Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Introductory Moving water Kayak Skills Training courses in The Lake District. Middle Derwent. October 15th 2011.

Teresa Middleton booked a introductory moving water kayak skills training course with Iain from Kendal Mountaineering services for herself and her partner Gareth.

Both are keen outdoor enthusiasts and had previously been rafting at Canolfan Tryweryn in North Wales. Having seen many kayakers there enjoying running the Afon Tryweryn, both Teresa & Gareth decided that it was something they would like to try out for themselves.

Teresa had googled "kayaking courses Lake District" and had found the Kendal Mountaineering Services website. On contacting Iain, Teresa liked what we had to offer (basically one of our bespoke packages built around Teresas needs & concerns) and subsequently booked a single day course with him. Photo one shows Teresa & Gareth on Derwentwater - lovely weather and a great day for doing a river trip for the first time.

Before we ventured on to the River Derwent, Iain spent some time coaching the pair in the basics of Kayak handling including reverse paddling before we headed to the outflow of Derwentwater and the start of the Middle Derwent - flowing between Derwentwater & Bassenthwaite Lake.

Once on the River Derwent, the pair were able to use the skills Iain had already provided them with to good effect - particularly the reverse paddling.

The Derwent leaves the lake as a narrow and deep channel overhung by trees growing just above or indeed in the river. These are known as strainers and are very dangerous indeed to kayakers or open canoeists who can be tipped out of their craft by these or pinned against them by flowing water.

Reverse paddling on a river allows you to slow down your forward momentum and "set" your position on moving water to avoid such hazards. We had to start doing this pretty much immediately upon leaving Derwentwater.

A little further on we arrived at the confluence of the River Greta which flows in to the Derwent from Keswick - it is virtually stationary as it joins the larger Derwent. Here, we could start to look at the concept of eddies (areas of stationary or relatively stationary water) that we could use as stepping stones or gathering points for our little party as we made our way down river. Iain taught Teresa & Gareth how to break into and out of eddies using the flow of water to help them make turns in to and out of the current. Probably one of the most important things they heard Iain say all day was "lean downstream!"

Eddy hopping and reading the river took up most of the next few hours as we made our way from the Greta Confluence down under Portinscale footbridge (photo two) and onwards under the A66 road bridge.

We encountered only one fisherman on our kayak descent of the Middle Derwent and he politly let us through without comment.

For most of our introductory moving water Kayak skills training course our views were dominated by the massive bulk of Skiddaw rising to our north and looking great in the afternoon sunshine.

The latter part of our introductory moving water kayak skills training course in The Lake District involved going with the flow, practising a bit of forward & reverse ferry gliding and staying out of the way of strainers whilst enjoying the view of Skiddaw and Dodd Wood near to our getout, rising to the north.

We had to exit the river at Low Stock Bridge only a matter of a few hundred metres from the Middle Derwents confuence with the National Park reserve at the southern end of Bassenthwaite Lake. In the final photo Teresa & Gareth empty out their kayaks at Low Stock Bridge before beginning the 500m portage to the road and Iains car.

The pair enjoyed their introductory moving water kayak skills training course with Iain. It had been a challenging day for them and the Middle Derwent had been an appropriate trip although both agreed that it was just enough. The Middle derwent is great for introductory open canoeing sessions too! Iain hopes that they enjoyed the rest of their weekend break here in The Lake District and make the move to do further kayaking trips themselves. Best of luck!

If you would like to book an introductory Kayaking or open canoeing session in The Lake District on either flat or moving water, contact Iain at Kendal Mountaineering services here.

Further photos from Teresa & Gareths day out with Iain can be viewed here

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