Sunday, 28 September 2014


At the beginning of August I should have been starting a new chapter in my life. I was retiring - and looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the day I retired, my Mum was taken in to hospital, very unexpected and sadly did not recover. She always instilled in the family to live life to the full, which she herself had certainly done. She was a very independent lady and was still digging her own garden right up until the day before. I'd just like to say a big thank you to my "Paddling Pals" for putting up with me telling endless stories about adventures we had had as a family, I guess that's just my way of coping!
At the put in
 One of my first paddles afterwards was an evening trip in the open canoe, up to the Kelpies in Falkirk. The problem with this stretch of canal is there are so many locks, which means so many portages, not my favourite past time! Having got through all the football traffic, Rangers was playing Falkirk, we put in at the top of Bankside, further up was where most of the locks were, and had a gentle meander down the canal. After having paddled the Union canal, I was pleasantly surprised at how clean and clear the water was on the Forth and Clyde canal. The brambles were just hanging, ready to be scoffed - so we did!
Feathery lock master
The first lock we came to had a feathery guard, a swan. When Hubby dear and I did the Glasgow to Edinburgh canal challenge a few years back, it was always held at nesting time (they must have seen sense and changed it). I can remember quite vividly the sound of a swan chasing us from behind, it's wings filling most of the width of the canal, I've always been a bit wary of them since! I'm glad to say, this one couldn't care less about us.
Approaching the Kelpies

It was only at the next lock, that the water started to get a bit "scummy" from the boats engines. We carried on down to the Kelpies, getting a magnificent view of them, they truly are a wonderful sight. We hauled the canoes out and had a good look around. It was lovely and peaceful (unlike when I took the Kayakey Kid to see them during school holidays). With the sun now going down, the Kelpies were glowing red.
Coffee time

After out coffee stop, we headed back up the canal, now in the dark. Thankfully we had had masses, or at least I had had masses of brambles on the way down. It was now so dark, I couldn't see anything. The A9 bridge we paddled under was all lit up in electric blue. We eventually made it back to the put in at about 10pm.

It was a lovely peaceful paddle, just what I needed.


  1. Hi Sarah, although they lived long and meaning-filled lives, we lost both our mums three years ago, also rather unexpectedly. When my mum died, we were in Scotland. They too instilled in us the need to live every moment fully, giving value to life in every way possible. That has most often been an ongoing process of exploration and discovery, in every context. Life then becomes a celebration. The finest tribute you can give to your mum is, just as she life to the fullest. I have a sense you do. Sending warm wishes to you and your family. Duncan.