Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Canoeing, my alternative therapy.

My interest in open canoeing has been increasing of late. Originally, I would avoid the canoe like the proverbial plague! They were big, heavy, hard to handle and if there was more than the merest breath of wind, I had absolutely no control at all!
Coming down from Aberfeldy
 During my journey to my L2, I "had to" learn to paddle with a single blade, so therefore I was out in those enormous boats more often. The more I was out and learning, the more I was beginning to enjoy canoeing. In the end, the best part of my L2, apart from passing, was being forced out in the canoe more often, although I still had a lot to learn.
 I then noticed a 3* was coming up on Loch Lomond for which I duly signed up for - then wondered why I do these things, beginning to doubt my ability to pass.
I took the canoes out as often as I could up on the loch. I was kindly given a loan of a lovely little Argosy from Madmoogs while she was off peddling instead of paddling. I took it down from Aberfeldy to the top of Grandtully. It was the first time I'd been in faster moving water since being a mock student up at Knockando. The Argosy was fantastic, so light and comfy. It was decided not to run Grandtully as there were more rocks than water here, I've never seen this spot so low before (not that I intended paddling it anyway!, but Hubby dear and KP had run it a couple of weeks previously) I'd had a great time, I could feel myself really getting into this open boating malarkey.

A bit sunk, that's before icecream!

The following week was the 3* on a rather sunny, but very breezy(!) Loch Lomond. The sailing was interesting with one pair using a 2 man group shelter, one pair using a 4 man group shelter, we used an 8 man group shelter. It was enormous, the wind caught it and we zoomed, great stuff. I reckon we could have entered the tall ships race with that one! Another great time in the open boats - and a pass!
Hubby dear and KP are doing their 4* open boat leader awards which means they are spending more time practising and leading (me!).
Calm Loch Faskally
What goes up

Comes back down

Our next journey was up on Loch Faskally before heading up the bottom of the Garry for a little bit practising poling. I have to say, the Argosy isn't the easiest boat to pole!
Next was a trip up to Stanley. Madmoogs was back and unfortunately was looking for her Argosy back so I was in a club boat. I had forgotten how heavy they were. I was concerned again about managing to handle a heavy boat again, especially in faster water. No problems, we headed upstream to practise ferry gliding up by the island before having a go at lining. After lunch we made our way down to the weir. After a successful run through here, KP and Hubby dear had a bit of playtime in the waves. Had I been in a wee kayak, I would have joined them. I decided I'd be safer sitting at the side taking photies. Next it was down through Hellhole, before a long slog into the wind past the mill. KP had a wee play in the standing wave here, managing to flood the boat - Ooops!
Ferry gliding

Madmoogs back in her Argosy

Attempting lining

Coming through the Stanley weir

Hubby dear surfing the Stanley weir

Now was the bit I was a bit hesitant about, Thistlebrig. I've been down it countless times in a wee kayak at various water heights! first time in a canoe. I started off kneeling, perched nicely on the seat, through all the bumpy bits. By the time I had reached the bottom, I was kneeling in the bottom and beginning to realise how wide this boat is, feeling like I'm almost doing the splits! It was actually easier than I thought it was going to be. Now for the gentle paddle down to Luncarty to the get out.
Yet another great trip in the open canoe. Maybe one of the best parts was, I have a well goosed back which takes a lot of stretching and exercise to keep it from seizing up. Normally I'm fairly decrepit by the time I'm getting out of my kayak (I'm fine while I'm paddling), but after a day in the open boat my back felt great. The different paddling position makes a huge difference.
My thought is, as I feel my work has contributed to my back problems, then I should be able to buy a company canoe and charge it to my work as an alternative therapy treatment. As I'm self employed I'm not quite sure what my accountant would say to that!

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