12 August 2009

Laune Kayak Trip

Last week I did a fabulous river kayak trip. We launched our boats into the dark fast flowing water at Laune Bridge, just below where the Laune River leaves Lough Leane. It was a humid sticky day so the instant refreshment of the cool deep water was extremely welcoming.

The river here is wide and deep, bordered by thickly wooded banks and occasional large grassy fields where freshly shorn sheep stared at us. Talking and laughing it was only when we looked down at the river bed beneath us that we realised how fast the river was sweeping us downstream. On a wide calm bend the ruined walls and empty windows of Dunloe Castle came into view perched on a rise, surrounded by flowering bushes.

We didn’t have long to spend looking at the castle as the river was picking up speed again and swooshed us down through slightly more turbulent waters. Down here we disturbed a little Sika deer, a grey and spotted fawn, nibbling on hanging creepers. We silently watched her and she watched us back, like a rabbit dazzled by headlights. Someone’s paddle splashed the water and she flicked around and bounded into the bushes, instantly out of sight…

Maybe it was the excitement of the fawn that caused Laurence to capsize moments later! Spitting and splashing he pulled his kayak into the river bank to empty it. As we paused here we noticed a little tributary stream flowing into the Laune. The stream was deep and so much colder than the main river, tiny dark trout darted back and forth below us as we quietly paddled up this little stream, hoping to see the fawn again; instead we met a predatory swan drifting in the shadows!

Back on the main river it didn’t take long until we rounded another corner to the rumbling of rapids at Beaufort Bridge. The Laune surges downstream here through the bridge arches, hanging with ivy. Avoiding the serious hazards of the water flowing into the arches and some branches caught against the bridge walls we paddled through splashing rapids to the bottom and carried our kayaks up to the waiting jeep.

This is an excellent afternoon’s trip and can be made into a full day paddle if you continue past Ballymalis Castle to Killorglin. It’s only for experienced paddlers with full safety gear, as the river banks, trees and submerged branches can be hazardous.

Some of the staff from Randles Hotels, in Killarney, were out for a relaxing morning’s kayak trip recently on the Lakes of Killarney. ‘‘To experience the lakes by kayak surpassed all our expectations. It proved a fantastic fun team building experience. We can highly recommend the day to companies and individuals alike and have been recommending these trip to our own guests ever since” Linda Crossan, Sales & Marketing Manager of Randles Hotels had to say about the trip afterwards. Linda keeps a blog for Randles Hotels which is worth checking out; http://randlescourt.com/killarney

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