Monday, 27 December 2010

Turkey Basher

In the end only three of us met up for our Turkey basher trip (no turkeys were hurt on this trip). We met and set off from the back slipway at Elie harbour, this was very aptly named due to the ice that was still lying around. Getting the boats ready at home, the weather was only what you could describe as miserable, however, Elie  has it's own weather system, the day was fair and almost warm. It was over freezing - just. Niall was in his Christmas present, a new dry suit. Ken had his Christmas present with him, a new Greenland paddle. Ken has never paddled with a Greenland before but found it quite easy to use, although I'm not sure he felt he could rely on his support strokes quite yet.
We headed out from Elie and round the coast. Further on Niall got quite excited, he'd spotted a whale, a really big whale that made a huge splosh. This whale was going nowhere and was now breaching fairly regularly. This rock will probably now always be remembered as Niall's rock. Never mind Niall, I could see the rock, but I couldn't make out a thing on the map right under my nose!
We then spotted a cormorant/shag  come back up with a large fish, so big it couldn't munch it and was mugged by a seagull for it. We went over for a closer look as the seagull was also struggling. I think it was a colourful wrasse, I hadn't realised we still had fish that size in the Forth.
We stopped for lunch at Pittenweem harbour before catching a nice swell to take us back to Elie.
It was quite a nice short trip, but far enough when you realise how much extra ballust ( turkey and chocolate) you're wearing.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Paddling again at last

Sunny days
 This is my third blog entry, but my first soggy one. The last couple of trips had been cancelled due to the snow, however 5 of us decided recently to have a wee trip up to our local, the Tay at Stanley. When we set off the sun was almost splitting the sky, which is more than the mercury was doing to the thermometer. We travelled up with temperatures ranging from a bracing -5 up to a balmy freezing. The river was at a funny level with the Linn being a bit big and boily and the weir being washed out. There were a couple of waves to grab, but I do admit, I didn't try too hard to catch them. The thought of going upside down and coming back up with an icecream head was too much to bear.      
Once we got down to the bottom of Thistlebrig, our get out, we bumped into some more mad paddlers. One was looking for another guy who he thought had come down in front of them - without a spraydeck. Another guy got out at the same time as us, he only had wetsuit shorts and wetsuit shoes on, no socks (he did have top layers on!), crazeeee or what. It was maybe sunny, but it certainly wasn't warm.

Chilling out

A very hard waterfall.

Friday, 3 December 2010

The kayakey kid and the storm cag

The Kayakey kid was over for a visit this evening. We've decided paddling is in his genes, he just loves boats. This evening his boat was in the shape of a tractor trailer and his paddle was a wee sledge. He's got good posture in it and has remarkable balance, although he did fall out a couple of times, he hasn't learnt to roll his tractor boat yet. He insisted we all wore the new storm cag, well the hood at least, that's all that is made yet, but I reckon it's looking good. Hopefully when I put the body part on it will still look good. His Grandad, one of FCAG's coaches had to give a bit of a demonstration here, wearing the hood of course. I can't imagine why the Kayakey kid looked at him as though he was daft!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Getting started

The reason I had decided to start my blog was my disappointment at not getting out paddling at the weekend due to an abundance of the white stuff - no not milk, just masses of snow. It would have been my first trip as a 4* sea leader.
I sat my assessment at the beginning of November in near perfect weather conditions! We were staying at Inchree with the course being run by Glenmore Lodge. We started off with a gentle breeze under the Ballachulish bridge where we started with a bit of edging, turning and questions. We then headed out under the bridge to the bay. We had an outgoing tide with a westerly wind (no longer a breeze!) which meant it was no longer nice and calm. The waves (and wind) started getting a bit bigger. Out in the middle of the bay, still doing our personal paddling skills, we were now towing in big waves. This was a tad tiring, me being a little old Grandma towing two big blokes. Further out in the bay and we were now crossing to the north shore. By this time we were paddling over our remit. It was blowing a hooley, the waves were now huge, and we were having a whale of a time!
Next day we met our two guinea pigs and our days paddling was in Loch Ailort. Again we were expecting (and got) strong westerly winds, so rather than paddling out to the bothy at Peanmeanach as we had planned, we found a sun trap on one of the islands. From there we watched otters playing on the next bit of rock.
It was a really tiring, but thoroughly enjoyable couple of days paddling. I've no photos to go with this as I reckon I was too busy concentrating on doing things right, rather than making sure everyone was posing and smiling for my camera.
Yep, still snowed in!
I'm now sitting at home, still snowed in, but I'm still being busy. I've decided to have a go at making myself a storm cag. I've got waterproof material from the year dot and made a paper pattern. I'll let you know how it goes. It might end up looking like a green garden sack!