Sea Kayaking Articles from P&H Staff, Team Paddlers, and Friends

Month: May 2011 Page 1 of 2

70 years old and still going strong – Kendal to London in a Kayak

Peter Woolsey was 17 in 1958 when he canoed on his own from Kendal to London by inland waterways. In May this year he celebrates his 70th birthday and will do the whole journey again supported by The Inland Waterways Association and The British Canoe Union (BCU).

Peter Woolsey said “I’m keen to use the trip to assist IWA and the British Canoe Union to promote the increased use of canals and navigable rivers”. The BCU have said that they are interested to use the trip to encourage older people to consider canoeing and kayaking on inland waterways and to further their development of canoe trails.

Peter will leave from Tewitfield Bottom Lock of the Lancaster Canal on Saturday 28th May 2O11 and is due to arrive at London Bridge on Sunday 12th June.

Below is the route time table, Peter hopes to meet up with various groups along the way and would appreiciate a cup of tea if you see him passing!

For more information or to meet up wiht Peter on route please contact

DAY -1 Friday May 27 – estimate 10 miles


DAY 1 Saturday May 28 estimate 25 miles

Depart at 08:00 for LANCASTER CANAL Tewitfield bottom lock.

DAY 2 Sunday May 29th, 25 miles

Depart, paddling towards Preston, 08:30Aim to arrive centre of Preston: at Ashton portage by car to Tarleton on south of river Ribble LEEDS & LIVERPOOL CANAL. continue towards Parbold.

DAY 3 Monday 30th, 20 miles

Depart from Parbold for Leigh, a relatively short paddle to Leigh, no locks.

DAY 4 Tuesday May 31st, 30 + miles

Leave Oakmere early, around 09:00 am and drive to Leigh, Lancashire. Join The BRIDGEWATER CANAL. Start paddling from Leigh about 10:00, aim for Preston Brook via Bridgewater canal, via Salford and Lymm and stopping at either Preston Brook or, when tired.

Meet by R Winstanley at or near Preston Brook, stay overnight at Oakmere.

DAY 5 Wednesday June 1st, 25 miles

Leave Oakmere for Preston Brook or last night’s overnight stopping point.


Aim to start paddling at 08:00 for Middlewich or closer to Harecastle tunnel. Check if British Waterways will allow passage of the Harecastle tunnel or not? Ideally try to paddle through the Harecastle tunnel on day 4.

DAY 6 Thursday, June 2nd, 14 miles 34 locks

Leave Oakmere around 09:00 for stopping point from last night, depending on position ref Harecastle, either paddle through or paddle to tunnel and car portage.


Start paddling early, either go through the Harecastle tunnel or around.

Continue to Etruria if possible, meet R Winstanley, stay overnight at Oakmere.

DAY 7 Friday June 3, 19 miles, 18 locks

Leave Oakmere at 09:00 for Etruria

09:00 Start paddling from Etruria to Great Haywood arrive >17:00 if possible

Meet Scott at Great Heywood Marina, stay the night at The High Meadows Guest House

DAY 8 Saturday June 4 23 miles 5 locks

Dep. High Meadows Guest House 08:30 to Great Heywood marina with Scott.

Start paddling at 09:30 from the Marina at Great Heywood to Fradley Junction.


Trent & Mersey to Fradley Junction then on Coventry to Polesworth, stay at

The Fosters Yard hotel

DAY 9 Sunday June 5, 22 miles 13 locks

From Polesworth, start paddling at 09:00 aim to arrive 17:00 at Hawkesbury to meet Greta Russell and her IWA friends at the Greyhound Pub.

Mrs. Woolsey to meet R Winstanley at Crewe station and then return in the support car to Binfield Heath near, Henley

Store kayak at the Greyhound Pub and meet local IWA people and discuss how to increase awareness amongst canoeists and kayakers. Stay the night at the Barnacle House hotel Barnacle Hall

DAY 10 Monday June 6, 28 miles 3 locks

Greta Russell will kindly drive me from Barnacle Hall Hotel to Hawkesbury junction by 09:30

Start paddling down the OXFORD CANAL

Aim to arrive Hillmorton 3 locks by about lunch time and meet with Ms. Greta Russell and her IWA colleagues for photographs. Aim to arrive at Napton in time for a pub meal with Greta and her IWA colleagues. Stay at the Holly Bush Hotel at Priors Marston.

DAY 11Tuesday June 7 22 miles and 22 locks

Aim to leave Napton about 9:30 hrs to be able to cope with the mileage 19 and 21 locks between Napton and Copredy. Hope to have IWA some support with portages on this section. Stay at Canal side hotel, The Brasenose Arms

Aim to arrive at Copredy 18:00 plan to store the kayak at the hotel which is walking (trolley portage) distance from the canal

DAY 12 Wednesday June 8 23 miles 13 locks

08:00 leave The Brasenose Arms hotel at Copredy as early as possible and start paddling not later than 08:30

Aim to reach Banbury by 09:30 hrs. Meet the Mayor of Banbury

Plan to arrive Kidlington by 18:00 hrs and either stay locally or near to Kidlington.

Stay at canal-side Hotel.The Highwayman Hotel on the 9th June, B&B. The hotel is situated at Bridge 224 as one enters Kidlington, the hotel gardens run down to the canalside on the left.

DAY 13 Thursday June 9, 23 miles 12 locks

Try to leave at 08:30 hrs from the canal side Highwayman Hotel at Kidlington

Plan to start paddling by 08:30 hrs from Kidlington, to join the Thames at Oxford by midday and then kayak to Wallingford by the evening.

Aim to arrive Wallingford by 18:00 hrs. Meet Mrs. Woolsey, load kayak on support car and stay overnight at Binfield Heath.

DAY 14 Friday June 10 26 miles 11 locks

Leave Binfield Heath at 08:00 hrs for Wallingford

Aim to start paddling by 09:00 hrs from Wallingford

Plan to reach Henley by 18:00 hrs, stay the night at Binfield Heath.

DAY 15 Saturday June 11 30 miles 11 locks

Leave Binfield heath at 08:00 hrs for Henley

Plan to start paddling from Henley by 09:00 hrs.

Aim to reach Staines by 18:00 hrs

DAY 16 Sunday June 12 36 miles 7 locks

Leave Binfield Heath at 07:00 hrs to arrive Staines by 08:00

Aim to reach Teddington lock by 12:00 hrs. High tide > 13:00 hrs.

Plan to reach Westminster Boat Centre by 17:00 hrs.




Scottish Women's Paddle Symposium

Being English and living south of Hadrians Wall I felt doubly priveliged to be invited to coach sea kayaking at this fantastic new event. I was a little unsure of what to expect as I have never attended an all women event before. I needn’t have worried though as the enthusiasm for every form of paddlesport was there in abundance. Sessions were programmed to include surfing, canoe, white water kayak, playboating and of course sea kayaking. Groups were small, each led by two coaches to ensure a maximum amount of fun and learning (in that order!). Here are a few pictures.

Restoration of the Umnak no. 11

We really appreciate it when someone takes the time to restore one of our old kayaks to its former glory….

Dear Pat and Perran

Many thanks for your help in restoring Unmak number 11. As you can see form the enclosed, all traces of the sparkly purple car paint have gone and the golden yellow polished up beautifully. The hull is also a clean white. The Eagle decal went on very well and really adds to the character. The Umnak harpoon decal came through very well. Basically I scanned the image from the material you sent increased the size and photoshopped it to a tidy black and white file. I tried a couple of boat name places, but based in Penzance was the only ones with a realistic quote.

My son and I had a lot of fun in the purple incarnation of the Umnak at the end of last year and are looking forward to some good times this year – the only pity is that one of us has to be in the old slalom kayak. Still, we are on the look out for another restoration job.

Thanks again and do let me know if you would like the harpoon decal file.


Peter McGregor


P&H Umnak No. 11 was originally made late 1978 – Early 1979 for for Mr Granlund of Washington, Tyne and Wear

Now happily owned by Mr P McGregor for Cornwall.

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