South Devon, photo by Heather Rainsley.
I used to consider Facebook to be nothing short of Satan’s work; a vast and pointless timewaste designed purely to enable the emotionally insecure to seek rapid shallow self-affirmation from pseudo-’friends’.
My opinion hasn’t changed in the least over time, except that I’ve now accepted that,
a] Wasting time is as worthwhile a pastime as any I have.
b] I am emotionally insecure and in need of rapid shallow self-affirmation.
Hence, I’m now quite into the Facebook thing. It does actually perform one undeniably positive role; it’s great for storing, categorising and sharing photos. Last night I went through all of the photos that were submitted for South West Sea Kayaking and posted them on Facebook – all taken between 2006 and 2008. Some you will recognise from the book, but many more didn’t make the grade. Even so, it was pleasant to sift through them and be reminded of the awesome paddling experiences that produced them.
I hope that they are of general interest …
Chapter 1 – Isle of Wight
Chapter 2 – Dorset
Chapter 3 – East and South Devon
Chapter 4 – South Cornwall
Chapter 5 – The Isles of Scilly
Chapter 6 – North Cornwall
Chapter 7 – North Devon, Somerset, Avon and Gloucestershire
Enjoy. I’m shortly off to Scotland for the SCA Paddle 09 Show, where (Heaven help me, and them) I’ll be doing a talk on club whitewater paddling expeditions. All good.
“Try everything once except folk dancing and incest.” – Sir Thomas Beecham
I’ve paddled the coast between Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove dozens of times, indeed I love the area so much that I used a photo of Durdle Door as the cover shot of my book. Yesterday, I was privileged to experience the same coast from a very different perspective as I joined a ‘Social Swim’ organised through the Outdoor Swimming Society. This group was set up by well-known wild swimmer Kate Rew (who also swam).
As I hadn’t swum further than a few hundred yards on the sea in my life, I was simply terrified; it’s 1.5 miles from Durdle to Lulworth. About 40 of us walked to the stunning Durdle Door arch and dipped into amazingly warm blue water; perfect conditions! Seeing this very familiar coast from water level (literally) was quite a revelation, I felt like I was rediscovering it all over again. However the swim took a lot longer than expected, and not just because I can only do a rather lame breast stroke; the tide was flowing against us at about 1 mph; sometimes we simply weren’t making headway! My local knowledge came in handy once we’d crossed the open water of St Oswald’s Bay; we hugged the rocks and cliffs closely to avoid the worst of the tidal flow as we clawed our way upstream to Lulworth Cove.
I needn’t have worried about the swim beforehand, it was actually a remarkably enjoyable experience and I had a few good friends on the water to look out for me. Splendid fun, maybe try leaving the kayak at home next time and give wild swimming a try yourself …
Yesterday’s South West Kayak Show in Exeter was a very pleasant day out; I met up with a few friends and Franco (editor/boss at Pesda Press) to discuss book stuff. I also subjected a captive audience to a talk about recent whitewater trips; many thanks to Robin Lee for helping organise the talk. More photos of the event here.
I also caught up with Tim Lambert, UK Sales Manager of Pyranha/PH Kayaks/Venture Kayaks (some or all of these, anyway), who kindly supported the South West Sea Kayak Meet last year with a fleet of kayaks. PH Kayaks apparently enjoyed the event and are keen to support it again next year, so I’ll get organising soon; watch this space! Whilst that is on my mind, I received the letter below, last week; it relates to the donation made by those at the ‘Meet’ for the Devon Air Ambulance. I have a similar letter somewhere for the RNLI, will dig it out sometime.