Currently looking over my photos of the stunning Thuli Bheri river in Nepal. I’m doing a talk on our 2010 white water expedition tomorrow night, at the invitation of Isle of Portland Canoe Club. Heather is also talking, on the subject of our extended trip to the Orkney Isles in 2009.
Coming to the SW Canoe Show in Exeter this weekend? Heather and I will be doing a couple of talks on the Saturday… in the bar of the Canoe Club, just along the road from AS Watersports on Haven Bank Quay.
1 pm Mark Rainsley – Thuli Bheri Adventures (Expedition WW paddling in Nepal)
2 pm Heather Rainsley – The Four Corners of Shetland (Five weeks spent exploring Britain’s northernmost isles by sea kayak)
Times to be confirmed – please check on the link below.
All welcome – much as I like the sound of my own voice, it’d be nice to have someone to share our adventures with!
More details here.
This weekend sees the first ever Pyranha Dart Fest, a big get-together of white water paddlers at the River Dart Country Park near Ashburton, Dartmoor.
There is a busy schedule planned, with paddling, coaching sessions and entertainment in the evening. My good friend Kevin Francis and I are presenting one of the evening slots, with the pithy title ‘Kev and Mark’s Excellent Adventures’. I will whizz through my trips to India and California in recent times, whilst Kevin will tell stories about the epic wilderness whitewater of the Romaine River in Quebec, with at least one helicopter evacuation involved … hopefully see you there.
More info here, here and here.
… a rather large and consequential rapid on the Romaine River, pic from Kev Francis
A few pics of California …
India follows …
First thing this morning, I completed a 12 mile cross-country run, which included 1300 feet of ascent and a fair amount of getting lost in Rempstone Forest. This is the longest run I’ve done since 1993, and I suspect it all came much easier back then! This is all part of a grander plan, of which more in due course … the good news is that it was a beautiful dawn and that there is no finer place to run than the hills of the Isle of Purbeck, looking down on the sea on three sides.
Anyway, we’d spent too much of Saturday indoors, doing some rather dull work on the new book (ISBN numbers, anyone?), so we took this afternoon off and went for a wander around Durlston Head Country Park.
PS A reminder that tomorrow (Monday) night, Heather will be speaking about our splendid Orkney trip, and I’ll be speaking about various whitewater trips. All welcome – come and say hello! More info here.
Heather, somewhere in Orkney. I think.
I did an evening of talks up the road at Poole Harbour Canoe Club last year. Surprisingly, I can’t have offended absolutely everybody in the room on that occasion, as they’ve invited me back for another go, later this month.
The talks will be on the evening of Monday 18th January, commencing at 7.30 pm. The venue is the cellar bar of The Blue Boar in Poole. I’ll say something about our recent whitewater trips to California, and something on our sea kayaking trip to Orkney. Other places like India and the Isles of Scilly may or may not feature, depending upon how much I ramble and how long before the audience starts walking out. Heather may also do some of the talking, or she may not. As you can see, we’ve planned this in depth.
Other local paddlers are very welcome to attend – indeed the more the merrier, PHCC welcome guests on this evening. It’s free, but if after arriving you feel a sudden compulsion to buy fifteen copies of my book, then I won’t stop you.
Drop me an email if you have any queries.
More Orkney …
… and a bit of California …
We’ve just returned from a week north of the border. Firstly we visited the Scottish Canoe Assocation’s annual Show, ‘Paddle ’09′. I met up with various folk and delivered a talk on recent overseas whitewater expeditions.
Having done this, it was time for the real business of the week; catching up with friends and heading off to paddle. Plentiful rainfall meant that we were able to enjoy plenty of the fantastic rivers around Fort William, based from a rather nice rented house at Roybridge. All good.
The SCA Show
Simon Willis, who has released a coaching video.
Franco Ferrero, benign dictator of Pesda Press.
The River Coe gorge.
The River Orchy.
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.
Obviously, what the world needs most is more of me; talking, talking, talking, especially about myself. With this in mind, I’ll be doing a talk at the South West Canoe Show in Exeter this coming Saturday. If you’re not familiar with this annual event, it takes place at and around AS Watersports and is a great start to the winter whitewater paddling season, although the numerous stands and talks cater for all kinds of paddling. More info at the event website.
My talk is called ‘Expeditions for Mere Mortals’. It won’t be saltwater based, but instead will focus on the intermediate level whitewater paddling trips I’ve organised in the past few years with my chums; to Morocco, India and California. I kick off at 3.30 pm in the Exeter Canoe Club clubhouse, close to the AS Watersports shop. See the link above for more details.
If the notion of Yours Truly rambling on about WW paddling does not appeal much, you may wish to know that the event line-up also includes a couple of sea paddling talks, including one by Jeff Allen.
I hope you can make it! If you can’t attend my talk and are (improbably) absolutely devastated, note that I should be doing something similar at the Scottish Canoe Exhibition, later in October.
A few taster photos below …
Meeting the locals beside the river in Morocco.
India’s holy Alaknanda River.
My wife samples the wild and scenic Salmon River, California.
Just a quick update … the event is certainly going ahead and I have now heard from a very healthy number of paddlers who will be joining us for the weekend. There is still space for more, please let me know by email if you are joining us, as outlined here. I’ll be replying in person to all who have already contacted me.
For reasons far too boring to explain*, I’ve just survived a stint at work which involved 18 hour days and minimal sleep for six successive nights, plus I’m very shortly going to depart for a week of paddling in the fabulous Isles of Scilly. If you don’t mind, I’ll post up a much clearer outline of the plans for the weekend once I return.
However, a bit of name-dropping first … I mean that in a very tongue in cheek sense! The folk who are kindly helping out on the water and in the evening talks have been invited simply because they are entertaining and friendly folk, not because they have famously paddled around Antarctica non-stop whilst living on seaweed porridge (or whatever). Hopefully there won’t be a beard in sight …
Jim Krawiecki has graciously agreed to give us a talk on Saturday night. Jim is well known as an all-round nice guy and is the author of Welsh Sea Kayaking. He is currently working on a guidebook to sea kayaking in the north of England. What will he talk about? Presumably something grim and northern…?
My good friend Chris ‘Knees’ Wheeler is a well known expedition white water kayaker who has paddled pretty much everywhere. He also dabbles in the sea, along with his partner Julia and they will be telling us a little about their sea paddling trips to exotic places like Vietnam, Oman, Dalmatia …
More speakers and coaches to be announced when I have more time, but that’s a taster to be going with.
*Back-to-back Overseas trip and then Ofsted, teachers will understand.
This hirsute chappie lives on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, up in Scotland. The lighthouse behind denotes the most westerly point on Britain’s mainland, just a few miles further west than Cornwall’s ineffable Land’s End. Arriving at the lighthouse at a glorious sunset after a headbanging 30 mile slog into a headwind was certainly one of the highlights of my summer trip.
Anyway, a few snippets of news/trivia …
There is a detailed review of South West Sea Kayaking in the latest edition of Ocean Paddler Magazine. It focuses heavily on the lack of info about local transport in the book (here you go, OP) and also seems unaware that the book covers the entire south west coast (as opposed to selected highlights), but on the whole it’s generously positive – thanks OP!
Many thanks to Steve Beith who organised the ‘Blue Moon Paddle’ last weekend, a very civilised get-together of sea kayakers in Hampshire. Regrettably, I forgot to take my camera – so you’ll have to take my word for it, that we paddled in the only good weather of the entire summer. In the evening, the paddlers attending were polite enough to sit through a talk about my work on South West Sea Kayaking without yawning too loudly.
I have been asked about the music I used during my presentation last Saturday night. I selected ‘local’ artists to accompany (and complement?) a succession of photos of the South West’s coastal scenery …
PJ Harvey lives in West Bay, Dorset. I used her track Perfect Day Elise.
Seth Lakeman lives in Yelverton, Devon. I used his track Kitty Jay.
Tori Amos is American, but lives near Bude, Cornwall. I used her track Winter.
Apologies if this sort of thing doesn’t suit your own personal music tastes; the selection reflects my leaning towards wailing female vocalists with personal ’issues’, and also my wife’s inexplicable liking of brawny young male folk violinists.
The book has arrived! It was ‘delivered’ this weekend, with the kind help of Mitch and all the staff at AS Watersports in Exeter. In the photo above, Franco (editor) has just snipped a bow and unveiled the finished product.
Paddlers demo-ed boats from various manufacturers out on the quayside.
In the evening we headed to Devon’s southernmost village, East Prawle. The Pig’s Nose pub threw its doors open to us and let us use an adjoining hall for a get-together. What a place! The pub and hall are cluttered with 1001 items of random bric-a-brac, a fantastic place.
However, disaster struck when I tried to set the talk equipment up – it emerged that my computer had picked this precise moment in its extended life to utterly die. I wasn’t much relishing standing infront of c60 people and telling them all that the evening was ‘off’. However my friend Ian and the landlord’s son worked some technical magic and managed to retrieve my presentation off the dying hard-drive to use on a laptop.
Given that I’d spent the previous two hours crying with despair instead of doing any preparation at all, the following talk was doomed to be utterly ad libbed. The audience politely endured my stream of consciousness however, and all still seemed to be there in the hall when I eventually finished.
Palm Equipment generously donated a big box of sea kayaking goodies for a raffle in aid of the RNLI. Ocean Paddler Magazine and Seacornwall.com also added prizes, thanks guys! We raised about £200 for the RNLI.
Today we went for a sheltered paddle on the Dart, of which more later.
Special thanks to Mitch and his staff at AS Watersports, and to all came along and took part.