Survey - If You Kayak In Scotland

From the Scottish Canoe Association.

The Scottish Canoe Association (SCA) is carrying out research into Sea Kayaking in Scotland in order to help us understand more about where paddlers go & how often we get out.

With the rapid proliferation of marine renewable energy proposals coming forward, & the SCA being expected to comment on them, it would be useful if we had a better understanding of what sea kayakers are doing around Scotland’s coastlines.

Hence the reason for undertaking this survey.

I would be really grateful if you could forward the link to the survey to as many sea paddlers as possible please.

We want the views of members & non-members alike, plus those who live in Scotland & others that visit Scotland to paddle up here; so please forward the link to this survey to members of your club, colleagues at work & anyone else you know that is involved in sea paddling.

We appreciate your time & effort in completing this survey.

Now We Can Go Kayaking - Orkney & Shetland

I've spent the first part of this year shooting video and taking still pictures of people kayaking.

This has involved quite a lot of paddling into different locations, including a trip down Loch Seaforth in the Outer Hebs.

It has all been great fun. But it's not the same as going kayaking only for fun.

So with most of the coaching sessions for DVD-2 shot (and looking amazing!) Liz and I have decide to seize the whatnot.

Our house will be taken over by friends, who are preparing their boat for a summer on Scotland's west coast, while we jump in our van and head to Orkney and then to Shetland.

I've been to Orkney several times, but never to Shetland, and we've not kayaked in either place. So we're hugely looking forward to it.

I shall, of course, re-listen to Tom Smith's Podcast and study the guidebook Tom wrote with Chris Jex. I have lots of reading up to do on places to camp and kayak and bike over the next few days before we go. And ferry tickets to buy.

And a new Podcast to put live in the next day or so. I'm excited!

West Coast Kayak Challenge - Hear Bruce's Story

Bruce has made it to Stornoway, as reported on his blog and in the Stornoway Gazette.

But that's just the first part of his challenge.

Bruce's real goal is to raise money for his chosen causes.

When we drew up his media plan, we expected he'd be able to raise much more by giving presentations to kayak clubs and in paddle stores.

Bruce is a great talker, a genuinely nice, funny guy. So I know you'll want to book him for a talk at your club. Catch him on Twitter, Facebook or through his Blog.

Video & More Details About DVD2 - Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown

I'm delighted to say we have shot a lot of good stuff.

However, until it is edited we won't know whether we have to shoot more.

We're rather critical of our own work, frequently returning to subjects several times to get just the right shot or sea conditions.

When me, Gordon and Morag are happy, I'll explain all the different subjects we're covering and I expect I'll be able to give full details by early May.

Because the first DVD was designed to look like Gordon's book, the title was the same Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown. On the back, in smaller print, we cautiously wrote the words, 'Volume 1'.

So the title we're working with is not exactly inspired, but seems inescapable: Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown, Volume 2.

However, it's the sub-title to which I've given most thought. For now, I favour Rescues, rough water and staying safe. Goodness knows what it will be in a few months time.

If all goes to plan (a big if!), a cut-down film from the DVD will premier at Paddle '11 in Perth with two showings over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd October.

We also hope to have a few copies to sell at the show too, and we're aiming for a general launch on or around 1st November.

For now, each and every day we shoot throws up a fresh creative challenge. I turn to Gordon and say, "I don't know if this will work - I've never done this before". It is genuinely great fun.

One relatively minor first for me was to stand up in the front of a moving double sea kayak, part of an astonishingly stable raft with Gordon and Rowland Woollven, being towed by clients undergoing 5* training with Skyak Adventures.

It felt like mushing a dog sled! Since I doubt this will make the final DVD I thought I'd post the very short video from the head-mounted GoPro here.

A Good Day Filming Sea Kayaking DVD

Some days, trying to shoot decent kayaking video seems impossible. Conditions aren't right for the story; the sun is in the wrong place for the shot; and your fingers feel as dexterous on the camera controls as a bunch of bananas.

Yesterday was, emphatically, not one of those days. Everything just clicked into place. The resulting video looks quite good, and the stills, shot by Rowland Woollven are nice too.

The sea was rough enough, and white enough, to make most paddlers a little cautious about getting too close to rocks. So we did. Right into the middle of them. Three video cameras running to capture different angles and shot sizes.

"Are you happy enough to capsize here Janice?", Gordon asked our volunteer paddler. Listening over the radio mic I heard her reply, "Not really, but I will". Splash!

Next week I'll give more details about the content and launch dates of what we're just calling "DVD-2", but which we'll soon have to give a proper title. I'm rather pleased with the content we have assembled over the last two months, and I hope you will be too.

However, this week isn't over yet. A group of 8 clients arrived last night at Skyak Adventures for Five Star Training (which I wrote about last year).

I'm staying on the film their experiences. So I might get more...

West Coast Kayak Challenge - Video

It is amazing what gets washed up on a beach!

A group of us were filming Rescues at the south end of the Isle of Skye, when who should paddle into view but Bruce Jolliffe.

So I shot a short sequence there and did a quick chat with Bruce when he arrived at Gordon and Morags (Skyak Adventures) for curry, beer and bed for the night.

He's a long way into his attempt to paddle from Largs to Stornoway, raising money for a good cause. Listen briefly to Bruce below, but you can read much more, and donate, at

Bruce writes really well, and his regularly updated blog makes for entertaining reading when you can't get out on the water yourself. Don't know what he'll say about last night though...

Major Tidal Power Development in Sound of Islay

Between Jura and Islay, this. It's said it will be the largest tidal power farm in the world.

Marine Atlas for Scotland

The Scottish Government has produced what it's calling a Marine Atlas.

The aim is to chart biodiversity and help marine planners, as well as giving a detailed analysis of the current state of Scotland's seas.

I haven't read it yet!

This Is Why We Live Here

The best promo video I have seen in ages - superb idea, wonderfully execution. Fantastic. And it promotes Lochaber, Outdoor Captial of the UK. Home.

Tall Ships Race - Scotland 2011

There will be some majestic vessels racing up the west coast this summer.

The Tall Ships Race goes from Waterford to Stavanger. Along the way it will visit Greenock on the Clyde, and Lerwick in Shetland.

Both places have their own websites up and running and are counting down the days.

It is possible to book places on these vessels, such as the fully rigger ship Sorlandet - details here. And video below.

New Podcast - Denmark in Winter

This ice encrusted face belongs to Erik B. Jorgensen. You can hear him at

Erik earns his living from expeditions. In one of the coldest winters in years, he kayaked around Denmark.

The ice comes from waves which were breaking over him, and freezing. Nice.

Media picked up on this ex-special forces guy who was paddling in freezing seas while everyone else struggled to keep their cars running. The whole country followed his journey.

In this podcast, recorded over Skype and in English, Erik shares the story of that expedition and his next adventure - paddling the Scandinavian coastline from the Russia border to, well, the Russia border.