Paddling Planet

February 18, 2018

Mountain and Sea Scotland
Hillwalking and Sea Kayaking in Scotland

Twa landmarks frae the sea

It's been some time since I last climbed Clachnaben, a small but prominent Aberdeenshire hill. With a forecast for bright, cold and very windy day, I spent an hour one evening looking over maps for a hillwalk relatively close to home.

My eye kept coming back to Clachnaben - the hill sort of chose itself.  My previous climbs had both been from the north, so I looked for a different route and worked out a circuit that would work with, rather than against the wind.

A small quarried area off the B974 (the Banchory to Fettercairn road over the Cairn o' Mount, which on this day was closed higher up due to snow) has been made into a parking area from where the shortest route to Clachnaben starts.  The first part of the walk rises gently through open woodland and was very pleasant with sunlight dappling the woodland floor.

Emerging from the wood there's the sudden "reveal" of Clachnaben ahead.  The granite tor which forms the true summit is very prominent from miles around, particularly as the hill sits in isolation at the end of a ridge above the lower ground of the Dee valley.  Sheltered from the strong northwest wind, and with views like this, it was a superb morning to be out.

My route diverged from the "normal" path to the summit and continued around the slopes of Netty Hill into Glen Dye.  The view down to the Water of Dye was an unexpected delight, and would make a great short walk by itself. A quicker way to this point is by parking near to the narrow road bridge at Spital of Glen Dye, but parking is limited, and on a difficult bend.

The ground was so frozen that I'd put two sets of boots in the car, plus crampons.  On looking at conditions on the drive over I'd opted not to use my heavy boots and crampons.  This was the right choice for the hill, but further along the Glen Dye track I was wishing for a third skates!  The whole track was covered in thick blue-grey ice...there aren't any photographs from this part of the walk as I concentrated on staying upright.

I managed to reach Charr with only one or two "skitey" moments, one of which had me doing a fair impression of Bambi on Ice.......  

Charr is now an MBA bothy, and sits in a wild and lonely place; it seems much more isolated than the distance from the road would suggest.

The bothy occupies three rooms in part of the building, the remainder is retained by Fasque estate.  There's no fire or stove here but the place is clean, dry and bright.  I've visited previously but not (yet) stayed here.  I met another walker heading home to Fettercairn over the hills having been dropped at Spital, Charr is on a number of potential routes between Deeside, the Mearns and the Angus glens - which is food for thought for future walks.

After lunch and a "brew" of tea in the bothy ("Char" at Charr?!) I headed back out and tackled the steep climb up the track beside the Bracky Burn.  Emerging onto the open hill at the top exposed me to the wind, which was absolutely biting.  This was the only leg of the walk where I'd be heading into the wind; I'd planned the route to have it with me on the high ridge leading to Clachnaben.

To the west there's a wonderful view of wild, open country with the higer hills leading to the Cairngorm plateau beyond.  It is, essentially, a view of absolutely nothing - and that's a precious thing.  There's word that a windfarm is planned near here with giant turbines; if the planning application goes ahead I will be objecting - this is a landscape which shouldn't be industrialised.

The climbing continues to meet a track between Mount Battock and Clachnaben, where I was really glad to turn and put the wind from my starboard bow to my port quarter, it was searingly cold as well as strong.  Clachnaben's tor is well seen from here, but the view is of the shorter side rather than the full height.  The ground on this ridge is bare and broken, and marked by ATV tracks - it's better under snow than not for this reason.

This is one of the hills where the trig point isn't the actual summit.  The scramble up onto the tor is easy in most circumstances but with a combination of ice and the gusting wind I elected not to stand up on the very top block!

On te direct descent (which is the usual ascent path) the tor is seen at its best. A granite plug, the tor has been plucked by ice and from most angles appears as a "wart" on the slope of the ridge.

Away to the north there's a good view of that other much loved Aberdeenshire landmark, Bennachie. The distinctive shapes and proximity to the coast of these two fine hills gives rise to the old rhyme :

"Clachnaben and Bennachie, are twa landmarks frae the sea"

 On the way back down Clachnaben this set me thinking - would it be possible to climb both hills in a day using a bike to get between them?  A long day for sure, but just maybe......

My circular route was 16 kilometres with around 500 metres of ascent.  I took a little over four and a half hours including a brief stop at Charr bothy.  Other circular routes are possible from the north which can take in Mount Battock and the connecting ridge.  The shortest route is a simpe up-and-down from the B974, but in my opinion this fine hill deserves more than that.

by Ian Johnston ( at February 18, 2018 08:20 pm

Woman on Water
A woman's perspective on kayaking and outdoor adventures.

The Stoutside Ball

My favorite part of the Paddle Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium is the post symposium shenanigans.  Often a crew of paddlers stop by Liquid Fusion's headquarters on the Mendocino Coast to decompress from the symposium.  Of course rock gardening is part of the adventure.  This year we had 2 groups stop by. The first was a crew of whitewater kayakers.

What happens when you get a crew of "sea-curious" whitewater kayakers out in sea kayaks for a rock garden expression session?  You get the Stoutside Ball.

The ocean was rowdy.  Our team of whitewater kayakers have the strokes and skills.  Today was seeing if they could put them together to dance with the sea.  Jeff shares the Plan, Position, Perform concept with them as it applies to timing pour-over rides and surfing through the rocks.

We reviewed the safety concept of "Outside" and went off to play.  "Outside" is a term that we use when a bigger wave is coming.  When a big wave is spotted, we yell "Outside."  Everyone yells it to make sure that everyone on the team knows.  Individuals then are responsible for making sure they are in a safe spot.
Jeff Laxier teaches the "Outside" strategy.
The day started off with some class fun pour-overs in the bay.  The guys were getting their sea legs and working on their timing on pour-overs.

Demshitz Dave Fusilli getting his rock garden boof stroke down #seaboof.
After a warm-up, we threaded the needle through some technical rock garden passages - surfing through sea caves and tunnels and dancing in slosh-pits.
Through the Tunnel of Love.
Snowy Robertson surfs through the slosh pit.
Our journey took us to an area with several pour-over options.  The medium tide and chunky swell made for fluffy pour-over rides with gaping hydraulic landings.
Jeff Laxier looking good on a pour-over ride in his Dagger Stratos.
Jeff and his 14.5 foot kayak swallowed by the hydraulic. Then the sea spit him out.
After several rides, the gang started to get the feeling for timing the waves and were looking for the bigger waves to get bigger rides.  When the larger sets would hit the outer reefs, the gang started calling "STOUT!"  Hence the term "Stoutside" was coined.
Max Blackburn on the pour-over with perfect timing.
Dave rides a fluffy stout. #stoutside
Snowy with a well timed boof stroke. #seaboof
During our play session, many "Stouts" were ridden and many were watched with awe.
Cate Hawthorne riding a Stout! #stoutside
Going to the ball isn't all about showing off your dance moves but sharing the dance with others.

Jeff Laxier surfing his sea canoe.
Thanks so much Dave, Max, and Snowy!!! It was so much fun to be on the water with yinz and share your energy and stoke. Check out a video short of our adventures on Immersion Research's Instagram and Facebook .

Instagram users share your whitewater of the sea inspired photos and videos with hashtags #stoutside #seaboof and #whitewaterofthesea. And watch for more from @womanonwater @jefflaxier @liquidfusionkayak 
Sea kayak rock gardening on the Mendocino Coast of California.

by Cate Hawthorne ( at February 18, 2018 04:23 pm
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)


I Sportlovstider är det såklart sportlovsrea, vinterrea, tokrea, skidrea, snörea, köldrea, pjäxrea, skridskorea med mera. Skynda och fynda 😉 Outnorth Sportamore Outdoorexperten Skistart  

Inlägget Sportlovsrea dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at February 18, 2018 12:29 pm

The Ikkatsu Project
In the Service of the Ocean

Interlude: The Day of the Knife

Just got back from DC yesterday… an excellent experience all the way around. There’s more to come on that score, but before I get too deep into the deconstruction of a day on Capitol Hill and the state of the Union, environmentally speaking, I figured to give a quick update on the boat construction.

I got an electric knife in the mail when we got home, a gift from Craig Hightower, old friend and guide from days of yore. (Thanks, Craig!) That is going to come in handy for the shaping, some of which I actually got started on today. There is still a little more structural gluing to be done on the hull; I think I’m mostly done with the top side. The knife is good on the foam, and I’m hoping it will have the oomph to make it through the job.

So, I expect that the next thing to do, after I finish the last glue job on the hull and the shaping is finito, will be to start with the wrap. Heading to the thrift store tomorrow for supplies.

by Ken Campbell at February 18, 2018 03:54 am

February 17, 2018

Merci pour le kayak !
Blog du kayak de mer

Côte varoise : l’archipel des Embiez

L’archipel des Embiez est très accessible car proche de la côte. Il offre deux facettes contrastées, l’une douce et protégée entre la grande île et la côte, l’autre marine et sauvage à l’ouest. La zone est bien adaptée pour une petite sortie hivernale en bonnes conditions, nous en avons profité en janvier. Carte Géoportail, environs […]

by Arzhela at February 17, 2018 06:53 pm

February 16, 2018


Coaching and Leadership Conference...

Come sono contenta di far parte di questa grande famiglia!
La British Canoeing organizza ogni anno una conferenza con e per gli insegnanti, le guide e gli allenatori: quest'anno cade in febbraio, il fine settimana del 17 e 18 nei pressi di Nottingham, che oltre ad essere il luogo della leggenda di Robin Hood è anche la sede della federazione inglese.
La Coaching and Leadership Conference prevede un programma serrato di incontri e confronti su temi diversi ma ugualmente interessanti: il sabato la discussione è incentrata sul ruolo che insegnanti e guide svolgono nel far crescere gli allievi, con interventi tra gli altri di Lee Pooley, Andy Abraham, Mark Delaney, Myles Farnbank e Doug Cooper; la domenica sarà invece la volta di sessioni teorico-pratiche su argomenti differenti ma tutti attinenti al ruolo di guida secondo gli schemi della International Sea Kayak Guide Association (ISKGA)...
Il sabato sera è prevista anche la presentazione del viaggio in canoa canadese intorno all'Inghilterra: 86 giorni e 2064 miglia nautiche, con 10 traversate di oltre 40 miglia, una delle quali considerata la più lunga mai realizzata in canadese. Tanto per sorprendere chi ancora crede che la canadese non sia una vera e propria canoa da mare!

Sono curiosa di vedere di cosa si tratta.
E' la mia prima volta ad una conferenza di tale portata e sono sicura che sarà un'ottima occasione per ritrovare amici vecchi e nuovi, provenienti dal Regno Unito e dal resto d'Europa, per confrontarmi con tanti altri appassionati di pagaia e per parlare con moltissimi esperti del settore, non solo di kayak da mare "amatoriale" ma anche di ogni altra disciplina di pagaia tra le tante che ho frequentato, con maggiore o minore trasporto (canadese, polo, fluviale, sup, velocità, surf e via discorrendo...)
Non nascondo di essere molto emozionata: partecipo con un sentimento misto di timore reverenziale per tutti gli insegnanti che troverò riuniti in una stessa sala, sicuramente anche molti dei miei stessi insegnanti (!), ed una sana curiosità professionale per il prodigioso cambio di rotta che anche questa volta è stato promosso dalla British Canoeing, sempre avanti anni luce rispetto alle altre federazioni europee quanto a qualità dei programmi didattici, chiarezza dei ruoli e delle qualifiche e prospettive di crescita dell'intero movimento sportivo delle discipline di pagaia.
E poi c'è l'avventura del viaggio in aereo, in treno e persino in taxi, ed un rientro ancora aperto perché non so ancora bene dove andrò a dormire domenica notte, subito dopo la conferenza...
Tornerò a casa con la testa piena di nuove idee mirabolanti, c'è da scommetterci!

by Tatiana Cappucci ( at February 16, 2018 11:00 am

Paddle Making (and other canoe stuff)
Functional paddle art and other canoe related ramblings

Historic Paddle Photo: Rough Waters on the Restigouche

Here's a wonderful action shot of bark canoe rushing down down some rapids. While the blade of the Guide's paddle is submerged under the water, the long flat grip is faintly visible in the photo.

Source : New Brunswick, Canada  (Publication date 1920)

by Murat ( at February 16, 2018 09:35 am

February 15, 2018

OCEANPAX Paddle / Run / Be
Reflections on life, self-propelled outdoor pursuits, and all manner of things that may come to mind while sea kayaking on the waters, and minimalist running along the trails, of south Vancouver Island and Gabriola Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

Lightning strike on Castle Maol, a wall tumbles down...

It happened in an explosive instant of time. Just two hours after yesterday’s post of the exquisite rainbow, the remaining ruins of 15th century Castle Maol were changed forever. The remnants of the castle sit on a small headland, just a few hundred metres from our flat. Around 1930 hours last night, we were looking out the window at the storm…a rare and unnerving combination of lightning, thunder, violent wind, and wet snow.

Suddenly, a sharp, almost deafening crack of thunder coincided with what seemed like a massive fireball. Electricity filled the air. The familiar floodlights, which illuminated the walls of the once-fortified tower were extinguished. Only at sunrise this morning, did we discover that the iconic peak of the left wall was also gone…blown apart by the bolt of lightning, just twelve hours earlier. 

The castle, first established by the Vikings in the 9th century, was dealt yet another blow by nature's capricious hand - right before our eyes.

by Duncan and Joan Barwise ( at February 15, 2018 10:58 am

Woman on Water
A woman's perspective on kayaking and outdoor adventures.

The Long and The Short

The Long and The Short - how paddling a longer kayak and a shorter kayak has improved my over all kayaking skills.

In the spring of 2014, I was in a slump in my whitewater paddling.  I had become too comfortable on the river.  I always admired whitewater kayakers who made river running look easy by using the current and minimum paddling effort to make moves and run down rapids.  In my quest to work with the water, take the fewest amount of strokes, and use minimal effort, I became a lazy river kayaker.

When we paddled the Jackson Karma RG's on the Eel River for the promo video, I realized my slacker ways.  The Karma RG is a 12 foot whitewater kayak.  My usual river running kayaks are in the 8 foot range.  The RG is FAST and bullies down river.  When I paddled the RG with my minimalist effort technique, I flew down the river but missed the eddies that I was trying to catch.  It took about half the run for me to realize that I needed to plan my moves much sooner and paddle more aggressively.  When I did this, I was whipping into eddies and making my lines.
Paddling the long boat on the Smith River. Photo by Jeff Laxier
Fast forward to my next run in my regular river runner.  I transferred these skills - planning my moves sooner and paddling more aggressively.  BAM! My river running skills progressed.  Jeff had been telling me that I needed to paddle more aggressively, but it took feeling it and learning it in the longer boat to get me to do it.
Becoming more proactive and aggressive in making my moves on the river.  Photo by Jeff Laxier
On the short end of the spectrum, many of you know that a whitewater kayak is my favorite boat for rock gardening.  To me rock gardening is like going to a playground or skate park with a variety of features.  I find a 8-9 foot whitewater kayak to give me the best options for maneuverability, play, and surfing.  A fun rock garden move that Jeff and I do in a whitewater kayak is to ride a pour-over then do a 180 and ride back over the pour-over using the water from the same wave (and sometimes then catching the next wave back over and repeating).  This move is all about timing and being able to efficiently spin the boat 180 degrees in time to ride the water back over the pour-over.  I learned this move in my whitewater kayak and last week did it for the first time in my 14.5 foot Dagger Stratos.  It was a slower, lower angle pour-over but the skill of reading the water, timing, and maneuvering with the water was the same.  It was pretty cool and fun how the shorter boat taught me a trick to try in the longer one.  Here Jeff demonstrates the 180 to get a  triple pour-over ride in his Dagger Katana.

On the very short end of the spectrum, I have been playing in a whitewater freestyle kayak (about 5 1/2 feet long) on the river and in the surf.  I thought I might learn some playboating moves but am not there yet and am having a blast learning to use the little boat to catch micro eddies on the river and bouncing around in the surf.  I love that the freestyle kayak is so small and light and easily fits in the back of the car.  It is great for a quick surf session and is fun in even the smallest of waves.  It is has been good for technique because it doesn't fly down a wave unless you have it in perfect position.  I have learned how to maximize my position on the wave to push it down the line for a diagonal run.  The slower speed gives my time to work on strokes like the precision of my stern rudder.  I also am having fun doing flat spin 360's.
Cate using the wave's energy for a diagonal run during a sunset surf session on the Mendocino Coast.  Photo by Jeff Laxier
I share this with you so that you think a little bit out of the box and try something new.  There is a good chance that it will challenge you, you will build your skills, or find another way to play on your local waters.  Your local kayak shop may have a demo program where you can try out different boats, or maybe you can organize a boat demo day or boat swap with your local paddling club.

For paddlers that aspire to surf sea kayaks, I can't encourage you enough to get out and build your surfing skills in a whitewater kayak.  This is a post for another time.

by Cate Hawthorne ( at February 15, 2018 07:53 am

Being the Continuing Adventures of a Woman and her Trusty Kayak in New York Harbor, the Hudson River, and Beyond. (with occasional political rants just to keep things lively!)

Meet the Breeds - Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2018

Last weekend's wonderful rainy-day fun - a trip with an old friend to the Meet the Breeds event and Agility Competition run in conjunction with the world-famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show! And I loved it that this is what we saw just as we got out of the cab.

Neapolitan Mastiff. Look at those wrinkles! 

This was another one of those events that I've been hearing about for a while. thought it sounded like fun, but just hadn't gotten around to attending. I might well have gone another year without it if Mandy and I hadn't planned ahead; I got the flu last week and had spent 4 days flat on my back with a fever, returning to work the day after my temperature went down to normal, and I totally could've used Saturday as a quiet day at home - but we'd bought our tickets weeks ago and I really was excited to see the dogs! I was wiped out by the end of the day, but yes, it was tons of fun.

Meet the Breeds is exactly what it sounds like. It's held in the enormous exhibition spaces at Piers 92 and 94, and all the various breed clubs from Affenpinscher to Yorkshire Terrier have booths. The clubs decorate their spaces in appropriate themes, with lots of fun pictures and interesting information about the respective breeds, and then yes, of course, each booth is "staffed" by the friendliest and best-natured examples of each breed you could ever hope to meet! Some of them are the champion show dogs, but for this event the personalities are really more important - I particularly recall talking to a lovely lady and her very sweet and friendly Spanish Water Dog. She had actually brought her dog in from Long Island just for the Meet the Breeds; he was a rescue and under new mom's care he'd become a certified therapy dog, the perfect pup to represent the breed at an event where ten million people are there just to pet the dogs!

I'd actually thought I was there to take pictures too but there was this one little problem with that idea - it's actually really hard to take pictures of a dog and play with a dog at the same time. There were also a zillion people there so it was also actually a little tricky to line up a nice shot, but I think I pretty much threw in the towel in the borzoi booth. The boxer club had this adorable and very popular set up featuring a kissing booth with a particularly smoochy boxer girl, plus a couple more super-friendly boxers walking around (one in a tux!). I'd stepped into the borzoi booth next door to scope out a good shot, and I was just starting to do that when a warm and solid body gently started leaning against my leg. I looked down and there was this absolutely sweet and elegant face looking up at me with an expression that said "Forget the boxers, can't you see that my silky borzoi ears need petting right now?"  So I did and I was stuck there for quite some time because every time I would stop petting he would push his nose up into my hand (borzois are the perfect height for that) and ask me to not stop. I finally moved along when I looked up and realized that Mandy had vanished into the crowd ahead but I seriously could've just hung out with that borzoi for an hour. Such a sweet dog! And yes, I completely forgot to take a picture. Sorry!

We did make it through most of the dogs by the end of the day, and here are the pictures I did get. We did sit and watch the agility competition for a while to take a break, and I wish I had gotten better pictures of that - the competition was run by size order; we got there just as they were getting ready for the afternoon session by setting the jumps at their very lowest height. Yes, we were there just in time for the first competitors - all the little toys and tiny terriers and corgis! There is just NOTHING cuter than tiny dog agility, and some of these tiny dogs were VERY serious about the competition! That was especially fun, people sometimes think of toy dogs as, well, toys, but some of these little guys were just as enthusiastic about doing a good job going through all of the various obstacles as any of your bigger dogs.

It was a fun, fun day, and for all I ended up being much more focused on actually meeting the dogs than taking their pictures, I did get some cute ones! There are captions, but as usual, click on any picture for more detail.

Belgian Tervuren
"Want to go see Grandma?" As Mandy and I cracked up over the dog's head-tilt of happy interest, the club folks explained that this dog LOVES to go see Grandma, because she always has the best treats.

Handsome Malamute
American Eskimo, like my parents' dog Belle

We had a nice visit here and one of the pups showed off her obedience skills. Down, stay. Good girl! 

Bearded Collies. The one in the corner was just getting back from going for a walk and the one on the table was so happy to see him again!

Corgi pup mug

Chow chow getting groomed. The gentleman in the chow sweatshirt had a handful of the undercoat so you could feel how soft it was. I can't remember whether it was the Samoyed or Siberian Husky booth where they'd taken this one step further and had some mittens and scarves that they'd knit with yarn spun from their dogs' undercoats on display - if you saw it in a store you would've thought it was angora, that soft and fluffy!  

Chow chow face! This dog was VERY relaxed and comfy with his people grooming him to fluffy perfection.

Border collie performing before the tiny dog agility session

The handlers walking the course. They don't know how it's going to be set up until just before the competition. They have a few minutes to memorize it and figure out how to convey the order to their dogs; a lot of them ran the course doing the signals, which was pretty funny because it looked like INVISIBLE tiny dog agility!  It was pretty interesting watching a bunch of dogs and their people run the course - there was a fine balance between the dog being enthusiastic but paying attention and a dog being TOO enthusiastic, forgetting to watch for directions, and just going for the next obstacle they saw (on our end of the ring, for example, it went jump, jump, jump, tube, but the tube was right in line with the 2nd jump and some dogs just got carried away with their own momentum and OOH OOH THERE'S THE TUNNEL I'M GOING FOR THE TUNNEL YAY!). It was really impressive to see the teamwork where the dogs did have both the drive to go as fast as their tiny little paws could carry them but also the presence of mind to look for each next direction as they finished an obstacle.

Corgi go ZOOM. Corgi butts bounce in the most adorable way when they're charging around and jumping over things - they almost look like bouncing bunny tails! Mandy and I just about fell off our chairs laughing at the first corgi gallop we saw.

Beware of low-flying Scotties!

Back to the breeds. One of these Papillons was being presented with Best in the Toy Group. Very exciting for all of them!

Otterhound puppy, seven months old and just wanted to play with everybody in the world. I knelt down to get a better picture but failed because an instant after I did he was up and washing my right ear for me.

And here we are at N is for Newfie, and that's where my camera battery ran out - too bad, I would've loved to get a picture of the sweet little blue merle Sheltie named Potato, but this is as far as I got.

Really a fun day! 

by (bonnie) at February 15, 2018 06:38 am

The Ikkatsu Project
In the Service of the Ocean

This is What Democracy Looks Like

Went to Senator Patty Murray’s office this morning for her weekly “Constituent Coffee,” a half-hour or so with her and her staff that she opens up to anyone from Washington who is in town and would like to say hello. It’s a cool thing to do and it demonstrates what kind of a politician she wants to be… I appreciate it more than ever before, given the current political environment.

We’ll be meeting with one of her staff members tomorrow for a more substantive exchange, along with a half-dozen other offices during our day on the Hill. Hoping to get some quality sleep tonight in preparation.

by Ken Campbell at February 15, 2018 12:27 am

February 14, 2018
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)

Fabruarisolen värmde på Skälderviken

  Idag tog vi oss en skön eftermiddagstur på Skälderviken. Ett par minus i morse, ett par timmars skidåkning på Vallåsen och Hallandsfjällen. Lite hemmahäng och sen ner till kajakerna vid ÄSSS. Ett par plusgrader, svag sydostlig vind och värmande sol, kändes som vår och april där ett tag. Go paddling bort till Sibirien och...

Inlägget Fabruarisolen värmde på Skälderviken dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at February 14, 2018 07:12 pm

OCEANPAX Paddle / Run / Be
Reflections on life, self-propelled outdoor pursuits, and all manner of things that may come to mind while sea kayaking on the waters, and minimalist running along the trails, of south Vancouver Island and Gabriola Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

Rainbows, and the wisdom of the Stoics...

Another Hebridean storm has been raging, all day, here on the Isle of Skye. Seems like forever. We went out for a walk after lunch, just to work off some energy…but the horizontal rain, sleet, and gusts in excess of 50 mph, made it a very short one. I resigned to catching up on some reading: Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, the wisdom of ancient Stoics, it is simply marvellous. Lost in the pages, I suddenly realized that something extraordinary was happening outside. The wind abated, and skies were rapidly clearing, revealing a burning bright late-afternoon sun. A magnificent rainbow began to form, one end illuminating Kyle of Lochalsh, across the water, and the other, the ruins of 15th century Castle Maol, right outside the window.

As we watched, completely spellbound, the words that came to mind were, “this too shall pass”. The worst of the storm had passed. And it always does. I know so many people who are struggling, some with very difficult issues. The fact is, life is rarely easy. We all have struggles, and they can be overwhelming at times.

The Stoics wisely remind us that much of what happens to us is beyond our control. We can control only how we respond. Understanding that profoundly important fact makes ALL the difference. Epictetus said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” The more contemporary Serenity Prayer gently underlines that same strategy, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

The height of the Highland storm passed, replaced by an exquisite rainbow. I must keep that image close to heart and mind. It is an image that calms…and strengthens.

by Duncan and Joan Barwise ( at February 14, 2018 06:49 pm

February 13, 2018

The Ikkatsu Project
In the Service of the Ocean


“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer – they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, to evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.”
Ken Kesy

For all the intricacies of ideology and political belief, Washington DC is a very pragmatic town. It’s all about getting things done (which seems a little off, what with the constant dog-and-pony show that we see on the news), people working every day toward getting results. They are often working at odds with each other – that’s why it all seems so counterproductive at times – but they are not thinking about advancing beliefs as much as advancing their specific agendas. Most of them.

It’s important to realize that there is more to all of this than just “getting something done.” I wonder what answers we could find if we spent more time chasing the mystery than cataloguing our action items and tallying our wins and losses.

There may be a little more Zen here than I’m equipped to adequately describe. For now, it is enough to try to find the connections between the mystery and the effects it has on everything else I do. Answers are everywhere.

by Ken Campbell at February 13, 2018 12:30 pm

OCEANPAX Paddle / Run / Be
Reflections on life, self-propelled outdoor pursuits, and all manner of things that may come to mind while sea kayaking on the waters, and minimalist running along the trails, of south Vancouver Island and Gabriola Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

Into the Glenfinnan sunshine, and a magical world...

With a day of forecast sunshine, we left the Isle of Skye on board the CalMac ferry from Armadale to Mallaig, and drove the short distance to Glenfinnan. It was here, in 1745 that Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) raised his standard on the shores of Loch Shiel.

Only eight months later, the prince’s hope of achieving the thrones of Scotland and England were dashed at the Battle of Culloden.

The 18m high monument, with the solitary, kilted highlander on top, was built in 1815 to remember those who died in the Jacobite cause. 

Harry Potter fans will recognise the Glenfinnan viaduct, constructed between 1897 and 1898. The Hogwarts Express crosses it in several films, beginning with “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. 

“Highlander” fans will be interested to know that Glenfinnan is also the birthplace of “immortals”, Connor and Duncan MacLeod. It’s a rather magical place, indeed. Lunch at the Glenuig Inn, was the "icing" on the cake. 😊

by Duncan and Joan Barwise ( at February 13, 2018 10:24 am

Paddle Making (and other canoe stuff)
Functional paddle art and other canoe related ramblings

Update on two paddle designs - American Indian Art Magazine

"While browsing through some back issues American Indian Art Magazine at the Toronto Reference Library, I came across an advertisement featuring two familiar paddle blades featured on the blog before.

Ad from American Indian Art Magazine
Spring 2015, Volume 40, Issue 2

The blade on left seems to be from the set of circa 1860 "Delaware" paddles briefly discussed in this post here.

circa 1860 "Delaware" paddles
Original Post Here

A subsequent find in an old Sotheby's catalog from the 90s describes the paddles as " Probably Lorette-Huron"...
“A Pair of Painted Wood Oars, Probably Lorette-Huron.” 
Important American Indian Art
Sotheby’s New York
May 19,1998, lot 726
Original Post Link

The slightly wider blade shape and the obvious paint drips from the dotted decoration point to the likelihood that the shorter paddle of the pair is the one in the ad.

I've made attempts to contact the antique dealer featured in the ad to no avail. But after browsing through snapshots of their site through the Wayback Machine Internet Archive, I was able to find the text that matches this paddle's description:
"This paddle clearly embodies the color symbolism of the Upper and Lower Worlds. The color division of the blade reflects the duality inherent in Native Cosmology. The alternating dots of red and blue circles extending toward the canoeist suggest an animistic connection.
This paddle is associated with the Fur Trade complex. The distinct ornamentation undoubtedly identify this paddle to an individual or band. The three perforations in the handle may have symbolic references and further distinguished its ownership."

The blade on the right of the ad seems to be from the pair of  "Iroquois paddles" listed in a Cowan's auction from 2003.

Pair of Painted Iroquois Canoe Paddles, made of two piece hardwood, red and white painted blade, unpainted shaft
each 65.5" long. Ex Howard K. Echenstern Collection.
 Cowan’s Auction, Cincinnati, Ohio
September 12 &13, 2003, lot #191

The Trotta-Bono experts believe that the Iroquois attribution is incorrect.

"This paddle is finely crafted with a particularly long, narrow blade with a pronounced medial ridge. The long shaft is round in cross section with a broad flattened handle. The distinct ornamentation clearly associates this paddle with the Fur Trade and with a presumably distinct band’s identification. The white circle undoubtedly refers to an aspect of Native Cosmology, interestingly, the white band at the transition from blade to shaft is positioned within the overall red blade."

by Murat ( at February 13, 2018 09:55 am
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)

Fjälldräll vecka 5&6 Trysil 2018

Rejält snödjup när vi kom och som fylldes på. När vi var uppe i december var snödjupet 60cm och när vi kom upp i slutet av januari 140, när vi vände åter hemåt drygt 170cm. Imponerande med såna snömängder, speciellt för oss som är vana vid 1cm max 🙂 Mestadels sol och medvind men även...

Inlägget Fjälldräll vecka 5&6 Trysil 2018 dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at February 13, 2018 07:24 am

February 12, 2018


Primo corso di stagione: salvataggi e recuperi!

Siamo stati molto contenti di iniziare la nuova stagione di corsi proprio a Genova Nervi.
Abbiamo approfittato della calorosa ospitalità degli amici di Canoaverde per trattenerci in città tre giorni interi: prima per un sopralluogo con tutte le organizzatrici dell'imminente symposium femminile italiano "Il sorriso del mare", in programma nel periodo pasquale proprio nel porticciolo di Genova Nervi, e poi per una serata di presentazione del nostro lungo viaggio alle Isole Cicladi.

I primi salvataggi assistiti eseguiti all'esterno del porticciolo di Genova Nervi...
I kayak in plastica sono ideali per i salvataggi nei giardini di roccia...
Prove tecniche con le cime di traino...
Traino in linea: la cima deve rimanere sempre in tensione!
Traino di una zattera per assistere un compagno in difficoltà...
Traino di una zattera e di un'ancora di sicurezza...
La prova del nove: tutti in acqua! (grazie Laura per le foto dall'alto!)
Un bel gruppo affiatato e preparato!
Eccoci: Marco, Tatiana, Luigi, Max, Giacomo e Michele (manca Laura, che è dietro la fotocamera).
Max ha scritto sul suo blog Sound of kayak: "un corso che andrebbe ripetuto 2/3 volte all'anno!
L'ultimo sbarco!
Marco però, nonostante le fatiche, è sembrato soddisfatto.
Almeno a leggere il suo blog Panthalassa: "Risate, fatica, risate e cose nuove, tanti miglioramenti e ricordamenti :-)"

Sabato e domenica, infine, ci siamo dedicati a sguazzare in acqua ben dotati di muta stagna per praticare il maggior numero possibile di autosalvataggi e salvataggi assistiti, oltre che per testare i nostri diversi modelli di cime di traino per scortare fino all'arrivo un compagno in difficoltà.
Abbiamo anche studiato come sostituire il compagno impegnato in una zattera oppure in un traino su lunghe distanze, e pure come trarsi d'impaccio anche senza avere cime di traino.
I sorrisi larghi ed affaticati che si sono aperti sui nostri volti alla fine del corso sono la più grande soddisfazione, non solo per l'insegnante ma anche per gli allievi, che imparano divertendosi.
Il prossimo corso è in programma per l'autunno: prenotate per tempo!

by Tatiana Cappucci ( at February 12, 2018 10:22 pm


Terminado y rodando

Ya está listo el footbike para gravel. Y va estupendamente!

Cuadro Kickbike Race Max 28, con horquilla y rueda CX delante (700) y rueda MTB detrás (26). Cubiertas 35 y 38 respectivamente, frenos con discos 140 delante y 180 detrás (el cuadro no permite medida menor). Potencia de 80 a -17º y manillar plano de 61 cm. Altura mínima al suelo algo menos de 6 cm. 

Los componentes son de calidad y el cuadro de aluminio es muy robusto, por lo que el conjunto es fiable, que es el objetivo, para perderse por pistas interminables.

El peso final algo menor a los 7,5 kgs.

Para prueba de funcionamiento nos fuimos a una ruta sencilla y conocida, aunque no menos bonita, la Vía Verde de la Sierra

Excelente piso y poco desnivel.

Muchos túneles..

Espacios naturales de gran interés, como el Peñón de Zaframagón y su colonia de buitres leonados, una de las mayores de Europa.

En algunos tramos la pista esta urbanizada.....

En general el recorrido es muy asequible y disfrutón.

A mi me gusta como ha quedado...!

by Jose Bello ( at February 12, 2018 09:18 pm


Inizia la stagione dei corsi 2018...

Ecco, ci siamo. Finalmente riprendiamo!
La nuova stagione di corsi ed eventi 2018 di Tatiyak inizia a Genova Nervi.
Non a caso. Andiamo per un sopralluogo necessario per il primo symposium femminile italiano di kayak "Il sorriso del mare", che avrà luogo proprio a Genova Nervi nel periodo pasquale, dal venerdì 30 marzo al lunedì 2 aprile. Il programma è definito da tempo, ma gli ultimi dettagli meritano tutta la nostra attenzione: l'adesione ha superato le nostre più rosee aspettative e vogliamo riservare a tutte le partecipanti un'accoglienza coi fiocchi.

La splendida cornice del porticciolo di Genova Nervi...

Abbiamo così colto l'occasione per trattenerci a Genova per altri due motivi.
Prima la serata di presentazione del nostro viaggio alle Isole Cicladi del 2016, fissata per venerdì 9 febbraio alle ore 21 presso il Castello di Nervi, ospiti della locale associazione di kayak da mare Canoaverde, sempre molto attiva e propositiva in svariati campi.
Poi il corso di salvataggi, recuperi e traini fissato per sabato 10 e domenica 11 febbraio, dalle ore 9 alle ore 17 circa: due giorni per prendere confidenza con le più aggiornate e sicure tecniche di assistenza in mare di un compagno in difficoltà, partendo dalle basi di un corretto auto-salvataggio per giungere alle varie manovre di salvataggio assistito e di recupero di un pericolante più o meno collaborativo, per chiudere con i diversi approcci al traino di un kayak... Ci sarete?

by Tatiana Cappucci ( at February 12, 2018 01:27 pm
Triathlon, cycling, sea kayaking, swimming and life in the Scottish Highlands

Feb Challenge #3 - Ride the Strathpuffer Mountain Bike Course

Working for The Adventure Show I've filmed and edited the Strathpuffer 24hr MTB race quite a few times.

Yet I had never ridden it.  Now that has changed.  However, my lap of the 'Puffer course proved a little more eventful than I anticipated.

Watching all the pictures from every camera we've had on the course I felt as if I knew my way around.

Also I imagined such a famous course would be way marked.  So it was almost an afterthought I downloaded the .GPX file and put it on my Garmin watch.  Turned out, that file was absolutely essential - the only way I could work out where to go.

I had planned to make a nice wee film about riding the course.  I carried a GoPro Session on a tiny tripod and had all the material.  It was going quite well until one event which blew everything else away.

As I bumped my front wheel onto the bridge I immediately realised how slippery the green wood had become.  I had visions of getting half-way across, skidding, and dropping over the edge.  So I braked, and tried to balance by putting my right foot on the bridge arch.  Unfortunately, it skidded off (twice I think) and then the rest of my body followed.

I felt fine for a couple of hours, but by the evening my right arm was very sore.  At 3am I needed some Neurofen Plus to get back to sleep.  I've put my next swim lesson back one week.  Healing is slower at my age, but hopefully I'll be fit again soon.

Watching the video again, I can see why my right arm hurts, because it bore the brunt of my fall.  Fortunately the bike was still set-up from Craggy Island Triathlon, with flat pedals not SPDs.  So I was wearing running shoes.  I shudder to think how much this would have hurt had I been clipped into the pedals.

by Simon Willis ( at February 12, 2018 07:00 am

The Ikkatsu Project
In the Service of the Ocean

Leaving on a Jet Plane

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go… you know, like the song.

The morning will be here quickly. Early morning flight out of SeaTac for DC, arriving at National Airport at about 4:30pm. My traveling companion is pretty excited for the trip; he’s got a new suit, real luggage and 18 letters from his 5th grade classmates for Senator Cantwell, filled with information and voting advice on all manner of ocean issues. I think this will be a real educational week for him.

As I’m sure it will be for me.

by Ken Campbell at February 12, 2018 05:32 am

February 11, 2018

En blogg om padling og annet friluftsliv i (hovedsakelig) Vesterålen

Kringelskjæret og Fiskholmen

Flott vær, litt kjølig. Kunne egentlig tenkt meg å gått en tur på land heller, men med migrene i går, ny måned soms skal rulles i og ny drakt som skal testes, måtte det bli en tur på havet. Det ble en tur ut fra heimstøa, tvers over sundet.

Før det, ble februar innrullet. To ruller greit på den ene siden, to mislykkede forsøk på den andre siden. Da frøs jeg såpass at det var stopp på rullinga. (1 uke til nye forsøk - i basseng...)

Det var jo aldeles nydelige forhold, nå var sola omsider kommet over de hersens skyene.

Jeg er litt spent på denne drakten, ikke vært borti det merket før. Første «sjokk» var allerede ved påkledning - det var supertrangt i alle åpninger. Mansjettene utenpå latexmansjettene er nesten like trange, det er jeg ikke vant med. Hm. Var fristet til rett og slett å ta fram saksa. Vi får se etter en tids bruk, om det tilvennes eller ikke. Men det var jo strålende med en drakt som ikke må lirkes og lures over hoftene, og som har plass til tre lag ull på vinteren!

Framme ved Fiskholmen! Det var merkelig få fugler å se underveis, men ellers fin tur over sundet. Null vind.

Jeg vurderte å padle inn til anlegget inne i Holmen, men det var et surt drag utover fjorden...

Flott utover Gavlfjorden, lite båttrafikk. Teksten på korset har visst ramlet ut med tiden.

Nesten som en sommerdag.

En veldig flott, liten strand, med en god del skjell.

«Ikke verdt enda et bilde-fin» tenker du kanskje, men cluet i dette bildet er til venstre der... Selvutløser, jeg er i fullt firsprang for å stå ved kajakken når det knipses. Det er akkurat for langt...

Det så veldig fristende ut mot Fiskholmen. Kanskje jeg heller skulle ta en tur bortover dit, så visste jeg at jeg fikk være i sola hele veien i hvert fall.

Mye skygge langs land innover mot Holmen, som vi ser.

Jeg padlet meg en tur til dette kule sjømerket, før jeg satte kursen til Fiskholmen. Der var det en ørn, og mye straum, men ingen sel som lå og solte seg sånn som planen min tilsa. Dustesel. Nuvel, sola varmer vel for lite ennå da. Så padlet jeg i retur, og droppet mer rulling for det var i grunnen kaldt nok som det var.

Tok meg en liten runde i hagen - og der sto jammen disse her og gliste. Hadde ikke ventet å kunne se sånt før om en måneds tid - opptur. Første vårtegn - selv om det er noen måneder til vår.

by Miamaria Padlemia ( at February 11, 2018 09:10 pm
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)

Skridskopremiär på Västersjön

Idag blev det premiär för Bambi på hal is, vi tog en runda kortfärdsskridsko fast med Långfärdsskridskor på fötterna. Blev en kortis på Västersjön hemmavid, inte så himla tjockt en bit ut så vi höll oss  kanten i sydosthörnet, mellan Stenviken och utloppet. Gött med lite skridsko nära. Kom hem igårkväll efter två veckor i...

Inlägget Skridskopremiär på Västersjön dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at February 11, 2018 08:10 pm

Pouls kajakblog
Jeg hedder Poul, og jeg er kajakoholiker! Denne blog - der mest er min egen dagbog over mit "kajakliv" - handler om mine kajakture og det udstyr jeg benytter mig af.

Overnatningstur til Avnø

Tomas havde inviteret til vintertur fra Svinø med overnatning i shelter på Avnø. Karin og jeg bed på krogen og mødte op på aftalt tid i lørdags ved NKC. Der var lovet voldsomt blæsevejr - ovenikøbet modvind - om søndagen, så for en sikkerheds skyld placerede Karin sin bil ved Naturcenteret, så hun kunne slippe for hjemturen. Jeg kørte med og tog hende ombord i min bil.
Vi mødtes med Tomas ved Svinø og fik hurtigt læsset kajakkerne af. Da jeg ikke havde så meget med, var pakkedisciplinen nærmest sløset. Der blev dog plads til både alt mit grej plus lidt af Karins. Hun har ikke så meget pakkevolumen i sin Greenlander som jeg har i min Tiderace XploreX. Af grej havde jeg ud over basis sove- og spisegrej og mad, taget et ekstra skumunderlag til at skåne det oppustelige og en tyk keddeldragt og varme vinterstøvler med.
Efter omklædning tog vi lige et fællesbillede med selvudløser - det er Karin i midten :-)
Snart var vi på vandet og kunne ro af sted. Der var heftig modstrøm, så det var med at finde idvandet langs kysten. Heldigvis var vinden mildt i ryggen, så vi gled fint af sted. Heldigvis for Karin er maskeforbuddet ikke trådt i kraft.
Der var ikke meget liv, hverken på vandet eller langs kysten. Et par på gåtur så dog længe på - og man fornemmede et let rysten på hovedet.
Som sædvanlig roede vi i en stor bue ud på fjorden for at slippe for de mest lavvandede områder langs kysten. Vi spottede Rønnen og så en del fugleaktivitet. Det var måger der var voldsomt utilfreds med et par havørne der holdt pause på den lille ø.
Vi listede lidt nærmere og fik et godt kig, da den ene af ørnene blev træt af mågerne og fløj imod os. Desværre fløj den ikke lige ind over os, men dog så tæt på at det lykkedes at få et skud af den hvor man rent faktisk kan se at det er en ørn.
Lidt sæl-kig blev det også til på den sidste del af turen. Som sædvanlig kom sælerne tæt på os og lå nysgerrigt og kiggede lige så meget på os, som vi kiggede på dem.
Kort før det blev mørkt, ankom vi til shelterne. Det ene var optaget af en far med to sønner, men der var god plads til os alle. Lidt ærgerligt var det dog at det ene bord/bænksæt manglede. Farmand viste sig at være lidt af en eventyrer, så han og Tomas fik udvekslet en del rejseerfaringer fra forskellige eksotiske steder i verden.
Vi fik indrettet os og snart brændte bålet. Karin havde været ude med lidt brænde et par dage før og Tomas og jeg fik hurtigt sanket en god bunke brænde fra en vindfælde - det er stadig nemt at finde brænde i Nokkeskoven bag shelterne. Med økse og foldesav blev brændet savet i bålrette stykker, og vi fik lavet et godt glødebål til aftensmaden.
Den bestod af laks pølser, en bøf til deling, nanbrød og en gang salat. Alt sammen skyllet ned med smagsprøver af lidt forskellig øl - vi blev alle godt mættet. 

Vi gik en tur op til Naturcenteret hvor vi noget overraskende mødte Nils og Pernille. Tomas havde en aftale med dem om et besøg, men de havde tidligere på aftenen meldt afbud. Det havde de fortrudt, og vi fik et hyggeligt besøg til aftenkaffen.

Trods ret lave temperaturer sov jeg jeg godt og varmt i min dunpose. Uldundertøj og en flisdragt hjalp godt til. Næste morgen vågnede vi op til dette flotte syn.
Vi havde brænde til at starte bålet med, så vindfælden måtte levere mere træ til morgenmadsbålet.
Vi gik klassisk engelsk til værks.
Bacon, pølser, baked beans, tomater, røræg og kaffe. Det eneste vi manglede var toast og marmelade. Men pyt! Vi blev mætte.
Vi pakkede sammen og fik lige taget et fællesbillede inden vi satte os i kajakkerne.
Det blæste ikke så meget som DMI og Yr havde truet med, men da vandstanden var høj. holdt vi os langs kysten. Vi fik ikke hilst på sæler, men så så en del andefugle.
Snart nærmede vi os Svinø - jeg var gået i udbrud og fik for en gangs skyld lidt billeder af mine rokammerater forfra.
Vi var glade efter et par hyggelige dage i det danske vintervejr - og det ses tydeligt på Tomas.
Han var faktisk så glad at han lige skulle køles ned af et rul.
Det blev til 17 km i kajakkerne

by Pouls kajakblog ( at February 11, 2018 02:47 pm

Sea kayaking with
Imagine you are at the edge of the sea on a day when it is difficult to say where the land ends and the sea begins and where the sea ends and the sky begins. Sea kayaking lets you explore these and your own boundaries and broadens your horizons. Sea kayaking is the new mountaineering.

The economics of going on a safari adventure.

25/03/2017 After our first luncheon it was time to return to the boats. This is the P&H Scorpio HV Mk2 in CoreLite X. It is very large but supremely comfortable and as can be seen from the previous post, made an excellent stable platform for photographing bottlenose dolphins. Talking of which... sooner had we launched than we were pounced upon by the pod which had been lying in ambush

by Douglas Wilcox ( at February 11, 2018 01:31 pm

Looks like trouble at the Isle of Tears, Sound of Arisaig.

25/03/2017 Last March Mike, Donald (AKA The Gurnard) and I arrived at the Glenuig Inn on the south coast of the Sound of Arisaig. Our friends were not due to arrive until the evening but as we had arrived at midday, we wasted no time on getting on the water. I was keen to try out the new P&H Scorpio HV mk2 in CoreLite X. Donald soon had the little F-RIB 275 on the plane and he disappeared

by Douglas Wilcox ( at February 11, 2018 01:26 pm

Bottlenose dolphins in the Sound of Arisaig.

25/03/2017 At first Mike was oblivious to the pod of...  ...bottlenose dolphins which had been playing in Donald's wake.  What a spectacle they made against the backdrop of the Eigg and Rum mountains. They were much more interested in Donald's boat than the kayaks but he obliged us by motoring back... ...and forward across... ...our bows, with the pod in tow, so that we could

by Douglas Wilcox ( at February 11, 2018 01:25 pm

Total silence in the Sound of Arisaig at sunset.

25/03/2017  On our return across the Sound of Arisaig we initially had a decent breeze to assist our progress but the sun sank in the west and Rois-Bheinn took on a warm glow, the...  ...wind dropped to nothing. Donald's little F-Rib had long since landed, leaving Mike and myself in total silence in the middle of the Sound. We were in no hurry and reflected on what a great

by Douglas Wilcox ( at February 11, 2018 01:25 pm

February 10, 2018

Mountain and Sea Scotland
Hillwalking and Sea Kayaking in Scotland

Low sun and low swell - winter rockhopping on the Moray Firth

 The first weekend of February brought a brief period of calm weather, so Lorna, Allan and I took advantage by planning a paddle at one of our favourite local spots.  Launching from Sandend on a bright but cold afternoon, we headed west towards Cullen.  The plan was just to enjoy some time on the water and to get in among the rock features of this great stretch of coast.

 We struggled to see landward in the low winter sunshine - but certainly weren't complaining about a sunny February afternoon!

 Closer in we were in the shade; the sun streaming over the top of the cliffs creating some great halo effects.  These north facing outcrops see no sunlight through the winter months and can be very cold places. Despite this, the seabirds are beginning to arrive back for their breeding season.  Gulls were loafing around the skerries, as were Shags - while Fulmars already seem to be occupying territories and threatening all intruders.

 This cave-arch is a hidden gem - we seek it out each time we kayak here.  In the summer it gets the most wonderful lighting - in the winter the atmosphere is a little darker.

 The afternoon sun picked out the ruin of Findlater Castle really well, the calm conditions allowing us to rest a while in the bay below.

 The swell was low, but quite long period and with considerable energy, at times giving sporting passage through narrow gaps - lots of fun!

After a break for coffee and sandwiches on a small beach in Cullen Bay, we headed back towards Sandend with the evening sun on our backs.  The breeze dropped along with some of the swell - a relaxed end to an afternoon of winter rockhopping.

by Ian Johnston ( at February 10, 2018 07:26 pm
Triathlon, cycling, sea kayaking, swimming and life in the Scottish Highlands

Feb Challenge #2 - A Two Night Break in a Dog Friendly Hotel

What kind if a challenge is this!?  Two nights in a lovely country house hotel!

Well it must be rather difficult because, apart from 'proper holidays', Liz and I haven't had a two-night stay in a nice hotel since 2009.

There's always something else to do or we use the campervan.  So staying at a posh hotel would be a challenge for all our wee family.

I've stayed in the Could House Hotel several times when filming The Strathpuffer mountain bike race for The Adventure Show.  It is - by far - the best hotel we ever use.  Luxurious yet friendly, not at all stuffy, and with fabulous food.

Plus it's dog-friendly.  Eat in the bar, and your canine companion can lie at your feet.  Just like Maggie in the photo above.

Best of all, staying here allowed me to tackle yet another personal challenge, of riding the course of the Strathpuffer.  That didn't quite turn out as I'd hoped, as you'll see Monday.

by Simon Willis ( at February 10, 2018 09:23 am

February 09, 2018

Being the Continuing Adventures of a Woman and her Trusty Kayak in New York Harbor, the Hudson River, and Beyond. (with occasional political rants just to keep things lively!)

1/27/18 Continued - A Walk In the Park

Just a few more photos from Central Park, the day of the Winter Jam. We decided to skip a long wait for a short ski and went for a bit of a hike instead. Here's a random scene looking South, Balto, Bethesda Terrace, the boathouse, Bow Bridge, scenes in The Ramble, King Jagiello of Poland (fun seeing that again, that's where I used to go for Wednesday night set dancing in the park - don't know if that still goes on in the summertime but it did for many years), the dormouse from the Alice in Wonderland statue, reflections in the Model Boat Pond, and the Hans Christian Andersen statue (with the Ugly Duckling). Felt good stretching our legs after the slow walking around the festival!

by (bonnie) at February 09, 2018 08:39 pm
Triathlon, cycling, sea kayaking, swimming and life in the Scottish Highlands

February Challenge #1 - Ride a Winter Lap of the Isle of Mull

This has long been on my tick-list yet for some reason I never got around to it.

If I'm honest, it's because it looked rather tough.

I wasn't certain I could complete it in a respectable time.

Yet that's what these challenges are partly about.  Not exactly a bucket list, more like motivation to tidy up some loose ends.  Things I've always meant to do but didn't get around to.

I'm doing at least one a month in this my 60th year on the planet.

Loads of people have ridden a full circuit of the Isle of Mull.  Indeed, this is the route of the Mull sportive.  But most folk wait until the cafes are open, the days are longer, and CalMac switches to its summer timetable with more sailings.

But once the tourists arrive, Mull gets mobbed.  Many of them struggle to deal with bikes on the single track roads which cover the island, and the locals get frustrated an impatient.

It made more sense to me to go now, and it was a great call.  The weather lived up to the forecast and there were remarkably few cars around until I reached the north coast.  Perfect.

There were only two tricky things.  First was clothing choice - it was freezing cold (literally) where I started so I was muffled in lots of layers, mitts, cap and overshoes.  However, by the time I tackled the second long climb around mid-day I was cooked and finding inventive places to stow extraneous kit.  Still, it all came on again towards the end as the low winter sun disappeared below the horizon.

By this point I felt quite doddery too
The second tricky thing was food.  I guessed correctly that all the cafes would be closed, but hadn't appreciated how few shops I'd find open.  One.  At the end.  I was relieved that I'd packed two slices of Liz's fruit cafe, and another two chunks of her wholemeal bread.  That plus some gels and bars kept me going (the spare farty bedroom for me tonight though).

This was the biggest traffic delay of the day
The lap is 88 miles.  That's not too tough a distance, but it's the elevation gain which makes Mull a worthy challenge, 1,784m.

Easiest way to get to Mull for us is to drive to Lochaline, park and wheel the bike onto the CalMac.  The Sunday winter timetable has just four crossings each way.  There's eight hours and five minutes between the first sailing arriving on Mull and the last one departing.

So, 88miles in 8 hours.  Exactly, 11mph average speed.  I put the Garmin on free run, pressed the button as I rolled down the ferry ramp, and kept a close eye on that average speed.

Eventually I arrived back at the ferry 7hr and 5min after leaving.  My Garmin subsequently told me my actual riding time was 6hr 31min.

Relive 'Day Tour of Mull'

by Simon Willis ( at February 09, 2018 08:05 pm

Paddle Making (and other canoe stuff)
Functional paddle art and other canoe related ramblings

Book Review: Border Country

A recently published book may interest those with a keen interest in historical canoe tripping and vintage wood-canvas canoes.  Border Country: The Northwoods Canoe Journals of Howard Greene  documents the tripping adventures of an enthusiastic group of wilderness seekers in the early  20th century.

Border Country: The Northwoods Canoe Journals of Howard Greene
2017 • Author: Martha Greene Phillips
Foreword by Peter Geye
$39.95 cloth/jacket ISBN 978-1-5179-0107-3
408 pages, 376 b&w plates, 9 x 10, July 2017

Beginning in the summer of 1906, a successful Milwaukee businessman departed with his son and some friends and to explore the headwaters of the Wisconsin River. After that first trip, the group was hooked and spent multiple summers tackling more ambitious routes in Minnesota, Michigan and Canada until a final journey in 1916. As tends to happen when a close-knit group form a tripping camaraderie, nick-names began to emerge. The crew called themselves "The Gang" and labeled their intrepid leader, Howard Greene, affectionately as "Dad".

Howard "Dad" Greene
Courtesy of Martha Greene Phillips

Greene was not only the trip organizer, he was also the record keeper of the group maintaining meticulous notes of the long journeys. More significantly, he hefted along a cumbersome Graflex camera and tripod to photograph the unspoiled portions of the routes, daily camp life, remote Indian villages, lumber camps and mining operations during a critical time of change in the region.

Tripping photography in the early 20th century
Courtesy of Martha Greene Phillips

A shoreline break
Courtesy of Martha Greene Phillips

Camp in 1915
Courtesy of Martha Greene Phillips

Once back in the city, the ever-talented Greene would type up his notes, develop dozens of large format photographs and sketch out route maps of the trip. He would then bind them with attractive leather covers and make a nostalgic copy for each member of The Gang. The effort and workmanship alone made these journals works of art in themselves.

Howard Greene's Leather Bound Journal gifts for each member of "The Gang"
 Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Press

Copies of the original journals were lost over time but a complete set, along with hundreds of never-before-seen photos were held in the private collection of Greene's youngest child, daughter,  Martha Greene-Phillips.  Thankfully, she was willing to share this personal treasure trove with a wider audience. The resulting collaboration with the University of Minnesota Press resulted in a handsome hardcover complete with over 370 photos of the successive trips.

As a lover of wooden canoes and tripping in general, the collection of journals and photos were a mesmerizing read. Normally, personal journals can be quite mundane creating a limited connection with the reader, but Greene's writing style, observational nature and wit succeeds in drawing in the outsider. One almost feels like a ghost member of "The Gang" tagging along,  enduring their hardships yet enjoying the journey. Folks who have paddled these same regions today, now part of Quetico Provincial Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, might further appreciate the historic documentation that predates the work of other famed wilderness writers  like Sigurd Olson and Calvin Rutstrum by decades.

Modern canoeists will certainly get a historical lesson of the difficulties in logistics for the trips of the time. A significant portion of each trip involved lengthy rides by train, wagon, horse and steamship just to reach the access points. Maps of many areas were still incomplete or inaccurate and navigation required a constant focus rather than the comparatively lazy method of plugging in coordinates into GPS. Tripping like this doesn't seem like a restful vacation yet the summer escapes of the Gang were the highlight of their year.

Two members of the group would eventually purchase their own their own wood-canvas canoes and would freight them back to Milwaukee by train once each trip was over. Greene owned a very early Kennebec canoe whose fine lines and attractive heart shaped deck can be seen in many of the photographs. By the end of his final journey 1916 journey, it had become so battered and patched that it was sold off to local barber for the grand sum of five dollars. Another member of The Gang had an early Thompson. Today, wood canvas canoes from that era are relatively rare and sought after by collectors. Greene's photographs are a valuable early record of these craft  and would be useful for those who wish to study the lines and components for research and restoration purposes.

Greene was also keenly interested in the local Ojibwe people and their culture. The journals discuss exchanges about gear and beadwork with local bands. Photographs of native camps and birchbark canoe construction provide a rare ethnographic visual of these encounters.  Although Martha Greene Phillips writes that her father held enlightened views for the time, she and the publisher made no attempt to sanitize language considered very offensive today, nor hide the fact that while initially respectful in their early trips, The Gang would go on to desecrate native grave sites for souvenirs in later years.

As distasteful as this episode seems to modern ears, the true essence of the book is about the bond of family and friendship through the mutual experience of wilderness escape. Containing a visual photographic feast and delightful tripping stories, Border Country would make a fine addition to any canoeist's library.

by Murat ( at February 09, 2018 11:15 am
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)

Forsföraren – forspaddling i Sverige

Tidigare fanns det en sajt som hette Forsguiden där alla paddlingsbara (och säkert en del till) forsar fanns beskrivna. För forspaddling alltså. Forsguiden försvann dock från nätet och nu har istället Forsföraren dykt upp. Mycket av innehållet är samma som på Forsguiden men jag antar att det uppdateras efterhand. Forsar beskrivs och listas landskap för...

Inlägget Forsföraren – forspaddling i Sverige dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at February 09, 2018 08:01 am

February 08, 2018
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)


Hämta in ved vill man såklart göra då och då. Har man inget vedförråd eller ingen spis/kamin/ugn att elda med ved i är det bara att beklaga. Ut på Booli och leta hus med ordentlig värme- och myskälla 🙂 Eller dra ut till närmaste vindskydd eller eldstad. Här är några bilder på en enkel vedhämtare,...

Inlägget Vedhämtare dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at February 08, 2018 07:12 pm


Bretaña. I Symposium Internacional Kayak de Mar en Francia. 21-28 Abril.

Navegar en la Bretaña francesa es un objetivo para cualquier seakayaker.  Por la magia del entorno y sus enormes mareas.

CK/mer organiza el primer Symposium Internacional de Kayak de Mar en Paimpol-Archipel de Bréhat durante la última semana de Abril. Siete días a tope!
Este es el enlace con la información y las opciones de inscripción para los tres días de formación/tecnificación y los cuatro días de travesías:

Pongo a continuación la lista de coaches del evento. Desde aquí quiero agradecer a la organización, que me haya llamado para formar parte de este potente equipo internacional. Será un enorme placer volver a palear con tan buenos palistas y amigos.

¿Nos vemos alli?

by Jose Bello ( at February 08, 2018 02:21 pm

February 07, 2018


Atlante delle isole del mediterraneo...

Un libro scovato, letto ed amato in un sol giorno!
Il sottotitolo è quasi più bello del titolo: "Storie, navigazioni, arcipelaghi di uno scrittore marinaio".
Simone Perotti, autore navigato di romanzi e saggi ed ora alle prese con un intrigante progetto di navigazione a vela nel Mediterraneo (e anche nel Mar Nero e Mar Rosso), ha dato alle stampe nell'ottobre dello scorso anno questo meraviglioso volume introdotto da un'ancor più meravigliosa presentazione: "... la vera geografia non la osserviamo sulle carte politiche, ma la sveliamo conoscendo luoghi, approdando su coste diverse, parlando con gli uomini che animano quei borghi..."
E la chiosa: "Solo i naviganti, forse, hanno facoltà di parlare di un'isola"!

"Atlante delle isole del Mediterraneo" di Simone Perotti - Ed. Bompiani, ottobre 2017
La mappa delle isole raggiunte a vela e raccontate a braccio... 
Uno dei capitoli più belli, dedicato al grande poeta Ghiannis Ritsos e al famoso musicista Mikis Theodorakis...

L'autore sceglie non senza fatica alcune delle isole più affascinanti del Mediterraneo per trarne spunto e parlare non solo del luogo ma anche delle storie nate in quei lembi di terra persi in mezzo al mare.
"In un mondo che mette al centro la vita e ha rispetto della penosa e miracolosa storia dell'uomo, il dove ed il come tenderebbero a coincidere, evolvendo la cartografia in psicografia, la geografia in geosofia. Come gli indigeni australiani, finiremmo forse col misurare la terra col canto, e andremmo oltre: tracceremmo confini di spezie, aree urbane di ritmi, utilizzeremmo l'atmosfera di un luogo per definirne l'ampiezza, sostituiremmo le miglia con i ricordi, i metri con le idee, gli ettari con l'armonia. Che bella mappa sarebbe!" E che bel mondo, quello in cui le miglia si trasformano in ricordi!
L'Atlante delle isole del Mediterraneo è un libro da leggere.

by Tatiana Cappucci ( at February 07, 2018 10:30 am