Saturday 9 April 2016

Canadian Canoeing River Journeying Skills Training Course in The Lake District. March 29th & 30th 2016.

After our brilliant first day of River Journeying on the River Eamont, Iain met up with the Wright Family once again for their second day of journeying on moving water.

This time, the plan was to travel a section of the River Lune - the largest river in the south of the county which flows from the Howgill Fells to empty into Morecambe Bay beyond  Lancaster.

Allegedly, it is the River Lune that gives it's name not only to the city of Lancaster, but also the county of Lancashire!

Photo one sees Helen pinpointing our location on the map. Map reading & navigation is an essential skill forming part of any river journey. Ideally, you should know where you are at all times - just in case of accidents as it will help the emergency services to locate you quickly. Also, knowledge of your river journey may stop you from overshooting your destination as well as helping you to identify where potential hazards may lie ahead on the river!

Today, Iain had given Helen & Ian the task of leading himself and James down the River Lune. Today's journey was a longer Canadian Canoe Journey on a bigger volume river than that paddled the previous day.

Because of the amount of water in the Lune, Iain chose for the party not to put on at Killington Bridge; or at the Rawthey Confluence due potential access issues across land at that point.

We did get on about 500 beyond the Rawthey Confluence and found that the increased volume of water actually benefited us in as much that some rapids were less technical and more friendly such as this one in photo two. Right about this point, Iain & Kirstin had capsized when hitting a rock some three weeks previously. Today, we saw no sign of any rocks!

Two hours and some 5 kilometres later, we decided to stop for lunch - having inspected if necessary; and run, a number of easy rapids with Helen and Ian doing a great job of finding the best line down the river.

At this point in photo three, we found a convenient shingle bank on which to stop where we were in sight and sound of no-one else.

It was a very peaceful place to stop for lunch and we all enjoyed the tranquility of the setting. We were also  enjoying journeying the river which despite being higher than when Iain last paddled it, was proving to be very easy indeed.

Shortly after lunch , we passed under Rigmaden Bridge which was the "one third" marker of today's Canadian Canoe River Journey. (Photo four)

From this point, we had a further ten kilometres to travel downstream to our get-out point at Devil's Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale.

Currently, access issues exist along this stretch of the river, with a permit being required to access the river from this bridge. As were were already on the water, one might say that this issue didn't apply to us, but Iain had already briefed the family on what to do should we meet any fishermen or gamekeepers.

As it happened, we didn't see anyone. However, if you do meet anyone fishing then our advice would be to get out, well upstream of them and go and ask them "Hello, can we paddle past you? Or would you like us to portage around you?".

A polite and considerate approach can make all the difference between a good day out where other river users actually appreciate your consideration; or one where someone goes out of their way to spoil your day. Don't let it happen, particularly here- as this section of the Lune is arguably the best section for canoeists.

In photo five, James & Iain are about to descend one of the rivers bigger rapids - Helen & Ian's canoe can be seen in the distance. On the biggest waves here, James actually got some "airtime" right under his seat!!

Below this point, on it's way past Underley Hall, The Lune runs in a gorge with a number of rapids and two sharp right hand turns in the flow.

There was acute evidence all along the Lune of last Decembers flood and in many places, flood debris could be seem 15 to 20 feet above our heads. In the gorge, a section of  slope had been undercut and here there were many conifers on the point of toppling into the river. Some already had!

Photo six sees  us emerge from the gorge into bright sunlight; and rain showers - the theme of our second day of Canadian Canoe River Journeying. The town of Kirkby Lonsdale can now be seen ahead in the distance. Not far to go then!

As we approached Kirkby Lonsdale, the flow of the River Lune divided around yet another island. We all agreed that the flow to river right looked like the cleanest line with no obstructions. Following this downstream, the river takes another sharp right hand turn amid rocks to then broaden out and flow over a rocky shelf interspersed with boulders. A wise move is to slow ones-self down by reverse paddling in the current to allow you to select the best line through the rapid  & rocks below.

Helen & Ian made the bend, but then got stuck on a rock. Iain & James had to get out and throw the pair a throw-line which was attached to the front of their canoe. A good sharp tug from Iain had them off the rock without incident and they then  carried on to the get-out just below - seen here in photo seven with Devil's Bridge and the newer A65 bridge just beyond. Another day of experiences and learning, but no mishaps - that's the way we like it!

Our final photo from our second post about two days of Canadian Canoe River Journeying in The Lake District sees a very happy Helen, Ian & James now feeling much more confident about approaching river journeying for themselves. Iain has been informed though, that they will probably be back for more coaching; and with a second canoe to bring the rest of the family in. We can't wait!

Again, this family paid £175 for a full day of river journeying with us covering 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) over the course of an eight hour day - excellent value for money for what they did, but you can try Canadian Canoeing with us from as little as £45 per person for a four hour session!

Contact us here if you would like to try Canadian Canoeing. We look forward to working with you.

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