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Thread: What sparked your interest in Open Canoes?

  1. #1
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    Default What sparked your interest in Open Canoes?

    A post by Rolf in his into made me start wondering how you all got interested in canoeing.

    For me it was through my more general interest in the outdoors and living near to a Loch. The Bill Mason Books and Ray Mears programmes certainly helped but there was always an interest.

    If I trace it right back it was probably when I was a young boy, probably about 6 or 7. We had a caravan at Rowardenon on Loch lomond which we went to every weekend. One day I was standing on the beach on a calm day. Not especially sunny or anything but a pleasant day, when a canoe came round the point. It was being paddled by a man with his dog sitting at the front of the canoe. There was some camping gear in the canoe as well. As I watched them go past I remember thinking that that looked like the ideal way to spend time on the water. And I was right. Took me a long time to get round to doing something about it though.

  2. #2
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    it's being lying latent in my bones forever and just feels right! No such childhood memory like Magikelly, nor convenience of a loch nearby, not even a great love of water but it does just feel right. It might be something to do with not wanting to be left behind by my family when they kayak and wanting to go too... wait for me!!

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    For me It was sotp member Allan who sparked my Interest . A chance meeting saw Allan joining us on trips to the hills , so when he bought his first canoe we decided to give it a try . That was me hooked . Even an incident involving the Northern Constabularly , the Coastguard and the staff of the Western Isles Hospital couldn't dampen my enthusiasm . now thanks to John and his site , a day doesn't go by without thoughts on where to go paddling next

    Alan

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    Southstaffsboater sums it up perfectly , It just feels right

    Alan

  5. #5

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    Funnily enough it was as a result of a rant on a surfing site against kayakers in the surf and the dangers posed to a surfer paddling out of 15' of uncontrolled slalom kayak coming down the face of a wave

    A link was put up to a kayaking site's forum for us to go and vent, but I followed an interesting link to here!

    I'd always sailed in all sorts of craft [even a sliding seat 10 sqm canoe] and wanted to keep that up but advancing years and slower reactions led me to wanting something a little less 'hectic' to keep me on the water. A sea kayak was out because of being stuck paddling in the same position for hours, and my back would not be happy.....

    Aditionally iffy knees and hips were making surfing that much harder and precluded a lot of hill walking and cycling.

    I wanted something with the elements of wilderness and freedom hillwalking, mountaineering and cycletouring gives you, without the extreme exertion.

    I also liked the somewhat romantic idea of spending a few days paddling and camping. Trouble is, in effect the only place this can really be done without red tape is up in Scotland, which may turn out to be a logistical nightmare........

    Rambling as usual
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    I did kayaking as a school boy, and have always wanted to get back into some sort of canoeing. The spur I am sorry to say was sudden serious illness. As I struggled to haul myself back into the real world I realised that I needed something to dream about for when I was well again, and for reasons that seem somewhat unclear now (but have a lot to do with Ray Mears) I settled upon Open Canoeing. It worked. And what's more it continues to work as a fantastic distraction from the many stresses of modern life.
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  7. #7

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    I find the interest in (and knowledge of) Canadian style canoeing here quite fascinating. I grew up in the heart of canoe country in Ontario Canada, surrounded by lots of good reasons and resources to become involved in the activity. Finding such a strong interest and knowledge evident in the UK is something I hadn't expect. You folks are to be commended.

    I noticed while reading a thread asking about boat design that you have access to many of the canoes popular on this side of the pond and many of the people providing opinions obviously understand the intimate details. Canoe design is something I've been keen on for many years. I've built many and restored a lot of derilect cedar and canvas canoes. One of the projects that gave me great joy was designing and building a replica of a cedar and canvas canoe I restored and came to enjoy paddling immensely. This is not a canoe for the mass market, but it's a treat to paddle for one who feels very comfortable in a canoe and enjoys a responsive boat. You can see the photos of the canoe at http://blazingpaddles.ca/richardson/

  8. #8
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    I used to kayak back in the 80's, but gave it up following an accident. Some years later I found that I also had to give up rock and ice climbing, general mountaineering and telemark sking due to the same accident.

    Four years ago I had the chance to do some very low key open canoeing through work, accompanying groups of Additional Support Needs youngsters to the Outdoor Ed centre. I found that I could paddle open without causing my back to flare up. About the same time my dog was getting too old to run with the bikes anymore and we hit upon open boats as a way of continuing to camp in wild places togther.

    I attended the last Symposium in Scotland in 2003 without a canoe or any kit. I was already committed in my mind, but my experience at the Symposium just made it for me. It took me a couple of months to get my kit together, but in November my dog and I did our first trip, Loch Ard, and then the Garbh Guar river.

    I found that my old kayaking skills were useless (as they had been when I paddled back in the 80's!), but being comfortable in moving water and reading the river came back very quickly.

    I have now taken up rock climbing again, but at a much lower grade than before. It really is like having a second childhood and chance at living in the outdoors again. I sometimes wish I'd found open canoeing sooner, but then again, maybe it came at just the right time for me.

    The only cloud on the horizon are the state of my elbows, which are already curtailing what I can achieve paddle wise. That's why some days I am pushing myself on WW, and other days having a lazy float. I'm lucky in that I enjoy doing both.
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

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    I paddled kayaks as a child and loved it except for the numbness in my legs. So I thought that canoes would give me more legroom and solve the problem. However I didn't get the chance to try one out until I was in my 20's. It was an old Coleman that was laying around the windsurf school where I worked and as soon as I took it out I was hooked. As Alan Ramsay said, it just felt right. My girlfriend (now my wife) came out with me in it and we really enjoyed our trip.

    I searched the newspapers for a second hand canoe, trailing my wife and son all over the country. Open canoes are very hard to come by in Northern Ireland, so I spent a long time looking at some rubbish before I finally got my first one.

    My son was 8 when I bought the first one and has paddled with me for the past five years. He passed his "one star solo" last year while we were on a camping trip to Lough Erne and is loving the freedom of paddling on his own.
    So the next generation of paddlers is already on its way.


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    Falling in Loch Archray.......
    Wayland
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  11. #11

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    I typed a ling post and then lost it when I tried to submit it, so here's the quick version:-

    It seemed like a good activity to do with youg kids who are too small for long walks into the hills etc. We started off thinking about buying a cheap seconhand boat for short daytrip and family picnics etc. But after reading Bill Masons books, buying the Touring Guide and looking at this site (plus a few days on the water) we are hooked. We are planning longer more adventurous trips and might even have to buy another boat (for the kids of course).

  12. #12

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    Just curious...

    Do folks in the UK build their own boats in strip construction like the one I posted in the link above? It's a pretty common practice where I live as you see quite a number of home builts on the water. Probably not that many on a per capita for the number of canoes in total but I'd expect there are probably a lot more canoes in use here than on your side of the pond. A lot of paddlers here seem inclined to build their own after having owned a few commercial products. There's a huge satisfaction in paddling something you've built yourself.

  13. #13
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    There are at least two people on the forum making their own canoe. It is something I would just never have the time for but I will be making a paddle thanks to the great tutorial that was posted.

    This would, I assume, give the same sense of satisfaction and connection with your craft.

  14. #14

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    There are several 'stich and glue' ply kits and plans on the market, some better than others, mostly based around Peterboro and Prospector designs.

    Cedar strip is'nt that cheap over here, neither is epoxy, but given time and space a really nice job comparable with most commercial royalex offerings can be produced. tougher than might be imagined too, and much lighter.

    You dont need specialist woodworking tools or skills either, especially with stich and glue.

    Buying completed cedar strip canoes is also possible, but at a price

    probably have a go at the peterboro as my next project: http://www.littlecraft.com/kits.htm
    Obscured by Clouds

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    Default What sparked your interest in Open Canoes?

    Hi, here comes the potted history.

    I started paddling kayaks at school, very quickly developing the skills for slalom in K1, I still did a bit of touring but lots of comp's. Never touched an open boat, but paddled a C2 WWR for a while. I got talked into my first Canadian river trip in 83 the year after the first classic run down the Fraser. Awesome volume and size, waterfalls galore, 20-30' feet, what a playground.
    I went to see Dave Patrick of P&H in the same year after a very serious (kayak) accident and got rid of all my accumulated river gear and bought a sea kayak, got seriously into paddling on the sea and did some of the big open crossings and circumnavigations in the UK and abroad.
    Being a late starter, I went to Uni in the early 90's and started using opens a bit for the first time, it was similar in a way to sea paddling. This linked into the mountaineering exploits as others have mentioned in this thread and was a very positive experience.
    Kayaks went out of the window with most group in centres and canoes were in, so there was the excuse to go and learn a bit more about what they could really do. Well you just have to push the boundaries a bit and kayaking most rivers was second nature, so they had to be done in a canoe.
    I have been climbing in some very nice places, I have been lucky to be able to see the world, but I still keep coming back to boats particularly the open canoe.
    I can paddle leisurely with the family or paddle grade 3+ in the same boat (not ideal), what fun and versatility. I have made many new friends whilst paddling, long may it stay that way.

    To you all, paddle strong, paddle fair, paddle far.

    Paul.
    Last edited by Paul Booker; 15th-March-2006 at 01:56 PM.

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    Default What sparked your interest in Open Canoes?

    Hi Rolf,

    Yes there are people making their own boats here but it is minimal, there is no tradition with boats like the cedar strip canoe. The ones that are out there are absolutely gorgeous in workmanship and looks.
    Our waters are very different to yours in Canada/N America. Ours are smaller in terms of volume/cumecs. None are really very long, and worst of all there is a lack of access in 3/4 of the UK.
    When you Rolf, plan to take a specific boat for a trip, its always a compromise. For us its a huge compromise, we do not have the size of river for a 17/18' boat. We need a 14/15' boat to start off the trip and then move onto a 16' later and then a seventeen footer when we are nearly at the sea. Rarely can we get 5km of nice steady grade 2/3, most of the rivers in England/Wales only have access on section that are that long. The Scots have the access as do you in canada, you have black flies and the Scots have midges. In England we don't have access, and we dont have many mdges or blackflies.
    see its all fair .

    Paul.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Redondo
    There are several 'stich and glue' ply kits and plans on the market, some better than others, mostly based around Peterboro and Prospector designs.

    Cedar strip is'nt that cheap over here, neither is epoxy, but given time and space a really nice job comparable with most commercial royalex offerings can be produced. tougher than might be imagined too, and much lighter.
    Thanks for that.

    I feel spoiled over here with such ready access to building supplies.

    I made a couple of white water playboats using strip construction. Knowing that they might not survive (though both did) I opted to scrounge for materials. The strips for the canoes came from old fence posts and picnic tables. Total cost was about $300 CDN for each project.





    Here's a canoe that attracted the attention of a lovely gal who eventually became my wife. This is how we arrived at our wedding reception.
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 15th-March-2006 at 02:07 PM. Reason: to Make pictures visible

  18. #18
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    Rolf not sure if you realized it is possible but I have edited your post to put the pictures in image tags so that the pictures show in the post.

    Edit, forgot to mention if I had seen you with that canoe I would have married you

  19. #19
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    Default What got me interested in canoes.

    Hi all,
    Here goes paddled kayaks in my teens ( and that wasn't yesterday ).
    Then a fellow SoTP member Allan who is our regular hill buddy bought a canoe.
    As other SoTP members I'm an outdoor enthusiast.
    The three of us used to paddle in Allan's Discovery Scout until we had a capsize .
    This saw us booking some instruction from Dave Rossetter ( Fellow SoTP member) on Loch Lubnaig. Following Dave's expert advice about paddling solo we then decided two canoes were better than one, So I bought our Old Town Camper.
    I like the versatility of the canoe and no matter what fitness you have most of us seem to adapt well. OH! and unlike up the hills I can always see where Alan is (usually way ahead when up the hills)
    With John setting up the forum this has added greatly to all canoe related knowledge also including the social aspect of canoeing trips.

    Yours MM.
    Last edited by Mutineering Maggie; 15th-March-2006 at 03:45 PM.
    Maggie.

    ''One is always wiser after the event''

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    I started at about the age of 9 helping () Dad build a canvas over wood frame open kayak, At the time we lived in Essex and paddled the estuarys and canals,
    Aged 12 I returned to Ireland, we still had the the open kayak, but now my sisters and I all wanted out on the water so Dad borrowed a mold and we made some fiberglass boats. I keep playing with kayaks until I reached the level of TI (trainee instructor). With this I got a job as an instructor at PGL, this was my first real introducton to open boats, I enjoyed splashing up and down the wye.

    From that time I always wanted an open of my own, about 5 years ago I got the chance, I'd made friends with my local dealer, and he had a 17' I could have cheap. ( maybe because no one else wold buy it) This lasted a couple of years then changed to my Majorette, which has served me well, but is going this saturday I'll be boat less (but not for long)

    I now don't see my life without an open boat in it ( is there a smiley for vomit?)
    JD
    He knows not where he's going, For the ocean will decide, It's not the destination, It's the glory of the ride

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly
    There are at least two people on the forum making their own canoe. It is something I would just never have the time for but I will be making a paddle thanks to the great tutorial that was posted.

    This would, I assume, give the same sense of satisfaction and connection with your craft.
    I'd say similar but not the same , hard to beat that sense of connection you get after building a canoe. Not all builders find the experience completely blissful though. One of the local chaps around here didn't give enough thought to how he would get his finished canoe out of the basement shop he built it in. While it was no problem getting the raw materials down, it required a bit of home remodelling to get it out.

    I poked around and found that tutorial on paddle making - it's very well done. I had a few tidbits of info from my experience that I've added to the thread. Hope they're of some use.

  22. #22
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    Default Interest in Canoeing

    The very first time I encountered open canoes was at Castle Semple Loch in Lochwinnoch about 12 or 13 years ago . (Iíd worked at the boat hire there when I was at college then got a job as a Ranger). As I was sending people out in all sorts of different craft I thought I ought to have a go at all of them. This was not easy for me as I have always been uncomfortable around water . But as I was often the one picking people up when they got into trouble I decided to put my reservations to the side.

    Sailing was OK but really not for me I just never felt in control. Windsurfing was a non starter I tried it once and that was enough, (even though I used to run beginners through the basics on dry land before they started). Kayaking was about the best, I did my 1* and 2* training, except that I refused to do the capsize and therefore failed on both counts miserably .
    Then one day a group of ĎCanadianí canoes arrived , thanks to Andy and Len, who failed to inspire me into a love of kayaks. These had been bought in mainly to allow special needs groups and people with mobility problems access to another form of watersport, They were shiny red, Old town boats I canít remember which type but here as far as I was concerned was the perfect water vessel , just you and the boat, no ropes or rudders to get in the way. Sometimes after work I would pick up a paddle and headed out onto the water to have a play around, I was content at that point, just to have a shot now and then .
    I spent a bit of time travelling in New Zealand and went Sea Kayaking for a couple of weeks which was fantastic the sense of freedom and exploration without having to lug all your gear up mountains and through bogs.

    After we had kids ( and no money) sea kayaking didnít really fit the bill but we started talking more about the possibilities of open canoeing . The children got in to camping from a very early age and weíve always been into hillwalking and the outdoors. You have to walk slowly with young children though. After months of research, pouring over books and hiring canoes we decided that it was right for us. Canoeing fitted the bill perfectly. Now we are definitely hooked, so much scope in one small craft .
    'There is no wealth but life itself.'

  23. #23
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    Default What got me interested in Canoes?

    In my youth I was out on water quite a bit - canal and river cruises, kayaking, sailing etc. Always found it relaxing and interesting being on or near water. With the family and work there was not much opportunity or time. I was lucky to spend time by the river at Oxford and the sea in Cornwall for a number of years before moving to Hampshire.

    It was really when the pressure of work got the better of me a few years back I started looking for ways to relax and escape, and the lure of the water drew me back. I had a go at kayaking again, but I have a bad back so they are not that comfortable for long. Almost straight away I saw an open boat being paddled. It looked so relaxing, and there is room for luxuries. I tried it and was instantly hooked. That Ray Mears didn't help either showing traditional boats in the Canadian wilderness.

    My dream is to paddle a canoe on still water by bright moonlight somewhere remote and stunning. Mad but its the dream that keeps me sane in face of the pressures of everyday life.
    Brevan,
    The truth (about Rights of Navigation) is out there
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brevan
    My dream is to paddle a canoe on still water by bright moonlight somewhere remote and stunning. Mad but its the dream that keeps me sane in face of the pressures of everyday life.
    Nothing mad about that, do it if you get the chance.

    One of the most spectacular evening paddles I can remember happend in a remote park here in Ontario. It is a mountainous region with the glacier polished stubs of pink and white quartz mountains towering over crystal clear lakes. My wife and I were the only people camped on one of those lakes one October weekend. The evening became absolutely wind-less and the water was mirror perfect. A bit past dusk, a full moon poped over the horizon and it just seemed too perfect not to head out for a paddle. It was disconcerting at first because the reflected stars in the water gave the sense of floating in space. The most erie aspect of the evening outing though was when we'd paddle over some of the submerged rocks that came up near the surface. The light from the moon overhead made them appear like ghostly apparitions, quite spooky. That was more than 25 years ago and I can recall every detail of the paddle as though it was only yesterday.

  25. #25
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    Brevan,

    I have to agree with Rolf, far from a "mad dream" I'd say a serious recommendation.
    JD
    He knows not where he's going, For the ocean will decide, It's not the destination, It's the glory of the ride

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemec
    Brevan,

    I have to agree with Rolf, far from a "mad dream" I'd say a serious recommendation.
    One I intend to grab every opportunity to experience! When I do I'll let you know how it measures up to the descriptions.

    Brevan
    Brevan,
    The truth (about Rights of Navigation) is out there
    Romsey, Hampshire
    Twitter: BrevanM
    Follow my blog at http://riveraccessrights.blogspot.com/

  27. #27

    Default What sparked your interest in Open Canoes?

    I grew up on the coast so have a natural love for the water whether it's swimmimg, or surfing. I spent my later years climbing, hiking and doing a lot of outdoor activities which were encouraged by the Armed Forces but after a knee injury I could no longer keep up the pace . A couple of operations later I decided to I hang up my boots. Yarrow and I moved back to Cambridge in 1992 and we used to go down to the Cam every weekend and walk along the river banks. When we could afford to pay for a punt we would take the opportunity and have a picknik as well. I suppose this was beginning. I try to keep the hiking in but have to keep it to a minimum. So, we thought what better way to transport ourselves and gear than by canoe .

  28. #28
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    Default Early days

    Used to do long multi day kayak trips when I was 15/16 mostly on canals - crossing the Penines, being blown by gales in Llangollen etc. Started in open boats for work 20 years ago - a home built totally unstable wooden craft, fell out several times. Then we got some early Pyrahnas & the miles have increased. Just love being out canoe, bike, foot, ski, blokart, whatever.

    Alastair
    Last edited by Alastair Seagroatt; 21st-March-2006 at 09:07 PM.

  29. #29
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    Growing up on an island(Arran) meant lots water and a fair few boats. The school ran canoe classes at the time and a pal of my dad's lent out his pair of wee stubby kayaks sometimes to potter about in the bay when we didn't have a boat to go make mischief on.
    A dingy with motor was the usual form of transport, an alloy-hull the preferred. Used to hear of folk going round the island in their canoes but the stories always involved lodgings. I was more into camping and didn't have a canoe anyway.

    Years later walking out from a camp. Out of shape and when I caught up commented "Love this place, but I'm not coming back until there's a boat involved".
    "Giggle, giggle" - bloody fit folk.

    Another ten steps and I've caught up. The wind cooled me off as I drank and admired the view.
    Stoppered the bottle and we set off again into the heather.
    "Seriously, if I have to go out and buy one myself. You won't see me here until again we're coming in off the water".

    By the top of the hill even fit folk were seeing reason.
    We'll hire a Dory.....
    We'll patch up the dingy....(there's one handy with an outboard but it's a long-harrased hazard that no-one really trusts)
    We'll bring over a wee clinker......(and keep it where?)
    We'll steal whatever takes our fancy from the port....(and scuttle it later!)
    We'll get a canoe and charge along the coast.....(and keep it where?)
    We'll hustle a work-mate into dropping us in and lifting us out on his wee cabin cruiser.....(this still sounds not bad)

    Ideas bounced about and some had hope but seeing inflatable canoes on ebay later the only question was how many?

    First trip we just got used to things and realised their potential. Fair breeze and we were too light.
    Next trip we loaded up big-time with everything we could grab and others walked in easily carring only abandoned t-shirts, no weather, glorious!
    Seen a bit of weather the next time but nothing to phase us out.

    Only experiance of an open canoe was a joyride in Sandbender's boat(the one at the top of the page) where I had to borrow a pfd, launched skateboard-stlye off a rougher than expected shore(damn!), set off across the loch like a native extra in a dodgy Tarzan movie, couldn't work out how to turn into the wind then eventualy made it back to base only to have Bumblebee patiently explain the J-stroke from the shore air guitar stle. Tried it for a while and no doubt it's a very natural and efficient way of traveling but I missed the urgency of two blades and a low slung seat.

    Came out of the experience feeling a bit funny about open canoes. At Achray the boats had no load and no bouyancy. Discovering sea for the first time just a week later I was left thinking that sitting on a bag of air maybe wasn't such a bad idea and that under my command that lovely canoe I'd tried the week before would have become a sunken handful.
    As it was, the wee inflatables bent their way through the gale happily.
    Lurking about here seeing folk sailing along coasts and leaping off wiers has changed my opinion though. Open canoes can obviously take a bit more punishment than I thought with a bit of preparation and practice. There are other folk out on sea lochs, two-blade paddles seem like acceptable behavior and sails sound fun......

    Brevan - Hate to wind you up even more but at Achray I sneaked off and went for a quarter hour paddle. Moon low on the horizon, a few inch deep loch mist over a near-mirror surface and smoke from the fire lazily drifting off in a environmently contained band about 7-10ft above the water.
    If I'd thought to lift gloves I'd have stayed longer. Was one of the most serene places I've ever been, the only sound was far-off laughter which only heightened the experience.

    Josh
    Picture yourself in a boat on a river,

  30. #30
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    I kayaked a reasonable amount as a scout. I remember my first try, in Craster Harbour in Northumberland. Being a big wuss I was terrified I'd fall in/out and drown. I didn't but I did enjoy it. The next day I was paddling in the open sea.
    I entered a kayak race (lost, comprehensively). Did some more on rivers.

    No more kayaking for well over ten years.

    A few years ago my wife and I went on a kayak 'taster day' in the Brecon Beacons, the first time paddling for my wife. We enjoyed it but just felt knackered and achy by the end of it. We saw some open canoes and thought that looked more our style.

    So, last year we went open canoeing with the same outdoors sports school on the Brecon and Monmouth canal. We had a fantastic time, enjoyed every stroke, and it wasn't tiring.

    We hired another canoe in the broads a few months ago and again had a fantastic time.

    Our first canoe is being picked up in 12 days time. Am I excited? I can barely sleep!


    Jay

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    I have never been interested in anything to do with water most of my life, I only took the kids in boats under protest when away on family holidays. Most of my leisure time was spent hillwalking and camping. More recently my knees kept me off the more difficult routes, now mostly resigned to low levels and much shorter distances.
    A few years ago we were in Georgia (USA) on holiday and took out a motor boat into the Okefenoke swamp and met some canoeists on a 3 day trip, they could get to the parts where motors can't. The next day saw us paddling quietly along backwaters just wide enough for the canoe .........we saw more wildlife in one day than ever before. Since then we have always made a point of renting canoes for day trips when on holiday. This year we bought our own canoe and are in the process of learning to paddle it. We love it.

  32. #32
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    May 2007
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    South Lakes
    Posts
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    Default

    My brother introduced me to kayaking as well as climbing. Only did the occasional bit of both until I moved to the Lakes. By that time, he had little time for kayaking and found it eazier to fell run after work. So I've had an extended loan of his 'Dancer' for some years now. And also have a creeking boat.

    We both still climb when we can. And very occasionally he paddles too.
    I bought a canoe after seeing how much fun was to be had with 'Lakeland Pete' and his canoe, (apx 3x weeks after he bought his). Also part bought mine, so three of us could get to & from pub. (My nearest is 1km across water) Recently aquired a second more solo friendly canoe.

    Ongoing problems with knees, looks like I'll be doing more canoeing than kayaking in future.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    South Wales
    Posts
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    Default

    I first done canoeing 26yrs ago whilst on a team building course when I done my apprenticeship and loved it then but never got around to continue it until myself and my mate with our wifes were up at Symonds Yat and seen all the canoeists and got talking about doing it all over again , the wifes thought we were mad and told us to join a canoe club ,but being blokes we both thought we new better and went out and purchased a kayak each and went back up to Symonds Yat to use it and nearly killed ourselves as the hull shapes of the kayaks were totally alien to what we could remember , so we both decided to get shot of the kayaks and get canoes instead so at the moment we're both trying to find that canoe that works for us both rather than going out and doing the same as we did when we got the kayaks .



    Sion

  34. #34

    Default I don't like the water...

    ...I figured the canoe would keep me from getting wet.

    Actually my photography has led me to the canoe. I don't have very much experience, in my 51 years, with canoing but I needed a new hobby and this seemed like just the one for me.

    At first I really hesitated because I thought I would get a canoe and then not use it. Little did I know about the paddling addiction. I've only had it for about 6 weeks and I've used it more than a dozen times.

    I also got interested because of a book (a Falcon Guide) that was newly written about where to paddle on Prince Edward Island. We have so many rivers, streams, ponds, small lakes, estuaries, and not to mention the surrounding ocean, (which I won't be going near), and it'd nice to know where the launching areas are and how to get to them.

    Shirley

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Hunter Lake, Minnesota, USA
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    Default First Interest in Canoes

    Transport and exploration, I guess.

    When I was young we lived in Angwassig in the winter and on Lake Vermilion in the summer (my father's different jobs). The Angwassig River ran past our house and to get up-river - you needed to paddle. Our first canoe was made of two boards for the sides, and old tongue and groove maple flooring for the "floor." It handled like a tank, and there wasn't much freeboard, but it would go, even with the three and 1/2 inch wide paddles we'd made.

    At Vermillion we were allowed to use the old Seliga and Oldtown wood canvas canoes. The aluminum canoes were reserved for the paying customers.

    The canoe was my means of transport when I was young. It was the way to discover all those inviting islands, coves, and bays - and all those winding overhung waterways on the Angwassig. When I was very young my brother and I would paddle down to the burial grounds of the Boys Forte band and cook our lunch on the gravel beach - too scared to go in among the sumac and look at the spirit houses.

    When I was 12 my brother and I were allowed to go out overnight without an adult and we'd paddle across Wake-Em-Up Bay to "Rock" island and camp for the night. We'd paddle into Black Bay and Norwegian Bay and camp on great rock face islands. We'd paddle north (downstream) on the Vermilion River to Upper Pawness. We'd paddle through oak narrows and up above Pine Island (nine miles long) and into Trout Lake and Little Trout Lake - one of the most beautiful spots on earth. I still can't believe my brother and I carried that great hulking canoe across the portages at that age.
    The perfect canoe -
    Like a leaf on the water

  36. #36
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    May 2006
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    Eastern Canada
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    About 1978 I went on my first camping trip on Washademoak lake where my uncle Duncan was building a house. The winter ice had destroyed the bridge and the only way to get around was by boat. Duncan had a Chestnut Freighter which I hated. I was always afraid of water growing up on a farm working more than swimming. Camping was the main attraction for me not canoes. By the time I was ten I was camping out often and mother pretty well wrote off any hopes of me being a successful doctor when she found me in the back yard cooking steaks on a stick over a fire. In my teen years I would disappear into the woods for days and later horses were the way to travel and see the land if not on foot. In spite of that fear of water I was called back to it time and time again as my grandmother would take me canoeing or pedal boating in the summers of the early 80's. Being the oldest grandchild I was sort of special and got a lot of her attention before her death. After college I was working a nasty job and needed some stress relief and my friend Tim got me back into canoes. I quickly discovered this was a great way to expand my camping circles. It was years later before I discovered the Bill Mason books but he made me think that there is no point in living for the 48 hours at the end of the week and a few crappy years at the end of life called retirement. So after thinking about it over winter I started quitting my jobs come spring time or getting sacked and canoeing full time in the summer. My world changed to allow me to live at least half of my life instead of two days a week and two weeks a year plus five or so years in a nursing home. My retirement strategy changed too however and if I die in the winter it will be at work and if it is in the summer it will likely be in a canoe.
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


  37. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Bury st edmunds Suffolk
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    55

    Default

    for me open canoeing was buy complete chance. it was a few weeks after i passed m 2 star Kayak and had to sign up for another course for the next six weeks was ready for 3 star had to be at the river with my two boys anyway so thought i would have a go at open canoes as i had never even sat in one let alone paddled one, so signed up for 1 star open. since then two years ago now i have never been back in a kayak and probably never will i am considering selling my two kayaks and equipment.
    MARK (suffolk_mac)

  38. #38
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    Aug 2006
    Location
    Lincolnshire
    Posts
    538

    Default

    I've always been a backpacker and climber and we spent years enjoying this, but whenever i saw a canoe, i'd always sort of hang my nose over it and say wistfully.. "i want one of those one day.."

    Anyway, time passed and we had a little boy, so that meant a cease of all things backpacking, at least for a while so we sort of came round to getting a canoe for us all to enjoy as a family, rather than me going off doing my own thing - absolutley ideal family adventure!

    I really wished we'd have done it years ago, as someone has already said, it just feels "right".. I can honestly say, i've not been as taken by anything in my life..

  39. #39
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    Jan 2008
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    Braintree, Essex
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    Default

    for me it was the anglia tv series Secret Rivers. I know there has been a lot of talk on here about it, infact it was that google link that brought me here
    SF Peterborough 14'
    weighs 7 Stone! 44.5kg
    Bell Yellowstone (so light)

  40. #40

    Default

    TV drama series about Canadian fur trappers & voyageurs that was on about 30 years ago! Can't remember much about it apart from featuring canoeing & living outdoors in the forests of Ontario & Quebec.

  41. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Newcastle under Lyme
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    Default

    I had spent more than a life time in the mountains until a boating accident caused me serious injury. No more mountains or even hills.

    The team of voluntary youth workers I spent a lot of time with convinced me to try kayaking as an alternative too... After a pool session and realising that I could get out of the boat if I went upside down I started...........

    4 years later the legs & hips were not performing well enough to control a canoe effectively so the canoe was to continuation option.

    Open boaters are great people to be around as nobody has anything to prove, unlike the kk crew

    It's great to be outdoors
    Sean
    AKA Jammy
    [/U][/SIZE][/COLOR][/I][/COLOR][/FONT]

  42. #42
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    Nov 2007
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    Flensburg, North Germany
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    Default

    Never really wanted a canoe untill I saw some canoeists on on Loch Creran it was like a Millpond that day,I was fishing early morning the soft mist was rising off the water then silently and effortless three open canoes appeared,I was so envious they looked so content and I decided that was for me
    I then came accross S.O.T.P and a self build blog by Bluetack there was no turning back after that.
    Rain is only beer thats still to be made

  43. #43
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    Mar 2008
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    Luxembourg
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    Default

    There is a theme developing here! Boating follows climbing injury.

    My Dad 'acquired' two kayaks in the early seventies, I used to carry one down to the Canal at the end of the street and paddle around. Some trips down the severn

    Later on I did an outward bounds course and DofE in North Wales; the climbing and Mountaineering took over. A serious accident and series of operations has curtailed my climbing and walking. After a brief return to yachting, finaces caused me return to kayaking in a folding boat. As a keen fisherman I found that the kayak could get me to great fishing spots, but was not very convenient for fishing, I spent most of last summer paddling the Pouch, sitting on a board balanced on the gunwales, with a single paddle. My Nan died and left me a little money that I noticed was disappearing into the electricity bills. So I used it to buy our boat and named it after her; Lil'Nell
    I'm looking forward to more adventures with my son; we both love the total freedom of being out and about on the water, camping, fires, fishing etc.
    Bacon sarnie anyone ?

  44. #44
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Chesterfield Derbyshire
    Posts
    558

    Default Fishing!

    Last back end an old fishing pal of mine announced that an ambition of his was to build a canoe and paddle up the small river we have fished since time began and then fish back down it. The only problem was the child (Katie) his partner had produced, and a new job, would take up all his time. Having built a plywood punt many moons ago I quite fancied the idea. I always like to have some project to escape to in the shed when life and people get too much!
    So that's it really, I've yet to turn a paddle in anger but am certainly looking forward to it in the next few weeks. I'll get the blog posted as soon as I can drag myself away from the build!

    Peter.
    Older, but no wiser!

  45. #45
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Keynsham near Bristol
    Posts
    3,750

    Default

    I've never been a particularly outdoorsey person but I have enjoyed a bit of hiking and camping with my family. In particular as each of my sons has approached his teenage years I have taken them on a weekend trip to mark their passage from childhood. With my youngest son we were walking the Thames Path.

    As we approached the end of the first day with the weight of the pack taking its toll and legs starting to ache, I saw a dad and his kids "float" by in an open canoe, heard "the song" and thought "Yes! - That is a better way!"

    My son jokes that the weekend designed to mark his passage from child to teenager actually marked my passage from middle to old age.

    More accurately it marked the start of my second childhood. I've never had so much fun!
    Keith

  46. #46

    Default

    My then girlfriend now wife.

    She'd done some canoeing and wanted a boat. I suggested building one. The rest, as they say, is the longest most drawn out build of a SF prospector ever (moved house twice before it was finished )

  47. #47

    Default

    I suppose, really I was dragged into it, although I had always had an inkling having read a book called Caught in the Wild by R. Ames Bennet when I was younger. My wife was a scout leader and my son was one of her troop. They used to go to Camp Winderemere at Low Wray each year to enjoy some outdoor pursuits. From this, my son became keen on kking and, spending a week with them one year, I tried a kk. Absolutely hated it and vowed never to get into one of the dreadful things again. So, my wife and I tried an open - a Grumman in this case - and absolutely loved it, even though we couldn't go in a straight line! It wasn't long afterwards that we bought our first open.

  48. #48
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    Jan 2008
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    Dudley area
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    My dad took myself and one of my sisters paddling when we were kids, (mainly in Malta as he was based there at the time) but because of some slight physical weakness I thought that meant I was rubbish because I didnít have the strength to go fast. Sadly I gave up paddling for 30 years.

    3 years ago, I was invited to go kayaking for a few sessionsÖand due to some very patient and supportive coaches and friends at Birmingham canoe club, I was soon desperate to spend every non working moment in a kayak. Then I had the opportunity to have a go in an open boat and instantly loved that too. Iím hoping to get my own open boat soon as we have some great canals close by.

    I still paddle slowly but I donít care anymore. Iíve met so many amazing people and had a fantastic time having a go at everything from surfing to bellboats. Due to paddling Iíve started enjoying camping again and started learning about the environment. Iím still very quiet and shy at times but paddling has really helped my personal confidence.
    The woods would be silent if no bird sang except those that sing best.

  49. #49
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Honselersdijk, Netherlands
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    Default

    As a child I loved being in and on water and we paddled a lot in the most bizarre and strange contraptions we often made or self because it was what we could afford. Later I lost my heart to sailing and have owned several sailing craft and kind off lost my interest in all other water sports thou I still sometimes paddled a river (in kayaks).

    That was until I got older and pretty fat too, I was looking for some form off sport that I enjoyed enough to actually keep it up for a bit. It seemed logical to combine my love for water and sport so I took up kayaking, every bit off it from sea to the mountains and the bug really did bite me.

    Just last year, I had a problem with my right elbow that prevented me from kayaking but I could canoe well, be it only on the left side. So I paddled around in the Grummans and Colemans from or club and that bug did just bite me as well. I liked the relaxed nature off the opens en loved the total lack off any competitive spirit.

    Never have given up kayaking and now use the right boat for the proper cause, for simple paddling I do now prefer my own nice open canoe the best but I love the sea (and live very close) so I will love my seayak too as long as I can handle that. I’m not that certain about the WW-paddling, it always seems so much trouble for just a little paddle and we always have to drive so far until we find any real WW.

  50. #50
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bracknell, Berkshire.
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    Default

    When I was a kid, I had access to lots of water, gravel pits, river Kennet and Kennet and Avon canal. I spent most of my time around water.
    When I was 12, I joined the sea cadets, I was then introduced to rowing, sailing and canoeing.
    When I was in my teens, I bought an inflatable dinghy and rowed this around for a couple of years. It got punctured one day and I never repaired it.
    I did not return to the water until the early nineties, because I was too busy working and bringing up my own children.
    In 1993 I bought a 14 foot powered day boat and ran this up and down the Thames for a few years. I got bored with the boat as I was not active enough and it took too much preparation to get on the water.
    In 1996 I bought a Kiwi 2 semi open kayak, I really wanted a Canadian, but my wife is not as strong a swimmer as me, or as confident in the water, this kayak was extremely stable, so I paddled this for the past 11 years, this gave my wife the confidence she needed, hence, this past February, I got my first Canadian, and I think this is the ideal boat.

    Richard.
    You don't stop playing because you are old, you get old because you stop playing.

  51. #51
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Nr Watton, Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    81

    Default It made sense!

    Starting as a dinghy and big boat sailor, RYA instructor and Powerboat instructor, I wanted to keep sailing when we gave up camping (struggling to get up off the floor in the mornings!!) and bought a caravan.
    I looked around for a car toppable sailing vessel that I could load/unload on my own and discovered sailing canoes. The Open Canoe Sailing Group (www.ocsg.org.uk) were an absolute mine of information and, as a result, I built a Waterman 16 and added the bits I needed to make it sail. I then bought a Solway Dory Sunart sailing canoe and was happy with my world.

    Then...with the waterman stripped of its sailing kit, my wife and I decided it would be a good idea to try paddling but we had zero knowledge of how and where; enter SoTP which I found by accident during some browsing. From here I found Jas (SoTP member) who gave me a crash course in basic paddling and guidance on where to head for.

    Wife and I have now had some lovely peaceful paddles on the Broads, either very early in the morning (I had to explain to wife that 4 o'clock comes round twice every day!!) or during the winter when the stink boats are not about. The avatar is a pic from one of our first trips out together. We dont go far and we certainly dont go fast, but we have a great time; take the stove and kettle, stop for a brew, watch the world go by, and take the opportunity to recharge our batteries ready for the week ahead.

    The waterman has now started to rot away and we are looking for a plastic paddling boat to keep us out there.

    The depth and breadth of care, support, help and guidance from this site has been fundamental in ensuring our enjoyment of being out on the water ~ thank you!

    Andy & Christine

    PS, still got some blue barrels to raise money for charity if anyone needs some.

  52. #52

    Default

    I just like big things, the bigger the better!
    Why have a kayak when you can be more fulfilled with a canoe

  53. #53
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Leis/Warks border UK
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    8

    Default

    Coaching!

    I paddled kayaks. went on a coaching course run by Colin Broadway of "Mobile Adventure" fame.

    I found canoes more comfortable, (and found open cockpit kayaks too!)

    Now i'm begining to seize up, and canoes are much more practical for me.

    I still coach all sorts of boats and compete in marathon K1.

    The new coaching system is good because that's the way it's going, all sorts of different boats.

  54. #54
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Hunter Lake, Minnesota, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    A post by Rolf in his into made me start wondering how you all got interested in canoeing.
    Guess I'd already responded to this. You know what they say goes first. I have done the math on this though, and our first overnight trip was age ten, because that was the last year we were at Vermilion.
    Last edited by pierre girard; 21st-June-2008 at 02:47 PM.
    The perfect canoe -
    Like a leaf on the water

  55. #55
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    May 2007
    Location
    South Lakes
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pierre girard View Post
    ..At age 10, I was allowed for the first time, to take the canoe on an over-night camping trip. Also with me, was my brother, age eight, my friend (in another canoe) age nine, and his sister, age eight. As our canoes were 17 foot touring canoes, I wonder at this today.

    We didn't go too far, two or three miles, and camped on a rock island.

    My parents showed up at our camping site after dark, to make sure we were okay, then left again. We returned the next day.
    Now that's what I call a really good childhood.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  56. #56
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sault Ste. Marie, MI, USA
    Posts
    137

    Default

    Dad!

    Dad bought a used livery canoe. I climbed in, and things progressed from there.

    Pringles

  57. #57
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sheffield
    Posts
    304

    Default When i wer a lad

    I suppose for me it stems from playing around as a kid on our local river, the Don in Sheffield.

    A motley bunch of urchins knocking up rafts out of old forklift pallets stuffed with old repaired inertubes.

    We made one out of six pallets once (big enough for eight of us) and got up bright and early for the off.

    The river was up, and with a pulley system that would have brought respect from an egyption pyramid builder, we got it onto the water and set off.

    One of our crew was late arriving and did an amazing leap from the bank onto the raft.

    It ended with the raft passing under a low overhanging branch and us left hanging from the tree like a bunch of fruit bats, one guy hanging onto anothers trousers as they slipped down....we were all laughing so hard we fell of one by one.

    I think I got into canoeing so I could still mess about on the water as an adult
    Thinking of ways to get the sack, so I can Canoe more often.

  58. #58

    Default

    I've had an irresistable urge to be out on the river every summer for years now, the water draws me. I used to windsurf on lakes when I was a kid but after I outgrew my rig I couldn't afford to replace it so into the garden went the board. It's still there actually, though you can barely see it for the weeds.
    As much as I yearned to get back into windsurfing (and still do) I also wanted a craft that enabled me to travel. In recent years owning a boat has become more of a possibility, but I always thought of motor cruisers before anything else. This year I even started bidding on them on ebay, came very close to winning a 4 berth motor cruiser on the Medway, and a few others before I began to have my doubts about insurance, mooring fees, fuel costs, licencing, safety certificates etc. and for much the same reasons that stopped me buying a car and spending the money on a bicycle instead, I decided that padlle power was the way to go. Cheaper, healthier, much more versatile, and I should imagine a lot more fun.
    That said, I still don't own one! The wenonah Aurora I had in mind is on hold, in place of which a self build is very much on the cards...

  59. #59

    Default

    My first memory of thinking about canoeing is going with my grandad to pick up my gran from work, she was the matron at Ackworth School I do'nt think I was very old, but they had a canoe club and built their own kayaks which just seemed totally amazing to me then.

    Scouts introduced me to Kyaking on the Fossway in lincoln, and off Mablethorpe beach, and then DofE and the Schools Hebradiean Society kind of reenforced the whole thing. I wandered away from water though and spent alot of years climbing and mountineering and some time mountain biking, but a rugby injury in Italy messed up one of my knees and that coupled with an Achillies injury sustained in the desert in 2002 have meant that I really need to reassess my capabilities.

    I cannot imagine not being able to get out into the ''proper'' world, I still get a high off being in places that alot of folk never go to because you cannot drive there or catch a bus, and I really value the unique peace and quiet that these places offer, (a somewhat romantic stance perhaps but there you go). So how to go about it? I think I'm a bit tall to happily get out of a kayak and back in quickly if needs be these days. It seemed like every time I put the telly on Mr Mears was either doing his canoe journey or building a Birch Bark canoe, I sat down to watch a western and there was Jimmy Stewart, paddling!!!.

    Perhaps I thought there is a message here and this is the way forward?...and then I found this place, lurked abit joined and after alot of looking, reading, asking etc I'm looking to buy my first open boat (hopefully by the end of the year).

  60. #60

    Default

    My wife, kids and I hired canoes on the Dordogne on two consecutive summers and loved it. However, didn't think any more of it until this summer when we were down on the shores of Ullswater early one morning and a couple of families unloaded theirs and paddled off. Within a week we had a second-hand Old Town Discovery 174, and as was said at the top of this thread, it just felt right!

    We have many adventures ahead!

    Simon.

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