Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas to all

Another Juggins masterpiece used on this years Christmas card! Any resemblence between Pau and the man in the water is entirely accidental!!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Water levels - Rutland Water

Where has all the water gone? Our raw material is becoming more scarce. The above picture shows the Limnological tower south east of Whitwell Creek in February 2008 and today, mid December 2009. The platform on the right of the tower shows the water level after the wettest November in years.

Rumour is that to enable the construction of the wildlife reserves at the end of the south arm the water level is being kept low. The result is the exposure of tree stumps and banks of freshwater mussels around the lake shore. Getting in and out of the boats can get muddy. Increasing demand for water could mean that this becomes the norm.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Sarah Outen talks about her row across the Indian Ocean

On 21st November at 7:30pm Sarah Outen will give a presentation about her row across the Indian Ocean at Exton Village Hall, which is just off the Green in the centre of the village. Entrance will be £5 per person and all proceeds will go to the Arthritis Care charity. Refreshments provided by the members of the club.

'Twenty-six club members and guests enjoyed an enthralling presentation of video and pictures on a rainy Saturday evening at Exton Village Hall. Trevor performed the introduction and reminded Sarah of previous club trips to Mull when exam revision was forgotten and early challenges met.

Sarah's talk was inspirational, woven with the romance of the open ocean, the heroism of being capsized five times, the hunger for the next chocolate bar, an obvious deep respect and love for her craft, 'Dippers', a large amount of skill and courage and much more. She brought along examples of the vacuum-packed porridge and rancid dehydrated food, a carbon fibre oar broken by a huge wave that flipped her, rescue flares and drowned satellite phones used in the final drama when she was thrown onto the reefs of Mauritius. I would recommended anyone who can to enjoy her presentation at other venues. See her website for details.

As a small token of our admiration Sarah was presented with a life membership of the club and we hope to see her down at Whitwell Creek whenever she is home from her adventures.

Thanks go to all who provided a great spread of food and wine plus raffle prizes. £200 was raised for Sarah and Arthritis Care plus several club members will be modelling Outen team polo shirts.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Firework display paddle

On the night of Halloween 11 paddlers set off from just downstream of Ferry Bridge on the River Nene. We paddled downstream and then up into Overton Mere where we rafted up to enjoy the Peterborough Firework Fiesta.

Friday, 9 October 2009

River Nile, Uganda

Philip Wilson and a group of other students from Bath University spent two weeks in September white water paddling on the White Nile in Uganda. They took their own kayaks and paddling gear out from the UK on Emirates Airlines and camped at two sites on the river - Nile River Explorers at Bujagali Falls (pictured above showing Phil "nailing the line") and The Hairy Lemon on a small island in the river. This report gives you an idea of some of the places they paddled and things they did. As well as a lot of paddling they also found time to take a three day camping safari in Murchison Falls National Park where they saw lots of giraffe, antelope, hippos and crocodiles (fortunately none while paddling), and some elephant and water buffalo.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Rescue skills session

Photo by Pau
Yesterday, while some paddlers went out on the main-body of Rutland Water, Viv, Pau, Rebecca and Ben practised a variety of rescues at Whitwell Creek.

The session started with a wet exit and swim back to the beach. So we started off pretty wet! Luckily the water isn't too cold at this time of year. This was followed by conventional X-rescues, roll-in/leg-over X-rescues, ladder rescues and scoop rescues.

Getting chilly by now we warmed up with a bit of exercise. Using an in-line tow we simulated the rescue of a pair of kayaks rafted together.

At the end of the session we had time to attempt a few rolls.

The weather was good for learning new techniques but not representative of the type of conditions in which someone is likely to get into trouble. Maybe next time we will have more wind to make things more challenging. Thinking of having another session in a months time. The water will definitely be colder!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Sarah Outen rows the Indian Ocean

During today's Sunday morning paddle the topic of conversation was ex Rutland Canoe Club member Sarah Outen. She has just completed her solo row across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Mauritius, the first woman to do so. Read about her adventure on her blog; wildlife, capsizes and crash landings!


The photo above was taken on a club sea kayak trip to Mull in June 2002. Club members remember her joy and enthusiam of being at sea.

Sarah is raising money for Arthritis Care and we urge anyone to support her by making a donation at her site at We hope soon to be helping to raise some money when Sarah returns to Rutland.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Kayak racing at the Special Olympics Leicester

Club members were involved in supporting the kayaking event of the Special Olympics Leicester 2009 held at Whitwell creek between 25th and 30th July.

Kitted out with baseball caps, polo shirt and cagoules we helped out by following the competitors down the course just in case they needed our support, in the worst case getting to a capsize until the safety boat was able to cross the lanes. Some competitors needed a short tow or to be able to hang onto another boat after the exertions of the race.

At the start of some races we had to hold the competitor's kayaks in line for a fair start. Most of the races were in tippy racing boats and some looked more comfortable than others. Certainly better than I would be! We couldn't keep up with the faster boats and stationed other boats half way down the course in case there was a problem.

Wednesday and Thursday saw no capsizes in the 500m races though wind made the finish line at the mouth of the creek a bit rough. Lunch was spent sheltering in the club hut from the heavy showers accompanied by a brood of hungry ducklings.

After the races on Thursday there was a medal ceremony with some exuberant celebrations and the odd acceptance speech! The volunteers all received a medal to say 'Thank you' for their efforts.

Thanks to Trev and Chris S. for organising the club volunteers; Paul, Ian, Yvonne, Chris B, Ben and Martin.

More photos on the club gallery and the SOL2009 photo gallery.

. . . . Ben

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Northumberland – June 2009

Ben, Mike and Lynette visited the Northumberland coast and enjoyed a great camping trip staying at Proctor's Stead near Craster reminding themselves just what a beautiful location the Northumberland coast really is. On Saturday we set off for the Farne Islands and enjoyed a few choppy bits as we rounded the islands.

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We were then escorted into the lighthouse stop by some very photogenic and people friendly seals who enjoyed strutting their stuff in a clear water pool and posing for photographs.

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We were soon joined by various roaming packs of sea kayakers who were up for the Coquet island race the following day.

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Later we paid a visit to the seabird colony and saw thousands of birds at close quarters and enjoyed the comic absurdity of puffins.

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We also compared the number of pecks to the head by ferocious terns.

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Ben maintained there was a positive correlation between height and number of pecks sustained, but Mike thought he came off the worse by virtue of the state of his hat!

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After a damp pub crawl around Seahouses in the evening in search of the well publicised Music Festival we discovered that it had packed up and gone home at 4.30, so we had to make do with listening to a drunken rendition of tunes from the Lion King instead - perhaps we wouldn't have been able to tell the difference anyway!

Next day we launched from the delightfully named "Sugar Beach" in perfect weather and Ben paddled off south to Amble to take part in the Coquet Island Race in the afternoon while Mike and Lynette headed north for Dunstanburgh Castle rock hopping around some interesting clear bathing pools and cliffs. Ben achieved a good placing (25th!? 6th in my age group and one second ahead of my mate Gill!! . . . Ben) despite "not taking the race seriously" and being hindered by using a well loved plank of wood as a paddle!

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A great trip.

More photos on the club photo gallery here.

Monday, 6 July 2009

New photos added to Gallery

A number of new photographs taken by Richard Creese have been added to the Gallery.

Sunday morning paddle

Yesterday 15 paddlers set out from Whitwell creek soon after 10:00am. Neil was the Main Body Leader assisted by Graeme bringing up the rear. Under the new rules a list of all the paddlers was left with the Watersports Centre.
We headed out to the Limnological Tower in the middle of the lake then across towards the
Normanton Church before turning down the north shore of the south arm of the reservoir. The group keeps together moving at the speed of the slowest member.
All the group were in kayaks of differing shapes and sizes; one double, the rest divided between long sea kayaks and short whitewater kayaks. Most of the club kayaks were in use and some members had brought their own craft. The Sunday paddle is a good opportunity to try different boats and paddles and to get advise on different pieces of kit. Most were wearing tee-shirts and shorts as the weather and water were so warm.
The previous week when conditions were very still most of the craft were canadian style open canoes. Often there are seperate groups for open canoes and kayaks.

Paddling along there was the usual chat amongst the different groups. A light south-westerly wind hardly ruffled the surface of the lake but meant there were a good number of sailing craft of all shapes and sizes. One job of the Main Body Leader is to steer the group out of the way of other waterborne craft; dinghys, yachts, wind-surfers, fishing rowboats and the Rutland Belle.
The south arm was quite busy it being a summer Sunday but usually there are ducks, geese, swans and cormorants around the lake. The nature reserves at the end of each arm of the reservoir are off-limits but this still gives us enough room for a good paddle. Before we reached the row of bouys that mark the start of the reserve we cut across the lake to the southern shore for the usual coffee stop and a chat.
After a break we headed back via the Tower to Whitwell Creek. The water being so warm Pau decided to have a go at some rolling as we approached the orange bouy at the mouth of the creek loosing a pair of sunglasses in the process.

15 paddlers set out and 15 paddlers returned (minus one pair of sunglasses). We were off the water by 12:30pm. A typical Sunday morning paddle.

Bourne pool sessions - rolling and rescue practice

The third evening session took place last Saturday and much rolling and rescue practice was enjoyed. This was followed by a session of kayak polo and a barbecue as the sun set.

Rebecca practices layback roll recovery

Thanks to Barry for organising these sessions at the Bourne Outdoor Pool. Don't miss the next one in a fortnight.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Trip report - Cornwall sea kayaking

Over the Easter holiday five of the Friday Bunch stayed at the luxury campsite at Carnon Downs; Ray (organiser), Yvonne, Martin, Ben and Richard (plus non-paddler, Judith, Richard's wife). We managed to paddle 5 days out of 6.
Day 1/Good Friday - Swanpool Beach, Falmouth to Truro. We got involved with the Truro River Race run by Devoran Gig Racing Club, who made us very welcome. Before the race we visited St. Mawes for a pasty and had a sculk around Falmouth Harbour before registering for the race at Church Mylor. Kayaks have won the race for the last few years so the handicapper gave us little chance. Most of the gigs overtook us within the first mile. Martin and Richard dodged the King Harry chain ferry. Ray came first amongst us but we were beaten by 20 minutes by a local paddler! We managed to beat 2 girls on a sit-on-top at least!! Refreshments enjoyed afterwards at the Truro Cricket Club. (17 miles)
Day 2 - Pendower Beach to Port Holland rtn -
Pendower beach, Nares head, Portloe, Shag rock, Port Holland back to Gull island (choppy uncomfortable sea) round the rocks and return to Pendower beach.
(12 miles)
Day 3 - Gorran Haven to Charlestown rtn - Watched seals around the Gwinges, Chapel point, Black Head, Porthpeau, Charleston, Black head, Pentawen Beach, Magvagissey, Chapel point, Goram Haven (18 miles)
Day 4 - wet and windy, day off
Day 5 - Swanpool Beach to Helford River rtn - Sunny lunch outside the pub at Helford Passage. (13 miles)
Day 6 - Readymoney Beach, Fowey to Golant rtn - Strong winds forecast so we bimbled around the Fowey River. Readymoney beach, past Penpoll Creek, Great Wood, back to Washing Rocks, Blackbottle Rock, Lantic Bay, Readymoney beach. Winds didn't increase but it did pour with rain so wandered out towards Gribbin Head. (12 miles approx)

The occasional heavy rain didn't dampen the fun, fine food and drink enjoyed each evening at the campsite. Thanks to Ray and Yvonne for organising the week, researching and planning the trips.
. . . Ben

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Sara comes 2nd in Ladies K2 at the Devizes-Westminster race

"Flew the flag for Rutland Canoe Club at the Devizes to Westminster
Canoe Race last weekend. My partner, Linda Clark, and I completed it in 25 hours, 41 minutes, coming second in the K2 Ladies class. Mind you, only 4 Ladies teams had entered as compared to the 86 Men's teams! And so here's the Race Report.

My, this was tough. 125 miles, 77 portages. We started just after 8.15
on Saturday morning. The first part on the Kennet and Avon canal was much more weedy than when we had paddled it two weeks before so a fair amount of concentration was required to navigate through this and we had Numb Bum after the 2.5 hour portage-free stretch. But the atmosphere was very friendly and we shared washes with another crew. . . "

. . . . Read full report here.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

AGM 2009 - Empingham Village Hall

The AGM was held at Empingham Village Hall. Views and opinions where exchanged on issues involving the club. The major topic was the significant changes made by Anglian Water in our relationship and the increase in the fees for access to the lake and facilities (ie. the membership fee is going up!)

Also there was discussion about how much BCU training the club will offer in the future, how much time the existing coaches were able to commit to.

Barry has taken over the position of Treasurer. New committee members include Martin, Sara and Jules.

The new website was demonstrated and approval gained to put it live, something I will have to do sometime soon!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Red Nose Day paddle

Sara was doing something funny for Red Nose Day this Friday!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Limnology - "the study of inland waters"

Rutland Water has two towers in the middle of the lake. One of them is a limnological tower, the other is an overflow tower. Commonly used as waypoints on our paddles they are 2.7 km or 1.7 miles apart.

Paddle a 'Wild One'

As a new member the first club boat you will probably try is a 'Wild One'. Supplied by Wild Things in Cornwall they are a stable fun kayak to try out your first paddle strokes in safety. You don't have to use a spray deck if you feel too enclosed initially. The club has a variety of paddles and bouyancy aids in all sizes.

You can try out different sitting positions!

And of course you can fall out of them!

But with a bit of cooperation you can stand up in them.

Sunday, 1 March 2009


Welcome to the blog of Rutland Canoe Club. This blog allows club members to post random writings about stuff involving the club. Trip reports, course reports, committee minutes (hopefully abbreviated!).

This may be an old photo but we look pretty similar today. Most Sundays throughout the year we paddle out of Whitwell creek onto the Main Body of Rutland Water for a couple of hours paddling. Half way we'll probably stop somewhere for a cup of coffee and a chat. As a member you can try short whitewater boats, long sleek sea kayaks or open canoes.