Make That Four Instructional DVDs This Year

On Monday I wrote that three instructional DVDs would be released in the coming months, including ours. Now I see that Jusine Curgenven will also release her instructional DVD before Christmas.

Kayakers might need bigger stockings this year!

While the first three are 'rescues' based DVDs, Justine's is complimentary and is called 'This Is The Roll'.

We were in e-mail contact last week and she's just completing the filming in Canada now. Ours meanwhile is finished and the DVD menus will start being authored early next week.

Three 'Rescues' DVDs Released August to October

Excellent! More choice can only be a good thing for sea kayakers. It shows how fast this sport is growing.

And I do like a bit of competition.

Two years ago, when we made our first Coaching DVD there were very few decent ones out there.

Now three will be released within weeks of each other. And at this rate there may be more by the time you read this! The three I know about are:

* Reel Water Productions: Bryan Smith has shot a 'rescues' based DVD with Shawna and Leon on Body Boat Blade. I wrote about it with a clip last September. That DVD is coming out early August, launching at the US Outdoor Retailer show. The trailer will appear this week.

* Sea Kayak Essentials: Nick Cunliffe is presenting a 'rescues' DVD which is currently being shot, due for release in October.

* Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown: Our offering in the increasingly crowded 'rescues' DVD market will also be out in October.

Spoiled for choice, eh?

VisitScotland Promoting Scottish Sea Kayak Trail

It's great that the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail, which I invented with the Pesda Guidebook, is the only UK entry on National Geographic's 'Top 50 Tours of a lifetime' bucket list.

I've already said how please I am that Wilderness Scotland offer a non-camping holiday along part of the trail. And it is their organised tour that earned the place on the National Geographic list.

But I'm a little surprised to see Wilderness Scotland apparently giving quotes about "Our trail". Indeed, the first few lines of the story describes it as "Wilderness Scotland's sea kayaking trail...". Plus there is no mention in this article, on the National Georgaphic website, or on Wilderness Scotland's website of the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail website. Hmmm.

I'm sure that's an accidental oversight. Isn't it?

[Edit 11:30am - a flurry of e-mail this morning produced apologies all round. We're all best friends again and Wilderness Scotland clients, who book the trail holiday, will receive a copy of the guidebook. There's a link to the trail on their links page and a credit on their trip itinerary page. So that's nice]

New Podcast - Northern England Guidebook

This is Jim Krawiecki and he's the guest in the latest podcast at

Jim has just written the new Pesda Press Guidebook: Northern England and the Isle of Man, Fifty Great Sea Kayak Voyages.

Not only does Jim guide us though this highly diverse region, he talks about his background and how he got into kayaking and writing.

Unusually, this Podcast is released mid-month. That's because, at the start of each month, I release a video diary podcast about the making of our new DVD.

Subscribe free and you won't miss a thing. Buy the book by clicking below.
Northern England & IOM

Simplified Downloads

I have simplified the new digital download versions we're selling of Volume 1, Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown.

I hugely appreciate all the feedback I've received from people who bought (and didn't buy) Coaching Sessions and Journey downloads.

Initially, I was offering these as three separate downloads.

However, the film was designed to have the coaching sessions mixed with the journey. It was this which, in part, won it awards and made this coaching product different.

From the feedback, it quickly became clear that separating them into three different download files destroyed this unique quality.

It also meant people had to go through three buying steps to purchase one product. That is clunky.

So I've repackaged it.

The coaching is, once again, mixed with the journey in the way we believe works best.

It's all in one large 960x540 MPEG-4 .m4v file.

It's priced £16.99, that's £3 cheaper than the DVD.

The only downside is that the resulting 2.1GB file is quite a chunky download.

Goodness knows how big the file will be when I make Volume 2 available for download in HD in November. There's more than two hours of material in that and we're looking at around 9GB of file size.

Video Downloads - Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown

Volume 1 of Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown is now available to buy as a digital download.

It has been called "instant gratification". Because the files are quite large, then unless you have an amazingly fast internet connection, it's not exactly instant.

But it should be quicker than waiting for the postman to deliver a DVD.

I hope to release Volume 2 as a digital download at the same time as the DVD on 1st November.

My thanks to everyone who suggested idea for making this work. Your contributions have been most helpful.

Personally, I'd still want to buy a DVD. But I know that for many people, this will be the way to buy video in future.

3D Recording of St Kilda - Video by Historic Scotland

A team from Historic Scotland have been mapping St Kilda in 3D detail with the aim of encouraging virtual tourism. This is their first video and the team are still out there working - here's their Twitter feed.

No sea kayaking it this one, but it captures some of the feel of the place. Nice dolly moves too.

Shetland Bus Kayakers, And A Race

Patrick Winterton and Mick Berwick, who I followed as they kayaked to the Faeroe islands, have been joined by Olly Hicks.

The three of them will attempt to kayak 388 km across the North Sea to Norway. Initially, they'll work together. But if it's safe to do so, the last stretch will be a race.

The 'race' will either be the last 44km or 44nm, they're not sure which! "Mick works in nautical miles, I work in kilometres", Patrick told me when he rang yesterday. "I bloody hope it's kilometres.

The 'Shetland Bus' refers to the operation run between Shetland and Norway during the Second World War, and the reason the number '44' was chosen is that represents the number of men lost during its operation.

They hope kayakers will each donate the price of a pint £3.88, to their Money Giving page for the two charities they're supporting, the RNLI and Make A Wish Foundation UK.

A Mucky Weekend

Please forgive my pathetic and rather obvious attempted play on words.

On Saturday afternoon we kayaked from Ardnamurchan to Muck, the smallest of the Small Isles.

We arrived just before our friends stepped off the CalMac ferry. It had taken almost as long to travel from Mallaig.

They'd booked two weeks in their usual cottage, a break from their croft and self catering business.

Sunday morning was spent kayak fishing. I was contact towing Liz backwards, while Bill and Sukie were in their double plastic canoe. They must have some sort of fish-magnet strapped underneath, because in no time at all they hauled a bucket load out of the sea.

These provided an excellent lunch, were distributed to people on the island, and still there were enough for us to bring some home for dinner last night.

Sunday night we started the two-hour crossing back around 7pm.

The light was wonderful and the sea almost glassy smooth.

I'd told the CG we'd left our car at Fascadale, because I hadn't wanted any of the visitors to the holiday cottages there to report us "missing" when we'd failed to return Saturday night.

With the DVD edited, I can't do much more until I hear from our Executive Producer and from Gordon and Morag.

So we might just find our way back to this lovely small island.

Video Diary 3, Sea Kayaking St Kilda

Rather rough-and-ready, compared to the polished edit I'm doing for the DVD, but you get the flavour of the place and of our fun trip.