Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Knockando Knackerer!

Discussing transport

Getting coach tips
It's been a couple of years since we had been to the SCA CVC up at Glenmore, so when the choices came in I quite fancied some of the open canoeing on offer. Hubby dear had offered to help with the sea kayaking and ended up running the 3* training and assessment for the weekend.
Well laden down, we set off on the Friday evening for Glenmore. As soon as we arrived, we bumped into Marion and made arrangements to meet in the bar, a good weekend seemed to be developing! Next, a big cuddle from Wullie, that was for me, not Hubby dear!
We got sorted out with our room, then headed for dinner - yum! After that, it was straight into the first workshop I had booked, Coaching the Mind, before retiring to the bar. One of the good parts of the conference is the socialising, meeting up with old friends and making plenty new ones. Eventually it was time to call it a night.
Walkies again!

Early next morning, it seemed a mad dash getting everything I thought was ready, actually properly ready. Hubby dear and I seem to have our own routine for getting things ready when paddling together, but this weekend we were doing our own thing, which resulted in me faffing lots!
After the SCA meeting, it was time to head out, everyone, all at once! I was heading out for a day of Open canoe skills for women being run by Caroline 50 Shades of Paddling Carr. After much loading and jiggling of boats, kit and vans we made our way up to Knockando. We spent a great day working on different techniques to help with our paddling in unbelievably gusty wind, making trimming and ferry gliding interesting at times! Fab photographer, Fiona Ainslie was there, snapping away making even me look as good as I'm likely to get!

Our gusty conditions
3* WW arrives
Ladies who lunch together, paddle together!
At the end of our session, the canoeing finished, now the hard work was about to start! Lugging open boats up the steep steps at Knockando. Up and down several times humphing boats is a real leg killer! The next thing to think about was we were going to be late for Glenmore's famous afternoon cake and tea - oh no!
A busy duck pond
Didn't realise you could tandem a SUP!
Still upright - just!
 We didn't arrive back to the lodge until 6pm. Ages ago when filling out my choices for the workshops, I thought the SUP on Saturday evening would be fun! Exhausted from a tiring day, late back, no cake, this choice didn't seem so much fun now. I decided as soon as I got out of the van, I would head straight over to the duck pond. If I went back to my room, I'd never emerge again!
The pond was already busy with paddlers looking like they knew what they were doing! Keith explained about the board, suggested lying on it until I got the feel, so off I went. I have to say, the thought of falling into this duck pond water didn't exactly fill me with joy. Fiona was there again, lots more photos being taken! It wasn't too long before I decided to try standing, I even managed paddling, then turning, wow, I'm impressed I'm still standing! Then someone spoke to me, breaking my concentration and making me multi-task! Paddling and talking at the same time I'm a natural at, add in standing, it was all too much for me, in I went, sploosh! By now it was getting near dinnertime, so we finished for the night. It was great fun, possibly if I had longer to practise, I'd get better, possibly not though! I don't think with any amount of practise would I ever be ready for the Tay descent on a SUP!
Heading back to my room for a well deserved (and needed) hot shower, I was delighted to see that Hubby dear had kept me a piece of cake from earlier :) Yum, yum!
After dinner, I crawled up the stairs to the bar. Stories of the day were exchanged. A slightly earlier night to bed was needed!
Next morning, dragging myself out of bed, legs struggling after the Knockando steps, we headed back along for more food!
A busy put in
Heading down the Spey
Another clutter of canoes
 More open canoeing today, this time leadership skills. We all met up in the carpark, sorted out more boats, kit and vans and found out the venue for today. You can imagine my excitement when I found out our get out was to be Knockando again. Had no-one considered my knackered knees?
Off we set to the Spey, where we split into 2 groups. The wind was still a bit blowey! I guess at least it was blowing us downstream! Myles, who was taking our group, gave us lots of hints and tips for leading on the river. Unfortunately, no matter how many river trips I've done, I'm first to admit I'm still not the best at reading rivers! So when it was my turn to lead I was slightly bothered when my fellow paddlers announced we were approaching the Washing Machine! I wasn't sure what to expect, but after places named like Hellhole corner (the Tay) or the Graveyard!(the Awe) I knew it would be bumpy. I always get the feeling these bumpy bits are named after some paddlers have sat round a campfire, cracking open a beer or five or in this case a nice wee whisky! Maybe I'm getting used to bumpy water, but it ended up just being a nice wavetrain.
Absolutely beautiful boat
                      Myles showing us how it's done
 It wasn't too long before we were back down to Knockando - and those steps!
We were late getting back to the lodge again, missing tea and cake again. I was really hoping Hubby dear had kept a bit of cake again, I was starving!
Arriving back, most folks had already left for home being as it was 6pm again. I was once again delighted to see my bit of cake sitting there waiting for me. Yum, yum, yum!
I was glad to hear that although the conditions were interestingly blowey all the 3* sea kayakers passed their assessments, well done.
A really fantastic weekends paddling, with really fantastic food and really fantastic company!
A huge thanks to Fiona for allowing me to use her photos and for having a good giggle with me to boot!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Falls of Lora - again!

Janet getting her boat wet.
Heading out at the crack of ridiculous o'clock across the Forth bridge and I gazed longingly at the beautiful view. The sun was just beginning to come up and was casting a warm golden glow across the Forth. The water so flat calm, the islands and bridge had perfect reflections - absolutely stunning.
However we are now on Week 5 of this continuous paddle programme thingy that Hubby dear is doing for his AWE sea, all I want is a nice flat paddle, the last thing I'm going to get is a nice flat paddle! We're on our way up to the Falls of Lora again. It's not running as fast as it was a couple of weeks previous, but fast enough still to have a bit of fun.
We eventually arrived at our 1st rendezvous point, The Green Welly for breakfast number 2, bacon butties and coffee.

It was then off to the Falls. By now the weather was getting mighty damp, however, I guess it was going to be damp where we were going anyway!
Janet was up for the morning to launch a new boat and have her first salt water trip - what a place to remember having your first paddle! The water wasn't moving too much so it was a fine introduction for her.
Anymore room for a wee one?
After lunch, Janet was now off the water, we paddled up under the bridge for a bit, waiting for the flow to increase. By now the wind was blowing a hooley and the heavens had opened with the rain "falling" horizontally.

Coming back down, the flow was now running, with us doing the usual cutting in and out, ferry gliding back and forward and generally trying to stay upright, some folks doing better at this part than others!
It wasn't too long before the lot of us were well and truly jiggered and decided to call it a day.
The sun even managed to appear for a while.
Back on dry land, arrangements were made for our next meeting point, the chippy up at Tyndrum - well we reckoned we had earned it.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The demise of my dear paddling companion!

After my last wee swim in the Falls of Lora, with my damp pants! I sent my drysuit away for a pressure test hoping it could be mended and used for a while longer. Unfortunately, my poor drysuit was sent back, unable to be mended - it was now officially goosed! I really can't complain, I have used it almost constantly for the last 7 years (with an annual summer holiday). I reckon I have had more than my money's worth.
It has kept me dry and warm on river trips,
Way back 7 years ago

on cold trips,

in surf,

in wind,

on the sea,

in open boats

and whilst generally messing around in water
Yes, I do feel my dear paddling companion has served me well, here's hoping my new suit is just as faithful!