Archive for August, 2010

Embrun, French Alps. July 2010

Trip Reports, events, news, white water No Comments

After a late night ferry crossing, 1 car, 2 people, 2 bikes and 2 boats arrived in Calais ready for an adventure.  Dropping by Paris (only 300km away) seemed like a good idea, so we spent the early hours driving round the empty city.  By the time we arrived at the Eiffel Tower it was dawn and we made our way south just as the morning traffic started.
2 hours of sleep later and several more hours of driving we hit the alps!  A glass of wine or two before putting up the tents and we had arrived.
The next day more happy campers came and we tested our boats out on the nearby lake, before taking on our first Alpine river – the Durance – the day after.  The Durance was great – turquoise blue waters, birds of prey wheeling overhead and Big and Bouncy Wave Trains the whole way down!  In fact it was so good that we did it again on the Tuesday!
On Wednesday people went their separate ways:  Some of the crazier paddlers headed off to tackle the Guil gorge section (one part of which Andy apparently decided to do on his head).  Other (perhaps even crazier) people flung themselves and their bikes down the mountain in full body armour.  Sarah and I decided to go to Italy for an icecream.  It seemed like the safer option, but rally car driving skills were required to negotiate the narrow winding mountain passes.  We climbed to over 2800 metres, saw 10 marmots and a camel, and sampled 3 flavours of icecream!  Success!
Back on the water for the next couple of days, we were joined by Niki and Bill from York Canoe Club.  On the Thursday we did the Upper Guil – with lots of eddy hopping and fantastic views of Chateaux Queryas as we neared the get out.

On Friday we headed for the Ubaye, where we pretty much all practiced our swimming and boat retrieval skills!  But any nominations for swimmer of the year were more than compensated for by the surrounding mountains, non-stop rapids and paddling (or swimming) through the gorge and under the Roman bridge.
We headed to Embrun that evening for Mussels night and stumbled on some traditional French dancing.  The rather heighty Duncan dancing with the rather less tall 6 year old was quite a sight to behold.
Saturday there was still time for some more downhill mountain biking and walking before Martina and I set off back on the long road to Calais.  It was hard to leave the Alps and all the others still having fun.
All in all, spectacular scenery, fabulous company and great paddling!
Highlights:
Andy (said casually) ‘Sanne, is that your table on fire?’
Sarah being picked up by her BA by a French raft guy and then, realising it wasn’t one of his rafters, cast like a sack of potatoes into the eddy
Waking up to coffee and fresh pain au chocolat every morning (even when we were sleeping on the side of the motorway) – thanks Martina!


So Same time, same place, next year, anyone?

Pier to Pier Swim - Safety Cover

events, news No Comments

Each year MKC is asked to help provide safety cover for a variety of water based events. One such community event we have traditionally supported is the Brighton Swimming Clubs annual Pier to Pier swimming race. Our paddlers paddle from the club to the start at the West Pier and escort the swimmers on their swim to the Palace Pier. This year a lot of our regular paddlers were away either on their own holidays or at our increasingly popular Alps trip.

Saturday arrived with flattish seas and sunshine, near perfect conditions for the bib swim. My main concern for the event was paddlers getting sunstroke!

and theyre off! The first wave of Male swimmers enter the water.

Clive waits patiently to follow the Womens wave 2 minutes later!

Pre-race banter by Safety Cover Veterans Clive, Graham, Cliff and Graham.

Newer members got their first experience of providing Safety Cover. Georgie and Harry taking a breather before the race begins.

A big thank you to all members who gave up their Saturday morning to help Brighton Swimming Club. I hope you all enjoyed the event. Rob

Coaching at Martlet

coaching, news No Comments

Its been a busy couple of weeks for everyone involved in coaching at the Club. Well done to all the members who have passed their tests and undertaken new training. The progress in peoples paddling skills is very evident, especially amongst some of our newer members, who have only been paddling for a few weeks. Congratulations to Grant Foster, Martin Scott, Craig Nicholson, Mike Watton, Alfie Watton, Liyun Ye, John Miller, Harry Miller, Georgie Harrison and Carrieanne Stares; all of whom passed their One Star Test. The test was carried out on the sea by the Club on a Thursday Club Night - July 8th. And thanks to Ade who came down especially to administer the test.

The following Tuesday (July 13th) seven members of Martlet passed their Two Star at Cuckmere Haven. These included Izi,Gareth,Nigel,Clive,Emily,Agnes and Danny.

Most recently ten people underwent Foundation Safety & Rescue Training on Sunday July 18th. This was a whole day course and involved a lot of getting wet. Fortunately we were blessed with fine weather & a hot and sunny afternoon, which helped a lot. It is quite a full-on, rigorous course but everyone got stuck in and, when it came to the staged incidents at the end of the day, it was clear how much the candidates had grown in confidence. The Club has an increasing number of paddlers attuned to safety and, whilst incidents are few and far between, if an incident should occur there are now even more people equpped with the skills to take the appropriate action.

Congratulations to Agnes, Kelly, Simon, Richard, Patrick, Emily, Nigel, Richard and Matt, Clive. and a special thanks to all the Club Coaches who have worked with Martlet paddlers over the season and contributed to so many successful outcomes over the last fortnight.

There were also Members of the Cuckmere haven Club taking part and it was good to see such collaboration from our coaches organizing inter-club assessments and training. Thanks to Steve Douch from Cuckmere and Pete who all helped out.

We hope to continue these collaborative events and already have a Level One UKCC coach course in the Calendar for September.

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