had been nine swimmers in the chilly river. No injuries though, as the rescue crews were quick and efficient. In the afternoon there was a fun team event, where three paddlers tackle the course together. There were time handicaps for the strongest teams, so competition was fierce, though friendly! ‘Rag Tag and Bobtail’ won the event by just one second from KDS, with Doug/Martin/Kyle not far behind. A total of thirteen teams competed.

On Sunday there was an individual competition in several classes. Nearly eighty entries to the competition came from as far away as Salisbury and Monmouth, with ages ranging from 10 years to 78 years.

Event Organisers from Taunton CC, Leonie and Clive Merrifield, got the two days running smoothly, using two way radios and computer programmes to collate results. Leonie said,

‘This was our third and biggest slalom competition on this excellent site and we are indebted to the enthusiasm and efforts of all our club members and friends in making it happen. The pay back has been seeing the fantastic excitement among young people in achieving more than they thought possible’.

Prizes were presented by the landowner Mrs Frances Takel  together with Peter Romane from the Dulverton Weir and Leat Conservation Trust

Among the winners, Harvey Merryfield from Taunton CC, aged 15 years, beat all the adult competitors in the Open K1 (kayak single)competition and his brother Thomas, aged 13 years, came seventh in a strong field of fifteen.  Course designer Doug Smith from Bideford was a close second to Harvey with Ben Shattock of Taunton CC in third.

The brothers went on to beat their dad and his mate in the C2 doubles, where they kneel in the boat and use single paddles. The brothers must have a bright future and are an example to us all!

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In the Ladies Open K1 event, Lena Kraus of Fowey came first, followed by Molly Knight of Wyedean CC with Katie Shattock of Taunton in third.

In K1 mens Division 3, another young talent  emerged in Felix Newey from  Wyedean CC, aged 13, winning the competition in a field of thirteen.

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Second place was Jesse Davies from Stroud with Nathan Mower from Bideford in third.

In Women’s K1 Div 3, Sophia Stokes of Stroud Valley CC came first with Sennah Nader-Humphries of Croesyceiliog CC in second. Anya Fear of Taunton CC came third. In K1 Men Division 4, Pete Thorn was just ahead of Robin Harris from Taunton. Both were promoted to Division 3. In third place was Caleb Clode from Stroud Valley CC. In the K1 Women Division 4 Laura Hau from Seren Dwr came first and was promoted to Division 3. Brogan Swart from Croesyciliog came second and Jenni Denner from Poole Harbour CC came third.

In the Open C1 event, where people kneel and paddle with a single paddle, young Harvey beat his younger brother Tom, with club mate Kyle Spooner from Taunton in third. Some of the prizes were donated by Reed Chillcheater of Braunton.

For details of how to get afloat in this exciting sport, contact http://www.bidefordcanoeclub.co.uk/ or https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/

The full list of results is available at http://tauntoncanoeclub.org.uk/slalom/dulverton-slalom-2017/