Loch Tummel

I was put into contact with Dean Dunbar,  an awesome paddler, who stand up paddleboarded from Uist to St kilda, an awesome achievement, and after he told me that, I thought errrr, I m a bit rubbish at paddling…..

I m glad I had the chance to meet him, because even now I can remember ever place name on that loch – Picasso, tarzans house and the one on the right the marajauna mansion, what an epic way to name a Loch.

This was the 1st day of paddling with Kirsten, I had decided to go to Loch Tummel, the wind was westerly and I thought what an easy paddle, you know, Lochs are easy,  easier than the sea, I thought. Nope, they are not, they are a lot harder to predict and paddle.

This is the training base of Dean and I reckon if he goes up and down there a lot, he is a monster man of a paddler.

Any way here is my next video – dedicated the kind and lovely Dunbar’s – Rhona and Dean…

 

Scotland Trip

End of October I went to Scotland, to search out some ideas for my new business idea, wilderness camping and stand up paddle boarding.

Kirsten and I have done this for a few years, with stand up paddle boards, we enjoy the thought of journeying and wild camping. Scotland being the ideal place. Its accessible and there are places that are truly remote.

Last year we headed to the Moror pennisula, we had wanted to go to Airisaig, but the weather gods were not with us. So like every good plan it changed to suit the weather.

We managed to get perfect weather and winds to do a down wind at Loch Treig, walk to the hostel in Loch Ossian and down wind back up Loch Ossian the day after. We were truly luck with the conditions.

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On the way to Loch Ossian

Video of the Trip

The GPS route to Loch Ossian

 

After such a such a successful few days we went into to Glen Affric, and had wanted to down wind and wild camp on the Loch. However, the van gods were against us, and I had to be towed to Fort Augustus.  However, we did manage to get out stand up paddling on Loch Ness on some of the most pristine conditions that I have seen there….

 

So that was the premature end to the trip, the good thing is that Scotland will always be there, and I have the time to go back.

White Water SUP

During my paddle holiday to Scotland I was able to try white water SUP on the Spey and Findorn with the help of  aquaplay, it was superb…check out my video and give it a try… Owner Jim took me the steps as the river is a different animal…that doesn’t stop.. I also went out with an awesome group of ladies of ladies from moray sup group. They paddle great and wow those rapids!

The 2nd outing I joined Tony Bain; Graeme Gordon and Jim for an outing on the Findhorn I was definitely more nervous but wow what fun.

If you get the chance do whitewater SUP.

 

Mummy on tour

That’s it… I’ve done it…I m on my 2 week solo paddle pilgrimage to the paddle capital of the world.. Scotland….and not a car seat in sight.

The van…the gear…not a car seat in sight

That’s right Scotland…. with weather; beaches; rivers; wind; lochs; camping what’s not to love.. and here I am in November…why? Because there are no midges…my hatred for those wee black beasties is enough to make me endure a bit of weather.

The first few days were spent coming up the North East coast of scotland and eating and visiting #trout #loco. Mainly eating though.

Dunston sands was my 1st stop. A nice bay protected from the cross shore wind. I took my nelo out but ended up sup surfing the break…rather badly due to my fear of falling in and getting chilly…. but after realising that the water was not mercury…I got into it…. 

Blue on salmon pink

Next stop Belhaven. The plan was to get there at night and sup surf early doors… but my tyre blow and subsequent road closure put an end to that plan. Its ok I missed a peeling wave and jumping porpoises… not annoyed at all….

Ouch

Belle Bellhaven

Club sandwiches are the best

Early but not early enough

However, I did meet up with a group of fine local surfskiers from Dunbar; Lizzie Kemp the machine woman surfskier who gently shouted me onto some great sets; I was super stoked to be paddling along a strong women paddle; strong in every sense and I kinda like that in a woman.. I ll be seeing her more often as I try to paddle alongside her. Something I want to do…a decent goal.

The session was finished by some awesome cake and coffee…man I miss proper cake.

Then back at it…too bellhaven and a nice sunset SUP surf. Better than nothing… no porpoises at all…

Nice hat

nice hat only at loco

Next stop Downwinding on the clyde…..

Equality is more than a hashtag….

So the red bull heavy water caused a stinker… just basically twats in an office… men with self esteem issues….

In an ideal world we are equal. I feel equal… I really do… thanks to my parents and my husband…and my friends I grew up with…..I feel free to be who I am.. I think I m lucky and I ve been told this…I m lucky to have a husband who lets me be me….  an interesting statement….”lets”… 

I love waves..I m out alot..But frequently when I look around especially when i m sup surfing and the waves are good…i m the only women out… its disappointing….i ask my female friends why dont you sup surf…. always they say “i m too scared”…” i don’t like getting pounded by waves”… (neither do I)…   these fears; why do women have them and who put them there…Do  men have the same fears? maybe the women are scared but by learning in good waves tackles these fears; something I m totally up for doing with them…. so red bull were twats or whoever dod it… but here at my level… us women are too busy being scared…. an idea put in their head somewhere along the lines…. women are also less inclined than mento pick up new sports…why? This is totally bizarrre for me to understand… (maybe confidence; issues that start appearing in women as young as 10)

Combinr this fear with the fact i know where the women are…. they are at home looking after the kids; doing that last piece of laundry or emptying the dish washer…….

So its complex and fustrating….

How do I live up to my sporty label? I m not ashamed at getting a babysitter in as soon as msw shows up the 3 star buisness…  or to play hockey or just to go and have some party fun… I feel not weight of burden going away camping in the wilds of scotland child free… I don’t feel like I’m bad mother… instead I m setting an example to my kids…both boy and girl….

But i know alot of women who couldn’t contemplate it;just like i know alot of mothers would never go on a paddling holiday on her  own (my annual paddle journey)… for fear of being a bad mother…

This transcends to hockey… I know many women who stop because they cant leave their kids on a saturday morning…. they can’t face leaving their kids with a babysitter…so if him indoors is off out because he works all week so he needs “his” time; then boom no hockey…

Do the men feel the same angst? .. signs with hashtags are great … but this problem is cultural and begins at home with our sons and husbands… and its soooo deep…  where do I begin? Well I do all I can to show my mummy yummy friends that to have a life its ok….

Alot of mothers that I know alway tells me when coming into sport for the 1st time “I like to do something for my self” or “I really need to do something for myself”… this sentence is telling….

(I do know some Dads who do stay around at weekends so the Lady can go off…that is cool)

It may be a bias opinion I recognise that… but I m surrounded by mothers and I m “sporty” (thats my label 😉 )….

And by the way all paddle races aren’t as equal as you think. .. the PPG drone “ran” out of battery for the womens race…. would this be allowed to happen for the mens? I’ll leave that to you…

#equality #equalityinpaddling 

Surfski Happiness

I have been getting more and more into my surfski and less and less into long distance paddling….

The bay where I live is ideal for the surfski. I have been paddling a nelo 510, but have recebtly bought a nelo 520 – which fits like a glove….

Here are some videos of myself cruising in the bay…

 

Ile de groix

Next on the list of island discovery in bretagne was ile de groix…. situated just opposite Lorient….

I had the opportunity to paddle a nelo 520 from Port Louis in the morbihan to Ile de groix…..

Total distance was about 24km…. 

On the way there the wind made for a bit of work….

But on the way back aided by 2 beers I was able to catch a few runners….pretty nice day…

Iles des glenan

To continue our staycation we took a trip to iles des glenans. 

The paddle was fairly easy; we were able to paddle between the islands in the morning whilst everyone was taking their afternoon apero; we paddle to the sand bank and lay on there for a few hours.

The wind picked up on the way back making for a strenuous return. But it was worth it….and I would recommend it to any other paddlers…

The next time we will take the surfski and oc1!

The race that never happened

Last weekend my mate nadege and I went to Cornwall. My intention was to race in my 1st surfski race in the UK.  Since coming back from the USA it has been a struggle trying to get accepted into races especially in France; I have prove myself competent of the conditions; fustrating because numerous people explain to me its because the races are not flat water; I never even knew that surfski existed on flat water; I live on the sea; I paddle in waves; wind and swell; I couldn’t even tell you where a bit of flat water is…

So after convincing the organisers I was worthy, off we went….I was pretty exhausted after a week of hand,foot n mouth and with the Jim away at sea it has been full on….so the race was always a bit doubtful…

We arrived Friday night after a pleasant crossing despite the swell rolling in..I prepared myself for the race by eating a curry; drinking a few pints; cocktails and a vodka jelly…. the true athlete I am….

The day of the race in Looe the weather was crap. I wasn’t feeling it from the start.  
The race meeting emphasised the conditions; already I opted for the short course. I am definitely not into upwind paddling with a side on swell. 

The Race course

Driving to the start point I was 80% sure it was not for me. I was not feeling it. 20% of me just wanted to see how it was. I hired a surfski and that made more hesitant if I was in my own boat I’d be ok. 

I got to the start line and looked up and there were some heavy sets coming in and yup I called it a day.

Should I go?

Start line

I couldn’t careless about calling it a day for my pride, I was excited to be in the UK. But did surprise me was the levels of inexperience in the race. I thought I was a beginner, but no, there were people who had only been flat water surfskiing for 3 months….what on earth were they doing there….  and why were they not 2nd guessing their limits? 

Unfortunately when conditions are like that you get the speel from the men.  About being one with water. I work offshore; I m in the sea mostly every day, I live on the beach.  I m an acomplished swimmer; I m a divemaster, I sup surf; I do all that…but I do not posses the ability to breathe underwater; I m not a mermaid…so why would I say that….. maybe they haven’t done too many bosiet courses….the old skool way… This to me highlights a problem that I see frequently women questionning their limits; men believing they possess gills….

Once I boerowed a surf board off a dutch guy in skegness (I was working there) he made me sit and watch tye waves for 1 hr to get a feel for the ocean….whatevs?! 😂

So alas no race for me. So off we went back to the finish line where a bbq was being had. I was able to meet up and chat with some cool women paddlers…which is always a treat… there is a massive inequality in the numbers of women paddlers… and we were interested in finding out why….its still a mystery… but I m super happy I went; just to chat about paddling is awesome…I don’t get the chance too much here in France; without being schooled….

I ll be back next time with my own boat and maybe a tent… I m glad I saw the route so I can train for it. Well done Andy the organiser what a fine effort..I ll be back and hopefully with my family…but no kebabs next time….

Women who paddle

Bit apprehensive