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    by Published on 23rd-December-2009 02:51 PM

    Welcome to Song of the Paddle the online home for those with a love of, or an interest in, open canoes and canoeing. For those who hear the siren call that draws them to the water in their open canoe.

    This site was created after I spent some time searching for information on open canoeing in the UK. There are a number of canoeing sites with sections for open canoe users, but no site devoted solely to them, so I made one
    The main part of the site has information and links for the open canoeist The menu options on the left).

    The heart of the site is the
    Forum (accessed from the tabs above). This is where much of the future content of the main site will be created and refined. The forum is an area where open canoeists can share ideas, ask questions arrange outings, compare kit and sell off their old kit. It is this interactive element that is the strength of the Song of the Paddle site. If a review has left you with questions, you can ask them. If you disagree you can say so, and why. Even if it is just that your non canoeing friends are tired of you talking about it, your Song of the Paddle friends are bound to be keen to hear about your latest trip.

    Why “Song of the Paddle”? The Song of the Paddle is a well known book amongst open canoeists. It is written by Bill Mason and is subtitled “An Illustrated Guide to Wilderness Camping”. So although it is a book about open canoeing it is also about the exploring of wild places in your canoe.

    In the UK our wild places are fewer and less wild than Bill had in Canada but even here, when out in your open canoe you can get to feel more at one with nature and escape from the ties of modern life. This is as true with a few snatched hours on the local lake or loch as it is on a multi-day camping adventure. I hope that this site can try to pass on some of this feeling to those who have not yet heard the song and give a place to share your experiences for those who have heard the song.

    So dig in and have a look about the site. Sign up to the forum if you wish and share your thoughts with those of a like mind. I will leave you with an excerpt from the introduction of Bill Mason’s book, Song of The Paddle.

    Odysseus ordered his men to plug their ears when they sailed by the island of the Sirens so they would not be lured to their destruction on the offshore rocks by the sea nymphs' irresistible song. In order to hear the song, Odysseus asked his men to lash him to the mast. I know all about this sort of thing because I hear a song like that of the Sirens every spring when the ice on the rivers begins to break up.

    Years ago in the heart of Winnipeg, Manitoba, I would be working at my desk in a commercial art studio, hear the song, hand in my two weeks' notice and get my outfit ready. My parents thought I would outgrow it but I never did. If anything, the song is becoming louder and more insistent with the passing years.
    Some people hear the song in the quiet mist of a cold morning; others hear it in the middle of a roaring rapids. Sometimes the excitement drowns out the song. The thrills become all that matter as we seek one rapid after another. Sleeping, eating and living outdoors become something we do between rapids. But for other people the song is loudest in the evening when they are sitting in front of the tent, basking in the camp fire's warmth. This is when I hear it loudest, after I have paddled and portaged for many miles to some distant, hidden place."