Kelda’s Paddling Diary

After winter pool sessions at Kirkwall Grammar School, KKC member Kelda Dinsdale made her first sea trip in May 2007. It was the first of many paddles that summer – most on Orkney waters, some further afield. Kelda’s diary reflects her growing confidence as a paddler – and how sea kayaking in Orkney is an experience not to be missed.

 13/05/07 – Stromness
On trip – Graham Summers and Kelda Dinsdale

My first sea trip. Went from the slip at Ness, into the basin, through to the marina then back round to the slip at Ness.  Felt a bit unstable and nervous and the sea was a bit choppy.  Graham kept a good eye on me and kept reminding me to keep my paddle in the water for stability.

21/05/07 – Inganess
On trip – Graham Summers, Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward, Ali Foden, Kelda Dinsdale, Lindsay Miller and Meriel Miller
First club sea trip of the year.  I paddled one of the new plastic boats on its maiden voyage.  We went to the right, round towards the airport.  A really enjoyable paddle.  A shower came on the way back - wind in our faces.  Got pretty choppy and I felt I wasn’t moving forward or holding direction.  I got a bit scared and shouted Kristian back for moral support.  He was good and pushed my boat to keep my direction right.  Shower passed and we paddled back to the beach. 

24/05/07 – Finstown
On trip – John Mowat, Graham Summers, Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale, Coreen Miller, Peter Woodward, Ali Foden, Roddy Innes and Colin Paterson

We went from the new slip in Finstown, to the right past the pier, out to the Holm of Grimbister, right round it anti-clockwise and back to the slip.  Wind in our faces on the way back and I was tired when we got closer in to the slip, but just kept a steady paddle and got there fine.  Felt better when I got in as I coped better this time and didn’t get scared.

31/05/07 – Scapa
On trip – Graham Summers, Kristian Cooper, John Mowat, Kelda Dinsdale, Coreen Miller, David Hartley, Peter Woodward and Colin Paterson
Really foggy night, so calm too.  Went from Scapa slip, round the pier and up the left side to Hemp Stack.  There was a bit of swell and it was easier paddling out facing it.  After we turned to head back, we all headed back along the coast to the slip, hugging the shore due to the fog.  As we got closer we heard a band practicing in a house at the head of the pier, the music carrying in the fog.

07/06/07 – Kirkwall Bay
On trip – Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale, John Mowat, Peter Woodward, Ali Foden, Kate Haynes, Adam Strutt, Yan Shearer, Colin Paterson, David Hartley and Coreen Miller
We went from the Shapinsay slip, round the pier to the right, out to Weyland and along to Iceland Skerry.  Quite a nice little paddle.  We then turned and paddled back in two groups, the quicker ones following the coast back and the slower ones, including me, taking the direct route.

14/06/07 – First Barrier
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, John Mowat, David Hartley, Kelda Dinsdale, Kate Haynes, Adam Strutt, Colin Paterson, Coreen Miller

We paddled from the fish farm at the first barrier to Roseness.  Lovely calm night. Some folk went round the corner into the swell but I went in a bit and got out of the boat as my bum was numb!  Close encounter with a seal that I surprised.  Then we paddled back into the sunset.  Gorgeous.

21/06/07 – Newark Bay
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Graham Summers, John Mowat, Colin Paterson, Roddy Innes, Peter Woodward, Ali Foden, Kelda Dinsdale and Adam Strutt

Paddled from Newark Bay.  A little breezy but there was quite a lot of swell.  We started to head round to the right and Roddy capsized and swam.  Then we paddled round, going between the rocks to Dingieshowe.  John, Graham, Kristian, Peter and Ali were surfing.  Peter managed the longest stretch, then Ali tipped while surfing but rolled using the bottom to push off.  Then back to Newark and all the seaweed.  Enjoyed the challenge of this paddle.

22/06/07 – The Gloup
On Trip – Graham Summers and Kelda Dinsdale
Paddled from Sandside Bay in Deerness round to the left.  When we were just reaching the turn we paddled over a bit of tide and there was a little swell.  Then we paddled round and into the Gloup, which feels like paddling downhill because of the angle of the rock!  Great being in there and the cave behind.  Then paddled further, in between rocky bits, in another cave with loads of seals swimming out under our boats.  Then we paddled to the Brough of Deerness.  After that we turned and paddled back to Sandside Bay.  Loved this paddle.  First time with any tides and very scenic landscape. 

28/06/07 – The Gloup
On Trip – Graham Summers, Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale, Roddy Innes, David (visitor), Peter Woodward, Ali Foden, David Hartley and Colin Paterson
We paddled from Sandside Bay, through the tidal bit, round into the Gloup and the cave at the back, then to the cave with all the seals, round the Brough of Deerness and round to near Mull Head, where the remnants of the yacht is smashed, with bits up on the shore.  It was calmer than when I was there a week earlier. A good trip.

05/07/07 – Stromness
On Trip – Graham Summers, John Mowat, Kelda Dinsdale, Peter Woodward, Ali Foden, David Hartley and Kate Haynes
We started from the slip at Ness, went round the shore to the basin because yachts were racing in the bay.  We went under the pier, through the marina then on to the far side of the Holm.  It was choppier there so I had to concentrate till I got used to it.  We then went to the point of Ness when the tide was turning and the wind blowing in, tide running out.  Folk were playing in it, pretty good waves.  I went once up facing it, which was fun, then turned and paddled with the wind behind, which I found much harder.  Then we paddled back to the slip at Ness.

08/07/07 – Scapa
On Trip – Graham Summers, Kelda Dinsdale, David Kidd (visitor) and Martin (visitor)
David and Martin are tourists and wanted to go kayaking.  This was a training trip just in the shelter of the pier. David was pretty natural so Graham kind of left him with me to concentrate on Martin.  I paddled with David in the slightly bouncy swell with a bit of breeze.  He seemed to enjoy it.  Then Graham made them both capsize and come out of the boats for practice before we went in.

09/07/07 – The Gloup
On Trip – Graham Summers, Kelda Dinsdale, David Kidd (visitor) and Martin (visitor)
We paddled from Sandside Bay in Deerness and took them round into the Gloup, which they loved.  A nice calm night, which was good for Martin!  We paddled a little further but not far, then went back to Sandside Bay.  I nice night and a fun trip with again me paddling more with David so Graham could stay close to Martin.

12/07/07 – Kirkwall Bay
On Trip – Graham Summers, Kristian Cooper, John Mowat, Peter Woodward, Kelda Dinsdale, Kate Haynes, Adam Strutt, David Hartley and David Kidd (visitor)

A slightly drizzly night but lovely and calm.  We paddled out to Iceland Skerry then across to Thieves Holm.  We played a bit in the tide there, paddling with it to feel how it pushes you along.  Then we paddled to Helliar Holm, looked under Saera Ness then round anti-clockwise to the cave, where a bird pooped in my hair!  Then we paddled up the side of Shapinsay towards the point.  Then we paddled back across the tide to Thieves Holm, Iceland Skerry and back in to the Shapinsay Slip in semi-darkness.  This was an 8 or 9 mile paddle and I really enjoyed it.

14/07/07 – Gairsay
On Trip – Graham Summers, Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward, Kelda Dinsdale, Kate Haynes and Colin Paterson
We had planned a paddle out from Kirkwall to camp, but due to the weather we ended up paddling from Tingwall in the evening.  We paddled across the tide to Gairsay with loaded boats then paddled round into Millburn Bay, where we set up camp on the left, in the wind, semi-darkness and rain!  Beach combed for the fire, boats upside down, got barbeque going, and lots of beer got drunk.  Stood around the campfire blethering and listening to Kristian’s Westray jokes until about 0330, by which time it was flat calm, starting to get light and the birds were singing. 

15/07/07 – Gairsay
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Graham Summers, Peter Woodward, Kelda Dinsdale, Kate Haynes, Colin Paterson and John Mowat
We got up, got breakfast cooked, bonfire lit, started packing up and John paddled over to meet us.  We set off out of the bay and round Gairsay anti-clockwise between Gairsay and Sweyn Holm.  It was pretty windy and there was white on the sea so I didn’t feel capable of a long paddle.  So me, Kate and Graham headed straight back to Tingwall while the others headed towards Wyre.  The wind was in our faces, the tide running across, and it was a hard paddle for me, boat picking up on waves, smacking down in troughs and splashing me in the face!  Was glad to get to Tingwall.  Then the day improved a lot.  Typical!

19/07/07 – Dingieshowe
On Trip – John Mowat, Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale, David Kidd(visitor) David Hartley and Peter Woodward
We carried the boats over the dunes and set off to the right.  We found lots of interesting little cave bits to explore and rocks to paddle between.  It was a bonny calm day with a little gentle swell, enough to make paddling in caves interesting.  Paddled to within sight of Rose Ness then turned and headed back.  Paddled most of the way back with Kristian discussing fund raising and trips.  A lovely paddle.

26/07/07 – Houton
On Trip – Peter Woodward, David Hartley, Adam Strutt, Coreen Miller, Kelda Dinsdale, Graham Summers and Colin Paterson
We paddled out of Houton to the right of the Holm and round Houton Head, past the gun towers.  We paddled round to the Skerries of Clestrain, where loads of seals were resting.  Then we turned and paddled back, getting to Houton in darkness.

02/08/07 – South Ronaldsay
On Trip – John Mowat, Peter Woodward, Kelda Dinsdale, Kate Haynes, Adam Strutt, Colin Paterson, Colin (visitor) and Michael (visitor)
We paddled from the Pool of Cletts by Kirkhouse in South Ronaldsay round to the right.  We found a crack in the rock we could get right through…just!  Then a cave with a gazillion seals.  We counted 17 heads out of the water at one time.  Then we kept going and found ever so many caves to explore.  We paddled round to Hesta Rock, which looked like a face with an open mouth - a huge cave.  Gorgeous calm night with so many brilliant caves and beautiful cliffs and scenery.  We went through the rock on the way back too.  I thoroughly enjoyed this paddle.  Good choice Peter!

09/08/07 – Kirkwall Bay
On Trip – John Mowat, David Hartley, Adam Strutt, Kate Haynes, Peter Woodward, Kenny Gee, Kelda Dinsdale and Carl (visitor)
The plan was to paddle round from the Shapinsay Slip to Inganess, but before we got round the pier, Carl had already capsized twice.  So John, Kate, Adam and David headed round to Inganess while me, Peter, Kenny and Carl went round into the marina, into the basin, round towards Hatston slip a bit, then back to the Shapinsay Slip.  During this time Carl had tipped 6 times and I had helped Peter do a 2 man rescue twice.  Then Graham came with his speedboat, the four of us jumped in and went round to Inganess and back, leaving Kenny there.  On the way we saw the others.  There was a lot of swell and it looked like they had had a really hard paddle.

22/08/07 – Finstown
On Trip – John Mowat, Peter Woodward, Graham Summers, Kelda Dinsdale, Coreen Miller, Laura Miller, Adam Strutt and Joelle Sutherland
It had been a gorgeous day but as soon as we got in boats it came down thick fog.  We paddled under the brig and into the ouce.  Then we paddled out under the school, but couldn’t see across the bay because of the fog.  So we paddled back round past the brig and along the shore to the slip.  Kept going to past the holiday lodges, then turned and paddled back to Finstown Slip.  Not that long a paddle because of the fog, but really calm.

23/08/07 – Scapa to Waulkmill and Back 
On Trip – John Mowat, Kelda Dinsdale, Peter Woodward, Ali Foden and Adam Strutt

Beautiful calm and clear night with lovely flat water.  We headed from the slip, across to the other side of the bay and round to the right.  We paddled all the way round to Waulkmill.  It was so calm, that the way the boats were cutting into the glassy smooth water was gorgeous.  We stopped in on the right for a minute while John and Adam stretched their legs, got eaten by midges, then climbed back in their boats.  Then we paddled back to the slip.  I paddled along mainly with Ali, hearing stories of his summer with the steam train, then Peter joined us.  It was pretty dark by the time we got to Scapa.  The nights are drawing in now.  This will be an 8 or so mile paddle.  I really enjoyed this one and was pleased at not being tired.

06/09/07 – Scapa
On Trip – John Mowat, Peter Woodward, Kate Haynes, Colin Paterson and Kelda Dinsdale

It was pretty windy and there was swell and bits of white on the water at Scapa.  I was very nervous and expecting to struggle.  There was about 2ft between peak and trough.  We set off and hit the swell at the end of the pier.  I was concentrating but after 5 or 10 minutes I was smiling and starting to relax into it, paddling nearly square into the wind.  We paddled across and up the right side, had a peedie rest under shelter of the cliff, then paddled up to the point.  Then we turned and headed back to the pier as the nights are drawing in.  The wind had dipped a bit which made paddling back easier, but swell still kept giving me a peedie boost.  Was pleased with myself for getting back dry!

20/09/07 – The Roy
On Trip – Graham Summers, Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale, Peter Woodward and Kirsten McCulloch

We travelled down to Fort William area to take part in the Wet West Paddle-Fest. .  We borrowed boats from Napier Kayak Club.  .We all got in and Kristian and Graham gave us a few tips, got us trying a few things and ferry gliding across.  Then we headed down the river, gorgeous location, trees hanging over the river etc.  Anyway, first rapid and I got stuck on a bit rock while everyone else glided past!  I tried punting back but that didn’t work, so punted forward and carried on.  The river was quite low so there were rocks everywhere!!  I bounced off many, even though I was trying to pick lines!  The rapids were nerve racking but I really enjoyed it.  Peter hit a rock and his boat went up towards it and he capsized.  He tried to roll but his head was banging on the bottom (he ended up with quite an egg) so he swam.  We got him back in the boat and off we went.  Kristian’s shoulder was giving him bother so he was glad to do a grade 2 river like this, although he thought the odd bit might have been grade 3.  We got out at the bridge in near total darkness and dragged the boats up.  Thoroughly enjoyed this even though I was well nervous. 

21/09/07 – The Moriston
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward and Kelda Dinsdale
This was grade 2 with a couple of grade 3 rapids.  The rapids were definitely harder and the drops were bigger.  Kristian was leading and a few times was having to brace and brace and roll so showed us which way not to go!  Once me and Peter saw him rolling and went completely to the left to avoid that bit.  Another time he went down and ended up rolling. I went slightly to the right, down the first drop, the water twisted me to turn backwards, then I went down the second drip backwards.  As I went down I watched Peter sail through effortlessly, but I guess he has seen two lines that didn’t work!  Some really good rapids and much harder than yesterday.  Good fun!

22/09/07 – The Garry
On Trip – Graham Summers and Kelda Dinsdale

I was totally terrified but really keen to do it too.  This river is grade 3 and with the dam release had A LOT of water, and some big drops.  I made the mistake of leaning into a wave rather than lifting the boat from it so I capsized pretty quickly.  I was in still enough water I should have been able to roll but I panicked and couldn’t even remember which side of the boat to put my paddle on.  I pulled the tab twice and the deck didn’t pop, so I let go of the paddle and pulled with 2 hands twice before it popped.  Later capsized and swam again!  I really enjoyed the last bit over rapids, probably because it was good bit of water and very splashy and I stayed upright!  The swims were helpful too I think.  The first time I panicked a bit cause it was first time I have capsized anywhere other than the swimming pool.  The second time was good because I coped better with it and learnt from both.  Great fun!  LOADS of water though!!

30/09/07 – Scapa to Stromness
On Trip – John Mowat, Peter Woodward, Kelda Dinsdale, David Hartley, Joelle Sutherland and Danny Matthews
This was the sponsored paddle for me, David, Joelle and Danny.  It was a lovely calm day so we met up at 1030 and headed off from Scapa.  We paddled round to Waulkmill, waiting every now and then for the younger two, stopped there to stretch our legs.  Then we paddled round to the Breck, stopped at the Noust, headed up to Mum and Dads and had soup and baking!  We stayed quite a while as the tide had gone out a fair but when we went back to our boats.  By this time the younger two were knackered and Danny was starting to ask for a tow, which he didn’t get!  We headed to Houton, went outside the Holm and round the head.  It was so calm we didn’t need to hug the shore and just headed out into the middle of the Bay and headed straight for Stromness.  We went past Peter Skerry and kept encouraging Joelle and Danny to keep paddling.  The sun was coming down and the light was gorgeous.  We paddled into the slip at Ness, as we had a lovely sunset.  Beautiful!  A 17-mile paddle. I was expecting to ache but didn’t really.  Just had slightly tight trap muscles for a day and then was fine.

07/10/07 – South Ronaldsay
On Trip – Peter Woodward, Kate Haynes and Kelda Dinsdale

It was a little breezy but we wanted a paddle.  We paddled the same route that we did with the club on 02/08/07.  The tide was higher so the bit we paddled right through and some of the caves felt different.  Loads of seals again, quite a few of them pregnant and quite a few pups.  We meandered along blethering as we went.  The paddle back into the bay was the most exposed but, paddling against the wind.  I was managing fine but did notice that I am still slower than Peter and Kate.  Never mind, I will improve.

18/04/08 – the Middle Findhorn
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale, Peter Woodward and Kate Haynes
I was really nervous. It was September since I was last on a river and all winter I have only been in the pool, so it would be fair to say, “I had the fear!”  A guy in Tiso in Inverness has been telling me and Peter names of rapids on the river such as Dragon’s teeth, the wall of death and elephant hump.  Made the river sound so fierce and increased the nerves.  The reality was fine though with the names maybe a bit dramatic!  This river section is Grade 2/3.  Once I got on the river I really enjoyed it.  There was a good amount of water, which was really cold!  Kate lead with Kristian going last, so we could follow a line and Kristian could keep an eye on us.  This river is really twisty turny and it was interesting doing rapids that turn a corner!  Some of them quite sharp.  There were loads of rapids I grinned going over, some I found myself going “ooo” over and I had the odd wobbly moment, but I managed to get down the river the right way up, as did Kate and Kristian.  Peter capsized twice but rolled both times, which was really good.  A lovely picturesque river and a nice paddle.  I felt a good sense of achievement at the get out and Kate and Kristian were both really encouraging. 

19/04/08 – The Roy and Spean
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale, Peter Woodward, Kate Haynes, Steve Cass and Liz Gregory
We started with the Roy.  Once again, it was low and there were one or two rocks in the way.  I was nervous again so Kristian suggested I do a roll at the top just to give myself some confidence.  It was a gorgeous sunny day so I thought I wouldn’t get a better chance.  I did an eskimo roll and got up first time. But then could barely get a breath in because the cold of the water hit me!  First time I have ever done a roll outside the swimming pool, though, so I was chuffed with that.  Feels different with the buoyancy aid on too.  Did settle the nerves a bit.  Not scared of getting wet cause I was wet already.  Kate led again.  This is a mainly grade 2 river with an occasional grade 3 rapid.  When we got to Roy Bridge we stopped for a peedie break to stretch our legs.  The next rapid was a bit longer and grade 3.  All six of us managed it fine.  On we went then paddled onto the Spean, where the Roy joined it.  Gorgeous sunny day but really not enough water.  This river is totally different from the Roy.  Wider and completely different type of rocks.  We spent loads of time punting over them, which was a bit annoying actually! Then we got to a bit with a 6-foot drop and all got out to have a look at it.  To my complete shock Kristian turned to me and said I could do it no bother.  I guess I trust his judgment cause I headed straight for my boat to do it!  Kate went first, swearing as she went and landed it easily.  Peter watched her and after seeing someone do it decided to give it a try too.  I went next and managed it fine.  I was so chuffed and grinned like a fool about it for the rest of the day!! 

20/04/08 – The Upper Findhorn
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale, Peter Woodward, Kate Haynes, Steve Cass and Liz Gregory
There is a grade 4 section above Dulsie Bridge, which Kristian paddled by himself. He chose his line, and then off he went and did it great, making it look easy.  From Dulsie Bridge, this section is mainly grade 3 and had nice rapids and then pools after each one, and went round loads of corners.  Again I did an Eskimo role before we set off.  We all did, and then off we went, again with Kate leading.  I really enjoyed this river and there were loads of wave bits that were bouncy and fun.  I really enjoyed this paddle and felt good about how I got on.  A great finish to a fantastic weekend of paddling.

27/04/08 – Sotra, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Idar Sekkingstad

We set off from Sekkingstad in Sotra and paddled round Langøy.  We came back around the more coastal side and paddled out between Algrøy and Lokøyna to the North Sea.  There was a peedie bit of swell but nothing to speak of.  Paddled out to a fish farm then headed back in to Sekkingstad.  Completely different area to paddle in, with peedie nooks with boathouses and boats dotted here and there.  Mussels just hanging off the rocks.  Nice peedie paddle and good to get started paddling in Norway!
Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=7653876901

01/05/08 – Fanafjorden, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Olav Glosli

We paddled from Fana out Fanafjorden.  The water was flat calm to begin with.  We paddled to Milde then round a couple of little islands between Milde and Bjelkarøy then back in to Fana.  On the way back there was more of a ripple on the water and it felt more normal.  It did drizzle on us a bit though.  If I stay here long though I am scared I am going to forget how to paddle in swell!  Olav used a wooden straight Eskimo paddle for most of the trip.  I tried it, found it really difficult and handed it back!  He told me most sea paddlers in Norway use a left-handed paddle.  It is just what they all use and it is unusual for anyone here to use a right-handed paddle.  If I had known that I might not have taken mine with me!  A fish jumped clean out of the water near us.  I reckoned Kristian should have been here with his fishing line off the back of his kayak.  I think he might have been able to wipe the smirk off Adam’s face!!  A nice paddle.
Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=7654010399

08/05/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale and 16 folk from the BSI club I don’t know the names of yet.
This was my first paddle with the club and they insist on a safety test to get a “wet card”.  Then I am free to paddle with the club when I like.  Tonight was a “play night” rather than a trip.  We started with a game.  Teams of 3, rafted up, the person in the middle hold the boats while the folk at the sides sway boats then the person on the left paddles round the other group of 3 and back into the middle of their own group.  We do this 3 times so everyone has had a turn of being everywhere.  We had 2 heats then a final and I was in the winning team!!  Then we had to shift out of the way for a big boat to come in, which was the only time we heard a whistle through the evening and I think that was acceptable whistle use!  Then they had us all raft up, pop our decks and get on our knees facing the back of our boats and race back into where the clubhouse is.  I was 4th and when I turned to look behind me about half a dozen folk were swimming, which I think was half the idea.  Then they had us all try to stand up in our boats so we were all swimming at some stage.  I nearly managed to stand all the way up but then fell over!  Then I had to do my wet card, so they had me paddle straight forward a while, turn the boat round and paddle back.  Then I had to capsize and swim, be rescued and then rescue someone else.  It was X rescues but they do them a slightly different way.  They had to show me their way, as that is what folk would expect me to do if I was to need or give help here.  I got rescued 3 times and rescued him twice, just to practice.  By this time I was well and truly wet so thought I might as well try a role, as I have only ever rolled a sea boat twice, in the pool over a year ago and I remember having a bit of bother then.  I managed first time though, so was chuffed.  Tried to stand up again, failed then got shown how to do a self-rescue.  We larked around a bit them headed the short distance back to the clubhouse.  Tonight was really good for building on general water confidence.  First time I have been swimming in the sea when paddling.  Glorious sunny day, which no doubt helped.  They seem like a nice bunch.

13/05/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Sverre, Johanna, Kristel, and 5 other folk I am yet to learn the names of!

We paddled from the clubhouse at Sandviken over the harbour to Askøy, round in past a peedie bridge and back across the harbour to Sandviken.  It was a bit windy so there was a good bit of movement on the water with the boat lifting off waves and smacking down in troughs.  Was quite good fun, but harder on the way back when the waves were pushing us along.  Lovely sunny night and some folk were really chatty, which was nice.  I paddled with Sverre’s thin wooden straight paddle, Eskimo paddle, for about 10 minutes just to try it.  By the end of that time it felt okay!  I did two roles before getting out, just to practice!  This was the slightly more advanced paddle night with folk with a bit more experience and they pushed on a bit.  I managed to keep pace okay though so think I will keep going on Tuesdays.  I need to remember here though that I need to keep an eye out for boats of varying sizes coming towards me and dodge them!

15/05/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Anne, Torleif, Hans Petter and 5 other folk I am yet to learn the names of!
Thursday night paddles are the more beginner trips, so shorter and slower pace.  We paddled from the clubhouse at Sandviken towards the harbour and round to under the USF building in Nordnes then back to the clubhouse.  The water was quite calm other than the waves made from passing boats, but it drizzled on us pretty much the entire trip.  Only light though.  Everyone was friendly and chatty which I enjoyed.  I did a role before I got out and some of the lasses wanted to see what I did, so I ended up doing it 6 or 7 times!  All good practice though, and fun too!  Everyone was practicing rescues at the end.
Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=7812720840

20/05/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Kristel, Synne, Bente, Stefan and 7 other folk I am yet to learn the names of!
The girls outnumbered the boys on this trip 7 to 5, which I found unusual.  This was the faster group again and they certainly did go faster this week!  We paddled along the coast towards Helleneset.  It was quite windy tonight so there was a fair bit of chop on the water with some of the waves having a peedie bit of white on the top.  I had to work hard to try and keep up and they did have to wait on me a couple of times.  We paddled into one little sheltered slip, then up the coast into another, then on a bit further.  Then we headed back which didn’t require me to paddle so hard but I was constantly having to straighten up my boat as the waves behind me really wanted to turn me sideways!  I was doing a bit of totally involuntary surfing!  It was a bonny sunny night but cool, so when we got back to the clubhouse I didn’t fancy practicing rolling, but nearly everyone else was working on it, some with more success than others.
Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=7812855018

22/05/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Torleif, Hilde, Silja, Mailin, Ingunn, Ragnhild, Arne, Johanna and 7 other random folk!
We actually did a very similar trip to the one on Tuesday night, paddled to Helleneset, but more leisurely and blethery with more peedie stops waiting on beginners and we didn’t go fairly as far.  A lovely sunny night again and really warm too.  Hilde told me right at the beginning of the paddle that after seeing my roll last week she had dreamt she could do it!  We went into the sheltered peedie slips again but this time all got out for a peedie wander at one of them.  The sea was calmer tonight too which made things easier and we paddled under pylons here and there.  When we got back to the clubhouse there were about half a dozen of us who wanted to practice rolling and rescues.  Hilde asked me to show here a roll, which I did, then she asked me to teach her how to do it!  I explained as best I could what she needed to do (in Norwegian!) then she gave it a bash and swam!  I did an X rescue then explained about the paddle again.  She had 3 more attempts and twice she was nearly up, which is great in a sea boat!!  It was good practice for me too with the X rescues.
Photos –

27/05/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Trip – Kelda, Bente, Kristel, Joanna & 9 other folk
It was a lovely night and I was hoping to keep up with these fast paddlers a bit better this week.  I was really warm so as soon as I got in I wanted to roll.  I was in a different boat so asked one of the lads to be ready in case I didn’t manage.  I didn’t manage the first time so he did an Eskimo rescue.  I tried again straight away and managed no bother.  By this time everyone was in boats and ready to go.  We headed a short trip to Helleneset and they were slow and I was leading the pack!  Choppy night really fast, calm night slow!  I don’t understand!  Anyway, when we got to where all the climbers are the instructor started working on technique.  She showed us different strokes for boat control and turning.  Things like hanging draw.  We did 4 or 5 different things and I was really enjoying it, but didn’t fairly have time to practice each one to get them right and remember them.  Hopefully get another chance another time.  Then we paddled back a bit to where one of the men lives.  He has just joined and needed to do his wet card, as did a couple of others.  So there was a bit of swimming and rescuing.  Then we paddled back to the clubhouse.  This was a nice leisurely paddle on a really warm evening.  Liked doing the technique.
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29/05/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Trip – Kelda, Kristen, Hans Petter, Ingunn, Anna, Marianne & 8 other folk
Lovely warm sunny night again and we paddled to Helleneset.  Lovely night for a paddle.  We set off at a decent pace and this is the most spread out I have seen this club allow the group to get.  Was a nice paddle and I was chatting away to Ingunn most of the way.  When we got back, we were all practicing rescues.  Ingunn hasn’t done many so I swam first and let her rescue me.  It took a peedie while but she managed fine.  Then I rescued her.  Then I did a roll then I hopped out of my boat leaving it the right way up and did a self-rescue.  Then I tried to self-rescue, starting with the boat upside down.  I went to the front and treaded water as hard as I could to try and lift the boat before turning it, to get some water out.  I got a bit out, but did find it a bit tricky.  So then I hopped up on the back of the boat, one leg each side and shimmied up until I was sitting in the boat again.  It took some time but I managed!  By this time the sea was feeling a bit cold so I headed in, rinsed off my boat, put stuff away, changed and headed back to the flat.
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31/05/08 – Møvik, Sotra, Norway
On Trip – Kelda, Torleif, Jan, Torgeir and two others
This was part of a sea paddling festival in Sotra called “Njord Havpadle Symposium”.  As my tent and sleeping bag were sitting in my house in Orkney, I thought I could go for one day so managed to arrange myself lifts back and fore on the Saturday.  There was space on the longest trip, a 5 to 6 hour paddle out to Løno and back, the farthest out island in Sotra.  So I got a boat in the water and met the group, 6 of us in total with me being the only girl, and we set off shortly after 11.  It was flat calm and sunny so lovely conditions.  We paddled out the shortest route, in between all the peedie islands.  Fairly early on Jan did a roll because he was overheating, then Torleif, then me.  When we got out to Løno we paddled round a bit then went in to have our lunch, climbed up a hill and admired the view.  On the way up the hill there were two bits we had t jump over.  Not very wide so not difficult but straight down, with one being a 10m drop and one an 18m drop.  It was really nice paddling in a smaller group again and I had the chance to speak to everyone.  It was a nice social peedie group.  At one stage the water in front of us looked like it was bubbling, but it was just clean alive with all the fish bouncing around at the surface.  On the way back Jan asked if he could dance with me later and when I said I was heading back he said I wasn’t and that he had a tent and sleeping bag that he wasn’t using as he was sleeping in his camper van.  I thought about it a while and decided it would be nice to paddle the next day too, so took him up on the offer.  It had clouded over a bit but was still lovely and warm.  We paddled back in between some of the peedie islands taking a slightly different route, then back into Møvik shortly after 4.  This was a lovely paddle and one of the most enjoyable I have had in Norway, with a nice group of folk.  In the evening we had entertainment from a live band “The Mandolin Band” from Bergen, and a barbeque.  Just like in Scotland, paddlers here are friendly towards each other, which is nice.  I also spoke to Nigel Foster, who is a really good and well known paddler.
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01/06/08 – Møvik, Sotra, Norway
On Trip – Kelda, Mailin (& 20 other folk for the first hour)
I got up, brushed off the odd ant or two and packed up all my borrowed surroundings.  Because I hadn’t planned on still being there I had no food, no toothbrush, no hairbrush, but never mind.  I found Jan and gave his stuff back then positioned myself in the car park.  I asked a random stranger I saw in a car if they were heading to Møvik and managed to bum a lift!  When I got there I spoke to a guy who fired up the grill for me and I had a couple of hot dogs.  Today I was planning to join the trip paddling to Hitsøy, which was meant to leave at 11.  At half past, I was sitting in “Kermit” and we were still sitting in the marina waiting for the last folk to get in the water.  Think they were all a bit tired and hung over!  We paddled out, nicking in between interesting bits of islands for about an hour then all gathered.  Hallvard, the guy leading the tour then said that they planned to go to Løno instead.  Everyone seemed keen on this idea so I resigned myself to a second trip there.  Then Mailin, a girl in my club, blurted out nervously that she would really like to go to Hitsøy so I quickly said me too.  So we watched 20 boats paddling away from us and we headed off in our own direction.  We went onto Hitsøy and climbed a hill to admire the view and for Mailin to eat her lunch.  I didn’t have any!  We sat and blethered for a bit then headed back to our boats.  I had borrowed a peedie laminated map of the area so was chief navigator.  Not so easy because there are loads of peedie islands that look very similar but between us we did a fine job!  Gorgeous flat calm day and by now the sun had come out.  I hadn’t thought about sun cream before we set off and I was covered in salt, but too late to worry by this stage!  We took a leisurely pace, having a good look around, watching ducklings swimming and admiring the scenery.  Fish were jumping every now and again, but I had noticed a distinct lack of seals.  I asked and they don’t really see then there.  I asked about whales too and Mailin had seen some in the distance while she had been paddling but not in this area of Norway.  Phew!!  We were both overheated so when we were nearly back we stopped to play a bit.  Mailin is really good at rolling and managed to hand roll her sea boat yesterday.  She tried twice but didn’t quite get up so I did an Eskimo rescue.  I did an Eskimo roll, them a screw roll with my hand slipped back to the end of the blade.  I tried with my hands a bit further up but didn’t manage so Mailin did an Eskimo rescue.  Then we headed back into Møvik about 1530.  We rinsed off our boats, tidies our stuff away and got ourselves changed.  Both of us needed lifts back into Bergen and neither of us had it arranged.  Jan came and spoke, asking how the day had been, and ended up saying he was heading to Bergen and had space for both of us.  So I got a lift back right to the flat door, slightly tired, pink cheeks from the sun and in need of a shower!

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11/06/08 – Nestunelva, Bergen, Norway
On Trip – Kelda, Mailin, Harald, Linn
I got a message from Mailin asking if I wanted to paddle an easy river.  I jumped at the chance and met Harald at the clubhouse at 1630 for a lift and to help put boats and gear in the van.  We went to the river on the outskirts of Bergen and met the other two.  I was all nervous and looking at the side of the road to a really calm looking river, thinking there must be a steeper bit that we were going to paddle.  So we got kitted up and carried our boats over the road and down the bank to a lovely calm looking bit of river!  I paddled a Dagger Nevo.  I had also noticed that both cars were sitting side by side.  This is when I first thought we might not be paddling a “real” river!  We got the boats in the lovely flat water and paddled down and round the corner.  There, we found a bridge with a trickle of water coming down over the rocks.  You could see from the green on the bridge that there is often much more water there and it would have been a good place to practice breaking in and out and getting up on a wave, but not so much today!  I went a couple of times to try, but there wasn’t much water.  So instead Harald was going to help me try to manage a screw roll.  The first time I did it with my hands down next to the blade and that was fine.  Then I tried without moving my hands a couple of times and failed both times, with Harald and Mailin doing Eskimo rescues.  I tried again and focused on using my hips and managed to get up.  It wasn’t pretty but I got up!  By this time I was pretty cold so I paddled around a bit to try and warm up.  Harald was giving me some tips on technique, then we paddled back up the river and got out at the same place we got it!

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14/06/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Course – Kelda, Hilde, Kristin, Sigurd, Oskar and Endre
Instructor – Lidun
BSI Padling was running some courses over the weekend of the 14th and 15th June.  I was interested in doing the technique course so put my name down for that.  So I have made a list of all the different things I learnt today, as a way of remembering.  We started at 0930 with me paddling “Kermit” and we paddled until lunchtime, went back to the clubhouse and ate outside there, then back in our boats for more technique, most of which was very much in the water.  I got seriously cold!!  The weather today was overcast and grey, not warm, the water was freezing and at one stage it rained on us.  Great day for swimming!!  Then we finished around 1800 and started rinsing down our boats and kit, ready to put back into the clubhouse.  Coldness aside, I had a great day and feel like I learnt a lot.  There was a nice number of us and everyone was really nice.  Lidun was very good at explaining stuff and really patient with anyone who had questions.  She obviously enjoys teaching.

·         We started out of the water with Lidun explaining how the boat sits in the water, cuts through it, where it sits fast and where it is slack.

·         Then we did some yoga stretching for a paddling specific warm up.

·         Then we discussed setting up the boats to fit us to give us the most control over our position in the boat and control for edging.

·         Then we got in the water, starting 90 degrees to the next boat, to practice edging the boat to see how far we could take it before falling over, onto the other boat.  This is about familiarising ourselves with the boat we are paddling and getting confidence in using the edge.

·         Paddle straight forward while edging the boat.  We turned in big circles.

·         Paddling backwards to make a figure of 8 using any technique we had.

·         Stern rudder for surfing.  Paddle forward then put the blade in the water at the back parallel with the boat.

·         Put the blade in the water at the back parallel to the boat, then tilt the blade out a bit and edge the boat away from the paddle.

·         Put the blade in the water at the back parallel to the boat, then tilt the blade in a bit and edge the boat towards the paddle.

·         Then we linked these last two to make an S shape by just using the tilt of the blade in the water and edging the boat.

·         Flexibility in the boat, yoga style.  A few more yoga stretches, but this time in the boats, on the water.

·         Paddle with the body turned to the side, with both blades being used at the same side of the boat, travelling to the side.  A good way to work on the flexibility in the body and a bit of fun.  Very splashy!

·         Sweep strokes.  We did these by themselves then used them in preperation for other strokes, combining strokes and edging for effectiveness.

·         Tail skid.

·         Carved turn or Telemark swing.

·         Can do the carved turn on one side then straight away on the other side to slalom between rocks, boats or whatever obstacle is in the way.

·         Paddling straight forward, with good technique.  We spent a bit of time working on good technique for forward paddling.

·         Bow rudder.

·         Low brace support strokes.

·         We did braces with Lidun behind our boats tilting us further and further over, without knowing which way she was going to put our boats.

·         Then we paired up and did braces tilting ourselves further and further over until we capsized and the other person then did an X rescue.  But I did braces until I was knackered but still hadn’t capsized so I just threw myself over!

·         X rescue.

·         2 boats with both people in the water swimming, an all in rescue.

·         “Cowboy” self rescue.  This includes emptying water out of the boat, turning it back the right way, securing your paddle, getting yourself back in the boat without assistance, getting the spray deck back on and getting back underway, all while in the open water.

·         “Lucky Luke” self rescue.  Another way to do the same as the cowboy self rescue.

·         Standing up in the boat.  Once upright use your paddle to move the kayak along like a gondola.  And in the attempts that don’t work, it is great practice for self-rescues!  This was the first time I had managed to stand up properly and I managed 6 or 7 strokes with the paddle before I fell in!


15/06/08 -  Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Course – Kelda, Hilde, Kristin, Sigurd, Oskar and Endre
Instructor – Lidun
This was the second day of the technique course so I took my nearly dry kit and headed back to the clubhouse for a 0930 start.  Today looked more promising with a bit of sun managing to sneak through.  I knew we would be spending quite a bit of time in the water again today and I knew the water was going to be cold, but a peedie bit of sunshine always helps!  I paddled “Kermit”.  He seems to be my favourite!  We learnt loads of new stuff again and I really enjoyed it, but by lunchtime was pretty cold!  Endre loaned me a thin woollen top to wear next to my skin and it really helped in the afternoon.  I was cold but at least I could function!  Today started off calm but got progressively windier as the day progressed, so we kept moving to more sheltered spots to practice technique without being swept about by the wind.  I felt like the whole world was going up and down for the rest of the night though, even when I was trying to sleep.  Consequence of 8 hours or so in a kayak in a bit of swell I suppose!  I always seemed to find myself at the front of any towing, with at one stage the supposedly injured person paddling backwards!  Very helpful!  Did help me warm up and Endre said that was of course his intention!  A great weekend but by the end of it my body was feeling a bit tired!  Here is the list of all the stuff I learnt on the Sunday.  I need to take time to practice each thing now to make sure I don’t forget everything.

·         Draw stroke.

·         We then played chicken in twos using this stroke in order to miss each other.  We did have to agree which way we were going to do the draw stroke to before starting though!

·         Figure of eight draw stroke.

·         We paired up again and put our boats at a 90-degree angle to the other boat, using its tip for support.  We practiced using the edge as far as we could before falling over, then keeping one hand on the tip of the other boat, we let ourselves go further and further over, using our hips to turn the boat back up, holding onto the tip of the other boat throughout.

·         Kept doing this as above, but let go of the tip when completely upside down, then took hold of it again and turned ourselves back over.

·         Eskimo rescues.  Also practiced this being the boat paddling in to do the rescue.  We did this getting further and further away each time.  I got brain freeze a couple of times.  The sea was a tad cold!!

·         Eskimo rescues using the paddle instead of the tip of the boat.  We all tried this and I found it was harder than using the tip of a boat but it does work.

·         Hanging draw.  This one is difficult!

·         We then played chicken using the hanging draw, which was probably the best ones I did!  Out of necessity I think!

·         Bow rudder.

·         We practiced this stroke to turn between pylons.

·         We then linked the last bow rudder to the “in, in” stern rudder to make an S.

·         Towing a sea sick or injured person.

·         Towing a rescue away from rocks.

·         Contact towing.

·         Rescuing an unconscious capsized person.

·         Screw roll.  We worked a little on roll technique.

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17/06/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On trip – Kelda, Sverre, Torleif, Joanna, Jardar, John Magne and one other.
This was a Tuesday night more advanced group paddle and I paddled “Kermit”.  It was slightly breezy, which probably explained the smaller numbers.  We set off from the club house, across the harbour to Nordnes, then round to where the Roxar building is, under the bridge with all the construction for the new tram line going on and through in under the bus station.  Then we started to head back and spent a little time looking at a sad sunken boat near the Roxar building.  Then we headed back towards the clubhouse.  I always prefer paddling into the breeze and there was that feeling of being lifted along by the waves and needing to work a little to hold direction, but I quite enjoyed it tonight.  This was a nice three-hour paddle getting back in just moments before the rain started!  The paddle out the way was at a good quick pace and I felt it a bit in my back after my weekend of paddling.  It was much more leisurely on the way back though as I think the one fella was tired.  Either that or he was so busy speaking he was forgetting to paddle.  Not really sure which!  Then we had warm juice and biscuits in the clubhouse before all heading off.
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22/06/08 – Myrkdalsvatnet down to Vinje, Strandaelva, Voss, Norway
On Trip – Kelda, Mailin, Harald, Linn and Kristine
Today I paddled my first Norwegian river!  I got a lift to Voss with Linn, we met up with the others and headed to the top of the river.  The road ran along side it so I was watching and getting increasingly nervous.  This was the first time I paddled a river with folk that hadn’t taught me to paddle and didn’t know exactly what I could and couldn’t do.  Different feeling!  Anyway, I was in a black wave sport, obviously well used and loved, nice and round creek boat, belonging the BSI Padling.  It felt nice and stable.  My paddle got its river debut today!  They did have a shortly lefty paddle for me but the feathering was so different to what I was used to I thought I would do better using my own.  This river is Norwegian grade 1 / 2, but mostly 2, which equates to mostly Scottish grade 3.  We got in the water and all did a roll just so we knew we could.  Everyone else did screw rolls and I did my trusty Eskimo roll!  After the roll I noticed that the front of my boat was actually steaming because the water was so cold, and it wasn’t as if it was a sunny day!  Can’t be a good sign!  Harald went over a few brief safety rules and clarified what he meant by different signals so we could easily communicate on the river.  Harald led and I followed.  We headed down the calm section and turned the corner into the rapid.  It got pretty bouncy pretty quickly then I saw the waves!  Holy big waves and holy masses of water!!!  The waves must have been at least 1m high from trough to top, static in the water!  A run of them and I watched Harald to see what line he would take and he headed right for the middle of all of them, so I followed.  With much holding of breath and paddling hard through I bounced my way down the run of waves and made it out the other side the right way up.  Okay, I felt like I was well and truly on a river now!  Kristine swam at this section, so we waited in an eddy while she got sorted out.  On this same section apparently there was a tree trunk across one part on the right, which is why we stuck to the left, but I was concentrating so much on the heaps of water in front of me that I didn’t even notice!  We practiced ferry gliding across the river, across a pretty white rapid.  Harald gave me a tip about when the tip of the boat first hits the current to do a big sweep stroke then hold a parallel stern rudder for a couple of seconds.  This stops the boat from turning downstream and it certainly helped a lot.  I looked up the river though and he wanted me to look to where I was trying to go.  I managed to cross fine though.  We did this back and fore a few times then headed on down the river.  The next part had a massive tree across most of it from the left side, so we had to work our way over to the right on the very white and fast rapid.  Good fun though.  We kept heading down the river one section at a time, gathering in eddys along the way until we got to the get out at Vinje.  My overall feeling on this river was massive waves, loads of water and not much sight of very many stones!  We got out here and there was a shuttle run to get the other car, then we sat and ate our packed lunches under the shelter of a couple of friendly trees, which sheltered us from the drizzle that had just started.

22/06/08 – Skjelvike, Strandaelva, Voss, Norway
On Trip – Kelda, Mailin, Harald, Linn and Kristine
We moved the cars a bit further down the river and got ready to paddle another section.  This section wasn’t so long so we left both cars at the top.  This section was Norwegian grade 2.  It also had a lot of water but a slightly different style.  It had more corners, the rapids were a bit shortly with more frequent calmer sections and there were more big rocks dotted around.  First of all they all started paddling up the river so I followed, thinking to myself that these Norwegians have funny ideas, paddling the wrong direction on rivers!  However, we just paddled up to a white frothy rapid.  It seemed the idea was to try and ferry glide across this rapid without it turning us to send us down the river, which proved pretty challenging.  The first few times we all tried, Harald was the only person who managed this.  The last time I tried, I did manage to stay facing upstream, but I had still washed down a good bit before I reached the eddy on the other side.  All good practice though.  Then we split into two groups, with Linn and Kristine going with Harald and me going with Mailin, heading down stream going into every eddy we could find.  We went in to the side here and there on both sides and kept going in behind rocks.  I am not that great at getting into them, but there was twice that I got quickly into them and it felt good.  Now I just have to work on improving the ratio!  I made all but two of the eddys though which I think was pretty good really.  The one time when I missed the eddy Mailin went into, I just went in behind the next rock.  The next time was on a faster moving rapid and I missed it and went a bit sideways down a bouncy bit and got in behind the next rock.  Kristine did exactly the same as me and Linn looked like she was going to but on the bouncy bit she took sideways it flipped her and she swam.  Harald got her boat and we gathered in an eddy while she got herself back in.  We went down a couple more fun bouncy high volume rapids, going in and out of eddys on the way and got to the get out.  There was a playable rapid right there that Harald, Mailin and Kristine played on a bit.  I didn’t as by this stage I was pretty worn out.  All this ferry gliding and breaking in and breaking out is tiring stuff!  I really enjoyed paddling these sections of river today and I managed to stay upright!  We walked to the cars, changed, picked up the boats and headed into Vossevangen.  We had something to eat there then headed to the opening ceremony of Extreme Sports Week 2008.  They had two helicopters flying around then one person jumped out of each wearing that little bat suit type things and glided about a bit, before popping their chutes.  Then there must have been about 20 folk in total, jumping out of peedie planes and hand gliding in to the patch of grass just in front of the crowd.  This went really well for all of them except the one poor guy who was a bit keen and didn’t quite make the land, coming down in the lake!
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28/06/08 – Skjelvike, Strandaelva, Voss, Norway
On Trip – Kelda, Kate, Mailin, Harald, Linn, Kristine, Solfrid and Sverre
After watching the competition we headed to this section of the river to do some paddling ourselves.  I paddled the wave sport and had done this same section last Sunday, but there was noticeably less water this week, but still ample!  We split into two groups of four, me paddling with Mailin, Harald and Sverre and Kate with Solfrid, Linn and Kristine.  We ran the river, popping in and out of eddys on the way and playing a bit around waves and practicing ferry gliding and so on.  Then Sverre decided it would be a good idea to jump in and try to body surf.  It didn’t work at all and he got a peedie tow on Kate’s boat out of the current!  There was only one swim today and that was Sverre pretty early on.  We paddled on to the get out and when we were done messing around on the bottom wave, we headed back to the campsite.  Much grilling of sausages and warming by the campfire in good company followed.

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29/06/08 – Play Wave near Vossavangen, Voss, Norway
On Trip – Kelda, Kate, Harald, Linn, Kristine, Angus, Haakon and Thomas
Today we were not going to run a river, but were heading to a play wave!  The whole idea made me nervous but I thought I could at least look at it.  The access was really tricky, slippery and steep.  When Kate and me were taking our boats down at one point my boat took off a bit but thankfully stopped before launching itself down the river!  The wave was big!  I sat and watched for a while to see what folk were doing on it.  No one was managing to stay on it for very long or do much in the way of stunts.  The water was running pretty fast and generally anyone who got on the wave sooner or later got flipped and washed off, rolling in the white frothy stuff!  This looked tricky to me, as it must have to the other lasses, as Kate, Kristine and Linn all decided to play on a little wave just down the river instead.  I wasn’t really watching that one but I think Kate was doing pretty well on it.  I was dubious about getting in the water at all but then Harald came to speak to me.  He explained what I needed to do to get on the big wave and thought I should just try it straight away.  He said he would be ready to collect me as and when I swam and that the water was deep and there was nothing that could cause me pain.  Half a minute later I found myself getting into my boat!  I paddled a wave sport.  The current in the water was really strong and the only way to get close to the wave was to pull yourself along the rocks so I did that, then when I was near the wave I paddled like mad.  The current was trying to push me into the rocks so I was finding it really difficult to go where I wanted.  The first 4 or so times I didn’t manage to get far enough forward so didn’t get properly on the wave and just ended up in the white frothy stuff.  Pretty tiring stuff, but I tried again.  This time I just paddled as hard as I could manage to and got on the wave!!  Half a second later the wave twisted and flipped me and I was swimming a couple of seconds after that!  Harald true to his word came to collect me and Haakon came to take my paddle from me.  My boat was pretty full and really heavy and I couldn’t hold onto my boat and Harald’s so I let mine go and he took me round the little wave into the Eddy behind it.  As soon as I was out of the current I let go of his boat so he could chase my boat!  He got it a bit further down the river, a rapid or two later!  I was running along the bank and the next I knew everyone was out of their boats and heading down the riverbank to help!  Harald had it all under control though and then Angus carried my boat back up the river for me, the gentleman!  Where my boat had been cornered, there was quite a nice highish bit that overhung the river a bit and was ideal for jumping in!  We all took turns jumping in then catching a throw line to pull us out of the current.  Good fun.  Then we all headed back up to the waves and folk got back in boats.  Harald and Mailin were leaving so I headed up to say cheerio to Mailin and the next I knew all the others were starting to bring their boats up.  I was a bit disappointed as I had fancied trying the peedie wave but it wasn’t to be.  Getting the boats back up to the road was far from easy but with Kate’s help I managed!  Then it was into Vangen for some food, back to Bergen, unloading boats and kit at the clubhouse and back to the flat.  A good weekend!

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02/07/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway

On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Linn, Ina, Kristine
This was just a few of the river paddling folk that are fairly new to it wanting to meet up to practice rolling in the river boats in the sea just in front of the clubhouse.  I paddled a wave sport and spent the time trying to work on my screw roll.  I managed a few but none of them felt really good.  Need to practice more.  Linn was in a play boat and couldn’t roll it but when she changed to Kristine’s boat her roll reappeared.  Ina was struggling a bit but managed a few rolls.  Kristine’s are really good and she is now trying to roll on her wrong side.  Good fun.
Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=8252227759


10/07/08 – Scapa
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward, Dennis Bichan, David Hartley, John Mowat and Joelle Sutherland

It was so good to be paddling in Orkney again and to see good friends!  We went out at Scapa after a peedie blether at the Guide Hall to catch up a bit.  We went a paddle across the bay and had decided that we would all get wet messing around.  I was first and tried to roll, didn’t manage and Kristian did an eskimo rescue.  Joelle next and swam.  She took a while getting back in the boat and was pretty cold.  We paddled back across the bay into the shelter of the back of the pier.  Peter and Kristian both showed off their rolls, there were some attempts from others, some Eskimo rescues and some swimming.  Then I crawled forward, kissed the bow of my boat and got back in my boat.  Peter tried, kissed the bow of his boat about half a foot under water and fell off before getting back in.  I managed to stand up at which point Joelle thought it would be a good idea to push my boat and I fell in.  I did a self-rescue and the play continued.  This was good fun and everyone was soaked except John.  Given that we were already soaked, Kristian, Peter, Joelle and me decided to finish off the night with some pier jumping!

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11/07/08 – Houton to Lyness
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward and John Mowat
This was the beginning of “Kelda-Fest” and a slightly breezy one at that!  We decided to paddle across none the less, putting Kristian’s van and the trailer on the ferry, (hoping the crew would take it off in Hoy and not in Flotta), got ourselves sorted and headed across, pretty directly to Hoy.  The wind was pretty straight on our right sides and it was making the sea pretty choppy with peedie white horses breaking around and on us, but there were little or no tide to speak of and no swell, so it was perfectly manageable as long as you kept an eye on the chop.  When we were pretty far over, Peter took his eye off the ball for a second, got caught off guard, capsized and did a textbook roll.  The roll looked so nice in fact that I asked if he had done it deliberately but he assured me he hadn’t.  The rest of us made it across dry.  We then picked along the coast south, going for a peedie look in Lyrawa Bayand Pegal Bay.  The aim was to see if we could paddle up the burns at all, which we couldn’t but it was nice paddling in and having a peedie look around none the less.  Then we paddled in to Lyness and I will confess to being relieved when I saw Kristian’s van was there.  I was thinking the paddle across to Flotta would be pretty exposed and fancied camping in Hoy more anyway.  This was the choppiest paddle I have had and I enjoyed the challenge of it.  I had to keep my wits about me but was comfortable enough to chat the entire way over, which is always a good sign with me!  Quite an interesting feeling having peedie white horses breaking on your boat.  So we got out at the slip and got ourselves changed and sorted, saying cheerio to John, who caught the ferry back over straight away as he had to do some tour guiding the next day.  Then it was off to Rackwick to set up camp.

Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=8318008668


12/07/08 – Rackwick
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward

After a wild night of weather with re-pegging of tent required, and a windy start to the day, some wandering in the hills and some moon walking on the Singing Sands, we decided that Kristian (otherwise known as Yoda it would seem) should show me and Peter how to surf.  We had Kristian’s river boat and one yellow banana boat so it was a case of me and Peter taking turns, using Peter’s cycling helmets to protect our brains.  There were lovely clean peedie waves coming in on the Singing Sands at Rackwick so it was ideal for beginners like us.  Kristian and Peter went first with me manning the camera.  Kristian starting catching waves really quickly hopping on and off them at will.  Peter caught his first wave, was doing pretty well coming quite far in on it and then capsized and rolled.  This did nothing to settle my nerves, but I duly took loads of pictures and peedie video clips of both Kristian and Peter catching waves really well.  Then came my turn!  They came in, Peter gave me the boat and I headed out with Kristian.  The technique is to go for the area where the waves look at their smallest and wait for a set to pass, then power out through it is well as possible, stopping for a rest at the back of the waves.  So then a set came and I nervously paddled fast towards the shore, felt a wave lift me, put in a stern rudder and leaned back.  It felt really fast to me and then the boat started to turn, I couldn’t stop it so let it turn and came back off the wave and paddled back out to Kristian.  Apparently this was good and the idea is to come off the waves before you get too far in as the hard bit is paddling back out from the shore.  Kristian and me carried on catching waves quite successfully for a while then I was on a wave that decided it would be a good idea to tip me over and I ended up swimming and walking in with my boat.  Kristian came in, probably thinking we were done, but I was keen to surf a bit yet so Kristian and me headed back out and caught a few more waves.  One wave flipped Kristian and he just rolled back up.  So at one stage or another all three of us were upside down.  I really enjoyed this and what a fantastic place for a first surfing experience!

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The following videos available to view on the video box of http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=4328500606

Kristian Surfing 12/07/08 & Peter Surfing 12/07/08

13/07/08 – Rackwick to the Old Man Of Hoy
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward and John Mowat
John had come across on the ferry last night so now we were four!  We took down tents, packed up our stuff and started carrying everything up to the van and taking boats down on the return trip.  Feels like a really long way when you have an end of a boat in each hand!!  We carried them over the rocks and set off for towards the Old Man of Hoy.  It was a lovely calm sunny day, so perfect for the trip.  It was a lovely paddle, admiring the colour and crumbly form of the cliffs on the way.  I was blethering away to Kristian and we both kind of stopped and looked at each other because we both thought we had seen a fin.  I felt a fear creep over me and demanded that Kristian tell me what it was.  He shouted to John and Peter that we had company!  It was a bit further out to sea and we watched and clearly saw a damaged fin moving along the surface.  We watched a while from a distance and we thought we saw a back fin, which suggested it would be a basking shark.  Although they have no teeth they are still pretty big and I wasn’t sure enough of the back fin to be sure that was what we were seeing, none of us were.  Kristian and Peter wanted to go check!!  The very thought put the fear in me, but they approached really cautiously which at least made me feel a bit better!  John and me waited for them for a while then paddled on to the Old Man of Hoy and went onto land under it.  We were having a bite to eat when the lads headed over towards us, having been paddling around for a while very close to the finned creature!  They confirmed it was indeed a basking shark that was about 6m long (our kayaks are about 5m) and had a damaged middle fin that looked like it was still healing.  We explored around the bottom of the Old Man, and it was amazing to see how much of it had fallen and was all broken around the bottom..  Made a girl nervous walking around underneath it!  Kristian was first back in his boat and I was next.  I went round the corner and spoke to him and he just about jumped out of his skin because he was so focussed on the basking shark that was now swimming round right there under the Old Man!  I was really nervous but gradually relaxed as I saw that the shark didn’t react to us and wasn’t flighty at all, but really gentle in its movements.  We must have paddled around with it, within metres of it for at least half an hour, clearly seeing the round nose, damaged middle fin and back fin out of the water.  I was amazed by how flexible it was as it seemed to double up on itself completely as it turned.  It did unnerve me when it was swimming towards me and then dipped under the water and I didn’t know where it was.  I definitely preferred when I could see it!  I could hardly believe that I was following a finned creature around in the sea!  Who would have thought?!  What an amazing thing to see though!  There were some folk on the top of the cliffs watching us paddling around with the shark.  We spoke to them afterwards and they said that they could see the shark really clearly through the water and our four boats paddling around with it.  They could see clearly how much bigger it was than us.  Would have been great if they had taken some photos!  Anyway, by this time if we didn’t head back we were going to miss the boat so we reluctantly left the shark and headed back towards Rackwick.  Then we saw another basking shark, a little smaller and faster moving.  On we went back to Rackwick in the sunshine and stopped slightly shy of the beach as there was a shorter carry closer to the road and Kristian went to get his van and took it to the boats rather than us carrying the boats to the van.  A much better idea!  By this time we were a bit shy for time so Peter and me headed down to the Bothy to collect the last of our stuff while Kristian and John sorted out the boats and van.  We headed over to Lyness and made it to the ferry with about three minutes to spare.  In summary, a challenging and interesting paddle over, wandering in the Hoy hills, a first surfing experience, paddling under the Old Man of Hoy and paddling with two basking sharks.  Yes, Kelda-fest was a pretty fantastic weekend!

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22/07/08 – Sandviken, Bergen,
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Sverre, Jardar, Sigurd, Tobias and one other
The club paddles have gone down to one a week now and this trip was from the clubhouse in Sandviken over to Askøy and back.  Just to shake things up we went the other way at Askøy than is the usual for the club!  It started off sunny then the mist started to come in off the sea and we were paddling in the damp air.  It was nice and calm though so I quite enjoyed it and found myself singing hi ho, hi ho, its of to work we go.  A peedie minute later I heard Sverre singing it!  There was a peedie bit of swell on the sea, which was added to by the passing boats.  Good fun paddling over the wash.

23/07/08 – Møvik, Sotra,
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Hans Petter, Oskar and Jardar
Oskar asked me along for a paddle in Sotra and it was a gorgeous perfect night for it with the sun shining on us.  The four of us set off from Møvik and paddled among the islands out to Kallsøyane.  It is a group of 4 islands with little paths in a cross in between them.  There was swell from the open water out beyond it so a wave coming in at the one side, that was surfable.  We played on it a little.  Then there was a rock that was totally dry other than when the waves washed over it.  Helmets went on and we tried a bit of rock hopping and all used the waves to cross over the rock.  All good fun and good to try these things.  Then we paddled back in to Møvik and I practiced the hanging draw on the way, and various other turns and stuff that I learnt on the technique course.  Hans Petter and Jardar were trying to do the static brace.  Hans Petter could do it for a little minute but couldn’t get back up again without capsizing first.  Looks tricky!  We got out of the water at 2300.  There had been lovely weather and a fantastic sunset, probably the best I have seen here.  So nice to paddle somewhere different!

Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=8498036030


29/07/08 – Sandviken, Bergen,
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Bente, Jardar, Tobias, Morten and 3 others
It was a gorgeous sunny night and had been over 30 degrees all week so the water was warm and I therefore paddled in my bikini and buoyancy aid and was still dressed for the water temperature!  We paddled out to Helleneset and it was amazing to see how crowded the places you could swim were.  We found a peedie bit of shore we could pull the boats up on that must have been more difficult to access as there was only one man there.  We all went for a swim, sat in the sun for a bit then headed back to the clubhouse.  Then we messed around trying to stand up and roll and stuff.  Jardar showed me how to do sculling and said the important thing was to keep the strokes long and calm in the water.  I tried it and managed first time.  I can do it quite comfortably on the left side but don’t feel great on the right side.  The Nigel Dennis Explorer Low Volume no doubt helped a lot as it is nice and low to the water.

Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=8498246280


30/07/08 – Sandviken, Bergen,
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Jardar, Mailin, Harald, Hans Petter, Linn, Ina, Kristine and a few others
This was a messing around and rolling training day with grilling and beer that had been planned at short notice, just due to the nice weather.  It had actually turned a bit through in the afternoon and was a bit overcast now, so I put my wetsuit on!  We messed around standing up, rolling, sculling down on the left side, practicing technique and blethering.  Jardar had thought that the sculling the night before looked like I would manage the static brace easily so explained what I should do, keeping the boat at the right side of the pivot point, rotating my body well, sculling down, then lying there with my left arm stretched out and the paddle lying on the water and the right arm put on the top edge of the boat, to help hold it the right side of the pivot point.  Then using the paddle to push myself up again.  I managed it a couple of times and was very chuffed with myself!  Again I think it is a good boat and easier to do these things in as it has good balance and fits me a bit better!  Will try to paddle the Explorer when it is free, but it is a popular boat!

Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=8678344666


01/08/08 – Sandviken, Bergen,
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Mailin, Harald, Sverre, Sonja and a couple of others
I got an e-mail and text about another play night with.  It was lovely and sunny again so I paddled in my bikini.  Harald got me practicing my roll and moving more to the screw roll, giving me tips to use my hips more, which helped.  Got a nice bruise on my hip now though!  I can do the screw roll with my hand just at the inside of the drip guard now.  I must try to start from there next time and not go back to the Eskimo roll!  I tried sculling in Kermit and found it really difficult.  It is amazing what a difference a boat makes!  Then I rescued Harald who was pretending to be unconscious.  I managed but it is difficult!  We practiced X rescues with Sonja then Harald showed me another trick!  We linked both hands then I capsized slowly and came up again slowly, just pulling on him.  He then did the same with me.  It works fine but you do have to watch your own balance when the other person is pulling against you.  That is why it is easier if it is done calmly!  A nice peedie practice and I feel good about the rolling.

Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=8678458424


02/08/08 Sandviken, Bergen,
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Mailin and Sonja
We decided to go for a late evening paddle and set off from the clubhouse about 2100.  We had bright yellow bibs on, I had a head light for when it got darker and Mailin had a flashing light to wear on the back of her shoulder, so we were well prepared.  I led with Mailin at the back and Sonja in between.  We paddled right into Bergen harbour in the middle of town.  We had planned to paddle further round but Sonja wasn’t feeling too well.  We had planned to go ashore somewhere and eat but as Sonja wasn’t feeling well we headed back to the clubhouse and sat and had a peedie picnic there instead!

Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=8678598177


09/08/08 Sandviken to Nordnes, Bergen
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Mailin and Torleif
Torleif had gotten in touch to see if I fancied a paddle so me and Mailin met him in town, watched Douglas Mongomery and Co. playing at the opening of the Tall Ships Race then headed along to the clubhouse.  We thought that from the sea would be a great place to see all the Tall Ships so headed across to the harbour, but as soon as we got there an oppressive looking boat came up to us with a man standing right at the front telling us the harbour was closed and we had to leave!  They waited there, hedging us out of the harbour until we turned and left.  So we headed to Nordnes, got out of our boats and had a little picnic instead.  That’s when Mailin and me decided it would be fun to have a sing along!  We went through quite a lot of songs then pretty much went through the whole Grease soundtrack, much to Torleif’s amusement.  Then back at the clubhouse we started rolling.  Torlief did his C C roll, Mailin did her screw roll and I did my Eskimo roll.  Then I did my roll again with my hands at the end of the blade but not on it, then Mailin encouraged me just to try a screw roll as I was popping up pretty easily.  I tried it and managed and was so chuffed I did a sitting in kayak celebratory dance!  The sea boats are big and heavy and it felt like a pretty big achievement to me to be able to screw roll in a sea boat.  Very chuffed!

Photos - http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PhotoNbr=1&MemberId=4328500606&PhotoAlbumId=8678659028


12/08/08 Sandviken to Helleneset, Bergen,
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Torleif, Hallvard, Stefan, Hilde and a few others I don’t know the names of!
I paddled Kermit, then swapped later on to the Explorer.  I was struggling to get to the clubhouse on time because of having to wait for two pesky buses, but Hallvard waited for me and then we caught up with the others after a couple of minutes.  We paddled to Helleneset and a bit beyond it to the red house with the dog.  Then we headed back and of course decided to play a bit before getting out.  There was a distinct difference in water temperature from Saturday, when it had felt warm and now very cold.  Stefan was doing sculling and trying the static brace and I daftly said I could do both but only in the Explorer that he was paddling.  Next I knew we were both swimming, doing self rescues and swapping boats.  I did sculling and a static brace and thankfully they both worked as I would have been pretty embarrassed if they hadn’t.  It was only me, Stefan and Hallvard that were brave enough to play around tonight and I don’t know either very well.  Hallvard liked the static brace and demanded I do it again so he had time to take a photo.  Now there is a photo of me sculling and another of me in a static brace on the BSI website!  Then I wanted to try the screw roll again, so Hallvard was ready to do an Eskimo rescue and I did a roll with my hands at the end of the blade, then another without moving my hands at all.  Both worked really easily so again, I got out of the boat feeling really good about the paddle.

Photos - http://padling.uib.no/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=1720


16/08/08 Glasvaer, Sotra,
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Mailin, Harald and Olav
Mailin, Harald and me were in Sotra at Periferi Festivalen and took the opportunity to have a peedie paddle on the Saturday early afternoon.  Olav joined us and we didn’t really go far.  We paddled round to where there was a theatre performance in a boathouse that could be watched from the sea.  It wasn’t that great so we paddled a little bit but it was more like chatting while sitting in kayaks really!  So then me and Mailin both did screw rolls and Harald did a hand roll.  He probably popped up faster than either of us, but I was just pleased my screw roll worked.  This is the first time I have done my first roll as a screw roll and that is three different boats I have done it in now.  I am starting to feel a bit more sure of it although I always get nervous before I try!  Then we headed back in to go listen to the bands that had started to play in the festival.


17/08/08 Glasvaer, Sotra,
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Mailin, Harald, Jardar, Kristen and Olav
After night two in a tent, we set off from Glasvaer, which is where the music festival was the past couple of days.  We set off towards Faerøyna and went through a little column in that island.  Then we headed round to explore a bit round Risøyskjeret in search of waves, but the weather has been so nice there wasn’t many!  So then we stopped and had our lunch then paddled gently back to Glasvaer.  Jardar and Kristin just went to shore but the rest of us didn’t feel we could get out of our boats all dry, so Olav started with a roll, then Harald rolled.  Mailin did a screw roll, then one on her wrong side then hand rolled the explorer.  She was so chuffed she wanted me to roll the explorer so we swapped boats by me holding her boat while she crawled over mine to sit behind me with her feet in the water.  Then she held her boat while I crawled over and into it, then I held what was my boat while she slipped in.  Job done!  Then I successfully did a screw roll in the explorer and Mailin wanted me to try on the other side.  So I discovered that I can’t yet screw roll on my wrong side!  Mailin was meant to do an Eskimo rescue but didn’t seem to appear so I ended up swimming.  I just did a self-rescue and not long after we headed in to shore.  Then it was time to get boats on the roof of Harald’s van, pack up my tent and head back to Bergen after a great weekend.

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28/08/08 – Scapa
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward, Kelda Dinsdale, John Mowat, David Hartley, Dennis Bichan, Adam Strutt, Joelle Sutherland, Heather Woodbridge, Will (newly moved to Orkney) and Ian(visitor)
It was a bit drizzly and windy so not the best night for paddling but there was a good turn out anyway, including Will, a new guy who has just moved to Orkney and has a brand new shiny Nordkapp that has only been in the water once before!  We all got in our boats and headed off across the bay.  It was pretty choppy and Heather was finding it hard going.  I hung back to encourage her and John gave her a peedie tow to help her along.  She did really well though.  Peter was not enjoying paddling the new (to the club!) Nordkapp so decided to go into the beach and call it a night.  We gathered over the far side of the bay, in the shelter of the cliff.  Joelle was feeling a bit sick so we just paddled up to the steamboat, then headed back across the bay.  It is always harder paddling with a following sea, but I am quite happy making adjustments for that these days.  I noticed Dennis seemed to be a lot more confident than last time I paddled with him too.  John towed Heather back to help her hold direction.  Ian was not used to paddling in chop and was struggling to hold direction.  I gave him how to use a stern rudder and he picked it up straight away and seemed to have much more control after that.  Then back at the pier, all of a sudden Joelle seemed fine again and along with Adam, started pier jumping!  It was really nice to get out a paddle with the club in Orkney again!


06/09/08 – Dagali, Norway
On Trip - Kelda Dinsdale, Mailin, Harald, Hans Petter, Angus and Ole
The six of us from the Bergen club travelled up to Dagali to meet up with a group of 7 folk from the Oslo club.  They had paddled this river before but no-one from our club has and it is a Norwegian Grade 3, translating to a Scottish Grade 4, so I was a nervous bunny.  They were asking about the standard of all of us, and Harald was saying that we had all paddled the section of Strandaelva in Voss that was used in the competition in Extreme Sports Week, which is a Norwegian Grade 3 too.  I haven’t paddled this so quietly had a word with Harald as I didn’t want anyone thinking I was better than I am.  He just said that he was confident I could have paddled that section of Strandaelva if I had had the chance and that I was more than capable!  We watched some rafters go past then split into two groups, with some folk from each club in each group and got in the river.  I was with Harald and Hans Petter in my group.  I was in a riot 65, which was a boat I hadn’t paddled before so was trying to get comfortable in it too.  It has quite a rounded shape but loads of edges along the sides so it was just a case of getting used to how it felt in the water.  Then we stopped to have a look at the first harder bit.  We picked our line, which was a bit of a zip zag and I decided to paddle it.  All of our group managed fine.  They were saying there was not much water in the river but it still seemed like ample to me!  Then we saw a boat upside down coming towards us and I realised it was Mailin’s, who was in the other group.  We were stopping at the next part to view it too so managed to speak to her.  She was a bit shaken up and not sure about getting back in the boat.  She ended up carrying round the next bit and getting back in below the rapid.  We went back and paddled the next bit too, which was interesting.  I was following Harald, who seemed to boof off a stone and capsize then roll up again.  I was following thinking maybe our line was not that great, but the rapid was too steep for me to be able to see to choose another one, so I just decided to go with the plan and see what happened.  I also hit the stone but obviously at another angle because I remained upright, by a stroke of luck!  Everyone seemed to hit the same stone differently.  So them we paddled on and stopped at another rapid which seemed to be kind of split in 3 sections along its width.  I went a bit further down the river to look and decided the part on the far side of the river looked relatively friendly, so was thinking to paddle it.  Harald had decided to carry round which worried me a bit but I decided to follow on with Hans Petter.  He paddled it fine and I was next.  The water was shallow over one bit of rock and my boat kind of stuck and twisted, so I came over the last drop backwards, but still the right way up!  It was not exactly the plan, but it worked so its all good!  One guy decided to try the middle section and got stuck in a stopper.  He was stubborn and didn’t want to swim and it was shallow enough that he was propping himself up with his paddle against the bottom.  They got a line on him, but the current was too strong for them to pull him, so he swam and they got a line on his boat to drag it out.  Then we came to a longer calmer section and Mailin had by now switched groups to paddle with us, so we just meandered down this section and stopped to have a look at the last bigger rapid.  It just looked like a raffle of white boily stuff.  There seemed to be a line folk were taking at the far side that looked comfortable enough but I just wasn’t sure I would be able to get to it above the main part of the rapid and didn’t want to land in the middle of the white froth, so decided to carry round this one.  It was probably about 50/50 with people paddling it and carrying round it.  Everyone that paddled it managed fine though.  Then we paddled on down the rest of the river, with a nice little rapid at the bottom that didn’t need inspection then into the nicest get out I have seen.  I lovely little sheltered bay almost, tucked neatly at the side.  Hans Petter was going to do his partly trick, stand up and paddle in to the side and just step onto the bank, but one of the Oslo lot decided it would be fun to nudge his boat and he fell over, looking none to pleased!  This river trip really boosted my confidence, as luck seemed to be on my side.  I have decided I like that boat!  Then it was back to Harald’s parents cabin, to have dinner and a sauna!!
The following videos available to view on the video box of http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=4328500606
Paddling at Dagali 06/09/08 (I am in the 2nd boat), Paddling at Dagali 06/09/08 (I am in the 3rd boat) and Paddling at Dagali 06/09/08 (I am in the 2nd boat)
08/09/08 – East Kirk, Holm
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale
This was a last minute phone round type paddle cause it was such a bonny night.  We set off from the beach and paddled out to Rose Ness.  We had a nose around the coastline there then paddled back to the beach.  Not a long paddle as it is getting darker sooner now, but the sunset was gorgeous.
12/09/08 – The Etive
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Kelda Dinsdale
Kristian, Peter and me travelled down to take part in the Wet West Paddle-Fest again this year.  Rather than just having two days paddling, we decided to paddle the Etive on the Friday.  Peter decided not to paddle and to save himself for the Garry and the Moriston so Kristian and me paddled with some of the Napier paddlers.  The section we paddled started with the triple falls.  Kristian discussed the line with me on all three and we were to paddle the first two and meet in and eddy then I would follow him over the last and highest one at about 2.5m!  I saw Kristian disappearing over the first drop and thought I would wait a little minute till he was clear to follow.  I was watching the spectators for a reaction, saw none, so followed and managed the first two drops and met Kristian in the eddy, where I realised he had a really swollen bluish lump on his eyebrow and a burst lip!  He had capsized and head butted a rock after the first drop, rolled up and paddled the second drop.  Then I went over the third drop with Kristian following and that went fine, so I was feeling pretty fantastic!  I was paddling a Pyranha Inazone and was not at all used to how it was handling but the triple falls went well.  This river seems to be made up of little narrow gorge type sections and drops!  We came to another part that they said was a drop called the Ski Jump and was easy and just to aim for the middle.  I thought it can’t be a big drop or they would have let me look at it to decide if I wanted to paddle it.  Kristian disappeared over the edge and I paddled up and was so surprised to see a decent drop when I got to the edge but kept paddling and really enjoyed this drop.  Then we came to one called the Letterbox that we all got out to have a look at.  It was more technical and the line was to get over to the left and paddle straight at the rock at the far side.  Otherwise the danger was that you would get pulled into a little bit (like a letter box) and stuck in there, needing a line to get out.  While we were looking at it we saw a guy get a bit stuck, roll, roll, roll, roll etc. then swim and his boat needed a line on it to pull it out.  I decided to paddle anyway and just paddled for the rock!  I went over fine and felt like I was going to land okay, but then capsized and swam.  I wasn’t in the letterbox though so just swam out fine and my boat followed, quite the thing.  Apparently I had the line right but just needed to have more speed.    We came to a narrow narly bit that I didn’t like the look of so I carried round it.  Then there was a strange bit where we had to get back into the boats and Graham’s spray deck that I had borrowed was really good once it was on, but so difficult to get on that it took me pulling at the sides and 4 of the lads about 10 minutes to finally get the deck back on, then I paddled over another drop into a gorge section.  Ric had been sitting at the bottom wondering where we all were and what we were all doing!  This was a good fun drop too and one that is normally done as a dry seal launch apparently but there was water there today as the river was quite high.  Then we all paddled on and came to a couple of rockslide sections, with skidding over rocks on very shallow water.  I discovered that I am not good at paddling without water cause I swam on both these parts.  It annoyed me actually because these sections are much easier than some of the bits I had paddled well and I feel I should have managed them better, but never mind.  All the lads were really good at helping me get into the side and back in my boat.  The second of these swims was a bit sore though with not much water meaning I was sliding along under my boat against the rocks.  Shoulder and neck caught it a bit and I seemed to have a sore lower back and eyebrow later in the day!  I kept smiling though and got back in my boat both times.  Then they said we were approaching Big Mans Falls, which I had heard was 6m high so I went into the side pretty quickly!  I had a look at all that water thundering over and getting to the right place at the top seemed difficult too, with a right angle section and thought they were all mad.  It took me about half a second to decide I wasn’t paddling that one!  Ric went and did the right angle bit slightly wrong, missed the eddy and went over the falls backwards, but very calmly shaking his head and speaking to the spectators!  He swam at the bottom but was fine.  He wasn’t happy with how he did, so dragged his boat up and did it again, landing really well at the bottom.  Shorty paddled it and bit and burst his lip on landing.  Kristian paddled it too.  Most folk were landing upside down and were rolling with the odd person swimming.  I got my boat lowered down using a throw line, clambered down and got back into my boat at the bottom.  There was a massive corner full of foam that I sat in watching the crazy fools paddle it.  It was stressing me out even watching them all so I was definitely not up for paddling that one!  Then on we went down the last stretch of river and got out of the river to see a fantastic view of mountains and sunset.  Beautiful!  The silly swims knocked my confidence a bit but there were sections that were harder than anything I had done before that I had managed fine.  A fun and eventful river!
14/09/08 – The Moriston
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward, Kelda Dinsdale
First I should say that this was the middle section that we did, which is grade 2 with a couple of grade 3 rapids, not the grade 4/5 silly sections at the top and bottom!  There were a few folk from England that had paddled the top section that asked if they could paddle the middle down to the car park with us, so they joined us.  It was a relaxed river paddle with lots of chatting.  There are a couple of fun rapids and wavy bits, but everything was going fine.  There was one little wave Kristian was surfing on so I tried but just surfed straight across it and off again.  Don’t really know what I am meant to do to stay on the wave.  Then one rapid had a few choices and I was gaining on Peter who was having a look at the rapid so I saw a narrow fun looking bit and thought I would just paddle past him.  However, Peter didn’t see me I guess and decided on the same bit at the same time, which was not wide enough for both of us.  The rock at the side I was on went up at a perfect angle and just nicely turned me over so I swam again!  Been a bit a weekend of it!  Kristian had been leaning back relaxing and when he saw me capsizing, he capsized too, but just rolled straight back up.  I was a bit annoyed with myself for not trying to roll!  Must get on a calmish river sometime and practice rolling in moving water.  Think that would be good for me as I need to get more confidence in my roll.  Anyway, back in my boat and on we paddled, opting to get out on the left where we wouldn’t have to carry the boats so far!  A nice scenic calm river compared to the Etive!
18/09/08 – Scapa
On Trip – Kristian Cooper, John Mowat, Kelda Dinsdale, Mary (John’s daughter), Joelle Sutherland, David Bruce and David (new member)
It was a horrible damp and windy night so the idea was to go a peedie trip in Scapa Bay and maybe surf a little.  I was cold and not overly enthusiastic but off we set.  A few minutes in David (new member) capsized and Kristian took him into the shore to get back into the boat.  The rest of us just paddled round and then back to the slip.  Most folk paddled another couple of laps by which time it was really dark.  The nights are drawing in now for evening paddles.
03/10/08 – Bulander, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Mailin, Harald, Olav, Bente, Jan, Oskar, Lidun and loads of other people.
We were at Stormsamling Festivalen in Bulander and this was the first of the workshops, which was a surfing one.  I was slightly lacking in energy and just fancied a paddle rather than surfing, but it was surfing or nothing, but I hadn’t taken my helmet, which meant I could go along, but wasn’t allowed to surf!  The area we were in was sheltered among the islands but exposed as soon as you went out to open sea, hence the name of the festival.  The instructor was a guy called Nicolai from Denmark.  He went through loads of technique first, similar to the technique course I attended but he was much better at demonstrating how little effort was needed and it was all about placing the blade correctly.  A good reminder and we were given a chance to practice it all.  Then we headed out, but as I wasn’t allowed to surf, I went onto land so that I could eat a bit and take some photos of the surfing.  The water was all choppy in every direction and there really weren’t any nice surfable waves.  Nicolai and Harald tried to find some, but didn’t really so they all went back in to where there was a bit of swell and tried surfing a bit there.  Not much success from what I could see to be honest.  Not their fault, just not great surfing conditions where we were.  Then that was the end of the workshop, but me, Mailin, Harald and Oskar paddled a bit more anyway.  We went out in the swell a bit and Harald practiced a self-rescue in the swell and waves and managed great.  Oskar tried but had a bit more bother and Harald ended up doing an X rescue for him.  Then the four of us headed back in, dithering and blethering along the way!
04/10/08 – Bulander, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Mailin, Oskar and loads of other people.
Well it was blowing a gale now and the name of the festival was starting the really fit!  We opted for the easy and most sheltered workshop today, which was “taffel og waffel”, which consisted of a peedie paddle in among the islands and then going to the café for waffles!  There were a nice friendly bunch of people and good blethering, but quite a few that were more beginner level and finding the wind a bit difficult.  The leader changed the route to make it easier for people, by not having to start by paddling a while against the wind.  We paddled along at a gentle pace and I was messing around with bits of technique to amuse myself.  One lass saw me edging the boat and asked me to explain how to do it and how it helped.  I felt kind of good that she thought I looked like I knew what I was doing!  Then we paddled a bit against the wind and some people were flagging a bit latterly but it all went fine.  Then time for waffles!  We dithered about going for another paddle just ourselves, but decided against and headed back to the hut we had rented.  Saturday night was the main party do, which was really good fun with some swing dancing, followed by watching the thunder the lightening from the peedie hut on the hill next to the house.
21/10/08 – Sandviken, Bergen, Norway
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Mailin, Harald, Sverre, John Magnus, Torleif, Ina
This was a club Tuesday night paddle starting at 6pm in the Grimlings, so we all had lights on our boats and us.  It had been really windy yesterday and although it wasn’t very windy tonight, the sea still held the temper so there was a bit of choppyness.  We didn’t go a long paddle, just a bit towards Helleneset and back, which was long enough for it to be completely dark and it made the choppy water really good fun as you couldn’t see the waves coming.  I really enjoyed it and it was the first time I have paddled in complete darkness.  The wind was picking up a little and on the way back to the clubhouse we got caught in a haily shower, which made me laugh.  I was in good spirits!  Then when we got back to the Clubhouse we sat in our boats and watched thunder and lightening away back behind Løvstakken!  Then me and Harald decided to practice rescues and he rescued me first then I rescued him.  Then I did a screw roll, which wasn’t pretty but I got up.  This was the first time I had practiced rescues or a roll in anything other than flat water and the complete darkness added another element.  No doubt very good practice and I felt encouraged after this paddle, if a bit cold!
16/11/08 – Scapa, Kirkwall
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Peter Woodward
This was a trip purely to allow me to take my 1 Star test, so me and Peter were in the water and John Mowat was on the side watching me to do the assessment.  Before I went into the water John asked a number of questions then we did the practical bit, which involved me paddling forwards a distance, turning and paddling back again and demonstrating that I could turn the boat both ways.  Then came the wet part!  I had to capsize, come out of my boat and swim dragging it in to the beach.  Then empty it and get back in and paddle out again.  Then I had to capsize and swim and Peter did an X rescue for me and then Peter had to swim so I could show that I could do an X rescue for him.  Of course, we didn’t get round to doing this until it was dark, so we had to stay under the street lights on the pier and given the time of year, It wasn’t the warmest!  But we weren’t in the water long and we got straight out when the rescues were finished.  On the way back to shore I asked John if there was anything else, he said not unless we wanted to practice rolling, so I did a roll, just to make sure I still could.  Peter opted not to and to head in to get warm.  So that is me ready to attend the coaching course now!  Thank-you Peter and John!
22/11/08 – Muirton Canal, Inverness
On Course - Kelda Dinsdale, David Gunn, other David, James, Eleanor, Toni, Gerald, Justin, Jess, Emma, Rob, Kendall
Instructors – Steve and Mags Mackinnon
This was the first of the 4-day course to qualify as a Paddlesport Coach, Level 1.  It was snowy, which of course given my luck, it would be!  So we started with all the indoor work.  Going through the course layout, useful acronyms, coursework etc.  Then we headed out into the boats.  The aim of today was for Steve and Mags to demonstrate various teaching techniques and how they will expect us to deliver our training sessions and for us to try out as many different boats as we wanted.  So we were in and swapping boats a lot.  I tried a few different river boats, a sea boat, a creek boat and a two man sea boat.  I was in that with Justin and really enjoyed it.  We had to work very much together with our strokes and combine turning strokes to have the best effect, but when we did that, it was actually very manouverable.  Young David capsized his river boat and we were in a good position to do the rescue so Justin did that from the front of our boat while I provided stability.  I think the water was cold cause David flew back into his boat!  Then we headed back into the Sea Scout “hall” and got paired up to prepare our first training sessions to be done the next day.  I was paired with David Gunn and we were doing sweep strokes.  So we put our ideas down for how we would deliver our 10 minutes on the water of sweep stroke training!  After that, we were finished for the day and I headed back to Kate’s.
23/11/08 – Muirton Canal, Inverness
On Course - Kelda Dinsdale, David Gunn, other David, James, Eleanor, Toni, Gerald, Justin, Jess, Emma, Rob, Kendall
Instructors – Steve and Mags Mackinnon
Day 2 of the Paddlesport Coach Level 1 course.  It was snowy again today but threatening to rain.  I was dreading getting really cold in the boats and thinking to myself what a great way this was to spend my 34th birthday!  Never mind, I just kept reminding myself that I chose to take the course!  Again, we did the inside parts first and I asked Mags for some pointers on canoeing skills as I have never been in one and this course covers canoes and kayaks, being a paddlesport qualification, and not skill specific.  Then we headed out to take our training sessions, splitting into two groups to that we would be in groups of 6 and only need to be on the water long enough for 3 training sessions.  David and I were first in our group so I did the manual handling part, got the boats down and everyone fitted into them and then we did our briefing, followed by the warm up, which was definitely needed!  Then I did a brief rundown on how to use the paddle, as we were meant to assume total beginners first time in boats.  So then David went in the water and I was bank based, just to see how that would work.  I think I would have been warmer in a boat.  We went through some of the points in a sweep stroke, touching on posture and connection points, and then ran out of time.  It didn’t feel like 10 minutes and I am still not convinced that it was!  We swapped over and the two other groups took their sessions, with me getting into a river boat.  After that we cleared up and headed in, frozen solid!  Mags took David and me into a room to go through our session, give us feedback and check off the things that we had achieved on our assessment list.  It was very positive and constructive and I picked up a few tips, which is good.  Then it was off to the airport with damp kit, to get home and warmed up!
05/12/08 – Muirton Canal, Inverness
On Course - Kelda Dinsdale, young David, James, Eleanor, Toni, Jess
Instructors – Steve Mackinnon
Today was a half-day Foundation Safety Course that I needed to do and achieve in order to be a water-based coach.  It involved going through and demonstrating various types of rescues in kayaks of various types and canoes.  It was 3 degrees and windy so felt ridiculously cold and I wasn’t cherishing the idea of swimming around for a while.  I don’t think Steve was either so we did loads of the technique inside, going through the theory of all the rescues.  Steve also said that it wouldn’t be responsible to keep us in the water too long, so wouldn’t make each of us do all the rescues but for us all to do some, and to do the ones we are least confident at performing, as that would prove of most benefit.  So out we went and as it was windy, we just stayed within the confines of the pontoon, with Steve in the water all the time, poor man!  He did have a dry suit though which will have helped.  The rest of us were just in wet suits.  I did one of the rescues in the kayak, the one where you inch the boat up to let the water flow out and get the person being rescued to help through the process.  It worked well and was an easy enough way to empty a river boat.  I also asked if I could have a go at the canoe rescues, as I hadn’t ever done them.  I found them difficult and the boat big and heavy, difficult to manoeuvre.  But then I dropped from my knees to my bum and it put me in a much better position for leverage.  Then I managed, but I still didn’t find it easy.  I had a couple of goes at this.  I also had a go at a self-rescue into a canoe, with the canoe being fairly empty.  This involves lifting yourself up over the side and kind of doing a forward roll into the boat to end up lying flat on your back on the bottom of the boat.  I found this quite straight forward and managed first time, as did we all.  Steve said it is the first time he had run a course where everyone managed first time and I can’t help but wonder if we were all more determined due to wanting to get out of the cold water!  The trick is to get your head tucked in and down at the side of the boat so you can roll over your shoulder.  The last rescue that we did was an all in, in river boats.  We split into two groups of three to do this.  I seemed to take control of our group, again maybe due to the temperature.  I was using a strap and hooked it onto one boat which we took at a right angle to another, then I hooked my legs into the cockpit and straightened up holding onto the strap, which pulled the boat over the top of the other boat with no effort or strain on me.  We emptied it then I stabilised the boat while Jess climbed in.  Then she did X rescues, with me helping using the strap again, to get us back in our boats.  I was last in.  Maybe I didn’t plan that right….  So then we headed in and I was frozen solid for hours!
06/12/08 – Muirton Canal, Inverness
On Course - Kelda Dinsdale, David Gunn, other David, James, Eleanor, Toni, Gerald, Justin, Jess, Emma, Rob, Kendall
Instructors – Steve and Mags Mackinnon
Day 3 of the Paddlesport Coach Level 1 course.  It was flat calm today but there was ice on the canal!  Yes ice!  I was so glad we did our rescues yesterday because that meant we didn’t have to do it today, while the other 6 folk did.  We had covered everything we needed for the coaching course on the Foundation Safety Course so Steve was satisfied with that.  So today David and me were delivering our second coaching session on draw strokes in a canoe.  I had chosen to do the second session in a canoe as I wanted a chance to spend some time in one as I knew I would have to be competent in a canoe to achieve the 2 Star assessment necessary to be a water based coach.  So all my paddling today was in a canoe, and as it was flat calm, it was a good chance to learn.  The first session was on forward paddling so I got the practice the J stroke.  This is the main stroke that is different from kayaking and I felt in control, except when I got caught on the ice!  Our session was next, with us taking a warm up, and the briefing, and then I did most of the delivery of the draw stroke.  The first time I had done a draw stroke in a canoe was when I was demonstrating it for the group, but thankfully it worked exactly the same as a kayak so it went well.  David was going to take the game at the end of the session, but people didn’t really understand it so we split them, with him taking two and me taking two and we did a draw stroke race into the bank.  The final session was on support strokes, which was good to do in a canoe as well.  They are really stable and I am fairly light so I felt I had to throw my weight over quite a lot to be able to practice this, but it is good to know how stable they are.  I enjoyed the session.  Then we went in to warm up a little and eat some lunch and then headed back out.  While the other group were doing their rescues, we went back in the canoes, but this time two to a boat, instead of paddling singly, as we had earlier.  I went with James, which was great as he is a canoeist rather than a kayaker, so I was able to get loads of tips from him.  Steve took some training for an hour or so, going through a lot of different canoe strokes and giving us a chance to practice them from the front and the back of the boats.  He also threw in coaching tips for canoeing, which was great.  I enjoyed today and felt I learnt a lot and got a lot out of it.  Steve gave feedback from today’s coaching session and it was very encouraging.  Then we did the written paper, which consisted of 50 multiple choice questions and we were done for today.
06/12/08 – Muirton Canal, Inverness
On Course - Kelda Dinsdale, David Gunn, young David, James, Eleanor, Toni, Gerald, Justin, Jess, Emma, Rob, Kendall
Instructors – Steve and Mags Mackinnon
Day 4 of the Paddlesport Coach Level 1 course, the final day.  We started with a recap.  Then we headed out to take our last assessed coaching sessions.  These were done individually with a designated helper.  The sessions today were forward paddling, backward paddling, stopping, sweep strokes, draw strokes and the low brace.  I was doing backward paddling in a kayak.  In my session I managed to get through the whole IDEAS coaching system, got through posture, body rotation, connectivity, power transfer, managed to fit in some discovery learning and had a little game, so I was quite happy with how it went.  The whole day was made more difficult by being windy, so I was glad I was in a kayak today.  But at least the temperature got to the heady heights of 6 degrees!!  All the sessions went well today in the kayak group I felt, but I know the canoe group were struggling a bit with the wind.  Everyone did fine though.  We all had to take the full process, from risk assessment, manual handling, briefing, warm up (greatly needed), getting on the water, coaching session, getting off the water, summary and clearing away.  When we were all finished we headed back in to warm up and get our final feedback.  This was our test results from yesterday, feedback on our final coaching session, thoughts overall on our performance and whether or not we had achieved our 2 Star assessment.  The feedback was with both Steve and Mags as they had both been assessing everyone.  My feedback was really encouraging and they were happy with my coaching style, demonstrations, accuracy and overall ability.  They said I had passed and that it was a good strong pass and in their opinion I should attend the next available level 2 course as they felt I was ready for it and they felt I should not just be assisting another coach, but taking sessions.  I am so chuffed with that!  One happy bunny!
30/12/2008 – Hatston, Orkney
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward
The weather has been good lately so we decided to go for a peedie paddle.  It was clear, calmish and frosty.  We went armed with head torches and fluorescent vests in case it was getting dark before we were back in, as we didn’t go until the afternoon.  We also needed hats for warmth.  We left from the Hatston slip and headed across to Weyland, past Iceland Skerry then across to Helliar Holm.  There was a fair bit of tide running which you could see pulling on all the buoys.  Crossing on the way back, the tide was swirling around and it does feel really different under the boat.  It was good fun and we got back from Helliar Holm to near Weyland in 15 minutes with the tide giving us a shove!  We were back in with daylight.  This was a nice paddle with good pals.
31/12/2008 – Stromness, Orkney
On Trip – Kelda Dinsdale, Kristian Cooper, Peter Woodward
Another nice day so we decided to paddle again, this time setting off a bit earlier.  We went to Stromness and were getting ready at the slip at Ness when we spotted an otter playing around in the water.  We watched it for a while then the Graemsay boat came in and that was the last we saw of the otter!  We paddled round the corner at Ness and instantly saw that we were straight in the tide, which was running fairly quick.  We opted to stay out of the worst of it and paddled over to Graemsay.  Peter and me kept hoping we were seeing otters but they always turned out to be seals!  We went kind of onto the beach to see that it is all shell sand then found back on the water, that we had curiously made a triangle with our boats, which is now known as the Graemsay triangle!  We then paddled back over to Stromness and went in by the Holm and under the pylons at the basin.  It turned out that this was the first time Kristian had paddled in Stromness, so we then paddled back to Ness along the coastline of Stromness, admiring all the peedie slips at the houses on the way.  Then we found that a parsnip had appeared in the middle of the slip at Ness.  Curious!  This was a lovely paddle and I think going for a paddle with good friends is a great way to spend the last day of the year!
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