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Archive for June, 2010

Squamish Paddling

Posted by robjwall on June 28, 2010

In the haze of our first few days in BC:  ‘oh my God we are in Canada’, ‘is this really the house we have rented’, ‘is it daytime now?’. In between getting lost finding the local shops, dealing with lost luggage, and buying 4 bikes, one thing jumped out at us from the local Paper.  The Mamquam White-water festival was on this Saturday.  This club is  trying to get people to join, and hosting a ‘friendly’ race on the white water slalom course on the Mamquam River.  We didn’t need to be asked twice: paddling was one of the big reasons to be in British Columbia, and we would need a club if we were to do any.  With high hopes  I got a map and figured out that we could walk up an old logging road and down a walk trail, over the ‘carpenters son’ bridge, and then over a small hydro dam to the start of the course  — about 6 or 7 km, no bikes yet.

We made it on time on Saturday, after a long scenic walk, slightly nervous of bears and cougar, to be greeted by hot dogs, music (reggae), and lots of plastic boats to try.  It was a real festival.   They even had dry suits to borrow.  The kids were initially reluctant, but a friendly ex Welshman Dave, offered to paddle down with us.   So Kira, Demelza, and I suited up and gingerly paddled out into the current.  It looked quite fast and intimidating.  It felt strange initially: we’ve only really paddled the Avon, and this water was totally clear, with clean rocky shores, and steep banks (no mud 🙂 ) covered in pine trees.   Canada!  like I imagined.

We got down without tipping out, but were all still a little nervous, I asked Kira “do you want to go in the ‘friendly race'”, to which she replied emphatically “Yeah, why wouldn’t I”.  There were 7 of  us all up, mostly guys probaly older than me, on a short fast course with 5 downstream gates and 2 upstream (average of two timed runs, but no gate penalties).  Demezla and Kira were the only kids.  They paddled very neatly down the course: The other Dave,  the guy running the club,  looked at me and said “Gee, they have obviously been well taught…” .  I explained that the Swan Canoe club didn’t have water like this, but did have a professional coach.    I did my runs , and managed a clean 2nd run (no gate judges anyway so no pressure) .  It felt so good to paddle whitewater, especially this clean cold water.  As I crossed the finish line for the 2nd run something happend and I capsized (‘thats cold’), … it took a while to force the paddle into the setup position: I managed the 2nd roll, and then… kept rolling.   Drysuits are great!  Demelza won the kids section (beating Kira), incredibly I won the overall race.    We are in the club and paddling with them each tuesday now (alternating between Alice Lake and the river course).   They are a great & energetic bunch, and we thank them!

Posted in Travel | 3 Comments »

Life in Links

Posted by robjwall on June 2, 2010

We are sadly now packing up to leave Cornwall! That went quick. I have been too lazy to ‘blog’, so here are a few links instead.

When we arrived we all shared these Kayaks and have paddled all the creeks here (including the ‘Frenchmans Creek’).

At Easter we had a big reunion for my parents-in-laws Golden Wedding. Kate has made this into a great book, that you can see online.

One night Demelza and I went to Penzance to see an IMS concert. This was probably the best chamber music I have heard. The Barbirolli quartet were incredible. There was Scumann and Schubert on the programme. I think Schumann is my favourite composer. I will miss the BBC radio 3 tribute day this Sunday to commemerate 200 years since he was born.

Kira, Tarquin and I did a quick week climbing in Provence. One night we arrived late and ended up by chance in the best hotel I have ever been in!

Come spring we got to climb 3 or 4 times at Sennen. I don’t seem to be pushing the grades here – but the kids are! They have been enjoying the excellent rock and fine HS And VS routes!

Melz and I had a long weekend in Wales, Coasteering, Climbing and doing a ropes course (like this one) with our friends

Kate and I escaped the kids for two great nights in St Ives. Its a stunning town to look at with lots of great food. I’ll try and post some of Kate’s great pictures later.

Just when I thought we had a free weekend, Kate’s brother Hugh made the RU final for Saracens – so we got to see all the family at that event!

We have been lucky enough to get permission to mountain bike some of the tracks here Its great fun after rain! In Canada (next week!) we all plan to have bikes. My other favourite ride is to Porthlevin which takes about 2 hours return (with a good coffee in the middle at the small Cafe up the hill. They make a *really* good cup). I love my bike.

With such a short time in Europe, I have traveled quite a bit, but really the Lizard (all 20km from here) has subtle beauty everywhere. Some people never seem to leave. Maybe this is the reason. I think there is a lot more to do here than we have too: surfing at Porthleven, riding, coasteering, gliding, bouldering (Logan Rock, Zennor?)….. The climbing is not up to the quality of the Lands-End Granite. But thats only an hour away. Two hours the other way and you can be on a ferry to France. Five hours on a train and you are in London. Which is what we do this weekend! enroute to Squamish🙂

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Looped The Lizard at Last

Posted by robjwall on June 1, 2010

After quite a few distractions (like climbing in France again, and many family parties) Kira and I completed our “Loop the Lizard” walk last week. The final section was one of the best: Church Cove to Kynance, on the West of the Lizard, along the wonderful remote and rugged Predanack Cliff (past the site where Marconi is claimed to have made the first radio transmission across the Atlantic ). My other favourite part is Gillan to Porthallow on the East. See Map So Kira has walked from Gillan to Porthleven. If biking and paddling is allowed I have made it into a loop. The final paddle the Helford last week was especially memorable (with Kira, and my brother in law Jonney). I have never seen flatter or more pleasant paddling conditions as our return from the ‘Ferryboat’ to Merthen Quay.

Posted in Walking | 1 Comment »