Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Leven Estuary - Brrrrrrrrr!

When it comes to paddling in nice scenery you cannot beat an estuary that hosts thousands of ducks, geese and wading birds; has a mysterious island and a backdrop of snow dusted peaks.

The Leven estuary is on the south Lakeland coast close to Ulverston. This may not be one of the classic sea kayaking destinations but has provided a wonderfully varied day out on the water.

I was shared my journey with:


....... and Royanne.

We waited for the notoriously fast tides to rise then beat a fast passage into the middle of the flow so that we could take a closer look at Chapel Island.

We saw one lonely Redshank.............

........... dozens of Shelduck..................

......and hundreds of Oystercatchers.

Leaving the island behind us we encountered more lively conditions caused by the northerly wind blowing against the rising tide as we approached the railway viaduct. In the higher reaches the Ulverston Inshore Rescue crew came to say hello before heading back for their base.

We stopped briefly at Greenodd where the River Crake meets the estuary for a well earned butty break. In the past I have paddled to this point from Lake Coniston, down the grade 2-3 rapids of the River Crake.

We started back shortly before the tide turned in order to minimalise the possibility of becoming grounded on sandbanks. Some scattered snow showers soon took the warmth of the spring sunshine away and brought cold squalls amongst which I was pleasantly surprised to see half a dozen House Martins dodging the flakes.

'Six swallows doth not a winter break.'

Our return was perfectly timed just as the first of the mudbanks at Bardsea were becoming exposed. After carrying our boats a short way up the shingle beach there was time to have a cup of scalding hot tea before starting the journey home.

There are some more photos of the day here.

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