One rather wet Sunday morning 5 lads from the North East took up the challenge of canoeing Ullswater from one end to the other. Although it was a bit of a wet start the day just kept on getting better and after 4 1/2 hours paddling we finished in Pooley bridge for a hearty Sunday roast lunch!
So, after a slightly delayed arrival due to the somewhat challenging driving conditions from Glenridding Youth Hostel Ollie, Mark, Chris, Graham & Rich arrived at Glenridding Steamers Pier to start their journey.
Once decked out in safety kit we packed the canoes & got on the water for a quick coaching session on paddling skills (i.e. how to make the canoe go straight!). The lads picked up the skills pretty quick so we took a brief tour around the head of the lake putting their new found skills into practice - starting with paddling under the pier!
Ullswater is an amazing lake to explore with little bays, islands & rivers to discover and with Ross's local knowledge we soon had the lake to ourselves. We found a little river to paddle up with the aim to get as far as possible but with recent heavy rains some of us (no names mentioned!) found the going a bit too challenging and soon we turned around to shoot back down the river at double speed.
We now set out on our journey proper and, passing Glenridding to our left, followed the east shore of the lake towards Pooley Bridge. The scenery here is spectacular with wooded cliffs, little islands and excellent views of the surrounding mountain making us stop and gaze in awe as each new vista came into view.
We reached Norfolk Island with the inspiring & unrestricted view down the lake towards Howtown and 'The Narrows' and took a well earned coffee break munching on some of Ross's home made chocolate biscuits and maple & pecan cookies - yum! Socialising is just as much a part of these trips as the canoeing itself and it was good to sit on an island chatting with such great views surrounding us.
After getting back in the boats (some of us choosing more unorthodox ways of getting on the water - a close shave from falling in the lake!) we headed straight down the lake passing near by the Ullswater Steamer and enjoying riding over her bow waves as she sailed close by.
Upon reaching the Narrows where the lake gets particularly deep and (not unsurprisingly!) narrow we stopped for our second coffee break to finish off the cookies and debate where our final part of the journey should take us.
Having decided to take the North shore, passing close by the Outward Bound centre, we were treated to cool fly-by from an RAF Sea King rescue helicopter no doubt heading towards Helvelyn on a rescue mission - an all too familiar site in the Lake District where unprepared climbers and walkers find themselves in trouble.
By now the weather was starting to clear and watching the clouds rolling off the hills without a breath of wind on the lake we were spellbound by the reflections and lakeland vistas appearing behind us as we got closer to Pooley Bridge.
At last the mouth of the River Eamont appeared and we paddled the last few hundred metres down river to our finish point just after the bridge where our vehicles were waiting and the expectation of a welcome pub lunch just around the corner!
All in all a great day out with some laughs, challenges and great company. Ollie and crew had a great day out and having got the taste for adventure are planning to come back in November for a canyoning adventure.