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Soldier’s Point And Sea Surf

Fantastic paddle from the soldier point in the Shoreham-by-sea harbour down to the Southwick beach. with a chance to surf some nice waves.

Southwick beach is an excellent place to learn some kayak surf moves. The beach is sandy, and at low tide, it can be very shallow for a long time. Shallow enough to stand up if you made a mistake, but deep enough for those who can roll their kayaks. To put it in perspective, you can watch the below video as I am walking towards the paddlers. It is really shallow.

The put-in and Take out point

Soldier’s point. more info about this location in this link

Trip Photos and videos.

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12

The Great Scottish Canoe Trail

By Ian Baker

 Four intrepid explorers with paddle in hand,
Went on a Journey, a trip that was planned,
60 miles on Canals, Rivers and locks,
Five days and four nights to spend with the Scots.

We started with canoes packed to the rim,
With so much kit couldn’t fathom the trim,
In Banavie the rain, was not that much fun,
A punctured air bed and its only day one,

Out of the canal and into the Lochy,
Loch lochy, windy and water quite choppy,
Setting up tarps and tents never boring,
Not easy to sleep when someone’s snoring!

Out of the loch to a place called Laggan,
This is where the second portage began,
Moving canoes took all our strength and our might,
But we spotted a floating pub on the right.
We decided to stop for a bite and a brew,
After all not just a paddle, a holiday too.

Back on the water Loch Oich came in sight,
This is where we spent our next night,
A trailblazer site with a composer loo,
Quite handy, with paper,  when you need a poo.

Day three to Fort Augustus we planned,
By showers and facilities, we decided to land,
Being clean, but still tired in my mind,
I left a wash bag and towel behind.

A look round the town, we bought fish and chips,
Well needed calories, not weight on the hips.
The long portage here a bit of a chore,
As there were five locks, possibly more.

Onto Loch Ness the largest of all,
The one with the Monster curvy and tall.
Being one mile wide and 22 miles long,
could we get our planning wrong,
3 foot waves that can swamp a canoe,
North Shore or South Shore, what should we do.

The North Shore we decided is probably best,
There are places to stop and take a rest.
If we were stuck or capsized and rescues we try,
There’s chance of a pickup with road running by.

Six miles onward we travel our way.
To end another enjoyable day,
We set our tents up on grass amongst trees,
nice when you’ve spent the day on your knees.

Further down Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle we find,
A visit with food and a cupper in mind.
On entering the castle an official looking man,
Asks us to pay entrance fee, which scuppers our plan.

The fourth day not a wave can be found,
Perhaps the wind and the rains not around.
So paddling is easy the surface is flat,
Is the sun breaking through, will I need a hat.
No!  Clouds are grey & and an over cast Sky,
But 7 brightly coloured canoes go paddling by.

A pleasure boat and steamer are travelling fast,
Looks like the mill pond is not going to last.
As You can see the large waves that  they make,
to swamp a canoe, but it’s only their wake.

Soon the end of the great ness we see,
Time to stop for some drinks and a pee.
Bona lighthouse & then Loch Docfour,
After an exhausting day we head for the shore.

Bruno with thoughts of a cub scout aspire,
With twigs and dry wood he builds a small fire.
With stove gas and lighter he starts to play,
At least the smoke and the ash keep the midges away.

10 miles to the end, not a very long way
A finish at lunch time, not the end of the day,
Time to enjoy some tea with the crew,
An afternoon spent in Inverness too.
So after five days with discovery cruises,
Very few bites and much fewer bruises,
If you up for a challenge and can tell a tale,
Go up to Scotland and paddle the canoe trail.

Ian Baker 2015

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ARDECHE TRIP, FRANCE 2014

Five go mad in France!

It was a ‘do or die’ trip for me.  I was either going to love it or absolutely hate it and never paddle again.

We met outside Jacho’s just before 4 am on a Tuesday morning – Jacho, Mike, Dave W, Paul & me – and headed off in two cars to the Eurotunnel.  We were off to the Ardeche for a week’s paddling.

After a gruelling long day of travel & driving, we reached our campsite to be met by Chris Tingley & Lynn Willard, ex ACC members who now live in France, and their mad dog – Pannau.

As Chris had organised the itinerary for our trip, he promised the first day on Tingley Tours would apparently be a nice & slow introduction to moving water.  Five minutes into the paddle, I beached myself on top of a huge boulder in the middle of the river – he had to pull me off backwards.

Five minutes after that I hurtled towards an island in the middle of the river and, instead of going left and down the rapids, I crashed into the island and held on to a tree!  Paul then smashed into me and capsized as I was blocking the route down the river.  The force of that then made me capsize!  So within the first ten minutes, I had created total carnage in France with rescues going on all over the place. Fantastic!  Not quite the slow introduction I had imagined.

The second day out was going to be the main event and the longest paddle of the week along the Ardeche river, full of boulders and rapids – some much bigger than others.  It was a great day, the scenery was stunning, we had a picnic riverside and all went extraordinarily well.  I was very impressed with myself – no capsizing and only one turbulent moment from going down a rapid and getting whipped into an eddy a bit swift, which made me wobble a bit.

Paul and I opted out of the third day’s paddle which was a leisurely afternoon one for the others.  We decided instead to check out the nearby ‘caves’ and see what the local wine was like.  We managed to come away from two caves with a dozen bottles, having got caught up at the second venue in a random classic car rally of some description.

On the fourth day, we started at the tourist spot, Pont d’Arc, which is an amazing sight on the Ardeche and had another short paddle with some rapids and boulders.  At one point, I found myself hurtling down a rapid and straight into a ‘V’ crevice in the rock formation – it fitted the nose of my boat beautifully and made a fantastic crashing noise when I hit it!  Feeling I had no choice other than to paddle out backwards, the inevitable happened and I capsized.

Our last paddling day through the Ardeche had come.  We went out for the best part of the day again and did lunch riverside.  The first part of the paddle included concrete water chutes – 6 in total – a new experience for me!   The first one went well as I managed to grab hold of  Dave’s boat as I whizzed off at the bottom.  The second did not go according to plan and I launched off the bottom and went over.  All the others were fine.  We then had a fantastic scenery ridden flat paddle to the Pont d’Arc.  The rock formations at the sides of the river were messing with us, as at one point it seemed we were paddling uphill and at another point, it seemed we were going downhill but no faster. Weird!  

So the final stretch of our last trip was through boulders, over rapids through some eddys and over some rapids again. Job Done, 3 capsizes, no injuries, lots of laughter and 56km paddled!

As a bonus, the next day we moved up the country to St Pierre de Beouf for some brave souls to traverse the manmade whitewater slalom course.  Not for me I’m afraid – coffee & cake that day and a spot of people watching, dog sitting and photo taking.  Paul and I kept riverside whilst the others all gave it go.  Looked great fun but I had thoroughly enjoyed my holiday, exceeding my personal expectations, and didn’t want to spoil it by something silly happening and getting hurt.

After a group evening dinner and a stopover in a Formula 1 Hotel, the long 13-hour door to door drive home, with the depressing thought of work the next day.

To sum up:  stunning scenery, a fantastic group of people to paddle with, too much French bread & cheese, but would definitely do it all again.

By Michelle Marshall

    

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SYMONDS YAT – MAY 2014

It was time to brace myself and sign up to get on some moving water.

Early Saturday morning start to miss the traffic got us to the meeting point in Wales in good time. All I was told was to aim for the ‘V’ point in the middle of the river and whatever happened I had to keep paddling down to where Jacho was now sitting in an eddy waiting.

So my turn came, I paddled towards the rocks & rapids, went down a bit, turned & went backwards for a bit, turned again and finished my first experience of moving water in good shape in the eddy with Jacho.  Fabulous start!

Ferry gliding was the next move to learn.  The first couple of stretches across the river and back went well but then it all descended into a swim & rescue event.  I capsized and struggled to swim to shore with the river pulling me downstream.  I thought I was safe and stood up only to have the force of the river takes my legs from under me and off I went again downstream!  Mick was my saviour.  He grabbed my boat down the river and came back to haul it, and his, up what can only be described as a vertical ascent uphill.  

Through the trees we went, eventually meeting the pathway.  We walked and clambered back down to join the others back on the river.  Pretty much scared myself to death with that one!  After a few tears and much encouragement from the others, I got back on the water to ferry glide across the river again to the beach area where I decided to call it a day.  The rest of the group had good afternoon surfing waves and showing off their paddling skills.

After dinner at the local inn, a sleepover in a bunkhouse and full English breakfast at the farmhouse next door, it was time to get on the river again.  I bailed out of day two due to a migraine, so spent a leisurely morning with coffee, girlie magazines & chat with Sam Lane and wandering riverside taking photographs.  Youngsters Roy and Luc seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

Soon it was time to go home – but not before Sam Wright had been declared successful by assessor Mick in passing his 2-star.  Well Done Sam.

    

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Birling Gap 14 July 2013

As a trip leader, Bruno had planned Sunday’s trip from Birling Gap to the Seven Sisters Country park. However, for one reason or another, a decision was made to avoid the shuttle run and launch and return to Birling Gap. With hot weather and flat seas expected, I decided to take my sit on top fishing kayak along with a view to catching supper. A decision I was soon to question!

After a 1 hour drive, I arrived at the clifftop car park (didn’t expect that) and took a look over the edge at the 15-20m drop. The only access was the new £60,000 stairs to the beach, which were not really designed with 14ft kayaks in mind. A questioning look to Bruno brought the reply “no problem, I’ll get my throw line”. With great trepidation, we tied on the first kayak, eased it over the railings and lowered it successfully to the beach below. Well, now Bruno’s kayak made it, I might try mine.  We were so busy lowering kayaks no one even thought about taking a photo. However, with the wonders of science, I found a youtube clip of someone lowering a similar kayak to mine.

Boats finally on the beach, the six of us (Peter, Penny, Flick, Bruno, Wendy and I) departed.  We had a leisurely paddle along the coast towards the Country park enjoying the crystal clear waters of the Med along the Sussex coastline.  Three miles later and still thrilled by the conditions, we beached the kayaks for a spot of lunch. This was one of the longest lunch stops I have had with ACC, but allowed plenty of time for eating, relaxing and a swim for those that fancied it.

Back in the kayaks and tide behind us, we had a leisurely paddle back to Birling Gap. Flick even had time for a swim en-route.  As we approached Birling Gap there were some interesting sites at one end of the beach as some sun worshipers seem to like to wear less than some others.  The beach at the steps were considerably busier than when we left and with people sitting underneath, the use of a rope was not an option. This meant the task of carrying the kayaks back up the steps avoiding a number of people who still wanted to come down.

Finally, back up on top of the cliff, and cars loaded it was time for a drink at the convenient cafe

Many thanks for organizing the trip, Bruno.

 

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Thames Trip

6 am and I heard the voice ‘You better get up, Bruno is already outside’. Not the first words I wanted to hear, but here he was and I only had a few minutes to jump in the shower and get myself downstairs, by which time Wendy already had the coffee ready and the bacon in the pan. A half-hour later my gear was loaded and the boat on the roof. Just have to wait for Jacho to arrive. Well, shortly after, Jacho did arrive and we completed the loading and were on our way to Henley.

As we pulled in to the car park at Henley, we were the last to arrive, the others were already more or less unloaded and changed. After unloading and checking we had everything we needed the drivers did the car shuttle to Hurley (about a 40-minute turn round).

Once the team was reunited, Trevor gave a briefing and we all launched and were on our way with the sun shining and the wind in our faces. We paddled past the regatta course and into some very scenic countryside, with plenty of luxury properties and lots of other craft to keep out of the way. It didn’t seem that long when we stopped for lunch and I thought it might be a good time for a photo opportunity.

 

  

The afternoon continued with a couple of portages and plenty of scenery until we sighted our camp side. We continued for a short distance to the Hurley weir where a number of people had some fun in the moving water.

The local rescue team arrived. They might have heard that Sam was practising in the moving water.

Sunday dawned and following a hearty breakfast including hot dogs and the customary shuttle run, we set off for Maidenhead. Sunday’s weather was not as bright and warm as Saturday, but for those of us, that forgot to apply sun cream the day before it was probably a good thing. The scenery was just as good as the previous part of the trip and most of us had the new experience of travelling through a couple of locks instead of having to transport the kayaks around.

We also had the added excitement as one member decided he was going to seal launch down the steps adjacent to the lock. This seemed to capture the interest of some passers-by and was captured on video just in case I could sell the footage to the ITV.

After a lunch stop at Marlow, we had the final leg of the journey to the finish point at Maidenhead and a very noisy return trip to Worthing (due to the canoe straps on Bruno’s car).

Following the play session, we paddled back to the campsite and made camp for the night.

 

June 2013 – By Mike.

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River Dart Trip October 2004

By Peter. October 2004

The Weather.

It was raining; nothing beats changing in the car park in the rain. I must buy one of those tents that go over the back of the car, inbuilt heating, and pile carpet.

Water Level.

The height gauge on the web was at 1.5 white marks – no problem. On the webcam, it had been at 1.5 marks all week – no problem. The water was level with the ledge – fantastic. Ideal height, the shuttle went well with Doug kindly doing the return journey. The briefing did, let’s go, plenty of throw lines. These will be needed later.

We Are Off.

Hey, there is loads of flow and the play waves are great. Practice crashing into eddies. Why don’t more people do this! Loads of ferry gliding, even reverse ferry gliding going well. Most of us OK at the moment.

The Webburn Run

Reached the Webburn and there was loads of water. We all decided to have a run down it, which was limited by a fallen tree about 200 metres upstream. The river had enough water to be fun and not too bumpy. Two runs later and we are all having a great time. Oops – fell over the eddy line at the Webburn, neat roll up and on we go.

Washing Machine.

Not much of a feature this time, loads of water, where has it all come from. We should have realised what was to come.

Keep left, all through with no problems.

Wave trains very bumpy and we are all having fun.

Splat Rock.

Washed out step feature and the flow is pushing hard onto the undercut. All round OK. Stop for lunch. The water level is rising quickly, at least two inches in the lunch break. Oh – this is going to get busy.

Spin Drier

Keep left and avoid the nasty eddy on the right. I have been there so I am extra cautious. Everybody made it through. We stop in the eddy on the left to admire the eddy line on the other side. An impressive 18 inches high.

Where is Rosie?

In the next section Rosie explored the countryside and Ross stopped to help out. Then the fishes beckoned. The boat was fine and Rosie was re-united with it further down the stream.

Then Dave did it better. He parked up between a tree and the bank, with the bows carefully positioned to stop him drifting off. The only problem was he couldn’t get out. Dave then bailed out (for the second time if I remember correctly), and the party began. As you can see from the pictures below there were suddenly lots of vultures interested in the bounty from the stricken vessel.

Darren was nominated to free the boat as he had done a White water rescue course (the one he plucked Graham from the jaws of death and deposited him into Prescott’s arms) and Chris was the senior person so Darren it was. Over the edge on a throw line and onto the boat. After much huffing and puffing the boat folded neatly up and popped free.

Dave at this point reckoned he would walk home pulling his boat behind him. Now it got exciting so Flic takes over the story.

Triple Drop

Was ummmm… more like the grade 4 rivers found on the Zambezi! Where had the features gone? Third drop with its little recirculating eddy? Well, it had been replaced with a monstrosity of a ride! The third drop had become a humongous wave, most walked around (WHIMPS!) Flic, Darren, Luke and Peter ran it! Flic took first decent, paddling hard through the wave train and flipped high into the air on the wave before the third drop.  Hard into the eddy and then off downstream to rescue the swimming father. Yup Peter swam!

The wave was pretty sweet, it was white and bouncy and Luke, Darren and Flic were entertaining to watch as they proceeded to take a thrashing on the wave.

Falling Tree.

Whilst we were all stood around watching the lads and Flic play on the wave, there were a crack and rushing sound from behind us. It sounded just like rainstorm coming through the trees, I turned to see a huge tree falling, crashing through the valley and lying just where Dave had walked 2 minutes before, landing about 10 feet from us.

By this stage Chris had had enough and we were all back in out boats in ultra-quick time.

The deadly, dangerous Holne Weir was up to its usual tricks, it was gnarly today and nothing was going to come out alive! The very weary worn out ACC chose a wise option to portage this one

The Anvil.

Well in my (Flic’s) opinion it was at the best level I had ever seen it! It was, of course, the torturous Anvil!!!! Today it was going off, totally huge, paddlers were busy throwing blunts and entertaining the passers. I had a couple of goes, but I was so tired I shortly retired to the car park.

By the time we had reached the bottom of the river the level was up to the chute and approximately 5 feet higher than when we got on 4 hours earlier!

Back at home the next day I checked the webcam. The water had come up through the day and had completely subsided by the next day.

Lessons Learnt.

Take the rescue kit. Practice, practice and practice. Do the hours on Adur low water. The pace of the river took most of us by surprise. Always head for the top of an eddy otherwise you miss it. Penny – Don’t catch hold onto trees, you will swim, even if the triple drop is around the corner. A big thanks to Chris for a great trip that was a bit more than his level 3 training required.

When is the next one!!!!!!!!

Trip Leaders:

Chris T. – Trip leader

Darren W – Rescue expert

Doug – bank support (not financial)

Peter – memories of the trip

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The Upper Barle

This is an account of the Trip to the upper Barle

The Awakening

I think everybody would agree with me when I say the worst part of the upper Barle experience is getting up at 4:45 am.

Dragging yourself from the warmth and safety of your bed, scrambling into your clothes and in the process, waking up half the street.

Then driving through unlit streets, looking for Paul’s house almost knocking on the wrong door twice and then doing the same for Dave. You really start questioning your sanity at this point.

The journey

It was generally quiet until about 5:45 when the caffeine kicks in and Dave started talking about previous trips when the water was “This Big!” or “ 21ft over the dart ledge”. You may have thought it impossible. You may have thought it too the extreme for 5:57 am but at this point, the wind started blowing a Volvo, our silver beacon of technology, sideways across the road.

With all this going on there’s absolutely no chance of getting any much-needed sleep in before the paddle.

Brekkie

We usually stop and have breakfast with Wurzel Gummage and his pals at the truck-stop services just past Bridport. The food there is warm and welcoming after 2/3 hours in the car.

On this occasion, Wurzel and his pals decided to howl crazily at thin air, much to the surprise of myself, Phil, Paul and Dave.

And they call us crazy for getting up at 4:50am just to go paddling.

On the road again

So after the food, we were back in the saddle again, with the last hour and a half of the journey left.

To pass the time, Paul timed how long it took us to get from the pink castle house to our destination.

You must appreciate how boring the car journey is when all you’re thinking about is how the waters going to be after all those hours journeying.

At last!

When we finally got there we found everyone else waiting for us. We made up an excuse about Phil wanting a double breakfast. This was the most plausible as he’s always thinking about food.

The water looked at a good level for 4*, big and bouncy all the way, Dave estimated a good grade 3 all the way, which was satisfying after the drive.

There were many complaints about not being allowed to seal-launch off Tarr steps, as it was an ancient monument to our forefathers or some rubbish.

After squeezing into our cold kit in the cold we were cold and ready to paddle.

Or so we thought!

It turned out that after a good half hours searching, Dave the instructor, the setter of a good example (!) had left his helmet in the boot of our car.

If it hadn’t been for Doug, driving back to the car park, we would have been even later starting. We would have been really cold by then.

River and Testing

After getting on, those being tested started nervously doing the 4* syllabus, perfectly ferry – gliding and draw – stroking our way across the river while the instructors weren’t watching and really messing up when they were. While the others happily paddled, occasionally stopping to surf a wave or play in a hole.

Eventually, those being tested started to perform up to the needed standard.

Stopper Play

Ahh. The best part of the trip. Well, in my opinion, others may differ. After finding a suitable stopper (one that doesn’t munch you to death), Dave said that for part of the 4* we had to sit and look confident in a stopper. The reactions of the group were mixed.

Terror. Smiles. A sight to behold, all in the same eddy. Eleanor really excelled in this. Never have I seen someone roll three times in a stopper and get halfway each time, then to go over once again, before eventually successfully rolling up looking scared and pleased.

The End

After getting dressed everyone was told the news everyone was waiting for.

We had all passed our 4*.  Congratulations to all by the way.

PS: If you think getting up at 4:50 and driving through a gale to go for a three-hour paddle is bad. Please spare a thought for the chap in another party who took a swim at Tarr steps and managed to get himself to the bank with his paddle, only to find that his boat had travelled ¾ of the way to Dolverton.

Cheers, Ed Jackson

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Ardeche France (By Anne)

It all started off by squashing Jacho into the rear of our vehicle which was to be driven by the Bionic Man, Mike.W. Then on the ferry we squashed Dan (6’6”+) into a small bunk bed in our cramped 4 berth cabin with 5 of us in it. This went on all week squashing gear into canoes for the day trips & I was definitely squashed into my thick anti bump wetsuit, so much for coming back brown, more like half dissolved.
We had our secret weapon on board, Dan the snorer & half a ton of wet festering gear which we thought customs would be unwise to search on our return. On the journey both there & back we stopped off at various municipal loos & tool gates just so Dan could say:

“vo sa vo un rasouse si voos plat”

(Can I have a receipt please).

The slalom course at St Pierre de Bouf was brilliant & all the guys would practice their impressive “wow” techniques. One guy there had even perfected a summersault (you could see the others going green with envy, me for another reason).

The next day we set off to Vallon & set up camp, it was great to be in the big outdoors with the murmur of voices & spectacular water birds dawn choirs. There was also a group of exceptionally loud foreign guys bantering with some ear piercing Latin senoritas all night.

The river & gorges were spectacular with some landmarks such as cathedral rock & windy corner stood out from the others. On one stretch there was an optical illusion where the lines in the rock made the river appear to be running downhill although the water was dead flat. Unfortunately for the guys the one day we passed the nudist beach it was dull & overcast & there was nobody about. Birdwatchers, however, could see herons & eagles etc whilst other wildlife spotted was a terrapin & a couple of beavers ( I’m glad Chris saw them too, otherwise I would probably be accused of seeing a big rat).

The Rapids seemed to be of all verities from weirs with shoots to flat rock slides with bumpy bits, massive rocks & flows which liked to take you into undercuts & pinning. They all had names like Charlemagne, Air France & the infamous La Dent Noir – Black Tooth Rapid. It was fun watching the tourists in the opens squealing as the descended the rapids. The bit I liked best was the concrete shute in the middle of the weirs, all the more exciting & probably best if you don’t look where you’re going first, usually into big white frothy stuff, but all safe so I was told. The French are very canoe friendly & build these shutes or glissers as they call them at most weirs & on our final day on the Ardeche just before we got out was the finarly a large shoot down the side of the weir at Ruoms ‘Geronimo’.

Many thanks to Chris for staying at the back & watching out for me & well done Jacho the guinea pig with eyes shut as he’s lead down the rapids “left, left, oh sorry no not that left.”

By Anne….

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