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Ice breaking (or a cracking trip on the canal!)


For December’s rather chilly ‘Club Sunday’ what better way of keeping warm that a nice paddle up the canal and back down the river?

So twenty of us trooped up to the canal, carefully seal launching to avoid getting too much of that cold water anywhere near us, and off we went. Of course the problem with a very cold Sunday is that canals have a nasty and inconvenient habit of freezing over – as we found out about 5 minutes up the canal when the water started to get a bit crunchy! An very quickly went from crunchy to just plain solid – in places over an inch thick!!

Sadly the nuclear powered Russian Icebreakers couldn’t get up the canal, so it was down to brute force and supposed ‘tchnique’ to forge a way through the pack-ice. Lots of people had a go at ice-breaking – crashing boats into the ice works depending on how thick it is; spearing the ice with a paddle is ok, but quickly becomes knackering; getting your bow under and breaking up through it is ok depending on your boat; bobbing up and down so the waves start to crack the ice is sneaky but helps – all of which were tried as the relay ice-breaking forged a path through through the arctic wasteland between Sowerby and Luddendenfoot. Although, the funniest was Antia – taking a good run up she launched the Mamba at the ice pack- coming to a (rubber duck worthy?) crashing halt as the ice won!

After that excitement the return down the river was fairly uneventful and rounded off with a nice play on the course.

What is Club Sunday? It’s simply an informal session at the Club for all members to get a chance to paddle over the winter (in the light!) There are coaches on hand if anyone wants there input and let less experience paddlers get out on the water, but the main aim is just to get out and have fun. If you’ve not been down yet then Club Sunday is on the first Sunday of the month right through the winter.

Les Ford

Photo's copyright John Rushworth at Photo Eye (www.photoeye.co.uk)