The Tyne Tour Festival is the successor to the Mike Jones rallies which were held in Llangollen in the eighties, where I took my first strokes (paddling and swimming) on white water. The original rallies were held in memory of a famous expedition paddler who was part of the first successful descent of Everest, but tragically died rescuing a friend on another river in 1978.
The organisers reckon it’s “Europe’s largest mass participation canoeing event”, but to my knowledge the club has never run a trip to the Tyne Tour before. So this November Mark, Duncan, Joe and I drove up to Hexham to see what the fuss is about. The first step was to pitch the tents on Tyne Green which for the rest of the year is a public park. This was easy for Mark as his tent has four wheels and a Vauxhall badge, but less so for me since, as it was later pointed out, I have a “disappear-in-the-dark” tent. Then a stroll into Hexham for a swift half (or two) and a takeaway. It’s obvious that the tour attracts just as many student groups as the Llangollen rallies did, with a good part of Wetherspoon’s clientele wearing hoodies declaring allegiance to their university club.
On Sunday 19th of April, I went on a lovely trip to Burrs with Bolton Canoe Club. Mum, Clara, Joe, Duncan, Steve, Matthew, Clive, Peter and me went. The level was empty and the lowest I have ever been on it before was a scrape but it wasn’t literally empty! I was feeling quite confident because of this. First we paddled up the canal. I was feeling excited. We went above the big weir and had a paddle up there for a bit. We paddled higher up than normal because we wanted to find some water that was moving.
It was a soggy Sunday start. Sunday morning – I had an early start at 7.30am, although I usually do on weekdays, it felt strangely early for a weekend. I finally got up after a poke at 7.40 and got dressed. My bag with towel in was ready and mum had kindly checked my other bag with my kayaking kit in, for everything I needed. Once the car boot was full with mine and Joe’s kit and what looked like we were going camping – but really it was just all of mum’s cooking gear, including a table and teapot! The journey itself was alright, there wasn’t much traffic, so it only took us an hour and a half approximately.
Lets us start from the beginning! Once upon an average day at Bolton Canoe Club, standing there freezing our socks off in the snow, sleet, thunder and wind (even though we don’t wear socks) and as we disembarked on our grand expedition we entered the icy water. We all thought, STEVE! Why ARE WE HERE! and as we plunged into the subzero waters it all became CRYSTAL clear it is because we are ALL NUTTERS and love excitement.
A beautiful Autumn day, unseasonably warm, saw the first Bolton Canoe Club OFFICIAL trip since the passing of our safety policy. The trip was organised and lead by the Misters Joseph Parkin and Steve Thomas. Joe had a day of Big Boys’ paddling the day before with his uni friend, Stuart on the Kent and the Leven, who also joined us on the Burrs trip, and Steve very kindly cut short his weekend away to come and make sure the day went swimmingly…..a little too swimmingly for some, myself included! Continue reading Burrs Beginners’ Trip 2nd November 2014→
It was amazing! We went to Coniston for a paddle with Amber, Mum, me and Joe. I got up and popped my bikini on, tied my hair up and brushed my teeth, got all my stuff ready and we set off, with boats on the top and the gear in the boot. After about five minutes driving I realised I had forgotten my dry bag, so we had to go back and get it. We picked Joe up, loaded his boat onto the car and shoved his gear into the jam packed boot and continued with our journey. It took 1 hour and 41 minutes.
When we arrived we drove around looking for the carpark as the sat nav was wrong, but eventually we found it! After a long conversation about deciding to have lunch or not (at 10am!) we decided we would, and helped ourselves to sandwiches. Continue reading We went to Coniston for a paddle→
“For years I’d indulged in walking, mountain biking and other land based activities but had always avoided escapades of the aquatic kind. A nagging feeling that maybe I should try something else, a free Monday night and a number of friends interested in kayaking convinced me to give it a try.
First impressions arriving at the reservoir were promising – a bunch of friendly people, a wide array of boats and a willingness by everyone to lend the benefit of their experience. My initial efforts at navigation were somewhat mediocre; I marvelled at skilled members wearing their boats like a glove and wondered if I would ever reach that level of ability. Nevertheless I was bolstered by a successful capsize drill and realising that my less than fantastic swimming was amply supported by the buoyancy aid. Continue reading A members take on starting kayaking→
Phil was an active member of Bolton Canoe Club for many years before he emigrated to North Island N.Z. We had many adventures together, but this one, I left to him to enjoy on his own. He’s still my best mate ! Kia Ora Bro’ – Foz
Newtonmore to the sea
I suppose the idea was sown many years ago after reading Alan Fox’s Run River Run.
Ignoring the section on ‘touring rivers’ as I am, was or inspired to be a white-water paddler (in a previous life), I thumbed through the book till I came to that magical phrase – Grade 2. There was no going back, the Spey it was. Though it’s more than nine years ago the trip and the lessons learned are still fresh-(ish) but fading.