Tuesday, 18 November 2014

River Ure, Mickley to Sleningford in Open Boats

Sunday the 16th of November we headed up to North Yorkshire to lead a group down the rive Ure. The river was just fining down from previous rains and looked at a nice comfortable level - through my untrained eyes.

I was offered the position of leader but on this occasion I declined in preference to observe, concentrate on personal skills and to generally become more comfortable in a white water context.  

The day was a brilliant success and goals achieved, Fiona who has spent even less time than me on moving water thoroughly enjoyed the day, a really big thank you to the group for making it happen. All that aside and we even found time to make a little video - check out the grade 3 rapids at the end..

Canoeing the River Ure from Ken Oliver on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

16 Hour REC First Aid

Second weekend in November and I travelled up to Catterick to re-sit a First Aid course. To be honest my certificate still had another year to run but thought an early re-fresh would be good.

Tim Cain is a qualified Rescue and Emergency Care (REC) Trainer, He delivers Rescue and Emergency Care 1st Aid training courses specifically tailored to people who live, work and play in the Great Outdoors. Tim is a volunteer for the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team and this course was delivered at the SMRT purpose built rescue headquarters on Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire.

Most of us complete this training as a matter of necessity due to our leading and coaching responsibilities but it has to be said this was a very rewarding and worthwhile two days. This course goes beyond simple first aid and equips you with the skills to manage situations and incidents in the outdoor environment where a lot of us do spend a great deal of time.

One of the problems we may encounter in a rural environment is that it may be more difficult to 'get help' and the emergency services could take an awful lot longer to reach us. With this in mind we were equipped with the knowledge to make good decisions and taught the skills to manage incidents for, what could possibly be, a longer period of time.

It really is quite simple, if you enjoy and spend much time in the outdoors then this is the First Aid course to attend, don't put it off, your family and friends may be relying on you. The one thing I would really hate is to be involved in an incident and feel helpless, this course furnishes you with the skills that really could make the difference, the difference between life and death..

Monday, 3 November 2014

Scarborough to Hayburn Wyke

It was difficult to find the enthusiasm to load the car on Sunday morning, it was raining stair rods and the forecast wasn't that much better. I'm just so glad we did, on arrival in North Bay-Scarborough, the day was much brighter. Dave and Marion where having breakfast sat outside the beach front cafe and we were soon joined by Roger who had made the long journey from Lincoln.

A lovely trip, a little blustery and a small swell raised itself over the shallow scars making it more interesting, the sun was a welcome bonus too.

A bit of a slog back against the south westerly gusts but good progress was made. Back to North Bay just as the sun was setting on the horizon, our winter paddling season has begun.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Four Star Canoe Training with Ray Goodwin

Last weekend saw me travelling across to North Wales to further my development and experience in Canoeing (Open Boating) with Ray. The course was run over two days, one day on open water and one day on moving water.

Saturday dawned and after a short briefing in a cafe we headed to the shores of Llyn Tegid. Many open water skills were covered and much fun & learning was had by all, the squally showers were all but forgotten.

It was an excellent gathering with a vast amount of experience and skills being pooled. Before we knew it, the light was fading and we were heading back towards the car park.

Sunday dawned another breezy yet bright day, I took myself off to the town bridge, River Dee, to capture a couple of images in the warm morning light.

It was soon time to meet the rest of the group further up stream. A quick shuttle of cars and we were ready for our day on the river. Having done very little white water I was very much on the edge of my comfort zone for most of the day. Never the less it was an amazing day with much learnt and personal paddle and leadership skills advanced. 

It was a real pleasure watching some other members of the group perform. Beth was an extremely capable paddler and very much at home on the river.

Of course none of this would have been possible without Ray Goodwin's commitment in giving us the best experience and the greatest learning opportunities possible - he's quite handy in a boat too..

An excellent two days, we have some amazingly talented and experienced course providers in the UK. For those taking the same pathway I would strongly recommend seeking out and working with several of these instructors. Your own development will be enhanced and skills reinforced. 

On a personal level and with some exceptional feedback I have identified some areas which I need to work on to obtain the required standard of a 4* canoe paddler. Leaderships skills transfer very well from a sea environment but I need to spend more time in moving water. With a little commitment and work, this will happen.

Many thanks to both Ray Goodwin and Lizzie Harrington for the excellent images.

Monday, 20 October 2014

BCU Kayak Angling Safety Course - October 2014

We were getting several more enquiries regarding the running of another one of these popular days. A date and venue was set and again this module was well received by all that attended. Delivered by Kim Bull and assisted by myself a good day was had by all, some really good skills learnt and confidence boosted. Feedback was very positive and I'm sure we will be running more next year. Some great photos by our friend Andy Money.

Driffield Lock Gate Grand Official Opening

Something a little different. The Driffield Navigational Trust were hosting the Grand Opening of the new lock gates in the town and asked for paddlers to be present. I organised a small trip for club members and guided them down from Driffield to Brigham. A simple and fun event.

This is a great piece of local water and it is nice to see the Trust promoting paddle sport.

Alex a new member of the club and his first proper journey. He did very well and even when tired would not take a tow..

Friday, 17 October 2014

A Simple Canoe Trip

Sometimes the best days are those simple un-complicated days were you just mess about on the river . A lovely day with some amazing warm October sunshine and wonderful company.

Anthony Kayaks under the Huge Cliffs of Bempton

A quick blast under Bempton cliffs with Anthony, Roger and Stuart. A long, lazy swell made getting in close a little difficult. A big well done to all the gang, Stuart 's first time on the sea, Ants longest UK journey and Roger 's first time under Bempton. We nearly finished them all off on the climb out of North Landing.

Ailsa Craig

September and I took myself off for a mini-adventure to this lump of granite. Its not the first time I've made the 14km crossing but its the first time I've journeyed across alone and the first time wild camping on the island. The forecast was excellent and improving, a great time to do the trip and explore..

On my return the following day a lovely old couple came out to greet me, they were concerned with my welfare as they had witnessed me leave on the previous day. 

Sea Kayak Brittany - August 2014

One trip to Brittany just wasn't enough this year and feeling quite awful as we never took Anthony on the first visit we made the journey across again, bringing the boy of course. Our destination this time was the south coast of Brittany, the weather was glorious and the following week turned out to be amazing with memories that will last a lifetime.

I hope you enjoy this small video we put together..

Sea Kayak Brittany from Ken Oliver on Vimeo.