Sea Kayaking Cumbria: Barrow & St Bees

Barrow sea kayaking

Cumbria provides some great, though perhaps less well known, venues for sea kayaking.  This past weekend saw Steve taking private clients out round the North end of Walney Island following the fast flowing tide through the North channel past the nature reserve.  They were surprised by its unpopulated and wild nature even though being close to a large town.  Barrow provides many other excellent venues for a day out (image with Piel Castle) whilst Cumbria as a whole has plenty of good coast for sea kayaking:  St Bees has the only cliff coastline between the Great Orme and the Mull of Galloway and is festooned with cliff nesting birds in spring and summer; the huge sandy expanse of Morecambe Bay and the many river estuaries on the coast provide for fast tides and several tidal bores as the incoming water is concentrated in narrow spaces; the North Solway has 6 knot currents on spring tides to carry the adventurous northwards to return on the equally brisk ebb.  These and other Cumbrian paddling sites await those interested in broadening their kayaking horizons.  If this appeals to you Steve will be happy to advise and provide any support you need – just call 07796 213817 or email for a chat.

By |October 11th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Sea Kayaking Cumbria: Barrow & St Bees

Atlantic grey seals

atlantic grey seal

Last weekend saw Steve taking two private clients out sea kayaking from Roa Island with a specific request for wildlife encounters.  Paddling from Roa to Piel Island and then onto Walney Island meant we came across many birds including eider, dunlin, sanderling, curlew, sandwich terns and various gulls, though the highlight of the day was being surrounded by big atlantic grey seals which came to investigate us, nudging the boats and swimming beside us.

Atlantic grey seals (halichoerus grypus) are one of the UK’s two indigenous seal species (there are 33 species worldwide divided into 3 family groups).  Greys are one of 18 species of phocid seals which are often referred to as ‘true seals’ and ‘earless seals’ on account of their lack of a prominent external pinna.  Phocid seals are characterised by their slug-like appearance on land and the fact they use blubber for insulation as opposed to fur.  Atlantic greys are big animals with the bulls being up to 310kg, they join together on beaches in colonies and the males compete over the females.  Pups tend to be born in Autumn and Winter and have the classic white, furry weaner coat which harks back to camouflage in an Arctic past.  This coat prevents them swimming effectively for the first 2 to 3 weeks of life and makes them vulnerable on the beach both to external disturbance and from adult seals – particularly if they stampede for the water when spooked by humans.

It is very important with marine mammals in general to take care when approaching them so as to not disturb them or be perceived as a threat.  Steve was careful to advise his clients to stay well clear of the single mother with a young pup on the beach and to then drift and allow the inquisitive animals to approach – which they did in numbers!

If you’d like more information on seals or to engage with wildlife from your sea kayak please contact us for support.  Steve is both experienced and knowledgeable and will be pleased to help you.

By |September 6th, 2021|Environment, Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Atlantic grey seals

Orkney sea kayak trip

Orkney sea kayak trip

Steve’s next sea kayak trip is to the Orkney Islands with paddling days from the 27th September to 1st October.  There’s also the opportunity for some free additional days as a client on Sea Leader assessments (depending on competence) after the paddling days.  The trip is definitely running, barring unforeseen issues getting in the way, there are still a couple of places available if you’re interested in joining.

As well as away trips and personal guiding and coaching days Steve is also now putting on his normal range of courses for those seeking qualifications in outdoor activities.  He’s doing this whilst still being very mindful of the Covid situation.  We’ll still be being vigilant to protect ourselves and clients from exposure to the virus and have no intention of letting our guard down.

By |September 2nd, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Orkney sea kayak trip

Shetland Sea Kayak trip

Steve is just back from a fabulous sea kayak trip to Shetland which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.  The sun shone most of the time and we were able to paddle ten different pieces of coastline including spectacular highlights at Eshaness, Hillswick, Ronas Voe, Sand Voe and, as a grand finale, a stunning day out with a view over Muckle Flugga.  As ever, Shetland supplements such excursions with fabulous wildlife: we had wonderful, up-close views of many species of flora and fauna rare or absent on mainland UK both from our kayaks and whilst exploring on land.

We met lots of friendly and helpful folk during our time in the islands, in particular, Claire at Braewick did a great job of looking after our camping needs, whilst George at Noonsbrough was very kind and helpful as we tried to find a suitable parking and launching point- even making a dovetailed wooden momento which he gave to Steve after our paddle.

If you’d like to get a flavour of our Northern adventures click through the images on the left, all taken on the trip.  If you are interested in future trips to Shetland, sea kayak trips in general or any of the other adventure excursions Steve offers, please get in touch and he’ll do his best to help you.

By |June 28th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Shetland Sea Kayak trip

Cumbria Sea Kayaking

Steve’s first paddling course since the easing of Covid restrictions was a three day Sea Kayak Leader training course using St Bees, Walney Island and Roa Island.  The course culminated with a great day for everyone at Roa Island, starting with a launch into a flooding 10m spring tide flow and surfing on the wave crossing the jetty by the lifeboat station.

A serendipitous encounter with Mark Tomlinson of MT Headspace led to him filming us with his drone and the production of the adjoining video clip.  Depending on your screen resolution it can be played picture in picture or full screen in HD.

Steve’s next Sea Kayak Leader course is the 11th & 12th May on the Cumbrian coast.  If you’re interested in this course or sea kayaking at any level please get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help.

By |April 30th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Cumbria Sea Kayaking

Shetland sea kayaking

Shetland sea kayaking

If you’re already a sea kayaker and are looking for your next adventure with support, Steve has put on two weeks of sea kayaking in Shetland in mid-June.  Shetland is Steve’s favourite place to go sea kayaking as the combination of its geology and position in the North Atlantic has led to a intricate coastline with countless caves, arches, stacks, tunnels and cliffs.  To add to this is the sense of remoteness and the stunning wildlife: you’re guaranteed to see amazing sea birds with the chance to spot some very rare species.  Otters and seals are common and porpoises, dolphins, minke whales and orcas may come our way.  These weeks are suitable for competent sea kayakers; if you’re interested please get in touch with Steve.  Further sea kayak weeks will be advertised shortly for the early Autumn.

By |March 29th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Shetland sea kayaking

The tides of March

The tides of March

The government is indicating that professional, organised outdoor sport and activity may be able to recommence from March 29th.  Clearly, any such activity will need to be very mindful of the ongoing Covid-19 situation.  Steve is listing courses from this date starting with a Sea Kayak Leader training course as it coincides with spring tides.  However, he does realise that we are all out of practice so has put on further Sea Leader training courses in April and May as well as the attendant Coastal Navigation course.  As per the earlier post the assessment for this award is now significantly changed; Steve has highlighted dates on which he can run assessments, though encourages anyone needing an alternative date to get in touch so he can help.  All Steve’s provision will strictly adhere to Covid-19 rules and procedures to ensure everyone’s wellbeing.

By |March 7th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on The tides of March

British Canoeing leadership assessment courses

Advanced Sea Kayak Leader Training

From January 4th 2021 British Canoeing have changed the format of their professional paddlesport leadership assessments to reduce the assessment time, though they have also reduced the ratio so that only 2 people maximum may be assessed at once – and they are encouraging 1:1. The new system allows a more bespoke approach so that assessments can be arranged with and tailored to candidate’s requirements and diaries. Whilst Steve will advertise available dates for moderate water and advanced water assessments in canoeing, sea kayaking and white water kayaking, you can also contact him for alternatives that are more suitable for you.

Most courses can be run anywhere there are suitable conditions, though travel and necessary accommodation outside of Steve’s local area is likely to incur extra cost unless he advertises assessments at specific non-local venues e.g. for Advanced Sea Leader the assessment may be available immediately after a training course run further afield where conditions are more consistently available.  Advanced canoe and sea leader assessments will still include a night exercise, advanced sea will further require a theory examination.

By |February 19th, 2021|Canoe, Sea Kayak, White Water Kayak|Comments Off on British Canoeing leadership assessment courses

Sea kayaking the Cumbrian Riviera

Private sea kayak guiding in Cumbria

St. Tropez? Well, not quite, though paddling back into Whitehaven harbour at dusk with a stunning sunset might make you wonder.  A great day out was had all the way around St Bees Head to Fleswick Bay and back with a private client in early November sunshine.  We had spectacular scenery, exciting seas under the cliffs at high water and the whole place to ourselves.  We were also pleasantly surprised to find that Whitehaven outer harbour now boasts a new launching ramp for small craft, making it much easier to get to the water either by carrying boats from the adjacent parking or by using a trolley.

Steve offers private coaching and guiding in sea kayaking, canoeing, white water kayaking, mountain walking, climbing and caving.  If you are interested in trying a new activity or developing your skills he’ll be pleased to hear from you and happy to help.

By |November 8th, 2020|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Sea kayaking the Cumbrian Riviera

Sea Kayak Leader assessment

Sea Kayak Leader Assessment

Steve is putting on an additional Sea Kayak Leader assessment course for the 28th & 29th November based in Cumbria.  There are enrolments on the course but spaces are still available.  The details are up on the website (click here), though please get in touch for more comprehensive information and to discuss the course with Steve.

UPDATE: Due to the latest Covid-19 lockdown we will not be able to run this Sea Kayak Leader assessment on the dates above.  We’re currently looking at rescheduling the course once we’re permitted to operate again and will post the new dates as soon as they’re available.  In the meantime, if you are interested in this course please get in touch for a discussion and so that we know what dates will work best for you too.

By |October 28th, 2020|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Sea Kayak Leader assessment
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