Saturday 22 June 2013

Windermere Summer Solstice Race

It was supposed to be summer. It didn't feel like summer as we readied ourselves for the race- the longest lake on the longest day. The forecast was for south westerly force 4 wind all day with gusts up to force 6 and that is exactly what we got.
Here I am trying not to embarass myself at before I even get to the start line. It's a wobbly boat that I've been in just four times before, and always in very calm conditions.

Getting to the start line wasn't too bad. Trying not to fall in while we waited for the race to start was a bit more of a problem.

Here I am underway. This bit of lake doesn't look too choppy.

 That soon changed. Just look at the sailing boats. I am keeping very close to the shore as I am never quite certain that I am not going to fall out of my boat.

Another picture which just about shows how windy it was.

Just about to cross the finish line. I am exhausted. Partly because I have just paddled 17km in a race and partly because of the amounts of energy I expended just keeping the boat upright. It was a relief to finish in a time of 2hrs 3 minutes. This placed me 12th overall.

Sunday 9 June 2013

Windermere Challenge 2

The map says it all really. This was another attempt by David to run the length of Windermere faster than I could paddle it. We started at Waterhead at the north end of the lake and finished at the road bridge at Newby Bridge. His route is a bit longer than mine and includes a few hilly bits. Although the margin was smaller I still beat him in a time of 2hrs 11 minutes. He did it in 2 hrs 17 minutes.

Coquet Island Race 2013

The sun shone as paddlers descended on the Braid country park in the Northumberland town of Amble. The race is a five mile route down the river, out through the harbour and round Coquet Island.

Here paddlers are assembling before the start. Conditions are about perfect and the seals and terns are ready and waiting to ambush us in the vicinity of the island.

This is where we went.

I couldn't take pictures during the event, but this is the prizegiving afterwards. I won the women's prize but I think I'm going to have to do a bit more training before next time as there wasn't much gap between first and second.

Saturday 1 June 2013

last Day in Kefalonia

On our final paddling day we set off from our campsite near Fiskardo to paddle to the island of Ithaka. The crossing was about 2 miles in calm conditions. Once across we explored the rocky coastline of the north of the island. I didn't take many pictures. Here we are having lunch, unusually our only lunch break of the day.

Some of the hardier members of the group tried to learn how to fly.

It looked lovely but the water was still pretty cold. Once the swimming was done, we made our way back to Fiskardo where we were met by Pavlos' (our local guide) wife ready for the spectacular drive back to our base.

Scottish Sea Kayak Symposium

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, which shouldn't have been a surprise as it's always sunny on Skye. About 250 paddlers took to the water, this group looking at forward paddling technique.

 Gordon's fun and games session was a fantastic way of developing balance in or on the boat.

Greenland style paddling skills and rolling were popular sessions.

As was rescue practice.

More rolling practice.

Last session of the main event and it's all starting to get quite relaxed.

Here's a picture of my new stealth boat.

And here's a big group of paddlers enjoying the trip between Kyleakin and Plockton, with the Cuillin in the background.

Near Tarskavaig we saw otters, there were two but one swam off before I could get a picture.

Then at the deserted village of Boreraig were found an adder in the grass.

Nearby are several amonite imprints.

Here's the stunning view as we paddled into Coruisk from Elgol.

Impossibly calm conditions as we came in to land on the island of Soay.

The main event was three days followed by four days of guided journeys. 250 paddlers were involved and it was fantastic to see so many people out on the water together.

Monday 22 April 2013

Kefalonia day 5 in Pictures

Day 5 can be summed up pretty well in pictures.

Kefalonia Day 4

Another beautiful blue sky day and what better way to start than with a dip? That's what Mark thought anyway.

Here we are getting packed up ready for another day of stunning scenary.

This guy motored along, catching fish in his beautifully painted boat.

As most of the group cut a corner and paddled from one headland to the next, a few of us paddled towards a little harbour near the village of Zola. In the shallow water we came across this Loggerhead turtle. It was a fantastic moment in a trip otherwise lacking in interesting wildlife.

As we made our way along the coast towards the village of Assos, the cliffs became more and more interesting. Caves everywhere, and the water calm enough to be able to enjoy them fully.

After paddling round the old fort at Assos we made it into the harbour. It was a long walk from the landing to the bar.

I took a walk up to the old fort, largely destroyed by the 1953 earthquake. This picture is the coastline that we were to paddle the following day

This is Assos harbour from the balcony of the guest house where we stayed. It was very welcome to stay indoors and wash off four days worth of salt encrustation.

Kefalonia Day 3

Launching required team tactics, as one by one we were given a big shove down the pebbly beach, aiming to hit the water inbetween the dumpers. I got the timing a bit wrong and started the day with a facefull of seawater. The first part of the journey was into a headwind with smaller swell than yesterday, but still a bit of effort required. Rocks were again spectacular.

Once round a sharp headland, we were now heading SE and for the first time, sheltered from the NW wind. Round the corner a cave was enticing and big enough for the whole group.

Another beach campsite, and Doug looks rather smug as he demonstrates his new gadget. He challenged the team pyromaniac to a fire starting contest. The gadget turned out to be a blow torch so there was no contest.

We spent the rest of the evening round the fire