The morning was perfect weather for paddling – sunny, dry, wind less and midge free. A great start for Go Further Scotland‘s Tame the Wild weekend.
We all started the day off with a bit of canoeing on the flat waters of Loch Ewe. Each pair picked up the hang of paddling the canoes quickly, getting to where they wanted to go easily. Despite initial trepidation Alison had a smile on her face from the start, realising that it is actually quite fun.
Since it was high tide we paddled off to see the River Ewe – at high tide the rapids under the bridge are completely flat, even the current of the river was unnoticeable. Have a look over the bridge at low tide and it’s quite a scary sight.
After a relaxing coffee break we jumped back on the water to practice more ways of moving the canoes, and then a good game of Loch Ewe Piranhas (seems to crop up in every session!).
Everything was going well, lots of laughs and fun until one pair where a bit eager and capsized. Luckily I had my camera to hand…. Sorry Jonathan and James, I couldn’t help putting the picture up. Whilst I was sorting out their canoe Jonathan threw a wet piranha straight at me – suddenly any sympathy I had for them was gone!
It was then an ideal time for a change of activity. Whilst the wet folk went to get dry, Paul, Colin and Arleen set out to see what solo canoeing is like. The ‘J’ stroke, Goon Stroke and probably a number of variations where put to use in order to maneuver the canoes. As the wind picked up slightly paddling became trickier but they all managed well.
Then it was time for the kayaks, due to an onshore breeze this made the task of paddling around trickier. We got on the water and soon found that the little kayaks liked to spin whilst the long sea kayaks didn’t. After a wee bit of instruction the paddlers found they where able to get the little kayaks going where they wanted and the long ones to turn, eventually.
The morning on the water went well, after lunch the group set off on a gently run to Kernsary. Luckily I had a doctors note telling me not to run! Thanks to Paul Tattersall and Colin Meek for organising a great weekend of activities.
Poolewe today, and a nice high tide to start with – always makes life easier.
I arrived to meet an enthusiastic family ready for the water. We started the morning out in canoes, with the plan of staying dry as long as possible. Both teams coped well, manoeuvring their boats just about where they wanted to go. With a little coaching they where ready to chase the piranhas across Loch Ewe.
We chose to have a hot chocolate on the shores of Inverewe Garden (luckily the family are NTS members so we weren’t chased for money). Then it was a paddle back to the trailer to get some kayaks out. Maureen decided to stay on the bank and take pictures whilst Jon and the two lads, Patrick and William, jumped into the little kayaks. Patrick being the expert paddler showed us his skills. William having never been in a kayak solo before soon picked it up and had no trouble zipping around.
Nobody fell in, so it was time to do some rafted games – all three showed their expert balancing skills by standing and jumping in their boats. Since they where still all dry it was time to make them rub noses with their kayaks…still they remained dry (well apart from their noses!). One last attempt to get the lads soaked – I set them the task of getting out of their boats and moving all the way around the rafted kayaks and back in to their own. This must end in wetness…… nope, they where just too good. We ended the session with another round of hot drinks all still dry.
William gained his Paddle Start Award, and Patrick improved his skills ready for the next paddling course he’ll be on later in the summer. Well done lads.
Local lads Innis and Ciaran came along for a bit of paddle training.
A bit of time was spent in canoes, practising their strokes and leaning new techniques. After a fancy Wispa hot chocolate and rest it was time to spend a bit of time in kayaks, unfortunately neither fell in so I just had to spend my time hurling wet piranhas at them.
Sadly time was ticking away and this wasn’t getting their revision done, so it was time to end the afternoon and send them back to their study.
I should really do more of these blog post things, so here is one.
Today the sun was shinning and it looked like a great day to get out for a paddle. Upon arriving at Tollaidh Bay they decided to have an adult canoe and a youth canoe – which is best for teamwork, youth and enthusiasm or a bit of age and wisdom?
In the end both boats managed well, despite the fresh wind coming down the loch. After an ‘all right‘ (delicious) and warming hot chocolate the youth team decided to split and have a go in kayaks, whilst the adult team used their wisdom deciding that the stability of the canoe would keep them dryer.
The kayakers where doing well until George leant a little too far and had an unexpected bath. I towed him ashore whilst he kept a shivering smile on his face. After a bit more paddling around it was time to end a fun session on the water, well done everyone.
Tim, Alison, Tom & Harry had one of the stillest days on the water so far, not a ripple anywhere. Well, apart from the otter’s ripples and of course the the pesky seal that kept following us and surprising Harry!
Tom even managed to gain his Paddle Power Start Award – well done! Harry will have to wait till he’s a little bigger.
A wet day saw the Lindsey family arrive in Poolewe to get out on the water. Initially they all jumped into kayaks to see how they did. The sky opened and we all got drenched, luckily they had hired wetsuits from Sands Campsite where they were staying.
After the kayaks Kevin and Hannah teamed up, as did Alison and Joe to crew their canoes. The weather had luckily improved by now and a pleasant paddle was had along the to Poolewe bridge, calm and gentle at high tide.
Locals Ian, Linda and Honer had some family up on holiday – Andrew, Chris, Sam and James. We all took to the water in canoes to lean some skills and have some fun.
All the boats meant that in the pyranha game you never knew where the next sodden pyranha was going to be flying from. Unless you where Linda who knew it was coming from Honer, sat just behind her!
The MacTaggart’s came along to my local beach for a fun time in canoes and kayaks. Ross is a keen kayaker so he jumped straight into one whilst Iona and Jenny crewed one canoe and Seumas and Anne set off in the other.
After some fun and games paddling around Anne’s confidence grew and she really wanted to try out a kayak. After a quick brew break, Anne and Seumas slipped themselves into kayaks. They both did just as well in sole control of a boat as they had tandem.
Since it was such nice weather we decided to see how our balance was, Iona ended up getting very wet. Just as I had the camera out – sorry!
The teams where Karen & Keven in one boat and Donald & Scott in the other. Both pairs became good enough to eddy hop along the River Ewe up to Poolewe bridge.
On the way back a game of ‘Lock Ewe Pyranhas’ turned into a splashing fight, both teams got drenched but spirits stayed high and everyone was still smiling when we arrived back at the cars.
They couldn’t decide upon canoes or kayaks, so we all started in kayaks and later on some swapped to canoes to see the difference.
All the family, Wendy, Ross, Ross, Rory and even young Adam paddled well, picking it up right from the start.
Both pairs, Carl and William & Roz and Eleanor, got the hang of the canoes, managing to get where they wanted without turning in too many circles! Very early on the lads boat reached a wee bit too far for a pryranha and ended up swimming! After a quick break to sort out soggy clothes everyone jumped back in the boats.
The rest of the afternoon was spent paddling and playing games with everyone staying dry.
All three boats where competitive from the start, getting very involved in some games. The teams picked up the different strokes quickly, enabling them to manoeuvre their boats where they wanted to go, mostly of the time!
Since it was low tide the group had the opportunity to collect a bunch of mussels for their tea. The crabs that they found where a wee bit small to eat, so after scurring around the boat scaring folk they where returned to the sea.
After a coffee break in Camas Glas the lads wanted to try solo paddling, they did well at this using a modified ‘J’ stroke to keep them going straight. After picking up the rest of the group from the beach we headed off otter spotting – none where seen today, but a seal was later spotted watching us as we headed for shore.
A few more games showed off the teams paddling ability and their balance, along with another round of the old favourite ‘Loch Ewe Pyranhas’. Some of the group where keen to get wet (mad people…) so they took up an unstable paddling position sitting on the very front of the canoes, with their legs dangling into the water. Sadly their balance was far too good for this and in the end they had to just jump in and swim the short distance to shore.
Despite getting wet everyone had a great time – another good session.
A last minute canoe session was organised this afternoon from Poolewe for the Kidd family. Mum and Dad (Laura and Frank) teamed up in one boat and the teenagers (Rosie and Finlay) in another. The competition between the boats was good natured and only turned nasty when Finlay tried splashing the other boat.
We fine-tuned the paddling stokes in the lee of Inverewe Gardens before heading out into the wind. Both teams fought hard against the wind and finally we made it along the coast. After a coffee we had a relaxing paddle back, travelling with the wind (although it had dropped considerably – typical!). Just enough time to see how balanced Rosie and Finlay were, ending with Finlay nearly falling in.
On the final journey back to shore one of the local seals popped up to see what we were doing, he watched us from the distance for the rest of the paddle. Laura thought she saw a jumping fish at one point, however it was later seen again and identified as an otter, who was swimming around the seaweed looking for lunch.
The Fisher family came to Tollaidh Bay on a misty morning, after setting off onto the water the sun decided to burn through and make it a fantastic day.
A nice introduction to canoeing. Letty and Erin did really well, getting to grips with all the strokes. The thought of hot chocolate on the beach spured them on along the river and back into the loch. Battling against the breeze back to the start was the hardest part of the trip.
Louise then had a play around in a sea kayak, finding it’s long sleek hull and lower profile made it far easier to control in the breeze.
The whole family preformed really well, with high spirits all morning.
This morning was spent pleasantly paddling around near Poolewe. 3 generations of the Lawrie family picked up canoeing skills quickly, helped by a competitive game – Loch Ewe Pyranhas. We fought the breeze and paddled along Inverewe Garden’s shore line to reach Camas Glas, where we sneaked onto the beach for a cuppa and cake.
We cruised along with the breeze back towards Poolewe, chasing each others boats trying to capture each others ‘tails’. Each boat team had improved too much and I found it hard to win. The weather has continued to be fantastic up here – blue skys and sunshine, none of these grey dreich days down south are getting!