These events at Ravenglass, Coquet Island, Conwy and Hilbre Island are becoming a well-established series of sea kayak races in England and Wales during the early part of the summer.
It all kicks off with the Ravenglass Seaquest which is run by Copeland Canoe Club. This event was inspired by the original Seaquest which is usually held in September on the Wyre Estuary at Fleetwood. It's an orienteering challenge on the tidal waters of the estuaries of the Irt, Mite and Esk. The start and finish is on the beach in Ravenglass where all three estuaries meet. Competitors need to visit as many controls as possible within a 3 hour time limit. It's an event for everyone with everything from racing K1 and performance sea kayaks to sit-on-tops and Canadian canoes.
The following weekend I met some members of Manchester Canoe Club for a weekend in Northumberland. On the Saturday we capitalised on the favourable weather and explored the Farne Islands. On the Sunday we headed south to Amble and the Coquet Island Race. The course begins in the estuary of the river Coquet. Paddlers then race out through Amble harbour, round Coquet Island then back into the estuary to finish at the Coquet Canoe Club Shorebase. The winds were really light but it was so misty that the island could not be seen from the harbour entrance. The race went ahead anyway without too many navigational difficulties, although one of the surf-ski racers finished unexpectedly late because he paddled round the island twice!
There was a gentle following wind for the Conwy Ascent race which was perfect for fast times. The main excitement was from racing past the booming cannons being fired from the pirate festival on Conwy Quay. It turns out that the winning K2 team broke a long-established course record.
Photo: Kathy Morton
Liverpool Canoe Club have been running a race in their local waters for the last 10 years. Its a challenging course on shallow choppy waters loaded with awkward currents. For the most part, competitors have to paddle against the tide. Its a great event with competitiveness taking second place to light hearted Scouse banter.
Photo: Kathy Morton
I always enjoy these races and in spite of the fact that I know I'll never win, I always look forward to the next one!