The past 4 months...

February 5, 2017

It’s been a while since I last wrote for my blog, definitely procrastination at its best.  I have only launched the website and blog this week, after having it set up for over 6 months!  

 

I have had an interesting couple of months, from 4 Star’s, to getting the boat, to trips and expeditions.

 

4 Star Sea leader training into assessment 

That went fantastic (Sarcasm alert!!).  Actually the training went really well. I did the 5 day course with Sea kayaking Cornwall at their symposium and I learnt so much more than the 2 day training I did in Tollymore National Outdoor Centre over 4 years ago – I highly recommend 5 day BCU training courses, especially if you need a bit more time to process information.  I got excellent tips and coaching from Joe Leech and Howard Jeffs.  Joe shared some of his top knowledge on his trip around Ireland, probably the highlight of that week.  The assessment on the other hand didn’t go so well.   But, there was a lot of learning to be taken away. 

 

Emergency landings – Photo credit to Joe Leech

 

I was recovering from sciatica and was not on top form.  I let pressure make me fall to pieces and I let the trip around Ireland take the forefront of my mind, causing doubts and frustration.  I came away sceptical of my ability to do a trip around Ireland.  If I thought I was broken before, I was definitely broken now!  Nonetheless, every struggle and knock back makes you stronger.  It took a while but I’m back on form, realising I need to practice what I preach to young people most weeks at Outward Bound, and develop my Growth Mindset  (For more information on Outward Bound - http://www.outwardbound.org.uk/about-us/ )

 

The Boat – Séarlas!!!

Nigel Dennis at Sea kayaking UK, kindly has loaned me a boat for training and the trip.  I decided to name my boat Séarlas, Irish for Charles, meaning strong – One of us has to be.

What a difference a boat makes.  Up until October I had been using a work boat, a massive vessel and also quite old, but beggers cannot be choosers, and I am extremely grateful for their support.I It has definitely made me a lot more thankful for my fancy boat!

 

4 Star Canoe Leader

I finally went and did my 4 Star Canoe Assessment. I am now a leader.  That was a long journey of breaking canoes on rivers and getting frustrated with wind and flat water.  A LOT of hard work, but it paid off and now I can just enjoy canoeing with a better understanding of the massive tanks in the wind – Trim, trim, trim!  I just ask that we leave flat water paddling to work days haha!

 Canoeing with friends – Helen, Will and Laura on the Dinas – North Wales.

 

Paddling

So I’ve been out paddling quite a bit, lots of day trips in a variety of conditions in North Wales from the Llyn Peninsula to Skerries and Penrhyn Mawr.  Ive even had a wee trip home to Ireland!!!  The first expedition of the year was on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, with Dave Janes (The only person mental enough to expedition in Scottish Winter).  We had great challenging conditions with head winds, fog, swell and night crossings.  Bivying out and staying at a great bothy on the island, also seeing lots of cool wildlife, including some dolphins!!!– I have definitely been pushed the past few months and have a lot more hard work to put in but overall feeling positive!

Skerries – Some lovely Seal’s and their pups

Kerrion, Kim and John from Adventurous Experiences on the Isle man took me on an awesome trip to the Skerries, before Kim and John’s 5 Star sea assessment.  

 

A good few days at home paddling – Photo of Gobbin’s Co.Antrim.  Instructor Murphy doing his thing!

 

 Llyn Peninsula off Barnesy Island – Good times with good friends

 

Rhoscolyn coastline – calmest day ever until a massive wave smashed me into a cliff! Poor Séarlas – photo credit to Will Kilgore

 

 Penrhyn Mawr – North Wales off the Stacks Photo credit to Katie Smith.  

 

 Scotland – Skye, great expedition that reminds you how hard expeditioning is and also how much more training needs to happen, not only physically but also in my mind!!

Paddling into the fog with Dave – Crossing to Isle of Skye

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