Another LV session

Mar 4

Legacy Loop – 3rd March

After an eventful Lakes trip last weekend, this weekend just gone was looking rather dull. A Friday evening pool session though kept up the spirits & Saturday was full of cutting up firewood & making garden plans, which left Sunday free. Sunday, the day of rest to some – For me in my case, another Lee Valley session in preparation for a cold Scotland.

Not long ago, I was at lee Valley, throwing myself into holes on the legacy & the olympic courses & I was keen to do the same again. Although not for three solid hours, this time! Rafts were back on the Olympic, so there was less of a enthusiasm to jump on that course.

Potter was keen to get a soaking, in his Kingpin & Scottish Dave was excited to be at Lee Valley for the first time, after seeing it on the telly. After a brief walk around both courses when it was empty, we booked ourselves in (surprised that they didn’t need our cards) & did the unusual experience of getting changed inside, in the warm.

On the water, it was a pleasant experience with most I suspect at NSR, it left the Legacy relatively free of traffic. The Olympic kicked in, half way through the first session, which gave the bottom two holes an appearance, the flushy wave 3/4 down the course a kick & the corner stopper, a retentive feel. Ice cream heads were plenty & it wasn’t long until the eddies became quiet again.

Whilst throwing myself into the corner stopper, Scottish Dave popped back from his assessment. Good news on passing the Legacy, but needed more precision for the Olympic, so that’s something to aim for, in the future. At least he can now book some paddling time, the next time we’re heading there. Off he popped to book the next hour & the “playboating” continued.

After a brief divert of retrieving a broken paddle from the bottom of the legacy lake, from a student that Hila was assessing, before it made it’s way into the pump, we made it back onto the water for one last round.

After the corner, I found the floor for the first time on the course, followed by an omni float. :( A bit of a whack to the head, but no visible new marks on the rocker. My head also feels fine, now.

Scottish Dave had some fun on the bottom & corner stoppers, in the Hoss. Unfortunately the corner rapid was a little too much & he was snapped up… But he may have been trying out his new floatation device on ww… let the excuses commence!

Off the water, a quick change back into warm & dry clothes, before lounging on the veranda, whilst scottish dave gave the Olympic a glance with water. We chatted about future trips & upcoming adventures, before heading back to the car & to the pub.

Note, the focus with three boats on their sides, won’t fit under the harvester barrier. After a good main meal upstairs, we began contemplating desserts. Whilst we contemplated, the friendface & chitter posts of NSR were a plenty. A quick stalk on the PyranhaBus, lead to some photo viewing & our appetites for the sweet stuff, to disappear.

Despite the early morning start, the day was awesome. Sunny paddling, on a good course, with good friends. Happy days!

Lake District

Feb 26

Another successful Lakes Trip.

Despite the lack of water forecast, we still managed to get out paddling, every day we were in the lake district. Out of the accommodation & on the road by 9am, gave us most of the day to paddle. Then on most days, back mid afternoon, to hang up wet gear in the super drying room, before heading into Keswick, for a rummage around the outdoor shops & then in search of another pub, for dinner & a drink.

Grades differed from 2 to 4 & rocks were plenty. I think the most desired paddling kit that most are now after, is a pair of elbow pads, due to the large amount of bruised elbows, on most days. But lots of smiles all round & lots of new rivers, added to the paddling list.

Below is a small collection of photos, of the trip. A small group of us headed up early on Thursday, to paddle in the afternoon, whilst others began their trip, either on Friday or Saturday. of the 9 paddlers on the trip (one had to pull out at the last minute sadly, we had 5 GoPro Cameras on the trip, ranging from the Original HD version, to the recent 3). Therefore we should have a good video for your viewing pleasure, hitting your screen, soon.

Thursday – River Leven – Medium

Out of the 4 of us, we had never paddled this river before. Although myself & Jake had watched a couple of online videos & I had read the lakes guidebook description a couple of days before hand, including some of the notes to my mini map. We made it down the river without too much issue.

We found a group of paddlers getting on the river, as we rocked up. By the time the shuttle was off, they were on the water & heading downstream. After a spot of lunch, the shuttle was back & we were ready to hit the water. The water was cold & I was the only one brave enough to give the first wave a surf, before the group headed down. Reaching Backbarrow bridge, we had caught up with the other group, who were expecting the drop from the bridge.

I said I’d head down first, since I knew a vague line, from lots of previous reading/ watching. Made it down without a hitch. Pretty clean line in fact & the audience on the bridge, cheered (which was nice). Ian followed, shortly by Jake & then Bob. Ian & Jake found the elbow rock & we waited at the bottom of the drop, while the other group ran the drop.

Whilst waiting around, we found a tunnel on river left. Sadly we didn’t have the energy to grab the head torches from our kit, so we made use of the camera flash, to see further down the tunnel. Eventually the other group came down the drop, with a few upside down boats. Once they were under control, we decided to head on down.

Portaging the G5 weir, we carried on & finished the rest of the river in good time. Getting changed, we were greeted by numerous Jet planes, flying over. Once we were all sorted, we headed over to check the Get on/ Off for the River Crake, for the next day, before heading back to Keswick.

Friday – River Crake – Low

Hitting the Get On, just before 10, we were greeted with the cold weather. Not messing around, we rounded up our kit & got the boats off the roof, so the shuttle could get underway. A new day & a new camera mount to play with. Some slight mods, from previous attempts & a new angle for me, was underway.

Starting off in the lake for the Crake, was a good warm up. Finding the mouth of the river, wasn’t too tricky. A couple of tree branches to navigate around, lead us to the river. The first decent rapid was an easy maneuver for the whole group. The next series of rapids, wern’t too much of an issue, either.

The last rapid was enjoyable. Sadly there was little warning of it, so my camera wasn’t on. However I suspect the other 4, may have at least captured some of it. The Get off followed & after warming back up, from the cold winds, we packed the cars & headed off to the Get on, for the Leven (again).

Friday – River Leven – Low

Unloading the boats, the shuttle was off again & we pondered what the level would be like. Shuttle back, we got on the water & headed down. The cold wind put all of us off, from playing on the first wave, so we carried on down.

Reaching Backbarrow bridge, we peeled out of the eddy in group formation & made our way down the drop. Definitely a lot lower than yesterday, was revealed particularly from the rock on the left hand side, that its head was visible, from the water line. As it was lower, more light made it into the tunnel, so we could see further into it. Noting too special to report sadly though, apart from a rusty ladder leading up, somewhere.

Portaging the G5 drop again with little water now pouring over the edge, it became clear that it was a rapid you wouldn’t want to mess up. The GoPro Boat mount started to become loose, so while Mr. Page tried to fit a broken paddle he picked up from the bank, I took the mount off & returned the camera to my helmet.

Eventually reaching the Get out, we loaded the boats onto the cars & headed back to Keswick.

Saturday – River Eden – Low

Joined by James & Dave at the stroke of Midnight, with the essential 25m extension power cord, we headed north to the Eden, in the morning. Upon finding the Get on car park, we then spent 10 minutes trying to find the gauge that the book described.

Without any luck, we judged the river level & assumed we could float under the bridge. Shuttle started & we then began comparing paddles, since James had bought a shiny pair of carbon cranked Werner Players. Shuttle was back & we were getting on the water, as we found two more paddlers turn up.

The river in general was a nice grade. A few more higher grade rapids would have been preferred for me personally, but I guess you can’t have everything. Floating down, we saw some faces & text carved into the cliff, on River Right. Unusual, but rather interesting, we stopped for a quick read, before arriving at the final rapid.

River Left looked passable, but rather dull (to me). All the action was in River Right for me. Dave popped out for a quick scout, while I scouted from the boat. I could see two rather munchy stoppers in the middle, but a possible clean boof, River Right. It all looked ok, so once Dave had checked it all out, I ran the right line. No problems for me. Hit at a more diagonal line & therefore missing the smaller rooster, which meant I swept into the eddy, without too much hassle.

Scottish Dave was up next. Heading more left & into the middle channel, he peeled onto the rooster tail, which then pushed him into the main flow. Luckily he had the speed to hit the first stopper. Although it did slow him down to the second, causing the nose of the burn to raise, dramatically. Some quick paddling moves & he was out of there in a flash. Ian & Jack seemed to have made their own way down on River Left, so they also had front row seats for Dave’s near miss.

The rest of the group headed closer to the right hand side of the bank. Some missing the boof, which therefore meant they hit the rock, below them.

Finally it was a short paddle to the Get out, River Right. Carrying the boats & kit to the pub on River Left, we packed up the cars, before heading into the pub for lunch.

Sunday – River Kent – Low

Making our way out of the bunkhouse, with all cars packed before 9, was impressive. What was even more impressive, was we’d then got off the Kent before 12 & were on the M6 for 12.30, for most of us.

River wise, the Kent was a little lower than in the previous year, so we missed out Scroggs Weir & got on at Hawes Bridge, which skipped all the scrapes & dull flat water. In the previous year, we had missed out force falls, as we didn’t know it was there. But this year we ran the drop. I headed off first again, with Scottish Dave in the eddy above, passing on communication, back to the group.

Everyone made it down the drop upright, using the middle line. Although for some, there were a few more bruised elbow’s. Grabbed the eddy for the Get off & then the Zippy Conga was invented. You saw it here first!

Thanks for Phil & Jackie, for the shuttles & Bob for sorting out the accommodation & James for the 25m Extension Cable.

Until next time…

New iPad

Mar 8

The title doesn’t mean I’ve gone out and bought a tablet (yet), but it’s the new release of the New iPad (iPad 3). It’s been launched at the London event yesterday & from the various first hands on reviews, it seems to be a couple of big steps in front of the other league of tablet machines.

With 4G, it seems to be great for the americans who have their networks sorted, to comply with the data demands. But in the UK, are networks are in a bit of a mess & in a dire need of an upgrade. Hopefully something will be pulled out of a hat, shortly. Some new hardware, with some better camera specs, graphic interfaces & cards, it seems to make it stand out from the crowd. Again the resolution has been beefed up, giving it that shiny syndrome, which means for some of us, it’s something that we need to have.

Taking more of a gaming approach from what it would seem with the other reviews out there, it shows some difference to the iPad 2. Suggested that it is fast & very responsive, would give the impression that games run smoothly from the users interaction with it. But in terms of looks, it still has the same look as the iPad 2, despite being slightly thicker & heavier. Checking out various videos & images from observers at the event, it seemed so anyway.

I guess it seems to be too early to say if I’d think about getting one. At some point, I’d like to purchase one, but I can’t see the iPad 3 being the one for me. The display is great, but could be something of a hinderance for the areas I’d take it to. A 7 inch seems to be more desirable & with the Google & Samsung Tablets being of a similar tech to the iPad 2 but in a smaller screen size, it could be my next new toy to play with.

The tablet is still expanding & developing, despite so many new techs that are brought forward with new releases. As the tech widens, so will the manufacturers who will focus on something different, than it’s other competitors. With so many other tablets out there on the market, bringing new things to the table, it’s something to sit back & grab a mug & watch it all come in.

Sweet 2012 – White Water

Feb 3

In 2012, sweet are bringing back the Rocker Half Cut. That’s good, particularly as I need a new half cut helmet, soon. But coming in at £190, it’s £90 more than I paid, some time ago for my first. But my head is very much worth it!
Sweet Rocket Half Cut - White Sweet Rocket Half Cut - Black Sweet Rocket Half Cut - Green Sweet Rocket Half Cut - Red
They’ve also brought out a new strutter, which has a nice head retention system. I guess I need to pop into my local paddling shop & see if the new strutter is any good. I imagine it’s better designed than the current one.

Sweet Strutter - White Sweet Strutter - OcciGrip Sweet Strutter - Green Sweet Strutter - Inside Look
Then it’s the hard task of finding someone to buy my old strutter (should be too hard, as it’s almost new condition) & choosing what new colour to go for. Black may be the contender. Or Green or White for that matter.

There’s some nice colours for the wanderer, too. I’m currently liking the Orange one.

Sweet Wanderer - Orange Sweet Wanderer - Inside Look

Edit (29/2/12): SystemX PIG (Product Information Guide) tells you more. You can find it, HERE.