Category: News


Paddlers: Steve Thomas, Graham, Tom, Gordon, Jamie, Harry, Rowan

River Level: 2.5 at Falls of Orchy

Original plan had been to paddle the River Awe but it was was on release so we did the lower Orchy instead.  Weather was clear and cold with a fair amount of snow on higher hills.   We put in just above the steel bridge at the Falls of Orchy.  The bridge is about to be removed and upgraded incidentally – contractors were erecting fencing prior to the work starting.

Having all got on the river without mishaps (see video here), we dropped over the weir and started making our way down.   A series of rapids followed, some quite challenging (enough for me to take a swim).   We stopped for lunch just past the Catnish carpark/bridge and from there, it was a fairly long flat paddle to the next set of rapids and then on to the take out at Dalmally bridge.

Dolphins

A video shot at Arisaig last summer by Douglas. Well worth a viewing

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPeLmHEpSWgvnurVsJ2NPzja8adcug3jOq8C7Ce32FrmX2vu5mz8eUP3DZ0381TJQ/photo/AF1QipNVYCZOUfQwPRNTUiUy5knCIX7JxV8UkQsPMDY4?key=aGFfQ1hWMVpYWDVOUXJHVFVmTEM3VEtuMjdhN2pR

 

Days Like This

Beginners Trip on Teith; 28th Oct

Paddlers:  Steve Thomas, Gordon, Harry, Ross, Andrew, Steve Wheaton, Rowan, Alan, Chris & Jack
River Level:0.82
Weather: Fair
Excellent days kayaking on the Teith led by Steve T.  New paddlers coped really well.  There were a couple of swimmers, an impressive backwards descent of the Torrie rapid by Andy.   Water was warm enough for the younger members of the group to try swimming in the current at the end.
Video of folk playing by Torrie rapid at  https://youtu.be/uQu5iOZEbw4
A few lessons learnt – clip your throw bag on, check you really do have your helmet with you (ask John and Chris) and as a group, put in spare gear.

Turkey October 2017

Paddlers: Hugh, David and the youngest, Geoff

Location: The trip circumnavigated the series of limestone peninsulas that jut into the Aegean Sea WSW of the SW mainland of Turkey at Marmaris and Bozburun. The area lies midway between airports at Dalaman and Bodrum.

Double click on any map/photo for full size.

Weather: 8 days of sunshine kept cool by a breeze that was strong and troublesome early in the week.

Report: We arrived late Saturday night and took a taxi to the local airport hotel (Lykia Spa; recommended) for the night. On Sunday morning at 9am  we met Dean, who hires us the equipment and provides transport for the journey to Marmaris. On that morning there was a downpour; the first since May. After a short trip to the supermarket for fresh groceries (milk, bread, cheese, wine, fruit and water (10L) we headed for the main beach for departure just before lunch.

Departure

Day 1: The plan was for a short paddle along the tourist beach towards Icmeler to a cafe we had used some years ago for lunch, but neither of us recognised it and we ended up paddling past the town , the next village (Turunc) and into the last point of civilisation at Zetin.

Lunch Day 1

Getting Choppy

 

The breeze was becoming noticeably stronger as is customary in late afternoon and it is usually sensible to expect to end about 4pm. From Zetin we headed out towards the first serious headland with a strong northwesterly  at our backs and inadvisably (in retrospect) ignoring potential camp sites before the headland. As we headed first west and then north west it became both very windy (F4/5 into our faces) and very rough (4 or 5 ft driven swell). As light was failing and progress was both extremely slow and potentially dangerous, a quick decision was made to turn back to the known landing point. Thirty minutes later we landed, stuck up the tents, made a fire, had a quick meal under the moonlight and bed.

Day 2:


Morning at the camp

As expected the wind had dropped significantly and, with just a little apprehension we set out. The coast is inhospitable with high limestone cliffs, wonderful sea caves and rock sculptures and few/no landing spots. At this stage the cliffs largely protected us from the strong north westerly but wherever there was a gap in the hills it was accelerated and hurtled through at about F5.  

After one prolonged section exposed to the wind we were delighted to end up in a small bay Hugh had identified on a trip five years before. A not untypical site,; a steep shingle beach, level hard packed stony clay area with thorns and thorn bushes, some ferral goats for company and a stunning view.

A good, if blustery night.

Day 3: Relatively few photos on this the most exciting of days. From the camp site as on the previous day we paddled west under the shelter of the cliffs with some turbulence towards  a headland where we became exposed to the full force of the wind. At this point we probably should have turned back immediately as the wind hit us at F5/6. At times the paddles were uncontrollable as the wind lifted and twisted them but equally turning and going back was extremely unattractive. In tight line abreast we made our way very slowly forward, using any outcrop/cliff distortion to seek slightly less violence.  A strategy of preparing for a side-to-side eskimo rescue was agreed but never required. After some 40 minute of being pummeled we spotted a small beach where we rested up before a final charge to the shelter of the cliffs.

Captain Nemo’s is a sheltered haven/restaurant which we got to in early afternoon. On our previous trip (in the other direction see http://www.helensburghcc.org.uk/2011/10/24/turkey-2011-the-bozburun-peninsular/) the place had been packed with yachties but this time customers were confined to a elderly English couple and Captian Nemo himself, partly because of lack of tourists and partly because of the wind.  It was difficult to determine whether their response was admiration of our skill and courage or simply reflected a view we were crazy. 

Day 4

Morning

Because of our experience of the past couple of days and the advice of the yachtsmen (point very lumpy) we set off with the intention of simply “testing” , under the assumption we would retreat back to the next large inlet, which had a huge pre-Christian fort at the entrance. As it was still relatively early we pushed on to the point and to our relief the wind was only F3 although, as advised, the point itself was very lumpy. A paddle directly into an F3 is quite tiring, so the midpoint beach with its ancient ruined Byzantine church was reached with some relief. 

 

After a short break we pressed on in order to pass the next point before the mid-afternoon blow. After that we freewheeled down the coast to a beach and found a camp site on a raised area back from the beach. 

Another excellent fire, meal, wine and bed.

Day 5: For the rest of the week the weather was near perfect. Bright sun, light breeze and cool nights. Day 5 brought us back from the wilds and eventually to shops. The paddling in the morning was a delight, bright with a little haze and no wind.

Our first port of call,for coffee was a lovely small cafe with no customers.

From there we headed for the small village of Citlik for lunch. Citlik is separated from Bozburun by another limestone peninsula that has been split into a number of islands . It is still a trek both by sea or land.

A typical gulet

At the southern end of the Bozburun Bay is a large boat yard that produces the classic wooden gulet of this part of Turkey. The gulet typically sleeps 8 to 12 and is chartered with navigating and catering staff for a few days. We were totally amazed at the numbers both in the shipyard and , even more, tied up by Bozburun centre. We estimated 200-300.

Bozburun Shipyard

From the yard we headed into the town itself, primarily to restock with basics (milk, wine, water, bread etc).

Entering Bozburun

We knew, from the previous trip that camping places were limited and we ended up on the town beach opposite the mosque.

Day 6  For only the second time on the trip we caught dawn and the early morning sun. A really lovely day and a lovely paddle down to the final headland which was rounded without wind or waves. The north coast is particularly attractive with a series of rocky islands and islets. Around the end of the huge inlet are a series of huge, expensive hotels of which more later. 

 

One island of particular interest has a ruined Byzantine Monastery. There is an ornate floor, a desecrated chapel,a wishing tree and fantastic views.

The beach area beneath was plagued by wasps so we pushed on looking for a camp site. This was found over the hill from the monastery and was typically hard and stony. It also had a number of ferral goats for company

Another evening by the fire with good food and good company.

Day 7 The progress made over the last two days resulted in a very gentle last two days. We knew that on the south side (Selimye) there were multiple large, expensive hotels and few/no camping spots. We had not, however, yet covered the area to the north along the south side of the Datca peninsular so the intention was to cross slightly north west and have lunch and possibly camp near some beautiful beaches we could see.

At daybreak there was a damp mist in the valleys and a heavy dew. We have never experienced this before in Turkey but, as we were in the shade, we had to pack the tents wet.  Our first target was a prominent island just opposite the site. This was remarkable in consisting of columns of pudding stone, totally unlike the limestone on both shores.

It would appear that at some stage the limestone and mud layers have been turned vertical (see some of the earlier cliff photos of the vertical and twisted limestone layers) and the mud layers have then been eroded, leaving the deep inlets characteristic of this area. Why this conglomerate block has survived is a mystery.

The adjacent inlet and surrounding area had a lit, waterside walk, a lovely bathing area and no people. The onward journey suggested, to our surprise, that the huge hotel on the summit of the hill was totally closed. As we progressed we passed another pristine white sand beach and then a completely empty large watersports centre, The Coliseum.

Finally we entered the main bay with four pristine beaches each with a swimming area and various accessories like leather massage beds. 

It seemed, and seems, extraordinary that with near perfect weather (78F) and near perfect facilities the complex was closed. Who could invest this sort of money  and be happy not to get a return? The explanation from an unbiased native was salutary; there is massive corruption surrounding the autocratic president Erdogan, his family and friends (similar to Putin). One method of laundering the money is in luxury property developments such as these and the presidential retreat on the other side of the peninsular. Current demand is only from very rich Turks and Arabs and temperatures we regard as perfect are cool if you come from Ankara and Bahrein. Hence closure at the end of September. What an incredible waste.

To return to our boring saga, we landed on beach 3 for lunch and a perfect swim. As we wandered around we set off intruder alarms and a security man in his boat appeared. Despite a notice claiming it was a public beach, they were clearly anxious for us not to be present in the closed hotel grounds and, rather than cause a fuss and end up with police involvement, we retreated across the water to a small island for lunch.

The outstanding feature of lunch was a rabbit who eventually took bits of apple from the hand. It is noteworthy because, apart from the goats, wildlife is very scarce over the whole area. During the whole week at sea we saw a couple of turtles and some small flying fish, and in the air a few herons, a couple of gulls and some raptors; buzzards and falcons. The rabbit and goats were all we saw on land. The reason appears to be absence of water; the goats survive in part because humans either bring it in or manage wells for them and they are able to get some fluid from the coarse bushes that dot the hills.

After lunch we headed on east towards our destination, looking for an early camp site. We stopped at one but it was eventually rejected because of litter and rubbish. Finally we arrived at a huge commercial and attractive site and after a couple of beers camped up close to the beach and toilets.

Following a swim and shower we headed for dinner at the cafe, only to find they stopped serving at 7.30. Back to a dinner constructed from the remains of the food brought from the UK and actually really tasty. And so to bed.

Day 8: With so little to paddle and a “lie in agreement”, a beautiful sunrise over a lovely set of mountains encouraged a relatively early start to the day. Swimming and lying around in the sun saw a departure at 11am for the hour long paddle to Hisaronu. We arrived at a lovely beach and beach side restaurant and had out first ice cream of the trip.

Then beer, lunch and a quick phone call to Dean who arrived within 30 minutes. Shower, change, empty, pack bags and away. An excellent coffee and a big slice of cake in Dalaman and then the airport for an expensive, slow but trouble free transit via queue, security, big queue, booking in, queue, security, extra security (no queue!), queue for boarding check and finally queue to get on board. Then 4.25 hours of boredom, queue to get off plane , queue for passport control and queue for baggage. Exit from the airport and the journey home were excellent arriving home at 01:30.

Final Thoughts: Our view is that if you enjoy sea kayaking, fantastic surroundings and good weather  you will love this. But you need to be ready with the skills and strength to deal with wind, recognise it can be uncomfortable  and be prepared to wait it out.

Some Facts: Individual mileages (actual) for the trip were as follows Sun (Day1) 11.87 Nm (Marmaris Bay Exit); Mon (Day2) 12.39 Nm (Windy Gully); Tue (Day3) 11.47 Nm (Nemo’s); Wed (Day4) 12.59 Nm (High Chaperal); Thurs (Day5) 12.28 Nm (Brosburun); Fri (Day6) 15.02 Nm (Monastery Island); Sat (Day7) 11.07 Nm Official Campsite; Sun (Day8) 1.46 Nm Hisaronu.Grand total 87.85 Nm or 101.1 miles or 162.7 km.

We each took: Small Hike Tent, Sleeping Bag, Torch, Stove, Cooking Pot, Cutlery and Crockery, First Aid Kit, Water Bottle, Clothes, Sun Hat  and Sandals/Crocks, waterproof bags,  Food for 7 breakfasts, 4 evening meals and emergencies. Mobile phones plus battery. 1 SPOT tracker/emergency transmitter. Maps

We hired: 3 Wilderness sea kayaks, PFDs, spray decks, paddles, split paddle, float, 2 flares.

 

 

 

Loch Lomond Basic Skills, Sept 30th 2017

Paddlers:

Euan, Gordon, Andy, John, David, Allan, Colin, Ollie, Tim, Harry, Ross (Geoff)

Weather: Periods of rain with sunny intervals, light breeze

Reports: A very enjoyable, standard first paddle from Luss beach to the river, which was very full and very fast. Then across to Inchtavanach for a snack and back via a seal launch on gull island.

Heading Out

On the River

On the Beach

Oliver

Gordon prepares

And enters

And David

Ross?

Oliver

An excellent couple of hours (and apologies to Andy and the others who I missed with the camera).

Night Paddle 28th Sept

Paddlers; Geoff and Steve W

Weather; Damp; Wind SE F3 with gusts

Route: Craigendoran, Rhu Marina and return

Report: An uneventful paddle. Why? The quiet, the exercise and experience in handling a kayak in the dark.

Club Programme Autumn 2017

Helensburgh Canoe Club

Programme Autumn 2017

 

Sept

Sun 24th  Sea Kayak Paddle to Ailsa Craig

This is very dependent on the weather and for experienced sea paddlers only

Thurs 28th  Night Paddle

Very weather dependent. Contact Riddington89@hotmail.com if interested

Sat 30th Beginners Paddle, Luss 10am.

Open to all. Contact Riddington89@hotmail.com if interested

 

 Oct

Sat 14th Beginners Canoeing. RCYNC 10am.

Restricted numbers. Contact euan_forrest@msn.com

Sat ?   River Trip.

Contact Gordon@windsmiths.co.uk to register interest

Sea Kayak Trips including Minch are planned but need weather window. Register your interest with Hugh isentropical@outlook.com

Thurs 26th. Club Evening; Videos   John St 8pm

Sat 28th Beginners Sea Paddle. Finnart 10am

Contact Riddington89@hotmail.com

 

Nov

Weekends 18th and 25th  L1 Coach Course

River and Sea Kayak Trips

Thurs 23rd Club Evening

Sun 25th? Pinkston Evening

Contact Gordon@windsmiths.co.uk to register interest

 

Dec

Weekend  2nd/3rd Sea Kayak Bothy Trip

Thurs 14th Club Meal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Teith Sat 26th Sept

Adele, Bella, Chris, Gordon, Holly, Jamie, John, Kerry, Rosie, Sam, Steve and Stuart went down the River Teith on Saturday 26 August.  Beautiful sunny day with the river level at 1.0m.
We launched at Callandar and made our way down to the exit point about half way to Doune on the A84 where there is a convenient lay-by.
General coaching of ferry gliding and breaking in and out of eddies with some of the more confident paddlers playing in the waves.
For those interested in such things, Chris, Gordon and Stuart all went for a swim.

Lynn of Lorn 23/08/17

Paddlers: Dave and Geoff

Weather: Sunny and Breezy (F3) from SW.

Route:

Report: With the previous weekend trip cancelled because of the wind the possibility of a day trip in reasonable weather was welcome, albeit in a limited time frame. The location was flexible but the sea and swell was preferred and a planned trip out of Ganavan (Oban) north was resurrected. However high spring tides generated by the solar eclipse were expected to generate a strong southerly tide (2.5knots) just as we would have been heading north so we decided to head to the same area from the north.

As we came across the mountains the weather was terrible and the mountains stayed covered for the rest of the day. We headed for South Shian on Loch Creran which provided an excellent launch point

Cloud on the mountains around Loch Creran

Launch Point

The entrance to Loch Creran was characterised by a series of tide races that shot us on southwards, albeit with some excitement as the boat was tossed around in the swirls. On the open sea the strong tide was met by a strong breeze (top end of F3) that led to a relatively bumpy ride, with frequent white horses.

Swirls (looking south)

Midway down stands an island, Eilean Dubh (small black island), which looks impregnable from a distance. As we got near however we could see a small beach and decided to visit.

Eilean Dubh looking north

Landing on Eilean Dubh

The island itself is covered with impenetrable undergrowth. Only kayakers could land and very few would want to! So after lunch we headed on down south towards Camas Nathais, an attractive inlet topped by a lovely sand bay. For reference there is also a lovely camp site here.

Camas Nathais

The Beach looking south to Oban

The tide had now turned so, after another break, we had a fast passage back up towards Loch Creran, stopping only to investigate the passage between Isle Eriskay and the mainland. We had hoped to use this but the channel , although past mid water was simply not deep enough. It should be runnable at high tide.

Instead we shot round into Loch Creran with an exciting run on the flow at the end of the islets Sgurr Caileach. We arrived back at the launch point having covered around 28km tide assisted in less than 6.5hrs with about 1.5 hrs lazing onshore. A good day’s paddle.