Tuesday June 18th 2019
by Richard Tynymaes
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Picture this? A fun sea kayak journey around Eigg….

Our trip started on a Saturday evening. Ibs, Liz and myself met on a campsite a little North of Arisaig. A small libation and a giant OS map facilitated the planning for our trip. Weather was fair as we got ready on Sunday morning for our first crossing of the trip and over to Eigg. Kit on, ready to leave I endured my first mini accident, shutting   my thumb in the van door! Never mind, “good enough to paddle” said the Dr. and Physio. (As I cried) and the first hour slipped by, fuelled by excitement and the stunning view of Eigg…

 Eigg stands alone, stark.

Dark silhouette, brooding sentinel,

An Old Master….

 The second hour felt like two! Possibly (just possibly)…last nights ‘libation’ may have been a little more than we thought? By the third hour we could see progress.  Eventually landing on the North East shore for lunch. Very soon after, Ibs was heard to say; “well, that’s a big bird” as a glorious Sea Eagle lugubriously flapped by on giant, moth like wings. The Sound of Rum gave us a busy Otter going about his chores and stunning views of the Rum Coolin. The Sound also gave access to our campsite Camus Sciotaig. (21km). Guarded by wild hills and with views to Rum, we camped amongst yellow Iris (Liz’s daffodils) and above a beach of white sand. It was difficult to leave our beach fire but an early night was needed.

Rarely, do I feel such such reluctance to leave a place. But the paddle down the West Coast of Eigg was spectacular! Giant cliffs, another Eagle and the promise of a bacon butty at the end of the section made for a special time.

Her ancient rock holds fast,

In a living sea, changing colour,

With brush strokes of the sun.

Eating BLT and chips whilst sitting in the sun sure ain’t roughing it! But who cares? And I met my second accident. Whilst eating lunch we saw a woman fall. Concerned she might roll down a slope to rocks, I leapt to my feet or what I thought was my feet when in salopettes, only to tumble backwards. The original casualty was fine. I mainly lost my pride. Around 13km today.

With tents set up on a quiet headland, Ibs crept off for a snooze. Being of thoughtful disposition, Liz suggested we wander back to the Community centre to buy a beer for her husband. A ‘wander’ became an adventure amongst the most difficult terrain. But we did deliver beer! And the sunset delivered a red panorama of the Mainland West Coast.

A beautiful morning (again) saw a glassy paddle across to Port Mor, Muck (8km). Porpoise and some difficult to identify dolphin species accompanied our paddle along with views of Muck, Canna, Eigg and the Skye Coolin. Wonderful. But exercise needs feeding? Would the cafe on Muck be open? No! .. But a delightful owner delivered  coffee with freshly baked scone, cream and jam. Gosh, this paddling game is hard!

 And so to the next and my favourite crossing of the trip. Muck to Sanna bay. Around 10 km in sparkling sunshine. With Ardnamurchan lighthouse slightly South of our target, Sanna Bay and a beautiful sweep of hills to the North, the crossing passed quickly.

Sanna Bay is a sweet place on God’s Earth! Guarded by some lively water, we entered the Bay via skerries and expanses of water coloured from emerald green to dark blue.

Brilliance between shadows as clouds cross the sky,

Sea shining, emerald as spring grass,

Changing to the colour of blue-bells.

With rocks of an ancient caldera forming a backdrop, we landed on pristine white sand backed by dunes and machair. The views to the West of Coll and Rum with high cumulus cloud were simply magical.

With ballooning clouds to catch the wind,

Rum hoists his blue-white sail.

Dinner included a starter of freshly caught winkles (note the ‘hunter/gatherer’ in us men?… I think Liz was reading her book) followed by curry and concluded with a chilly sunset in the fresh North West breeze. With a deteriorating forecast we planned a long paddling day to give us a ‘spare’ day, should we need it.

 The next day was cold and overcast. The wind had backed further to the West.  Gone were the beautiful blues of yesterday.

With the squall comes the wind,

Adding white to the palette,

Mixing with silver.

Electric shards against the darkening sky.

Now clouds over loaded, purple heavy with rain

Sweep over Eigg,

Driving the sea to black.

An easy launch soon had us paddling in an interesting and lively sea state. Fortunately, whoever controls the weather had the wind and sea behind our left shoulders and we made good time for an early lunch and much needed coffee at Fascadale Bay. Further on, we turned Rubha Aird Druimnich and to our East we could just see the distant Castle Tioram of Moidart some miles to the East of our position. We were now paddling the same waters used by the ‘Seven Men of Moidart’ who accompanied Bonnie Prince Charlie aboard Du Teillay on his voyage from France to Scotland in 1745. Further on, we rounded Rubha Ghead a Leigh to be met with more fantastic views down Loch Ailort and Loch nan Uamh, separated by Rubha Chaolais and the Penmeanach bothy. Finally making our way past Samalamon Island and into Glenuig Bay. Some 32km today.

And people! Not many but it seemed like crowds after the previous paddling days. At Glenuig we found one of the joys of our trip. True Highland hospitality from the volunteer shop keeper who helped us find somewhere to camp, which generously happened to be in front of her house, to the very busy (not) polling station who we joined for coffee and shortbread. Much laughter! Especially when they heard of my third ‘accident’. ……

 During the course of our trip I had kept in touch with the Coastguard whenever VHF  signals allowed. I phoned home when I could but fone signal had been absent….

I had not tried phoning after landing at Glenuig. My concerned Wife (rightly) phoned the Coastguard to ask if they had heard from us. Coincidentally, as Ibs turned his phone on he received a call from the Coastguard who was checking our position and in response to the call from my Wife. I tried my phone and in this remote Glen, I found full signal!!

 Our new found friends in the polling station chuckled as they quoted Robert Burns;-

Gathering her brows like gathering storm,

Nursing her wrath to keep it warm

Clever, that Rabbie Burns! Liz even managed to take a photo of me next to a very rare and working public phone box. (Nice Girl, Liz!)

Our final day and the Wind had veered to the North. A short carry of heavy boats and we battled our final crossing to Rubha Arisaig and into the Arisaig Skerries. Another beautiful place, rich in wildlife including many Common Seals. It was also our lunch stop. Fine smoked salmon and coffee. ‘Roughing’ it again! The sun came out and accompanied the end of our trip near Bunacaimbe (18km today)

But not quite the end! My family met us on the campsite for a meal and a great evening and ‘sing song’ with both banjo and guitar getting a ‘work out’! . …Watched over by the ever changing colours of Eigg

Through the clouds a window forms.

Alchemy, where the sun goes to rest.

Whilst Eigg stands so stark

(In gathering dark)

Her signature, written Gold on the sea.

Wednesday September 26th 2018
by Dylan Tomlinson
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Polo – Winter 2018

Here’s Toby’s call to arms for the new polo season, now with added NW league entry!

Calling all active paddlers looking for a challenge for the winter!

Are you a beginner looking to move on from forwards & backwards paddling, stability & turning?

Do you have good paddling skills but want to develop further and want to have a combat roll?

Introducing Canoe Polo!

Like a cross between rugby, basketball, & American football – played five-a-side in kayaks. You can dribble, you can tackle, if you get the ball in the net you score!

We’re publicising the start of our new canoe polo season, indoors on Monday nights from 1st October and quickly building towards our first Division 4 North West league game on Saturday 13 October in Liverpool. There’s three more indoor tournaments at Cheadle (15 Dec, 16 Feb), and Stoke on Trent (19 Jan).

First training session is Monday 1st October and all subsequent Mondays to Christmas. We play in the downstairs Priory pool in the Quarry Leisure Centre, Shrewsbury – 7:40pm for 8pm start on the water. The price £8.50 per session with block booking available.

All welcome including beginners – as long as you can paddle & don’t mind getting wet. All polo kit available at the pool. Just bring your enthusiasm, and swimming kit, as well as a short sleeve top.

See below for some action photos & feel free to ask any questions!
Thank you for your time & hope to see you Monday !
See the below video for further info!

SCC Polo Reps (Toby & Dylan, et al)

Thursday April 27th 2017
by Chris Wood
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A trip to the Skerries and a glorious day at the races!

We read about exotic paddling locations overseas and tales of ‘daring do’.. But it’s hard to beat what is on our own doorstep.  Anglesey and a trip to the Skerries never disappoints. The Skerries or better; Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid in Welsh (remember this word and ask Paul for help with pronunciation) lie around 3km from Carmel Head and 13km North of Holyhead. Light (F3 – F5 and dropping) winds from the North and a big smiley sun forecast, Saturday 22nd April was a day for the Skerries!

With small tides and flood beginning around 1400 at the Skerries, a leisurely start with time to play on the way was planned.

We went as a group of five. Two of us, myself and Dave Southern from Shrewsbury CC the others; Paul, Rachel and Ed will be known by some and are true ‘friends’ of SCC.

 GPS track of our route, taken from Paul's watch

GPS track of our route, taken from Paul’s watch

 

chart of skerries trip

A quick call to the Coastguard and our launch was from the pebbly beach at Cemlyn with a plan to take the ebb tide escalator to the Skerries. From the beach we could see some white water at Harry Furloughs rocks, marked by the green Harry Furlong (Harry Furlough) buoy and the first red ‘blob’ on the track.

Now, ‘Harry’ seems to have been a right charmer!

A local character named ‘Harris’ is reputed to have extinguished beacon lights that marked the rocks at Cemlyn, thus wrecking them on the rocks. The rocks were a furlong distance from the shore. Over time the name is supposed to have changed to Harry Furlough (Furlong) Rocks. The stone beacon was changed to a green conical buoy in the late 1960’s.

For us, the ebb tide flowing over the rocks created some fun surf waves in brilliant sunshine. Ever mindful of the ghost of old Harris and his wrecking potential of glass boats. Ed having been previously ‘got’ at this spot!

A trip to the Skerries involves a long ferry glide, punctuated by navigation aids and interesting targets. From Harry Furlough’s the first target is the North  Cardinal buoy of Victoria bank. Top cones pointing up, black over yellow  and flashes V.Q if you are here at night (yes, we do!)

Before the Cardinal marker another fabulous race formed! Rolling, blue waves which the boats scream down in a shower of sparkling spray. No rocks and a safe run-out made this perfect! (second red ‘blob’)

From Victoria bank we pass around 1km North of the islet, West Mouse. With the kayaks pointing North of the Skerries we have completed half the journey when the two navigation markers on Carmel head line up with the beacon on top of West Mouse. Coal Rock is the next Cardinal (South) Marker buoy (cones pointing down, yellow over black, flashes Q6+LFL15s at night)

Picture of Rachel at Coal rock, 'cos she's better looking than us!

Picture of Rachel at Coal rock, ‘cos she’s better looking than us!

As we approached the Skerries another race formed which provided some fun and rock dodging.

Arriving in the peace of the Skerries lagoon is a true joy! We passed a small flotilla of Puffins and we’re now met by many Grey Seals. After all, these are the islands of the ‘bald headed grey seals’ (I’m sure the big one had her eye on Dave?)

skerries lighthouse

For further information and history of the Skerries light, please see:

http://www.photographers-resource.co.uk/A_heritage/Lighthouses/LG2_EW/The_Skerries.htm

lunch at lighthouse

The view from the Skerries is a joy. A full 360 degree panorama which includes mountains, ocean, South Stack,  Isle of Man (but not today) and more tide races! Lunch involved the usual ‘intellectual conversation’ i.e. unremitting pxxs taking and relaxing in warm sunshine.

All too soon the sun went in behind high cloud and sweaty, cooling bodies had to be stirred into action for the return journey using the now flood tide.

A small tide, early in the tidal cycle meant we only needed a small ferry angle and aimed close to West Mouse, it’s white beacon with Wylfa power station behind allowed good transits to check drift.

Arriving at West Mouse and the last but fabulous race formed quickly in steepening, rolling waves. A real bonus towards the end of the day. The final, easy section past a now quiet Harry Furlough’s rocks into Cemlyn ending a glorious paddle with friends in a stunning environment which (today) allowed us to play.

Sorry about the lack of pictures. I sure ain’t no ‘David Bailey’ and I get emotionally attached to my paddle in tide races.  I really should remind folk that these are complex waters and cannot be taken lightly. The speed those Cardinal markers sail away is unbelievable!

The true end of the paddle was marked by a customary beer!

Richard Janes.

 

Saturday September 17th 2016
by Dylan Tomlinson
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Older News

Quarry Pool – March & Rally 2 July – Council vote 13 July

March & Rally to save the Quarry Pool – Saturday 2 July – 11:00 Pride Hill

Don’t let the councillor for Shifnal (TF11) decide to close your pool! Stuart West, Shropshire Council Leisure chief, has gone on the record as saying that Sundorne is only option – before there’s even a cabinet vote: Friday 24 June: http://bbc.in/28UU3RQ – from 17:40, around 2:40 min.

Sign-up & help steward on Saturday – rehersal 18:00 Friday at the top of Pride Hill.

Come & march to the pool on Saturday 2nd July & show your support for the pool.

On 13th July the decision will be taken by Shropshire Council Cabinet, only a few of whom represent Shrewsbury. So, if you want to keep the pool in the town, you should also write to your Shropshire councillor, or the town MP, Daniel Kawczynski before the council takes a decision we might all regret.

Last year there was  successful public meeting in September & the public rally in support of the Quarry pool in October – here’s a summary of what’s been happening.

Here’s more info on the options being drawn up for the future of public swimming pools in Shrewsbury.

River Festival – Sunday 5th June – Thanks to all who helped

Thanks to all who came along to the Quarry and supported Shrewsbury Canoe Club by helping out on land or on the water at the Shrewsbury River Festival. We ran a stand and hired out kayaks on what was a very sunny & busy Sunday.

Sunday April 3rd 2016
by Tom Hyde
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Quarry Swimming Centre

The final decision on the Quarry pool is likely to be made in the coming months, with Shropshire Council’s current preferred option being the closure of the pool and the construction of vastly reduced capacity facilities at the Sundorne Sports Village.

This would decrease pool space, and hence time available for bookings by the club which would be detrimental to both the polo arm of the club but also winter pool sessions.

Since this decision is being made by the County Council, each club member living in Shropshire is therefore asked to write to their own Councillor urging the case for the retention of the Quarry Swimming Centre.

Information about your Councillor can be found here. 

Sunday December 13th 2015
by Dylan Tomlinson
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Quarry Pool update – Christmas 2015

Here’s a short … an update on the Quarry Pool campaign & what you can do to help keep it where it is – especially if you like using wire-wool & caustic soda on a Sunday evening!

After the successful demo & march through town, including our very vocal club treasurer, the Quarry Swimming & Fitness Forum  have been busy. In the past two months, we have:

* Helped almost 2,000 people to complete Shropshire Council’s consultation exercise – their biggest ever response – well done!
* Handed in a 30 page formal response to the council’s ~600 page document on 30 Oct – detailing the many places where the £70,000 report was incomplete, inaccurate, & just plain wrong.
* Asked questions at the council’s Scrutiny Committee 30 Nov about how they’ll respond to the consultation – apparently requiring another 6 weeks of work by them to fill in the gaps on transport, participation, & the econominc impact (glad it was nothing too important)
* Asked more questions at the full Cabinet meeting 9 Dec (following council leader Keith Barrow’s resignation) – about whether participation or financial considerations were paramount?
* Prepared more activities & events for Christmas & the New Year (mark Sunday 24 January now)

Which brings us back to Sunday. QSFF are helping the pool staff give the Quarry a winter deep clean. So bring your elbows, gloves, & enthusiam along on Sunday at 6pm & help get the place ready for all those New Year keep-fit resolutions :-)

Remember – Use it or lose it!

And one last thing – if you are interested in supporting the Shropshire Leisure Community Trust, who run our pools, by becoming a trustee then you can help make sure all Shropshire pools & sports facilities are run for the benefit of the people of Shropshire. The trust recently voted to keep the pool in the Quarry, but the deputy council leader, Steve Charmley, recently tried joining the board quite possibly to seek to overturn that vote…by it seems he may have had a conflict of interest, being as he’s also Shropshire Coucnil’s Leisure portfolio holder.

Cheers,
Dylan

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