Last year, we held a ‘book launch weekend’ to celebrate the arrival of ‘South West Sea Kayaking’. The weekend was based at East Prawle in south Devon, and was a lot of fun. So, let’s do it again. Purely for want of a name, I’m calling it the South West Sea Kayak Meet, but we went through a fair few possibilities (‘South West is Best’ and ‘The Unsymposium’ were strong contenders) and hey, I may change the name again next week.
So … I’m going to dripfeed information about the weekend bit by bit, but here’s a general outline …
- The weekend is free (apart from camping). Nobody will make any money from it (I can think of one person who’ll lose money on it) but we will raise some dosh for the RNLI and the Devon Air Ambulance.
- It’s an informal get-together of friends and soon-to-be friends. I’ll do my best to make it run smoothly (generously aided by volunteers) but don’t expect a tightly choreographed Bejing-Olympics-Opening-Ceremony-type-spectacle.
- The weekend is aimed at folk who just want to go paddling and enjoy the wonderful south Devon coast. All abilities are welcome, but the paddling will not suit complete novices.
- On Saturday night, there will be an evening of talks in the wonderful Pig’s Nose Inn. The guest speakers have been invited purely because they’re entertaining and visually appealing; no PowerPoint lectures from Highly Respected Coaches, I’m afraid.
- PH Kayaks and Venture Kayaks are kindly supporting the weekend and will be offering demo kayaks for use on the water.
- There will be a range of paddling trips on the Saturday and Sunday; there will be a choice of doing your own thing, or joining small guided groups, led by experienced volunteers.
- There will be camping available at Higher Farm, just along the road from the pub. Bring your own food or eat at the ppub/cafe
If you are planning on coming, please let me know as soon as possible. I particularly need to get an idea of … how many of you in your party, how many tents you are likely to use (little tents? family tents?), and whether you will attend the talks on Saturday night. I hope to make the event open to all, but as we only have half a farm field to play with and one pub hall, I may have to do some ‘rationalising’ if numbers grow beyond a certain point! Please email your plans … email@example.com.
As noted, I will supply more information bit by bit. Watch this space in the weeks to come!
The photo above shows the ineffable Vernal Falls, in California’s Yosemite National Park. ‘Vernal’ means, ‘springlike’ (so the internet tells me, anyway) and I suspect that this is a reference to the constantly watered greenery in the gorge around the fall. Whilst taking that picture I was effectively enshrouded in an enormous lingering wet cloud that soaked me to the skin; on such a fine day, I hadn’t thought I’d need my waterproofs!
We had a really enjoyable trip out west, retreading some rivers from my 2002 trip to Cali, and finding a few new ones to enjoy out in the wilds. There are 1001 photos and reports here; read the scary Burnt Ranch Falls stories if you want a bit of vicarious adrenaline (also have a read of Simon Knox’s version of the same).
Hmm, does writing about white water kayaking in California USA have any place in a blog about sea kayaking in south west England? I suppose that you have the tenuous links of ‘kayaking’ and ‘south west’ … but to justify this post, here are a few meagre snippets of south west news/info …
- There is a bit of an issue right now with access to Long Island in Poole Harbour, see here.
- Someone got themselves into a spot of bother in South Devon this week … here.
- I am currently working on planning an informal sea kayak get-together in South Devon (June 13th/14th), not unlike that which we held last year to celebrate the launch of my book. Watch this space for more info.
- Most importantly of all, as of yesterday my PH Cetus is finally back in Dorset! Many thanks to various folk who have helped it make its way back from the far north of Scotland, most recently Tim Lambert at PH Kayaks and Bournemouth Canoes. Wonderful, I will be out on the water this weekend to celebrate its return.
Mrs R doing her thing in California …
Claire CL and Liz G, a couple more off-duty sea kayakers whom you may recognise from this blog …
A couple of hazardous locals …
The above photo is one of my favourites. I like it because of the warm fuzzy memories that it triggers; it shows Heather (Mrs R) and Claire Cheong-Leen at Land’s End in Cornwall, framed by the monumental arch of Enys Dodman, a vast stack that has separated from the mainland. It was a magical evening, and we stayed until the sun melted into the western horizon.
The photo has been just been used as the cover shot for Canoe Kayak UK magazine’s special supplement on sea kayaking published this month and included alongside the normal magazine. The supplement features an article on planning multiday trips written by myself, as well as a feature on sea kayak photography by Douglas Wilcox and something on clothing by Jeff Allen.
Right this moment, Heather and I have just escaped work, finished packing for California and we’re off to the airport in a few hours; this won’t be a long nights’ sleep! We’re lucky enough to be enjoying a couple of weeks of paddling the glorious wilderness rivers of the Sierra Nevada with the same great bunch of friends who joined us in India last Easter. The photo below was taken last time I paddled in California, in 2002.
Have a good Easter, all.