Number 225 / November 2010


Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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backpacking - there is the added pride in being able to travel to another place carrying all one needs (or, in the case of some of our participants, almost all our needs). Steve's organisation and attention to detail (including a written risk assessment) ensured that the Windermere expedition was a resounding success, with a very healthy turnout, and that a good time was had by all.



We gathered at the appointed point at the Lakeside Centre (Google Street View snap of the relevant gate provided) and we were all pretty much ready by the appointed time. This included 13 boats. Winds were light but adequate to waft us up to the lunch spot, just beyond Ferry House on the western shore of the lake. After a fairly leisurely lunch we set off for the all-important stop at Waterhead for a visit to the cafe on the steamer pier, newly refurbished after last year's floods.

The National Trust campsite at Low Wray has become seriously commercial since I last visited two years ago, when the Autumn Expedition last called. Tepees have sprouted all over and the group sites have been shifted back from the water's edge, to allow prime sites to be rented to wealthier punters. So, instead of camping in the wonderful woodland, we were consigned to the top of a small hill not far from the campsite entrance, which seemed like about a mile from the landing place. Ellen and I lugged all our camping gear there in one trip, including a short cut that involved ploughing through a swamp and over stiles. A few hardy souls did the same, but a chap camping at the landing beach most helpfully shuttled back and forth a couple of times in his Land Rover with much of the gear. Some people even had land-based backup, but I won't dwell on that because of the welcome contributions they made to the evening.


Rain was forecast and Steve had taken the precaution of getting as many people as possible to bring tarpaulins and a suitable shelter was erected in the lee of our hill in anticipation of the onslaught. Meanwhile Ellen and I went for a walk down to the lakeshore beyond Wray Castle and on our way back were able to examine this extraordinary Gothic pile that has lain empty since the last tenant left some 5 years ago. Dr Dawson, who built it with his wife's money in 1840, clearly hadn't had the plans checked out by her, as she refused to live there! For more information about this bizarre building see the Visit Cumbria website.

During the evening everybody gathered in the shelter and a very convivial time was had, while the rain lashed down outside. This was due in large part to all present having found room for refreshments in their provisions for the night and Julie providing barbecue, sausages and marshmallows.




Japanese tourists enjoying the splendour of autumnal Bowness.

Sunday was rather damp and windless; it took until almost lunchtime to reach Bowness where we landed on the little beach north of Cockshott Point. We weren't nearly as wet as the party who stopped on their way north two years ago, but there was still debate about the social acceptability of sitting on the cafe's chairs in wet gear.

The wind dropped still further in the afternoon and it was paddling more or less the whole way back to Lakeside from there (except for one person, who shall remain nameless, who shamelessly summoned his wife to collect him from Bowness!).


OCSG Local Meets (DaveS)

In the Solway Dory workshop Dave and I often spend our coffee break musing about canoe sailing and recently we have been applying our thoughts into how the OCSG can increase the active membership. By active membership I mean members who regularly attend OCSG events. The OCSG is a national club with members spread throughout the country and it provides a calendar of events to enable members to sail in the company of other canoe sailors. This is important, as sailing in company is fun, it helps members to learn from each other to improve their skills, it provides a safer environment in which members can have adventures and generally it promotes the sport of