One of the key objectives of the club is to bring kayakers and canoeists together for trips. Paddling alone is not recommended. Club Members who are on trips which conform to Club Policy have the advantage of third party insurance i.e. if there is an accident and they are liable then they have insurance cover. These trips which have a responsible leader are identified as Club Trips and can include U18s.
Many trips are arranged at short notice and have not been considered by the Club. Because there is no official leader and individuals, as adults (no U-18s) are free to make their own choices they are known as Peer Group Trips. These can be immensely rewarding and consequently are encouraged and reported.
Before Easter I was involved in three windy trips on the Clyde: Craigendoran -Kilcreggan with AndyD., Craigendoran -Cardross with Andy, Pete B, Garry (from Falkirk) and Cristabel (from Milngavie) and Craigendoran-Ardmore with Colin and Gordon, which was a late evening/night trip. All very rewarding.
Weather: Cold, Very Wet with blustery wind from South
Route: Boden Boo Beach (Erskine Bridge)-Clydebank Leisure Centre-Paisley Centre
Report: The original plan had been to kayak North Loch Awe on theThursday but last weeks mishap (3 kayakers rescued at Greenock with helicopter and lifeboat summoned) , led to hesitation when the wind forecast was F5 with F7 gusts. Instead, given shelter from the expected wind and a high tide at 1.30 we decided on the trip up the White Cart to to Paisley Centre through the Gilmore St. tunnels.
The launch point was the beach just to the east of Erskine Bridge by the old southerly ferry slip. There is an excellent parking spot here and an even better beach. Although it was raining heavily (as it had been from 9am) the paddle up the Clyde with the tide was surprisingly pleasant. There is no other outdoor sport where the rain makes so little difference.
From Clydebank we headed south up the White Cart. The river is reminiscent of the Leven before being cleaned up with collapsing wharves, oozing litter covered banks and industrial buildings. There is only one place to stop even if you wanted to (which you will not). The one place is a slip by a small green with a new housing development behind, marked on the map with a purple triangle.. It is dirty and covered with dog excrement but there is no other, so there we had lunch (about 12.30).
The next section takes you between high walls and to the tunnel under the town centre. Be Warned; The tunnels are only passable 30 minutes each side of high tide. Our timings were perfect and we were quickly through the tunnels into the old part of the city just beneath the Abbey.
The next section is undoubtedly the highlight of the trip ending in the mill pool beneath a wide attractive natural weir/waterfall.
We turned back from the mill pool at about 1.30 with the tide, wind and current all in our favour. None were strong enough to worry and in a relativelt short time we were at the mouth of the river where, for the first time, there was substantial wind. As we turned down the Clyde (past the new Leisure Centre where there is now a pontoon where one could enter/exit the Clyde in a kayak) and were back at the beach just after 3, 1. hours for over 10km.
In summary, despite the cold and frequent soakings from the rain, it was an excellent and recommended trip.
Report: The Adult Basic Skills Course includes three trips of increasing adventure. The second of these was planned to be the Leven but the absence, through late illness, of Euan and the heavy rain led to a late change of plan. Thankfully Steve W. was available as support so we embarked on a sea trip along the Helensburgh shore sheltered from the north wind.
One of the joys of paddling is quiet, unimpeded progress (no queues or traffic) in great company. And so it proved.
The coffee stop in the cafe at Kidston Park gave us a chance to get warm and save the world with words. When we exited the cafe we found that our timing of high tide was actually 30 minutes after we stopped and one kayak had floated away and been rescued. No harm.
Back at Craigendoran we took the chance of looking at the winter damage around the old pier. It is significant.
Despite the cold the trip was again both very useful in developing paddling skills and thoroughly enjoyable.
Paddlers: Euan, Andy, Geoff, John, Trish, Duncx, Colin B, Bungie
Weather: Cold and Overcast with occasional light rain. No wind
Report: This was the first Beginners Trip for the 2019 Basic Course and took the usual course from Luss Beach, up the river, around seagull island and home. Of course it proved much more for the participants and a really enjoyable, informative(?), beautiful trip. The River itself was in a strange mood being shallow throughout, possibly because it was blocked by ice higher up. Consequently it was very shallow at the mouth (only one channel was open) and very difficult under the bridge with the current both impeding progress and then swirling kayakers back on the other side if they did make it. A lovely safe challenge much enjoyed by spectators on the bridge.
All in all the trip demonstrated why kayaking is such a great recreational activity.
Paddlers: Geoff, Gordon, Chris, Adele, Stuart and Damien
Weather: Mist/Low Cloud/Fog but dead calm
Report: We met at 10.30 for the “first of the year” paddle on Loch Lomond. The forecast promised sun later in the day but it actually got darker and mistier giving a wonderful calm feel to the Loch. Instead of the usual trip around the islands we opted for the “far shore” and, in particular the “fort” marked on the OS map at Strathcashel Point, which none of use had ever visited. The paddle was wonderful.
The original fort dates from the Iron Age (pre-Roman) but was built over by the Dukes of Montrose. Little remains except the stumps of walls.
From the fort we headed north looking for a good place to have our “picnic”, ideally with a picnic table. This was found at Sallochy Bay which also houses a pair of first class composting toilets. An excellent break with hot mince pies and mulled wine.
After a prolonged chat on the virtues or otherwise of Trump and Brexit, we set off again heading west to Ross Point then past the two small islands back to the east shore. South again past the camp site and we were back. To our genuine surprise it was only 2pm.
In summary it is difficult to imagine a better actvity in a better place. We are extremely lucky.
Paddlers: Steve W., Gordon, Geoff, Douglas, Colin, Andy and Chris L.
Weather: Clear Blue Sky, Strong Breeze from NW F3, Cold out of sun
Report: A wonderful day with a strong breeze to give us a good swell and a push from behind the whole way. We started from the car park just south of the roundabout and were away close to 10.15. The biggest problem launching here is the lift down from the wall and a rather rough beach. As usual the MOD police came to call.
At this stage the breeze was strong and the swell made the ride “interesting”, particularly for the less experienced . At the beach at Knockderry, Colin went ashore to readjust his back rest whilst the rest of us took a break at sea.
With all feeling good we pushed on past Cove and Cove Sailing Club to another beach for a break and a coffee.
In the sun it was almost warm but the gloves stayed on as we headed east, past Kilcreggan, heading for Rosneath Point. Tiredness was becoming apparent as we pulled in for lunch just west of the point.
The sun was warm and the view excellent but sadly no porpoise so after a rather lengthy lunch break we headed on to see the seals at Green Island. Sadly no seals either so across to Helensburgh Pier to give the tourists something to photograph. Sadly the pier is now closed (although there were youngsters on it). So on eastwards with a strengthening westerly behind us to Craigendoran and the end of a thoroughly enjoyable trip.
We arrived back at just after 2.30 pm having covered the 16-18 km in around 4 hours including breaks.
Paddlers: Andy, Chris, Catherine, Robert, Steve T. and Geoff
Weather: Bright and Breezy
Report: This was the third beginners training trip and had been transferred from Loch Long because of the high winds forecast and the better shelter offered by the islands of Loch Lomond. In fact the wind was light and the forecast rain never occurred.
We launched at Aldlochay and Steve undertook training to investigate the different characteristics of the sea kayak and “Tilt for turning”. The sun came out!
We then headed south into the fresh breeze and then east to Inchgalbraith to investigate the ruined castle before stopping for lunch on Inchmoan.
From Inchmoan we proceeded down the narrows before stopping for a second time to explore the old summer house on Inchconnochan.
The sky was darkening as we headed back, and it just started spitting with rain as we came into Aldlochlay. For those familiar (very) with the islands the beauty of the surroundings still made it a lovely trip, for those new it was a superb day
Weather: Wonderful; Sunny with cold, light northerly pushing us on south.
Report: An ideal Beginners Trip. The river was high and fast (10-12kph) and the sun shone. That probably says it all except it only took 90mins as opposed to the schedule 150mins because conditions were so favourable..
Route: Kilcreggan (Fort Road), Cove SC, Blairmore and v.v.
Report: A strongish breeze plus tide made the paddle out a surprising effort but the return somewhat easier, if a little worrying for our novice. Main object of post is to report excellent coffee shop in Blairmore (but closed Mid-December to March) to add to reopened Rosneath establishment.