Canoe Tripping in the Lake District

With the nights drawing in and the weather turning chilly, I remember mentioning something to my better half "we should spend atleast one weekend away canoeing and one weekend away practicing navigation each month." In summer this was great, but the forecast said rain for the Lake District and the temperatures were hitting minus numbers on the hill with the wind chill. I thought it my be a hard sell, but we were both very excited to get out!

In the weeks previous we had been chatting to some of our friends who live further north and with Kendal Film Festival the same weekend we had planned to go up, we had lots of offers for floor space and friends who wanted to come out and play. Ainsworth Paddles had just sent us a couple of new carbon canoe paddles, we had secured a couple of canoes and a place to sleep - we just had to decide what we wanted to do.

We arrived in Newby Bridge at the south end of Windermere and was quickly reminded of the beauty of the lakes, getting settled in at our campsite we phone a few mates and arranged a paddle on windermere the following morning. Greeted by glorious weather and only a small breeze, a plan was hatched to paddle out to Ramp Island, just south of the private Belle Island and the hawkshead ferry route. With a bag full of food, a Kelly Kettle and a tarp, we set off.

A pleasant paddle and a great place to visit, you get views others seldom see from a canoe and we visited a place in the lakes untouched by tourists. Even with a slight chill in the air, the sun was out and the hills looked great.

The following day we explored the Stonethwaite valley, leaving Rosthwaite to follow Langstrath beck and tell tales of previously paddling our way down. From the bottom of the valley we headed to the base of Cam Crag for some lunc and impromptu caving, before taking a less trodden route to Tarn at leaves, which in the low cloud and constant rain was a perfect test for our navigation, the tarn was very peaceful and I'm sure we would have spent more time up there if it wasn't getting a bit darker and the weather was a bit more pleasant. The steep descent soon dropped into the valley and we were soon back at the car to warm up and head to the closest pub with a fire.

We have another trip planned for December and even a canoe trip in January, not ground breaking but possibly 'Icebreaking!!' Making sure we have one weekend a month kind of forces you out, but it is never a chore, or dissapointing.

By Jay Oram