There is something quite special about the Lake District. With all the lakes offering so much scope for paddling and kayak training. Wind and water conditions can change so quickly. It’s only two hours drive away from home, making it a great place to train all year round. For building up my distance and stamina a good day out at Ullswater is always a good choice. I have been on here where the wind has picked up so quickly. Going from a mirror glass finish to something that puts all your paddling skills to the test. At around 9 miles long it is also a good one for building up your stamina.
A stay at Park Foot Holiday Park in Pooley Bridge provides a great launch site down at the beach. From here we often paddle up to Glenridding for lunch then back down towards the pub at Pooley Bridge. With boats on the grass banking, a drink or two offers us reflection on what is always an enjoyable day. Another drink or two and our reflective process turns into a late afternoon of side splitting story telling so we head back to the boats. Seal launching off the side and paddle like hell to get back up the river against the flow.
Corey’s first Lake paddle
It’s here we took my Grandson Corey on his first lake camp and paddle weekend. An opportunity for me to offer him some relaxed kayak training. Seven years old at the time, I’d bought him a Dagger Dynamo. I love taking him on paddles. He is always totally relaxed. Apart from when I put him through his self rescues and tip him in the water.
We spotted something white in the distance on one of our lake paddles but couldn’t work out what it was. As we paddle across making various guesses, neither of us expect to see a truck. Luckily no one was hurt, when this came off the road a couple of days before we arrived.
As we head up to Glenridding one summers day, Mark spots a Bee drowning in the water. Quickly scooping it up on his paddle. The soaked little fella lay drying off on the bow of the boat until safely deposited on a tree at the side of the lake.
There is something about nature. That simplicity of life when you are away from noise and distractions, that just does something for me. Recreational therapy. A connection I cannot find anywhere else. This feeling just grabs me and I feel so humbled to have the privilege of enjoying it and now sharing it with others through our group or through my coaching and training.
Another great paddle is Coniston. Paddling from the foot of the lake up to the top and following the river as far as we can. The lake itself is around 5 miles in length and drains to the sea at its southerly point via the River Crake.
The conditions can vary greatly on the lake but the river is beautiful as the flow of the water closes in around you. Bulrushes swaying at the side, the water is so crystal clear and you enjoy a stunning view of the fells ahead. It was on this trip we met the lovely Fran, a fellow Crohn’s sufferer like myself and an experienced paddler for whom I will always have respect.
Derwentwater is another favourite, with many happy paddles on the lake, parking at the National Trust car park near the Boulder Stone. The walk around Derwentwater is a must every time we go up to Keswick. A good 10 mile walk with amazing views, normally followed by a long evening in the Dog & Gun afterwards.
Sea trips will always be my passion but for a quick getaway, some kayak training or a quiet weekend on our own, the lakes have that pull.