20 January 2007

Heading out into the Gales

No, the above picture is nothing to actually do with me; it was just taken off the BBC Lancashire website's photo section as I thought it illustrated this post rather well. I have, however, experienced some disruption because of the fierce winds which struck the region on Thursday. A tree blew over at college and landed on the cancer shed (aka the shelter for all the students who smoke), totally crushing it and putting it out of action for a while as it has to be raised to the ground and rebuilt. So I suppose in some ways the demise of the tree could lead to some people thinking about their health more and quit smoking - it might not be the actual smoking that kills them, but the objects which might fall whilst they're doing the smoking. How does this cause me some disruption? you way ask as I don't smoke. Well because of where the tree has fallen has meant that one of the ways I walk to most of my Business Studies lessons, and some Geography lessons for that matter, has had to be closed meaning a longer route to the classes has to be made.

The wind has also caused me some problems in a morning when I'm out on my bike delivering my papers, and earning money for kayaking kit as it has been blowing me all across the roads as well as blowing me back up hills when I try to freewheel down them. Whilst on my bike, delivering the papers, in the early hours of the morning the roads are empty and all I can here is the creaking of the trees as they strain in the wind. It is hard to imagine what the wood damage will be to some of the local rivers, especially those in the Lune Valley that have a fair few trees in them at the best of times, maybe some more portages will have to be made by the paddlers who decide to head out in this weather.

Talking of heading out in this weather, I was out in my boat today, not dodging trees lodged across any grade four rapid, but on the canal as an assistant for my dad who is running a beginners course for the canoe club. I thought the wind may have been a considerable problem on the morning's paddle, but it didn't seem to bad. Only a couple of times was I left to setting a ferry angle to make any headway in the cross winds. I think all those out on the canal enjoyed their first real taste of paddling when not surrounded by warm, chlorinated swimming pool water. I suppose that is an encouraging sign as of late not that many new members have joined, and stuck with the club.

As for future paddling plans: I am trying to get some sort of a respectable group together to head up into the Lune Valley to assess the tree damage and see if it is possible to make a descent of the Roeburn and maybe even the Hindburn seen as we are that way. Failing that I may have to head down to Wales to have a taste of a 16 cumec release on the Tryweryn.

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

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