Yorkshire Carnegie vs Rotherham 6.2.17

We ( Kay and I) have been season ticket holders at Headingley in support of Yorkshire Carnegie RUFC for several years now and we make our way across to pretty much all of the home games.  Last Sunday was a match against Rotherham in the Championship (I think I’m supposed to say the “Greene King IPA Championship” but never mind.).  Thus it was a local derby and likely to be tightly contested and maybe with a decent crowd.  I arrived in good time, camera in hand, with the notion of collecting some images during the build up to the game as players warmed up and the crowd turned up – and so I did.

I’m not a “sports photographer” – I have neither the kit nor the inclination to be honest.  So I wasn’t so much interested in photographing the game itself – more interested in watching that! – but there is a period of preparation, of anticipation, of gathering, of a building of atmosphere, that I aways rather enjoy.  These images then were made during that period from about 45 mins before kick off to when the teams headed to the dressing rooms to change into their match kit, and are a pretty random selection. I’ve deliberately not tried to title them; I recognise some of the faces of course, mostly of the players and coaches, but their identity isn’t important in this context.  To me the sequence reminds me of the slow and steady build towards the game; whether it conveys that to anyone else, I can’t be sure.

They’re not necessarily good photographs in any technical sense; indeed I have to admit that several of them have a measure of movement blur or soft focus that marks them out as quick snaps.  What makes a photograph “good”? …… I’m not really sure and I find I care less as time goes on.  They are a part of my memory bank and looking through them reminds me of an occasion that I enjoyed.

The match?  Carnegie won by an impressive sounding 56 – 26.  At times they looked imperious and overwhelmed the opposition.  At times they seemed to lose the plot a bit and let Rotherham back into the game, but in the end it was a good, solid, bonus point win that was very enjoyable to watch – good stuff!

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Wee Rob on the Yorkshire Ouse 25.7.16

Time for a change of route and so a launch at Linton on Ouse and a “passage” to Bishopthorpe, with the logistical help of Kay and the car.  Linton was OK, except for a 90 degree bend in a walkway down and round which the kayak had to be negotiated to get it to a landing stage which had a shade too much freeboard for my taste, but which was obviously ideal for craft awaiting the nearby lock.

All that dealt with, the first stage of the journey was quite delightful, silent but for the paddle in the water, a whispering breeze and a little birdsong.  The only “hazard” was the occasional fisherman concealed in the bushes, but I think I managed to steer clear of their floats and stayed on good terms with my fellow river users!  I came across a moored vessel which had the looks of a sailing barge, possibly with Thames connections, although I’m not sure about the rather splendid lee boards, they probably make it Dutch.  Pictures follow …….  It looked somewhat in need of TLC and would make a delightful restoration project; but only I suspect for someone with very deep pockets!


About 2 hours saw me at the same lunch stop the I’ve used before which I was happy enough to use again.  Also exploiting the beach and the river was a quintet of boys, aged I guess about 10 or 11.  Grand to see really – kids doing what they’ve done since time immemorial and jumping, diving, splashing and generally thoroughly enjoying themselves.  The one jarring note was the language that they were using; swearing fluently and without inhibition and at substantial volume.  I haven’t heard the “f” word used with such enthusiastic frequency since well, the last time I guess.  It’s not I think that  was offended – I’m well past that!  It just seemed sad really, and introduced a note of real ugliness into that otherwise traditional, bucolic, even lyrical scene that one imagined such as Constable might have painted.

Onwards though, and eventually back through the noise and bustle of the city and eventually on to Bishopthorpe where my arrival pretty much coincided with Kay’s.  Conclusions ……?  I seem to be paddling at about 5/6 kph, so a decent walking speed.  That’s fine – but I confess to feeling in my muscles and general sense of tiredness that 4 hours paddling is a bit much.  (Whimp!)  So I’m going to try launching at Bishopthorpe again with a view to spending say 2 hours on the water and building in some species of “interval training” and so creating a more specific pattern of exercise in the exercise (which at least grammatically is one exercise too many!)

Wee Rob on the Ouse 18.7.16

Just a quick one, so to speak!  Back to Bishopthorpe for a third time on the same route (remember it’s never the same river twice!).  No pics, but some notes …..

The boat functioned very well with the couple of mods I’d made after the last time.  A couple of inches of foam on the seat made all the difference comfort wise.  My home made foot rest worked very well, leaving my legs much more relaxed.  Altogether I had a sense of paddling more efficiently, establishing a nice rhythm.  With no stops except for lunch, I seemed to put in a pretty good time, certainly faster than last time and while I wasn’t in any kind of hurry, that was pleasing.

Seen along the way …….

  1.  The first “vessel” in encountered was a Land Rover being driven very confidently down the river!  Bizarre sight – it was of course an amphibious vehicle that I actually glimpsed again driving away from the car park (on the road this time) as I hauled the kayak up the slipway.
  2. A Grey Heron; either several sightings of the same bird, or they were mob-handed!
  3. Most special of all really – a Kingfisher!  I really think it must have been ….. it was a              little way ahead of me and I saw it fly very rapidly for about 25/30 metres before disappearing into a bush.  What other small bird is as blue?!

So good outing.  A different route next time though – I want to look at the possibility of a one way paddle from Linton through to Bishopthorpe ….. we’ll see!

Wee Rob on the Ouse 21.6.16

Here’s an account of my second attempt at the same stretch of river.  If it’s turning into something of a “ship’s log”, all that does is offer me a way of keeping some sort of a record …. a venture in which I may or may not persist.  I was though interested to record some data for comparison; though I hasten to add that there’s no sense of competition here, not even with myself, and that the most this might be is a way of checking whether or not I’m improving technically, and recording my impressions both of the boat and the trip.

The day was good enough – dry and warm, though a bit cloudy and sometimes quite overcast, with something of a breeze of which I was only really aware on the way back, and so must have had a southerly component to its direction.

1029 left the jetty at Bishopthorpe and headed upriver.

1113 passed under the Millennium Bridge …… all fine so far, with just a bit of a tweak in my left shoulder.

1139 under Lendel Bridge …… soon after which I came up with a guy in a GRP rowing skiff.  Single seater craft with an ample-ish beam, so not a racing boat, but fairly slick nonetheless.  He’s involved in a project to build 4 man rowing skiffs, apparently to an Oughtred design, so we had a bit of a chat for 10 minutes or so.  He was quite complementary about the kayak – which was nice!

1200  under the Carlton Ings bridge ….. soon after which I came across another guy in a single skiff, this time a very slender racing craft.   He was, however, hanging off the side of the boat which was being warmly embraced by a bush!  Apparently he’d hit a log (still floating menacingly mid stream), had capsized and drifted into the bank and the bush, where the water was still surprising deep – must be something of a hazard for a lightweight boat traveling quickly and backwards!  Without any kind of footing he was finding it pretty much impossible to clamber back aboard and was looking cold, wet and very tired.  I was able to extricate him some of the way out of the bush and give him a bit of stability while he tortuously made his way back into the saddle, and wished him well as he pulled wearily away.

1256   beached for lunch, having made my way up to the A1237 bridge, which was my objective for the day.  Stiff getting out of the boat, but took 30 minutes for lunch and a bit of a break.

1352  back under the Carlton Ings Bridge

1406  Lendel Bridge

1429  Millenium Bridge

1512 Back on the slipway at Bishopthorpe ….. successful retrieval followed closely by a very decent Cheeseburger and coffee at the snack cabin!

Stats: Total distance  20.58k  (as measured by the fitbit app)

Time elapsed (excluding lunch, but including chat and rescue :  4hr11:15

It felt good – although I think I had a bit more ache in my shoulders than last time, but nothing to be worried about.  I certainly had a numb-bum by the end, and I might just wonder about whether I can improve the seat.  I also find the footpegs less secure than I had hoped – I’ll think about that.  Most encouragingly both buoyancy tanks were bone dry – the water in the cockpit all came, I’m sure, from the paddle.  Clothing works well in these reasonably warm conditions – if I paddle enthusiastically on into the Autumn I may well need to think about a wetsuit though.

Altogether a very successful and encouraging trip.  Didn’t take many photographs – but here they are anyway!

Wee Rob and the Yorkshire Ouse 6.1.16

Here then was the first “voyage” of my Wee Rob canoe – maybe I should give it a proper name!  “Voyage” is a touch pretentious, but never mind.  I launched at Bishopthorpe, just to the south of York itself.  Heading upstream (not that the current was at all strong) I paddled on up towards the city of York.  Kay was walking the riverside footpath and we hoped to meet for lunch; snag was that once in the confines of the city the river edges become distinctly unfriendly towards small boats and the only mooring possibilities seemed to be against stone edges several feet high.  We agreed to go our own ways then, and I paddled on through the city, enjoying the very different perspective – duck’s eye view I suppose – that the kayak cockpit offered.

I pushed on through and out into the area known as Clifton Ings – very pretty and peaceful – and eventually found a sandy beach which was a convenient place to clamber out, stretch a bit and eat some lunch.  Nice spot – the peace somewhat interrupted by a steady flow of dogs and their owners, but never mind.  Headed back south, pausing to try to help (unsuccessfully in fact) one of the fleet of little red hire boats that had managed to run aground.

Eventually safe back at Bishopthorpe to haul out and get a cup of tea.  Total distance measures on the map as 18km, in about 5 hours on the water.  Not quick then – but I seemed to be at about walking pace.  Take out half an hour for the lunch break and a bit more for photographs and failed rescues and call it 4 hours actually on the move – maybe that’s not too bad for a beginning.

Overall impressions?  The boat is great.  An apparently easily driven hull (though of course I’ve not really got any other experience with which to compare it), and stable enough to be comfortable and relaxed in.  She seems to be watertight (though there might have been a spoonful in the forward buoyancy tank – I’ll check properly tomorrow), although a fair amount came in off the paddle.  Yesterday was a lovely day and really warm so that wasn’t a problem, but it might be on a different day and I’ll have to think about what I wear and whether I want to use a spraydeck.

Paddling was OK and I’m learning techniques from uTube which helps.  There’s something about rhythm that’s inevitably important, and finding how hard to shove.  Actually literally – pushing with the top hand in a stroke makes a significant difference.  Only experience will teach this, but I need to find an easy cruising rhythm which I can maintain for a whole day out.  Forearms and shoulders were a little sore – but thankfully not all that much.

So – an excellent beginning.  There’s lot’s of scope on different sections of the Ouse / Ure / Ripon Canal between Ripon and Naburn and the river may well become the focus of my paddling, rather than the canals I had first felt drawn towards – we’ll see.

Here are some pictures:

Above Bishopthorpe
Millenium Bridge
Clifton Ings
Beached for lunch
Wee Rob
Return through York
Return through York
Above Bishopthorpe

“Tour de Yorkshire” 3.5.15

The much vaunted bike race finally showed in Yorkshire – and very successfully too it seems – and is it was passing within walking distance of home, going a taking pictures seemed somewhat obligatory.  I find I do, quite irrationally,  have a somewhat ambivalent relationship with other people cycling locally since I was forced (for medical reasons) to stop doing so myself, but this was to be a race and an event and a gathering of people so – give it a whirl!

Quite a number of people gathered at the junction of the Ring Road and the A58, and a very cheerful atmosphere developed while we waited for the stars to arrive.  As the photos bear out, rathe more in evidence, and definitely for longer, were the various escort motorcycles (mostly police) and the team cars, which made it very clear what a huge logistical enterprise the whole thing really was.

I’m not sports photographer, and the pictures won’t win any prizes, but it was fun, and I hope there’s some suggestion here of the way it all felt ……

Yorkshire Carnegie RUFC vs Bristol Rugby

Sunday September 14th.  This was the first home game of the new season and was surrounded with great expectations, particularly with the new branding of the club as “Yorkshire Carnegie”.  Sadly the rugby didn’t really measure up and was a scrappy, bad-tempered game with very little of the rhythm and flow that characterises this sport at its best.  Neither team really looked as though they would trouble a Premiership side – I guess Yorkshire can at least console themselves with a notion of “work in progress” for the rebuilt side.  Fans can only hope that there is better, even much better to come!  Bristol won,  26 – 13, which givenn the balance of play, and the number of soft penalties given away, was probably fair enough!

Here’s a few pictures made during the warm up ……

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