Friday, 13 August 2010

Skyak guinea pig

This week I visited Skye to take part in the 4 star sea leader award as a guinea pig. Having done the training more than a year ago I thought this would give me a good opportunity to paddle somewhere new and different while observing the assessment in process and deciding on future goals.
The 2 days were run by Jas Hepburn and Ken Nicol for Skyak.

The first day involved two groups planning and leading a trip from Armadale towards the Point of Sleat. The wind built up towards the end of the afternoon so we finished with a bit of a surf in through the skerries at Armadale on the following sea, the leaders working one to one with us.

Getting ready to set off from Armadale.

Waiting for the CalMac ferry for Mallaig to leave.

Lunch break with the mountains of Knoydart on mainland Scotland in the distance.

Figuring out precisely where we were.

Heading back on a following sea.

Follow the leader.
Adam an Eleanor keep an eye on us...
The following day the weather was again glorious - so we went to Kylerhea in search of tidal conditions in order for there to be sufficient challenge for the candidates. The flow here gets squeezed into the 500m channel and was flowing at about 3 to 5 knots (this is a guinea pig guessing!). Although the guinea pigs like me were supposed to be  'mock' students, this location did provide a real learning activity for me and a few others. No pictures I'm afraid. I observed the various rescue scenarios set up by Ken and Jas and the impressive team response which the candidates executed to get the 'casualty' out of the tidal flow and to shore within a few minutes.

Well done to all the candidates... this guinea pig has got goals!


  1. Having been through the process, I'd say the assessment is much easier than the training (which seems a good idea really). Two people on my assessment failed because, on the day, they failed to roll. One was nursing an injury and the other I think just got a bit too tense about the whole thing. Anyone used to paddling with a club will find the leading very straightforward. Go for it!

  2. Cheers Iain, perhaps one day I will, though I do get a bit tense myself! Some very able folk I know passed second time round. I guess its all part of the learning process...