2016 – Year in Review

2016 – A Long Year with a lot of paddling!

2016 was a busy year for HPPCC and its members! We travelled to some amazing places to paddle. We went along rivers, through rapids, in the sea…we trained on land, on white water courses, in the classroom…we saw our coaches develop and our members develop even faster!

2016 was another year to be proud of and looking forward to 2017, we wanted to have a look back at 2016 to see just how difficult it would be to better it….but we are trying!

Trips and Tours

River Wye

Our regular trip to the Wye Valley proved to be as popular as ever and we had a great time paddling down one of the most beautiful waterways in the country. Staying at a really nice campsite for the weekend, our BBQ skills were put to the test.

One the first day, some of the paddlers went off to test their skills on some local whitewater which was running following earlier rains, while the main group took to the water on the River Wye, passing through Simmons Yat where there was fun on the simple rapids and the kayak chute before continuing on to the get out point at Monmouth.

Day two was a shorter trip along the Wye upstream where again, we were treated to some beautiful scenery and paddling through it.

We will be returning in 2017

Rudyard (June)

Rudyard is a very large lake in the Peak District of North Staffordshire. The circular tour of this lovely waterbody starts at the waterside café which is a great help with tea before the paddle. With a mixture of touring kayaks, open canoes and even members doing some canoe sailing, we had dinner at the far end of the lake on the bank.

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HPPCC canoe sailing on Rudyard Lake…it looks so easy!

Before dinner we practiced our skills ready for the upcoming Skye Sea Kayak expedition and also for a Three Star Touring qualification. Club coaches were on hand to help all the paddlers and one of the group went through the capsizing drills and righting their sea kayak after getting back into it while still capsized.

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Some of the group having dinner at Rudyard Lake

At the end of the day we got back to the café, ate rather too much cake and talked paddling! This is a place we return to regularly, both for the scenery, the paddling and just because we like it here!

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Rudyard Lake

Skye

Members spend a week in one of the most stunning places to paddle. Staying in a cottage at the far north of the Island, we had a two day expedition planned with one of the best guides in the country as well as some sea kayaking on our own.

The weather was great through the week and our first paddle around a large bay at Stein. Between huge hills on either side, we launched from the slipway which was not easy with a low tide and paddled to the edge of the bay. Practicing our pilotage and navigation skills we followed the coast around the area and stopped for some fishing from the sea kayaks! We were treated to some otters around our kayaks on our return!

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Paddling from Elgol towards the beach for our dinner on the expedition

Our two day expedition was one of the most amazing experiences. Starting from Elgol at the southern end, day one we paddled along the coast and had dinner on a secluded sandy beach beneath the mountains with not a sole about. Carrying on to Lake Coruisk, we were treated to tea and biscuits on board a local boat, before bringing our kayaks ashore for the night. We then decided that having Loch Coruisk next to us – a large freshwater loch, was too tempting not to paddle and we became part of the select few who have had the privilege to paddle this lake amongst the mountains in the evening dimming sun before having our tea and setting up camp for the night. In the night, we were “treated” to the arrival of a herd of wild red deer amongst our tents!

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Loch Coruisk

The next day we woke early and continued our journey across the channel to the Island of Soaey and circled it, stopping for a visit to an old whaling station and dinner later on. We ended the expedition with a 6km crossing back to Elgol. We didn’t see any Basking Sharks or Whale unfortunately which were in the area, but we were treated to a group of seals on our departure on day two!

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Out at sea with Soaey Island in the background

The rest of the week we paddled around Dunvegan with the Seals just off shore and around the islands close to shore. We also spent time walking in the hills around the Fairy Pools, mountain biking and a trip on one of the boats whale spotting. We were lucky enough to see Sea Eagles and Golden Eagles over the week and one of the group did their Sea Kayak 3 Star qualification. We loved it so much we are returning in 2017!

River Soar – Normanton on Soar to Trent Lock

A really nice trip for many members off the club one Sunday in the summer. This is a great trip and members ran several of the weirs along the way! The trip was a great day out through Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire with some Three Star training done along the way. Two groups set off given the number of paddlers and we all met at the halfway for dinner near Kegworth. Finishing at Trent Lock after a full day of paddling there was plenty of change for food and a drink!

River Trent – Hazelford Lock to Newark and River Soar Kegworth to Trent Lock

This was a great trip towards the back end of the year of several paddlers in touring kayaks and Open Canoes (single and tandem). We were lucky enough to have some very senior and experienced paddlers from the club and from kayaking generally, with us.

Despite some breezy conditions – which favoured those canoe sailing, a great day was had. We ended up tying up to the canoes with their sails up and hitched a ride for a while until the wind dropped! The trip finished in the shadow of Newark Castle and we also got some time to practice our canoe poling and other skills just down from Hazelford Weir

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Resting after portaging around the weir

Day two was on the River Soar in the same boats and we managed to run one of the weirs and practice rescue skills, while have a really good tour along a short stretch of this river. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this trip and the weekend. Again, we are planning the Hazelford – Newark trip this year.

Windermere/Ullswater

Several members explored Lake Windermere last year. This is some of the most beautiful kayaking/canoeing that you can imagine. Camping over the weekend, there was two full days of paddling around the area to test the skills and navigation of our members.

We have a return planned for this year in June and this is proving very popular already, with some different paddling on the cards for day two. Day one is another tour of Windermere while day two will be a tour down the River Derwent and then into and around Bassenthwaite Lake.

Many other members also were paddling around the UK with others inside and outside the club…..including Sea Kayaking, touring and other disciplines. These included stretches of the River Trent, Sea Kayaking around Wales and others in both Kayak, Sea Kayak and Open Canoe.

River Tees white water

Some members were taken for some white water paddling along the River Tees through some Grade 3 waters in November of last year. This was an amazing day with two great leaders. We braved the rapids and learned a lot and those going are looking to organise more of this type of paddling for members. Again, not only does the paddling make the trip, but the scenery was stunning and the “swimmer” on the day even found this fun!! Watch out for more trips like this in 2017!

Sleningford Mill and others

Many club members went for the annual Sleniford Mill whitewater trip in 2016 and again thoroughly enjoyed it. Many passed their personal experience and pushed their paddling to develop skills and expertise.

Other paddlers went on the Tyne Tour for whitewater and there were other white water trips as well. We have a strong white water side in the club and many paddlers also organise their own trips and days out paddling.

Holme Pierrpont White Water Course Starters

Our coaches were busy putting members through their paces on the white water course for the first time! They got wet, they got frustrated but everyone is developing their white water and having a great time as well!

The club also took possession of several new boats including a Jackson Duo – white water boat for two paddlers and crossover boats for all sizes of paddlers. Our members have been putting these boats through their paces and to good use! These are proving to be popular and useful additions to the HPPCC fleet!

Qualifications and Member Development

FSRT – several brave members went through their Foundation Safety and Rescue Training through the year – including the freezing temperatures of early January 2016. They were very glad to have their dry suits that day!

FSRT Provider – this course allows members to teach the FSRT Course and training more providers on this is always a huge bonus to the club. Some of our members started this training in 2016 which gives us a great opportunity to train more FSRT qualified members in the club!

First Aid – a number of members gained their full first aid course over two days, while many other renewed their certificate.

One and Two Star Awards

We ran some Two Star qualifications through 2016 and we had 10 successful paddlers. As well as this, we had six successful paddlers pass their One Star. This is really good to see for the club and we are proud of our paddlers as they come through the ranks or they expand their expertise!

Touring Three Star

Three members extended their touring experience and gained their Three Star in touring. The Three Star qualification are where paddlers take specific qualifications in disciplines. It represents a further step in paddling experience and shows the paddler is a proficient and competent independent paddler.

Pool Sessions and rolling sessions

Another successful year with the winter pool sessions with more and more members learning how to roll and gain confidence in their kayaking in a safe environment with excellent coaches. This is done in conjunction with another club and this gives even more breadth of experience to our members from these popular sessions. These have proved really popular with both adults and our younger paddlers alike and many of our younger members have already mastered the dark-art of rolling in a short time at these sessions! We are really proud of our younger members!

Sea Kayak Three Star – one lucky member took this qualification during the Skye trip and qualified in some of Scotland’s more stunning scenery! The club wishes them good luck for their Four Star Sea Kayak this August in Skye!

Touring Four Star

Several of our members reached the dizzy heights of Four Star Leader for touring. This is a qualification that requires experience and leadership in paddlesport touring. The club is extremely lucky to have such a wealth of experience and these qualifications will only add to this. As well as this, several of our members are also working towards this qualification and took the initial training course. They now have three years to complete their experience and take their assessment.

Open Canoe Three Star Touring

Members trained for and passed their three star in open canoe as well as starting their training in three star Open Canoe. One of the strengths of the club is the range of disciplines that we have across canoeing and kayaking and continuing member’s learning in Open Canoe furthers this more!

Foundation modules

Our members have been attending the various coaching and training modules being run in the East Midlands. These have included inclusion of disabled paddlers, coaching young paddlers, inland navigation and coaching the mind. We have already seen our members and coaches putting these courses to good use on Saturday coaching sessions at the pond!

Coaching Awards

2016 was a great year for our coaches too! We now have numerous additional Level One and Two Coaches and several others who are carrying out their practical work for their coaching portfolios for Level Two coaching. This gives the club a huge depth of experience and learning that is passed onto new and existing members. Coaching is one of the club’s real strengths.