Friday, 28 January 2011


With great regret I have had to pull out of attending the FIRST Scottish Women's Kayak Symposium. What natural disaster or man-made drama ask has necessitated this drastic course of action?!

I delighted to say its because I am off to Skye to a course run by Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson of Kayayways! Unfortunately for us paddlers in the northern peripheries of Scotland both happen the same weekend. Although I feel like I'll be missing out on a great event this is an opportunity too good to miss. 

Here is Cheri rolling in an excerpt from Justine Curgenven's excellent DVD  'This is the Sea 3' .

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

45 minutes of fun

Another Sunday session at the pool, pure fun, relaxation and good company! Video initially taken to check form becomes an incidental record of a few moments when I don't feel my age and just play.

Pipes or accordion and fiddle just don't capture the fun as well as the excerpt from 'Boom' by Charles Trenet, so this is one of the few occasions where I have diverged from the Scottish music theme.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Greenland 101

Norsaq roll is back! Hanging on the right side of the boat is fixed by getting rid of my buoyancy aid - it must be getting caught on the day hatch as suspected. Lots of playing around this week and the video shows how much there is to work on but, Hey! its all good!

Monday, 10 January 2011

First GP pool practice.

No - the snow is in my imagination....
Got to the pool with my Joe O' paddle at last.
Practiced static brace - sliding into it and falling into it.
Butterfly rolls are great - the paddle doesn't wander. Sculling for support was, as expected a bit different, but a nice kind of different. Then, having watched Helen's DVD just before the session I was determined to execute a proper Greenland roll - not a Euro roll with a GP, but using proper body movement rather than the paddle. In an effort to improve this I played around for as long as I could with the static brace trying to move as slowly as possible from below the boat to the surface and on to the boat. I'm sure I can improve this.
Finally I played around with sculling up to the surface from being upside down - it works... just like in the videos!

Disappointingly the narsaq roll was absent this session, but I'm so encouraged by the rest of the practice I'm happy, and sure he will return in his own good time.

Friday, 7 January 2011

First Women's Paddle Symposium

The first Scottish Women's Paddle Symposium is going to be held on the 14th and 15th of May 2011 and will be based at the village of Findhorn on the Moray Firth - perfect for sea and surf with all grades of water nearby.  The aim of the symposium is to provide skills workshops to support women in paddle sport and help them reach the next level - whatever that level is for them.

Amongst the coaches at the event will be Mags Duncan, Morag Brown, Tracey Sherrington and our good friend Eleanor MacDonald.

To find out more email:

Looking forward to it!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

A Walk and some Wise words

The New Years Day Boys Ba' begins with two of my own lads somewhere in the scrum.
 In between the Boys Ba' at Christmas and New Year and the big family meals we got out once in a while for a windy walk to places sometimes visited by kayak.

Boy, dog and wind.
Broch o' Deerness - a sheltered geo often used for a break on the way to or from Mull Head.

Warebeth - the beach in this blog's header photo.
The beaches are covered in tangles (the old kelp washed ashore) that used to be gathered for soap making
Wrecks in the Hoy Sound hint at firece seas and tides encountered hereabouts.
I tried to take a photo of the tide racing through the Sound but my little lens couldn't capture the awesome moving water. As usual the scale and speed of the waves can't be reproduced in still images.
There are some fantastic images of this part of the world in this account of the Big 5 kayak challenge expeditions - No 8. John O'Groats to the Orkney Isles.

Taken with my Olympus Tough
I tried a trick my son had shown me - using binoculars as a lens, but I think it works much better with a phone camera's small aperture.

Watching the tide race through the Sound made me think of videos of Deception Pass and in particular this video of Warren Williamson. Awesome skills which I could never aspire to but prove that it can be done.

Recently I came across these words of Warren Williamson's at USK which describe his disciplined approach to skill development. 

 I hope that in 2011, despite my own slow and incremental learning style,  it is possible to build up the confidence to feel comfortable in moving water of the tamest kind and have a go at 'weaving my' own (modest!) 'basket'.