Cumming Canoe & Kayak

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This sunny afternoon was spent with the Cummings from Laide. Iain is a teacher at the local High School, he had won a half price voucher for a family paddle with me from the school’s S7 year fundraising event in aid of them going on an adventurous activities week.

 

 

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To get the most out of this beautiful afternoon we set off initially in canoes. Soon everyone picked up the canoeing skills and after a few games we nipped back to the beach for hot chocolate, biscuits and to swap boats.

 

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It wasn’t long before we where back out on the water, all in individual kayaks. The skills that had been learnt in the canoes where put to good use in the kayaks, with everyone zipping around like natural paddlers. By the end of the session everyone was fairly damp from the energetic splashing and games.

Fisher Canoe


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The Fisher family where back in the area, so of course they wanted to get out canoeing again. Last year we had canoed over at Tollie Bay, so this year Mellon Charles seemed like a good place to paddle. We set off from the little beach, just down the road from my house.

 

 

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Letty, Erin, Rob and Louise seemed to remember their paddling skills well. This meant I could have an easy session, sitting back as they paddled me around the coastline! We paddled around to their cottage’s beach before it was time to head back around, through the craggy coast.

 

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Speaking Canoe

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On this fine afternoon I was joined by Glen, Alex and their tribe – Emma, Amy, Jasmine and Michaela. We all set off for a paddle in the canoes from Poolewe.

 

Both boats – Glen, Emma, Michaela and Alex, Amy, Jasmine – paddled well, being able to maneuver their boats where they wanted to. Some frantic fun games ensured everyone had tired arms by the end of the session.

 

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Elliott/McIlwhan Kayak

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Rose and Jim wanted to get out for a bit of kayaking to see the scenery from a different angle and hopefully see some wildlife.

It was a glorious day, so the scenery was, as ever up here, outstanding. We had a good paddle along from Poolewe, Jim getting back into the swing of it all and building his confidence in the boat.

On our return towards Poolewe we where followed by a seal, inquisitive as ever to what we where up to in his territory.

 

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Bowker Canoe

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Local’s Andy and Margo came out to join me for a relaxing paddle one evening after I had been working in Poolewe. They have sit on top boats themselves, but came out in one of my canoes to see what it’s like. We just went for a little paddle around the side of Inverewe Garden. I can’t even remember if we had any seals/otters/other sightings?

Myatt Kayak

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David and daughter Frances have been coming to the area for many years, generally staying at Sands campsite just north from Gairloch. They normally paddle their kayaks from the beach at Sands, but this year they wanted a trip elsewhere.

They both demonstrated good paddling skills so I knew I was in for an easy trip. With bright sunshine and a light wind we had a relaxing afternoon, enjoying the peace and beauty that Wester Ross has to offer.

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Wendy & Simon Canoe

DSCF2334Wendy and Simon wanted a break from walking the local mountains, when they saw my notice in the hostel (Sail Mhor Croft Hostel) they decided it would be a good activity do rest their legs with. We paddled from my local beach at Mellon Charles and headed off around the rocky coastline to see what we could see at sea.

It was evident from the off that both Wendy and Simon had previous experience in boats, picking up the strokes easily and racing around. We saw a selection of birds, a seal, a huge number of moon jellyfish, but sadly for Wendy there where no otters out playing. Sorry, maybe next time.

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Simon was keen to whiz around whilst Wendy wanted to get her paddling ready for a triathlon later in the year over near Loch Morlich – good luck with the race.

Since they where both doing so well I set them off paddling solo a the end to see how they faired. They both preformed well with the race at the end being pretty even.

Higgon Kayak

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Yet another glorious hot and sunny day came along so today the Higgon’s wanted to do a spot of kayaking from Gruinard beach. We got out on the water and all three of them picked up the skills very quickly and could turn and move their boats well.

 

Bethany appeared to have the best stablity of them all, with Connor and David both managing to fall out a few times! Capsizing on such a great day didn’t matter, so I’m not sure David didn’t do it on purpose!

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Bethany and Connor where keen to practice some capsizes and rescues, so at the end of the session we threw ourselves into the water and played around getting back in. I had already put on my wetsuit in preparation, however I’m not sure I needed it with the warmth of the sun!

Skilling Canoe

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Another fine sunny morning meant another fine morning on the water. The Skilling family met me in Poolewe for a a fun canoeing session in the bay. We set off easily with a nice high tide and found out just how easily these large canoes can turn. It wasn’t long before the canoes where being paddled on target.

 

 

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With some practice and instruction the teams found they could get the canoes where they wanted them with no problems so it was time for games in the sun. Those sneaky Loch Ewe Piranhas made an appearance, ensuring there was lots of frantic paddling.

 

 

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Both boats – Sangita & Joshua and Robin & Sofia couldn’t seem to stop smiling the whole time. Everyone paddled well, with Sofia deciding part way through that it was far better to be chauffeured around, but as she’s only 6 that’s not too bad!

Ingram Paddle

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Paul, Emily, Coll and Anita arrived on a sunny afternoon in Poolewe ready for a canoeing session. After our initial chat about the boats and getting kitted out we set off to see how the canoe’s paddle. Both teams, Paul & Anita and Emily & Coll, soon got to grips with the way the boats could be manoeuvred through the water and we set off for the shores of Inverewe Garden.

 

We improved our turning strokes and then put them to test with a good game of Loch Ewe Piranhas. After a relaxing hot chocolate and biscuit break we jumped back on the water for more fun and games.

 

 

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Towards the end of the session we put Coll’s skills to the test by sending him off in a kayak. He coped well, being able to paddle his kayak just where he wanted to go. With Paul & Anita still zipping around in their canoe and Emily and Coll both flying around in kayaks it was time for another game of Piranhas.

 

Coll claimed he didn’t get hit in the face…the photo makes it look like he did! Both Coll and Anita paddled well for such young folk – well done.

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Rubha Mor Paddle

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I’ve been meaning to paddle around to Laide for some time now, forecast looked good, so today was to be the day. I had planned an earlyish paddle because the wind was due to pick up later on in the day, however with it being a Sunday it was hard to be up and out early – so it was 11.20 by the time I was paddling away from my local slipway.

The sun shone down as I floated along the familiar shores of Mellon Charles, with the wind behind me it was easy going. It wasn’t long before I entered Slaggan bay, whilst the sandy beach is great, it’s somewhere I’ve been many times before and so not worth stopping off at today – onwards.

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The coastline from here up to Greenstone point has some fantastic climbing spots, I’ve spent many hours sat in the sun around these cliffs and I must get back out here soon with my climbing shoes. With a bit more paddling I was rounding the tip of Rubha Mor, Greenstone Point. The coastline becomes a bit more aggressive from here – makes for interesting scenery.

Eventually I was feeling like I’d been sat for too long so I hopped out for a sandwich next to Opinan Slabs, yet another great little crag full of fun routes. After stretching the legs it was time to head on towards Laide. Up till now I’d only seen the normal bird life in the area – cormorants, shags, oystercatchers, guillemots and of course gulls. I don’t see puffins too often so it was good to see a few out on the water, just a shame they were camera shy!

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This area’s full of climbing, it wasn’t long till I got to Udrigle Fin – a little sea stack with a few routes to the top. Anyway, enough of the climbing stuff – this should be about the paddling…

I soon came towards the other Mellon – Mellon Udrigle. The beautiful sandy beach had just a handful of folk on it – come to think of it, there have been no other boats, no climbers and just a few folk wandering around the headland, fantastic place to be on a bank holiday weekend! Mellon Udrigle is the home of Miles and Clarissa’s holiday cabin, a fantastic place to stay with stunning views.

DSCF2234The rest of the journey was into the wind, luckily the coastline isn’t too interesting so I could put my head down and get on with the paddling. Upon arriving in Laide I chose to land in front of the campsite, then it was just a short portage to the road where I left the kayak to hitch home. After only about 1 km of walking (and only 3 cars going my way) Clarissa and young Hannah and Tom, from that beautiful beach cabin, gave me a lift home even though it was completely out of their way – thank you!

Just the simple job of picking up the boat and I could relax after an enjoyable little paddle. One thing that I have learnt from today’s trip is that I don’t have enough padding in the seat – off to make some cake to sort that.

 

Self Rescue Paddle Session

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We had a self rescue session in Gairloch Harbour for all the local paddlers to come along and practice their skills. The morning went well with everyone bobbing about in the water happily.

 

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It was a great opportunity for folk to remember their skills and learn new ones. Everyone was able to share their experiences and techniques, helping each other out.

 

Thank you to everyone who came along, especially Andrew Johnston and Miles Wood who are two other paddle-sport coaches in the local area.

 

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Wright Canoe

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The day started with a mirror like bay at Poolewe, however as normally happens the winds slowly picked up distorting the reflections. Carol and David remembered their old paddling skills quickly and where soon gliding across the water.

 

 

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We made our way around the side of of Inverewe Garden before stopping for a well earned coffee. The paddle back was made easier by the breeze pushing us back towards the beach.

Brown Canoe

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A couple of hours where spent paddling around Poolewe Bay on a pleasant morning. A couple of other kayakers where on the water and a seal spent his time watching us all paddle around.

 

New addition to the Ewe Canoe team

Loaded Boats

 

With sadness it is time to let the panda have a rest. He just wasn’t pulling the weight effectively enough, or fitting in as much kit as I needed him to. It’s been great working with you, but it’s time for you to retire.

 

 

 

 

The Navara

 

 

Welcome to the new beast. Shouldn’t have any trouble pulling the trailer around now, or carrying the kit. Might not be able to do the normal U turn at the bottom of the Tollaidh road though!

Tame the Wild

DSCF2075The 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.

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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!).

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

Ashdown Paddle

Poolewe today, and a nice high tide to start with – always makes life easier.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Tollaidh Paddle

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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.

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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.

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