Showing posts sorted by relevance for query kayak trolleys. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query kayak trolleys. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

KCS KY-Pro Explore trolley: test and review, a first look.

 I first bought a Mk 1 KCS Expedition trolley in 2003 and it is still in use at my caravan on the Solway. I have since upgraded my main expedition trolley through various versions and currently use the KCS Expedition trolley Mk 5. I do not just use it for getting the kayak from the car to the beach but use it on expeditions to get on and off ferries, for long road portages such as West Loch Tarbert to East Loch Tarbert across the Kintyre peninsula and for rough off tarmac road tracks such as portaging round the falls of Shiel where the River Shiel pours into Loch Moidart at low tide, the Portage across the Tarbert of the Isle of Jura and the portage from salt water Loch Nevis over the hill into fresh water Loch Morar. So the new trolley has a lot to live up to. KCS can be contacted here.

Unlike the previous incremental changes this is a complete redesign but using similar materials.

The driver for the design was to create a more compact trolley when it is disassembled and in this it is spectacularly successful. 

The previous Mk5 trolley is in the red bag on the rear deck. Admittedly it is not fully disassembled, I just took the wheels off, but it is undoubtedly bulkier than the new model.

The new pads have thicker foam than previous models. A nice touch is the smaller pieces fit right at the top of round kayak hatches and the larger pieces fit at the top of oval hatches.

The parts all assemble without tools. The pads push into place using captive headed bolts which push into retaining slots on the crosspiece. The two axle supports then bolt onto the underside of the crosspiece and this secures the pads. The bolts are attached to the axle supports so you wont loose them and they also have large heads so you can use them with cold hands. The axle spacers are permanently attached to the axle supports. The axle is simply threaded through and the wheels secured with spring axle pins.

Like the previous Mk 5 trolley there is an integrated axle stand. I chose the 10" foam filled wheels and tyres. These do not fit in 10" round hatches. 

However, if you buy the 10" pneumatic tyre option and let a little air out you can "roll" them into the hatch by holding the wheel vertically and pushing one side down into the hatch. Alternatively you can buy 8" wheels but these arre not so good on rough ground.

At the moment I am landlocked due to Scottish Covid travel restrictions ,so I have been unable to test the KY-Pro Explore trolley in the field. So how does it compare with the previous Mk5 trolley? 

Well the good news is that the pads are just as wide and just as long as those of the Mk5 trolley, including the T support pad at the back. This is good news as the trolley should be able to handle rough bumps with a fully loaded kayak without twisting forward if the wheels hit an obstruction. (This was the reason for the extended T pad.)

However, if you are reversing a loaded kayak and it hits a bump, the Mk5 trolley could twist back. I overcame this by cutting a slot beneath the T piece and putting an extra strap through it and right round the kayak hull. Why is this important? When would you want to reverse a fully loaded kayak over a bump? Well an example is on the ferry to the Small Isles. 

The MV Loch Nevis serves the Small Isles. It is not a RORO ferry. There is only a stern door. If there are other vehicles on board and they are not getting off at your stop, you have to reverse your kayak off between them as there is no room to turn. There is a real bump at the ramp so stability when reversing is very important.

On the new KY-Pro Explore trolley I have drilled the rear of the two oval hull supports supports and tied loops of 3 mm cord through. This allows a strap to be threaded through the loops and and then wrapped round the hull to secure the rear of the trolley for reversing over bumps.

This extra strap round the hull, from the rear of the trolley (left in photo), resists the trolley body twisting round the axle, if the wheels hit a bump when reversing the a loaded kayak on the trolley. This extra strap also minimises the trolley twisting so that the axle is not at right angles to the direction of travel, if only one wheel hits an obstruction.

On swede-form kayaks, like P&H which have the wide point behind the seat, I do not bother with a third strap going forward from round the axle then forward on either side of the hull and fastening round the front of the cockpit rim. On fish-form kayaks, like the Valley Nordkapp LV, which has the wide point in front of the cockpit, I do use a third strap, to prevent the trolley slipping rearward on bumpy surfaces.

However, a KCS customer with a fish form kayak was troubled with the trolley slipping back and asked if it would be possible to hook the strap onto the cockpit rim with some sort of clip. So KCS came up with these really neat accessory "S" clips that hold the strap forward. These prevent the strap loosening off if a bump tries to force the trolley back. This makes the strap from the axle forward round the cockpit rim unnecessary.

The photo above is a P&H kayak with a swede form, so the strap would tighten if the trolley was forced back. These "S" clips are not necessary on this type of kayak but will prove invaluable on my Nordkapp LV, which has a pronounced fish form. The clips could be used with any brand of trolley carrying a fish form kayak.

Another improvement with the new trolley over the Mk5 is that the pads sit closer to the axle thus lowering the centre of gravity. This is important with a fully loaded boat on an adverse camber as it makes the trolley/kayak much more stable.

This promises to be KCS's best trolley yet. It is £135 compared to £125 for the Mk5, which is still available. I think the new Explore trolley's  main advantage over the Mk5 is more compact packing. It promises to be equally stable and robust. I just need to get it out for a proper test...until then here are some photos of previous KCS trolleys in action.

The portage across Jura.

The Falls of Shiel portage.

The Loch Nevis to Loch Morar portage.

West Loch Tarbert to Tarbert across the Kintyre peninsula. Frequent kerbs made this more challenging for a trolley than it looks.

Friday, April 24, 2015

KCS Expedition kayak trolley test and review.

Since taking up sea kayaking I have found a trolley to be one of the best pieces of kit to avoid back strain. There are two basic situations in which you may wish to use one: transporting your kayak from your vehicle to the sea or carrying with you on your expedition to negotiate land (or sea) barriers or to get on and off ferries.

In the first situation a trolley will help if:
  •  you paddle on your own, 
  •  you travel to a symposium as a single delegate
  •  the car park is distant from the water
  •  the tide goes out a long way. 

Generally you will leave the trolley in your car so its size is not too crucial. 

The second situation involves taking the trolley with you on your kayaking trip. This requires the trolley has some folding mechanism or can be dismantled. If you do not want the trolley on deck, small size is crucial to fit your hatches. On a kayaking trip you can use a trolley to: 
  •  cross isthmuses or narrow islands intentionally as a short cut or to avoid bad weather round  headlands.
  •  catch a ferry home from an island you have paddled to on a short day.
  •  catch a ferry as an emergency get back home from an island in deteriorating weather
  •  use a ferry on a more major island crossing and avoid the expense of taking the car over.
  •  use slipways on either side of a causeway blocking navigation between two islands.
  •  avoid locks on a canal joining two bodies of water.
  •  portage round an obstacle such as a barrage or a rapid on an otherwise navigable river

KCS Expedition trolley
This is the new KCS Expedition trolley. The original KCS team consisted of Ronnie Weir in design and manufacture and the late Mike Thomson of Scottish Paddler Supplies in retail.  At Mike's funeral I met Ronnie and told him I hoped he would continue the business but Mike's death and Ronnie's other business commitments meant that KCS products disappeared from the scene. Then last year, it was with great pleasure  that I heard Ronnie was to restart KCS. He then asked if I would like to make any suggestions to improve the kayak trolley.

I had tested the original KCS dual purpose trolley/loader in a group trolley test for issue #2 of Ocean Paddler magazine in 2007. The trolleys were put through their paces carrying fully loaded sea kayaks on the rough 2km with 24m ascent  4x4 track across Jura from East Tarbert to West Tarbert. The KCS dual purpose trolley/loader ended up making several crossings as it had to return to pick up two of the other kayaks whose trolleys had broken. However, though tough, the KCS was not perfect. Its wheelbase was too narrow and its supports too high and so it tended to fall over when traversing a gradient or when one wheel hit a rock. It also had a tendency if a wheel hit a stone for the hull supports of the trolley to twist forward allowing the hull to drop onto the wheels. Even if this did not happen the trolley would twist sideways then crab behind you. Under load, especially on a traverse, the axle supports tended to work their way together making the wheelbase narrower and the trolley more unstable. It had no support stand so took two people to put a loaded boat on it. Lastly though it was compact when disassembled compared to other trolleys, there was still room for improvement! However, I thought the KCS trolley was so good that I bought two at full price soon after I started sea kayaking in 2002.

During our phone call last year, I fed my ideas back to Ronnie who was very open to suggestion. He said he was not only going to improve the dual purpose trolley but was going to develop a new KCS Expedition Trolley incorporating my ideas. It would have a stand, be lower, have a wider wheel base, be made of stronger gauge  polypropylene, have an extra hull support to prevent the trolley twisting forward and sideways and finally pack away to a smaller size! It sounds like all my wish list items had been answered! Soon after Ronnie delivered a prototype with the instructions "test it to destruction!"

This shows the prototype during testing of the new keel support. (The angle of the support has since been adjusted.)

 This ground at the Solway was an ideal proving ground  to test the new trolley keel support when the wheel hit a small rock and...

...also how stable it was when tipped. With the keel support fitted the hull support has not slipped forward. One other thing that improved was that the wheels stayed much more parallel with the centre line of the boat, even after one wheel hit a substantial rock. On the original trolley if you hit a stone with one wheel the trolley was likely to twist then it would crab out sideways behind you which would be dangerous if any vehicles were about on a road,

The first proper outing was a 1km portage on tarmac and...

...smooth surface estate road at Shielfoot. The trolley passed with flying colours. The stand made single handed loading much easier. 

However,  the real test for any trolley is the Tarbet portage across Jura. I had every confidence in the trolley to tackle the portage after a 15km open crossing arriving just before sunset with a further 3km paddle to the bothy on the other side! It had no problem with the firm sand on the beach at East Tarbert.

It is a tough crossing, not just for the trolleys.

This was one of the smoother sections of road. much of it has been repaired with wheel jarring coarse hardcore. On the previous portage only the KCS dual purpose trolley survived unbroken but it did fall over about three times and it "collapsed" about four times after hitting a stone and the hull support pads slipped and rotated forward allowing the hull to fall down onto the wheels.

This time the trolley got us over the portage safely and without incident before night fall. Not only did the trolley survive but it did not fall over and...

 ...the new rear keel extension stopped the main hull support pads twisting over if the trolley was jarred to a sudden halt by hitting a rock. The pads are very effective at preventing hull scuffs. (The otherwise excellent Kari-tek trolley causes quite a bit of hull abrasion on a rough portage). The 10" wheels on the KCS Expedition allow the loaded trolley to cross terrain that smaller wheeled trolleys could not cope with. The all up weight including the bag was 3.05kg.

The new expedition trolley (above) is wider and lower than the original dual purpose trolley. The hull supports are now flat instead of being an L shape and that means the trolley packs flatter when dismantled. The black plastic drain pipe over the axles is my own addition. I originally installed it on my two dual purpose trolleys as a spacer to prevent the axle supports "working in" together when under load. The new expedition trolley uprights are thicker and are not prone to doing this but I have found that the drain pipe makes an excellent clean handle. After a long portage the axle is very dirty with a sticky mixture of aluminium and polypropylene dust. Do not think that there is undue wear though. My two 13 year old trolley axles are still fully functional. A friend tried to portage some locks on the Crinan Canal with another "heavy duty" trolley the C-Tug. It had plastic axles and they melted to the wheels on the portage!

 The trolley support foot worked well on a variety of surfaces including soft sand. One person can now lift the rear of a loaded kayak onto the trolley. The support is on a friction swivel mount and folds vertically when not in use. It also folds back so will not catch if you forget to raise it.

 The new keel support slots onto the axle and is secured by the single bolt which goes through the centre of the trolley. This is a prototype which has been cut by me several times. The finished article will be neater.

This is the trolley completely dismantled for fitting inside a kayak. This fitted inside my Cetus MV fully loaded for a winter camping expedition.

This is the trolley partially dismantled and like this would easily fit inside an oval rear hatch on a day paddle.

 This is the trolley partially dismantled to fit inside the supplied...

...Lomo dry bag for mounting on the rear deck if your kayak is full. The bag has no mounting straps but I just use a long piece of shock cord wound over the bag several times with an olive fastener for quick and secure attachment (to the deck lines). The trolley also comes with spare lynch pins for the axle and spare small thumb screws for the hull support plates.

I cannot comment about the longevity of the Expedition trolley at this stage other than to say that because it is made of the same materials as my 13 year old dual purpose trolleys it is likely to be similarly unscathed in 13 years time.

I think the KCS Expedition trolley is now an unparalleled heavy duty trolley for serious expedition use. Despite this it packs small and is quick to assemble/dismantle. The effective stand makes the trolley ideal for solo expeditions. I have found all my criticisms of the original trolley have been addressed and Ronnie Weir is to be commended for such a positive response to consumer feedback. (Many other designers view their creations as perfect and are unwilling to accept even positive criticism.) For me this is now the perfect expedition trolley, I cannot think of any way it could be further improved. Price of production models has yet to be finalised and will appear on the KCS website.

Ronnie Weir is a friend. I have had free use of the KCS Expedition prototype this spring but I have bought two previous KCS trolleys at full price. In recompense for the loan I have spent time testing and feeding back to Ronnie ideas for improvement and I have also modified the prototype with my own drills and saw! I have no financial interest in KCS.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Kayak Carrier Systems Easy Haul kayak trolley portage strap long term test and review.

I am a great believer in using a kayak trolley, not just for short getting to and from the water but for longer portages of isthmuses that enable round trips that would not otherwise be possible due to time or geographical constraints. This photo was a portage over the 1.2km Tarbert on Jura but our shoulders arms and hands were really sore at the end of it. Just look how Tony is twisted round, trying to share the load between both arms.

Trolleys are also great on ferries but don't underestimate the distance you need to trolley the kayaks round the terminal, the length of the car deck and then the off ramp to wherever you can launch from.

I have been testing a new custom made trolley portage strap from KCS called the Easy Haul since October 2015. It has been used on the Solway, the Clyde and the NW coast of Scotland. It has been used on tarmac, rough tracks, ferry decks, sand and shingle. The test has now covered over 13km and 220m of ascent and descent.

The Easy Haul consists of a broad shoulder strap, shoulder pad an adjustable short towing strap and a carabiner.

On the Scottish west coast one of the most notorious portages is that at the Tarbert between salt Loch Nevis to freshwater Loch Morar. The track is 1.2km long rises to about 100m from Nevis and falls about 90 to Morar.

Despite being in the middle of an asthma attack which required multiple stops for puffs of my inhaler...

...I made it to the top first and Maurice and Mike were nowhere in sight. I even went back and towed Maurice's kayak 1/3 of the way up the hill. The Easy Haul is a stunning success and with both arms free you could even use two walking poles for extra drive. One thing to watch for, if you are attached to a loaded kayak, do not go too near the edge of any drops!!

You could make your own from an existing kayak portage strap (for carrying the kayak on the beach), a piece of rope and a carabiner (perhaps use your kayak short tow line) BUT kayak portage straps get soaking wet if you use them to get the boat to and from the water . I would not like to put a soaking wet strap over my paddling under suit or land clothes. (Portaging is such hot work, you will not be using your waterproofs!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mike Thomson

My friend Mike Thomson of Scottish Paddler Supplies has died.

He became unwell while driving back to Scotland with a load of new sea kayaks. I can hardly believe what I am writing, as Mike was a larger than life character who was so full of life and seemed such a permanent part of Scottish paddling life. Who can forget his deep sonorous voice "Hello, this is Scottish Paddler Supplies" when he picked up the phone? His voice sounded like a wonderful deep and liquid sound from the back of some distant sea cave.

When I say he was my friend, I am not claiming any exclusivity, he was a warm hearted and open man who made friends with all his customers. He was most certainly not a "box shifter". He liked to get to know his customers' needs before he would sell anything. He would also lend gear to make sure it was what you really wanted. Afterwards, his customer support, if there was a problem with gear, was quite exceptional in my experience of any retail field.

He also took particular care with newcomers to sea kayaking. He would spend a great deal of time giving advice about any aspect of sea kayaking. I was a complete newcomer when I first contacted Mike and I have no doubt that his sound advice helped me safely on my way. As a result of his approachfullness, he built up a loyal band of customers not just in Scotland but in many other countries across the world.

As a retailer, he was a familiar sight with demo boats and stands at symposia such as the Skye Sea Kayaking Symposium and also shows such as the Perth Paddle Show. Of course Mike was not just a retailer, he also designed and manufactured sea kayaking accessories such as J bars for roof racks and kayak trolleys. These are made of such high quality materials that no doubt they will be dug up and puzzled over by future archaeologists! I tested a group of trolleys on the portage over the rough track from Tarbert on Jura for Ocean Paddler magazine. Mike was so pleased when only his trolley made it over unscathed. In fact, it needed to return to the summit to rescue another boat whose trolley had completely broken! I can still remember Mike's hearty chuckle as he read the article. Mike was always looking for ways to improve his designs and he asked if I had any suggestions for the trolley. He was working on a modification when we last spoke, just before he died.

Mike walks over a Coll beach towards an early Quest prototype. Photo by Ronnie Weir.

He was also involved in tests of two P&H prototypes called project X (later to resurface as the Bahiya) and project Y, one of which would be chosen as their new expedition boat. He particularly liked project Y and said it was the one for his customers. He took delivery of one of the first production models which P&H called the the "Cappela Explorer".

Mike named this individual boat "Sea Quest" but told P&H that the name "Capella Explorer" was just confusing customers because of the existing "Capella" in the range. He suggested they should change the name. The y did and the "Quest" was born! Mike's enthusiasm for this boat did much to ensure the success of the Quest and there can hardly be a Scottish beach that has not been graced by several.

He had a great sense of humour and I can still remember his deep HO HO HOs when we shared a joke. One such joke was Brace-a-Float and remarkably he was still getting enquiries about these as recently as last month!

He started his own paddling career with Fife Sea Kayak Club and over the years he had written articles about their exploits for many magazines. Recently he had written several humorous and lively articles about his trips for Ocean Paddler magazine. He hadn't taken photographs at the time but I had followed in his wake and was honoured when he asked if I could supply some photos to go with his articles.

He was also a volunteer trip organiser for the Scottish Canoe Association and in March this year had organised one of the first ever kayaking trips on Loch Katrine after it had been opened to public access for the first time.

Mike loved all aspects of the outdoors but particularly the sea (he was also a sailor). He passed his sense of respect for the sea and of looking after the countryside to all those whom he came across. He played a great role in the expansion of sea kayaking in Scotland but he was always concerned that people should start off feeling respect for the outdoors. He felt that the environment would not be harmed by growing numbers if participants shared this respect. He was not an evangelist though, he simply showed newcomers his own obvious enjoyment of the outdoors.

The world is a better place because of people like Mike Thomson and it is poorer with his passing. However, Mike helped so many people on the way to enjoying their sea kayaking adventures that his joy of life and the outdoors will live on through them for many years to come. I count myself lucky for being one who knew him.

My condolences to all those who have lost with his passing, especially his family and close friends.

Friday, October 04, 2013

All washed up at Ardrossan South Beach.

As we approached Ardrossan on the Ayrshire coast, it was just after low water and we had to drop our sails as we crossed the dangerous reefs of YellowCraigs, Half Tide Rock, Broad Rock,West Crinan Rock and other rocks, which are not even named. We had been travelling fast under sail and hitting a submerged reef in a loaded boat at speed is not funny. Ardrossan is derived from the Gaelic "height of the rocky point" and it is one of the few rocky breaches in the great Ayrshire sand dune system that stretches for over 40 kilometers from Farland Head in the north to the Heads of Ayr in the south. Ardrossan's rocks created a natural harbour on this otherwise exposed coast of shifting sands.

Fortunately there were no ferries entering or leaving the entrance to Ardrossan Harbour, which is marked by a small lighthouse. The light was originally erected in 1850 but was carried away in the great storm of December 1900.  The current light was erected in 1901. In the early 19th century Ardrossan was a major port and shipyard for the rapidly growing city of Glasgow and it was planned to link to Glasgow by canal. The canal was built half way before another scheme involving dredging the River Clyde made it redundant. Over the years the shipyards have closed, ferries have stopped running and the inner harbour has closed as a port and has now been converted to a yacht marina. I do hope the new Caledonian MacBrayne summer ferry to Campbeltown (which we used) is a success.

It is not possible to land and access the ferry car park from within Ardrossan Harbour and so we had originally intended arriving at Ardrossan at high water the following day...

...when it would have been possible to land at this beach at the south end of the harbour wall, which is only 1m high at this point.

Due to a change of plan caused by my injured shoulder, we actually arrived at Ardrossan at low tide and so the upper beach was cut off from the sea by vicious exposed reefs. We had no option but to paddle on, out round the end of  Castle Craigs rock. This is a remarkable ribbon of basalt dyke, which stretches half a kilometer out to sea. It arises inland from the volcanic plug on which Ardrossan Castle sits. We were all tired and Mike and Phil tried to find a shortcut through the rocks. I knew there was none but they could not hear my shouts over the offshore wind.

We finally arrived in South Bay Ardrossan some 200 km after setting off from Campbeltown on the far side of the Firth of Clyde.

It had been a wonderful trip, involving the tides of the Mull of Kintyre, the huge surf beaches of Machrihanish, visiting the Hebridean isles of Cara and Gigha then portaging from the Atlantic coast from the head of West Loch Tarbert to East Loch Tarbert in the Firth of Clyde. Finally we crossed the mouth of Loch Fyne and made our way back to Ardrossan via the Firth of Clyde islands of Inchmarnock, Bute and Little Cumbrae. On the way we had seen dolphins, porpoises and otters not to mention birds of every size from puffins to gannets. It was one of the best sea kayaking trips that Jennifer, Mike, Phil and I had ever been on. Perhaps the greatest surprise was just how good the Firth of Clyde section had proved. We had expected it to be an anticlimax after the Atlantic coast but its views and wildlife were superlative.

We finally landed on the sands of Ardrossan South Bay at 20:15. At low tide it is 250m to the concrete ramp to the esplanade. We were grateful to have our kayak trolleys as it was a further 150m to a small carpark, where we left the kayaks and walked the 1 kilometer back to the 24hr ferry car park to recover the cars. Ardrossan is not the sort of place to leave kayaks unguarded late on a Friday evening, so two of us stayed by the kayaks while two went for the cars.

At the end of this trip my shoulder was in agony. I had injured it some six months previously when lifting a kayak unaided off my car roof rack. It was clear that this would be my last long paddle of 2013 and that I needed to see a shoulder surgeon. An MRI arthrogram showed I had completely torn muscles off the humerus and torn the joint capsule. It was expertly surgically repaired by one of my former colleagues at the end of July but I am still off the water two months later. The moral of this story is don't try to lift kayaks on or off car roof racks on your own, get yourself some help or get a Karitek Easy Load Roof Rack instead.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

(Two) bridge(s) over troubled water and feeling small..

Our passage down the River Shiel...
 ...attracted the attention of only a few mostly disinterested locals.
It did not take long to reach the New Bridge which...

...was built in 1935.

 We were speeding along and the weed on the river bed was stretched out flat.

 Soon the mountains of Loch Shiel were a distant memory behind us. The Shiel is a popular salmon fishing river but we went down it before the season opened so we saw no fishermen. There are many wooden platforms that extend from the banks to allow more fishermen per foot of river. I thought that the fishermen must be blessed with incredible balancing skills to stand unaided on the narrow planks of wood until I realized that these were the handrails! The broader standing boards were deep under water. The river was high! No wonder we had noticed the level of the loch had dropped so much the night before, all that missing water was coming down here.

 I had scouted out the river two years ago in similar high conditions and knew that the river took a sharp left under the single span of the Old Bridge which was built in 1804. There was the distinct sound of breaking water round the bend and the water proved quite confused with several eddy lines. I would not want to run this small rapid in high levels without some bracing and edging skills. However,0...

 ...order was soon restored and we spent...

 ...some very pleasant time meandering...

 ...round the bends at increasing speed. It was low tide and I knew and Ian and Mike expected what the meaty rapid would be like where the Shiel fell into Loch Moidart. When I had scouted the rapid previously I  knew that you could get out at the final pool, the Sea Pool JUST above the rapid and have a short portage of about 100m into the sea. However, the river was running swiftly, our speed had increased to 10km/hr and we had some new kayak trolleys to test. So we took an early exit at...

 ...the SEPA water level measuring station and...

  ...after a quick Jura to stiffen the sinews we set off on...

 ...a one kilometre portage along the estate track and past the...

 ...rapid. It was indeed rather meaty with a nasty stopper rolling in from an eddy on the left after the first drop.

 We walked down every inch of the rapid to...

 ...the lower drop. I suggested to Ian and Mike that I did not want to be a spoilsport and produced my throw line then kindly offered to provide safety cover while they ran the rapid. They took one look at each other...
...then the pair of them ran off! Maybe we were "feeling small" as we slunk back to our trolleys.