28 September 2006

Something to ponder...

Just something to sum up what's been going on recently, with four A Level subjects to study and all the coursework associated with them as well, Universities to look around and apply for and job and gap year applications to fill in everything's got a bit confusing lately and some light relief is much needed. Maybe even a picture of "a bunny with a pancake on its head!!!" I suppose the lack of paddling, which usually provides me with the light relief, has added to all the confusion.

Planned return to the wet stuff: Friday at the swimming pool with the last session of the three week beginners course I've been running and organising (this isn't really proper paddling) and hopefully, Sunday if there is enough water in the Rothay to bimble on down it.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

27 September 2006

The last Twelve Hours

At 8:10pm I put the following message on the UK River Guidebook and Canoe Cafe forums.

I am in my second year at college and am studying A Level Business Studies. Through out this year I have to carry out a feasability study for my coursework; I have chosen to look at setting up a Canoe Guiding Company. As part of this coursework you have to carry out realistic market research using specifically a questionnaire. I have put a questionnaire together using FormSite.com and would very much appreciate it if you could spend a couple of minutes filling it in.

The questionnaire can be found here.

Thanks in advance,
Just twelve hours later and I am sure that I have had the biggest information overload on record. So far my email account has recieved forty-one responses and this has meant I have had to record each questionnaire's results in an Excel spreadsheet and then clear the results from Form Site as I only have storage capacity for ten complete questionnaires without having to pay. I suppose this healthy response is a good thing as the market research in my feasability study will be very realistic, which gives me a true representation of the market and therefore a valid conclusion can be drawn from all this information.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

25 September 2006


I started out today on the long road to independence.

I suppose the previous statement could be seen to work on many levels as I had my first driving lesson today, thus enforcing the fact that I am on the road and driving. With me starting to learn to drive this also means I will have a lot more independence to get myself to the top of rivers without the assistance of parents or paddling chums once I've passed. Therefore I am on the long, because I have a lot more driving lessons to come before I am ready for my test, road to independence, as I will be able to drive myself to rivers once I've passed my test.

Once I can drive I'll be on the look out for the ultimate paddling wagon to get me around the country and I think many people will agree with me here when I say it has to be a VW Transporter. With the Transporter I can get myself up to Scotland, Wales or Devon for weekend paddling missions with my boat inside and a ready made place to sleep, in the back with my boat. I can then get myself to the AJ Weekend or the Liquid Life Festival maybe even Si Westgarth's Gene 17 Adventure Paddler's weekend at the Royal Dart Country Park, that would be nice.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

23 September 2006

Lancaster Canal

I've just got back (well not just got back - I've had to sort my kit out, have something to eat and fill in my coaching logbook) from the canal where I was in charge of a short trip for all the people who have been attending the sessions in the swimming pool.

The four-and-a-bit hour session went really well. I got the six students fitted out in the best boats the club had on offer which they could fit in before sizing them up for helmets and buoyancy aids. Then it was a case of routing through a pile of nylon decks to find the ones with the least amount of holes in and which would fit their boats. Once this was done I was about to give the briefing and start getting them on the water when I realised they could all do with a paddle. So it was back into the club's container to route these out. Now I could give the briefing, so I did.

It was then just a case of heading down to the canal side, en-route there was a busy road to cross and a flight of stairs to descend with the boats before I even got round to demonstrating getting in and out (that should really be on and off or it sounds like I was making them swim) the canal. It took a while to get the six students on the water but we were soon on our way with them ricocheting of each bank but as we gradually progressed along the canal so did their paddling. Near the end of the session at least 80
% of the students had improved to somewhat near-perfect straight lines. To liven the session up a bit I introduced a basket ball for them to chase and when they all got a bit bored of this I got them all rafted up in one long line, like a crocodile, with just the person at the front paddling for the whole line. One last game I tried out on the students, at the turning point of the trip, was musical boats. It seemed to work quite well, but I could only really do it with six people as I only had six floating objects. Anyhow once this was over it was just a case of paddling back the way we had come to the get out.

We got on the canal beneath the bridge by the public telephone symbol and headed north to the motorway bridge.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

Early Morning Blues

I'm sat at the computer, listening to my media player on 'Play Shuffled' after getting back from my papers, bored so I just started tapping out some musings for my blog to pass the time.

There hasn't been much paddling recently for me. Other people have been - what with Scotland seeing some pretty nice levels this week and the Wet West Weekend two weekends ago - but I've not been getting out on the fluffy white stuff. I've been plagued with excessive work loads at college, university open days and other things which prevent paddling.

I was in the pool last night as the head coach of the local canoe club's beginners session. This was the second session of three and many of the pupils seems to be coming on nicely - who knows they may be bagging some nice rivers this winter when they start heading away from the pool to some proper water. I hope to get some personal first descents in myself this year on some Lake District classics. I'm bored of running the same things, I want to push my paddling and explore new lines.

Anything else happening? I got my passport yesterday from the nice people at the Foreign Office or wherever it comes from. This takes me ever closer to finalising my year out plans for France. I've just got to get my Level 2 Assessment done (28th October) and pass my driving test (my first lesson is on Monday - so I wouldn't go out on the roads of Leyland around elevenish if you pride yourself on your car's prestine body work). I could also do with a job, apart from my paper rounds, so I can get a reference on my application form for my year out; I need three.

Well I better go. I've got a canal to go and paddle. Fun!!! This is one of the two outdoor sessions I am running for the course that is going on at the pool on a Friday night. I think I've got six students today and then eleven more on the 7th October. So I can at least get what I am doing sorted with a smaller group then just repeat it all again on the 7th with the bigger group.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

19 September 2006

A Mountain of Forms

I was just about to turn the internet off, then I thought I would put something together for the site. I've just finished a mammoth form filling in session, which has run from 5pm till now. The forms have ranged from big to even bigger and there has only been three. One has been my UCAS application for University, which has required emails to several people to check on details, another was my application to PGL for my year out and the third, my application to Acorn Adventure, also for my year out. Well, the last one was just an email to Acorn with my details and they'll get back to me to fill out another form!!!

Planned return to the wet stuff: Friday at the swimming pool for the second of three beginners sessions I'm organising and Saturday at the canal for the first outdoor session for the people that are attending the courses at the pool.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

16 September 2006

An update for updates sake

Well, not alot has happened around here for a while. I went back to college on Monday and the work has been coming through thick and fast from my lecturers. So that's nice of them!!! My paddling life has stalled at the moment what with no water when I can go paddling and water when I can't. There are no plans for this weekend to get out on the moist stuff though I wish there was because I'm missing the water.

Last night I logged a couple more coaching hours for my Level 2 with an hour pool session for the canoe club's beginners course. I was actually in charge of this beginners course (I have the power) for the canoe club so I also had to give a bit of a talk before getting them all sorted with boats, paddles and spray decks. It wasn't the best talk, well I don't really do good talks, but it wasn't helped by having to do it in the corner of a bar instead of the actual room we had booked. Anyway the show went on and I managed. The coaching hours I logged last night took me closer to thirty hours of logged experience, which is nice as you only actually need twenty, but the more the better I say. I've got my Level 2 Assessment coming up in six weeks so that's something to look forward to.

On a parting note I'll leave you with this, which dropped into my college email account's inbox yesterday. A photo of me, taken last year in July, with the Deputy Principle of my college after recieving my student of the year award for 3D Design. It's quite a good achievment considering that this subject requires forty pages of coursework all on A3 Paper and I was out paddling most weekends so I didn't have that much time to get it done.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

07 September 2006

Whittling away the summer

Well, the summer holidays are coming to an end and the last couple of weeks have got a bit boring. So today, the afternoon looked promising and after a quick glance at the tide tables on the BBC I was off down to the tidal section of the Ribble to pass the afternoon. It was only a short walk through the terraced streets of Lower Penwortham and I was on the Ribble Way, a busy footpath which runs parallel with the river and takes you down to Walton Summit or over the river into Avenham Park and then on into Preston. Anyway I headed down the footpath for a while then heading off road, across the grass, and down through the shrubbery at the side of the river. I chucked my boat down, got in it, ratcheted the backrest up, pumped the footbag up, popper my deck over the cockpit combing and pushed off. I slid down the muddy bank, through a bush and landed in the river with a splash. A walker on the Preston side of the river turned and looking, then carried on walking with a bemused expression.

The tidal section of the Ribble isn't anything spectacular. It's just a mass of fairly fast moving flatwater, which does lead down to some tidals rapids under Penwortham Footbridge. The rapids aren't up to Falls of Lora or The Bitches standard, but it's my local spot and it gives me something to paddle when I'm bored. I didn't just get on the river to paddle the rapids under the footbridge, and if I did I couldn't have used them just yet as the tide hadn't dropped sufficiently for them to start forming so I just messed around on the flat trying to cartwheel and bow or stern stall.

As you can see in the picture above I did get the boat vertical, to a degree. In fact I got it vertical countless times. I didn't stick any bow or stern stalls long enough to read a book or anything, in fact I don't think you could have classed any of my stalls as a stall as I usually stalled the boat in a cartwheel and went straight over before managing to get the boat balanced. However, my cartwheels are coming on, I got a number of three-ended cartwheels and that is using both a double-pump and a reverse double-pump.

No matter what people say solo-boating on flatwater isn't the greatest fun [I could see a nice solo-boating session down a grade three river would be good as it would feel that bit harder as there is not that safety net if the s#~& hits the fan] so I got out of my boat a couple of times. Once was on the island which has formed in the eddy of the Train Bridge and whilst on this island I found hundreds, well maybe not that many, skimming pebbles. A couple of these stones skimmed so well I couldn't count the bounces. Arrrgh... what is it about being on a pebble beach and having to skim them flat stones? No matter what age, you just have to pick up a stone and try to skim it. I also got out on the Penwortham side of the river to have a chat with my photographer, my mum!!! After a quick chat I got back on the water and headed downstream to the rapids under the footbridge, which were now forming as the tide had dropped sufficiently.

I must have planned this session just right as the rapids were the sweatest I have ever seen them. The river was just high enough to have some decent depth, but it wasn't too high to wash them out. Anyway, I found two decent sized features for a play. One was on the upstream side of the footbridge. It looked nice, but it just wasn't on, however the second feature, below the footbridge was just sick. Ok. It wasn't that great, but it held a boat and I could spin in it.

Once I had exhausted the 'sick' play feature I moved on down the rapids to the little stream which flows into the Ribble, popped my deck, waded up the stream and hiked my boat up the muddy hill back onto Leyland Road. As I shouldered my boat and headed off for home the school bus for Priory Sports and Technology College, my old school, passed me and I could see the pupils turning their heads to see if that person they passed, me, was really carrying a blue lump of plastic. That'll be me next week. Not the guy looking out of a school bus window wondering whether the person we just passed was really carrying a blue lump of plastic, but the guy sat on the school (actually it'll be college) bus on the way home from a day of studies. Can't wait!!!

More pictures can be found here and a video of the 'sick' play feature can be found here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

05 September 2006



Well with the move over to eBlogger the site is now empty of content as it's all been lost with the destruction of the old site and anyway if it hadn't been destroyed I wouldn't have put it back on the net as I couldn't be bothered to be honest.

Anyway I've got some pictures together for a bit of a nostalgic treat for those that kept up with the old site. Enjoy :-)

Youth Freestyle Series 06

Scotland Easter 06

Washburn May 06

Ribble June 06

Washburn August 06

More pictures that appeared on freewebs.com/rockratrobinson can be seen here and I will continue to add to them as time goes on.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

04 September 2006



This is my new site. It's easier to manage compared to the old freewebs.com/rockratrobinson. I've not got as much free reign with this one, but it'll be less time consuming to update so that means there is more time for boating. Keep checking back to read my updates, or sign up for the RSS Feed so you are automatically updated with new posts.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...