Sea kayaking Anglesey, North Wales with Coastal Spirit.  A Blog of sea kayaking courses and personal  expeditions and adventures. Keep in touch throughout the year ... 


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The first UK paddler around the island of Menorca on a SUP.
I had discovered my paddling gears and powered up through the arch into a stiff head wind.  I could see the wind was stronger off the the final headland Punta Nati, 5km away.  There were white caps, with a perfect blue sky and blowing Beaufort f4 (14-16mph) NE.  We had come close to the NW point but there was no going on and we were 5km on from the last possible wild bivi spot.  We chatted briefly but turning and running back made sense and to be honest for me on a SUP was the only option! 

Two days earlier, we had been in a taxi on our way to Kayak en Menorca, to hire a sea kayak for Sonja, who was going support me on my SUP around the Mediterranean island of Menorca.  The island is a distance of between 180 – 220 km depending on how much of the coastline is explored or hugged. The second largest of Spain’s three Belariac islands, with a mellow and laid back feel.

Tramuntana wind
 I’d checked the forecast that morning and it was blowing Beaufort F4/5 NE with a fair swell running of 3-4 ft.  Es Grau looks out to the NE and on arrival there was a 2 ft swell rolling into the protected bay!   After talking with Maria one of the owners they were able to drop us on the South coast, which would mean an offshore wind, but some protection if close in and smaller to no swell.  It meant we could start, so that was a winner!

For me it was the first time doing an expedition on a Paddleboard.  I had done a number of sea kayak expeditions, so I had gone with the idea of one bigger holdall, like my bow or stern hatch on a sea kayak.  Then other dry bags, with items such as my sleeping bag and mat, spare clothes and food.  While I had another smaller holdall with snacks, first aid, snorkel/mask, sun tan cream, water proof jacket and trousers, money/passport and items that would normally be in my day hatch, that I want to be able to access.  Sonja had the tarp, stove/fuel and extra food.

I carried 22 litres of water on the tail of my Paddleboard in 3 x MSR water bags and two SUP paddles, one as a spare and the other as my main.  I had a medium sized blade made by VE paddles and the other was a larger blade by McConks.  I was going to start with the medium blade and as I got stronger and all was good, I would move across to the larger blade, for more power.

working hard to keep the noose in and on track

 We set out from Biniacolla right down on the SE tip and had decided to maximise the South coast and go clockwise around Menorca.  I had to work hard with the off shore wind, which kept blowing the nose of my board out to sea.  It was a balance between cutting across a bay with more exposure and less distance or keeping closer in out of the wind.  About 7km in to the journey the cliff’s got taller, offering more protection and the sun beamed on to the rocky walls.  We explored a few caves and started to consider with just over two hours of day light, what was realistic to aim for, for our first night’s bivi. 

I was aware of a Bristol team headed up by Katie who were going the other way around in sea kayaks.  A few of them I had met and worked with before.  They were heading for Cales Coves another 9km on and this seemed like a good place to aim for.  It was a beautiful evening, yet we had some kilometres to cover before we could fully relax. 

Truly stunning
The Bristol team, gave us lovely welcome and soon thanks to Dave we were drinking mugs of tea and settling into the evening.  Now with any trip it’s about finding the balance between purpose and holiday.  Too much of a holiday and if the winds picked up, could mean game over and for me this was new ground on a SUP.  I wasn’t sure exactly what I could do.  Yes, I had covered the length of loch Awe (40 km) a year previously, yet it was calm with little to no swell.  I’d put in time on the Anglesey coast since so I was in a better technical place, but there still was a lot to learn and develop.  I was keen to take it steady and pace myself so we headed out just before 10.00.

One of the lovely things about starting where we did was despite being in a small cove, beside houses, it seemed quiet and those buildings we soon left behind.  We were now leaving the remote cliffs and about to approach Son Bou.  Swimming zones, deck chairs and  the works.  It surprised me how busy it all was.  Our initial thought of heading in for a coffee, was replaced by ‘let’s cut across the bay’.  Sant Tomas seemed quieter and a nice looking restaurant on the beach had some places.  It was lunch time after all!

The rest of the day was mainly about me trying different techniques with my forward paddling, which kept my mind busy as I was keen to get as close as reasonable to the SW point, the Cap d’ Artrutx.  We decide to pull into Cala en Turqueta with 28 km done.  It was a busy attractive bay and Sonja spotted the fisherman’s cave on the left, which meant we were out of the sand and it was a little more peaceful.

On the water for 08.00 the next morning with about 8km to the point, still trying to find the balance between holiday or expedition, we decide after a couple of hours it was brunch time!  One tortilla and a couple of coffee’s later we were around the Cap with a surprised, although welcomed tail wind.  We moved along the coast offshore and after a 30 minutes or so we decide to aim for the headland West of Ciudadela.  Keeping an eye open for any ferry or big boat traffic in or approaching the port. We had made good progress and were nicely established on the West coast now. 

The NW corner is one of the cruxes of the trip, with 14 km of no landing due to cliffs and a rocky exposed shore and we were now approaching this section.  We now had a head wind that seemed to be accelerating off each headland.  But I had found my gears and was enjoying powering up into each wind eddy.  We could see Punta Nati, with white caps flowing towards us, with a perfect blue sky.  We quickly chatted and it was an easy decision, to turn and run back around to the edge of Ciudadela, 5 km away.  At least we could enjoy the wind on our backs.  It was strange as we paddled into Cala en Blanes, with a high rise hotel one side, a couple of bars playing music and lots of people crammed into a small beach. I initially felt at odds and out of place.  Yet soon with unpacking and sorting kit, I relaxed and joined Sonja at one of the bars, as well as David Bowie!

Break time!

A gentle headwind

Food and liquid refreshment all went down well and the crowds soon disappeared and I had that good glow of 36 km, even if 5km was in retreat.  By 20.00 it was dark and it was us and a few in the bar left.  We had a super light forecast for the next 2 two days.  Still North to North East, so a head or side wind, but it was light! 

We were on the water for 08.00 and I had now changed to the bigger blade.  I felt we needed to do what we could and get some mileage in the bank on the exposed North coast.  It was a beautiful morning and we were soon back at our previous day’s location.  No breeze this time though and making super progress.  Punta Nati was soon behind and far in the distance was the most Northerly point of Cavalleria.  The second crux, which if possible I was keen to get beyond as well.  I wondered if I could do that in the same day.  Box the two main crux points.  We looked at the map and decided it was realistic. 

Bay after bay we passed, again trying to find that thin line between gaining shelter from a headland to making progress across the bay, against a light wind.  Yep another headwind.  I took dips in the sea, on the hour today.  My ankles had swollen up and in particularly my right one.  Just being off my legs and floating felt great and I had also put the compression socks and tights on hoping they would help too.  We took lunch floating in a small bay and I could have easily said ‘let’s head towards that beautiful beach’ one of many.  I was tired.  Yet I also felt we had been given a gift F2 N/NE and less than 1 ft. swell on the North coast!!  It felt amazing passing beneath the small light house, but significant cliffs of Cavalleria.  Sonja did a super job of guiding me into our new camp, that was a further 4km around the head.  I was bushed, yet we had been afloat for over 10 hours and I had achieved my personal best with 46 km.  Happy days!

The most Northerly point, with Sonja on the left
Sonja found a super little cove with a lovely sheltered area.  Sorting kit and a super swim to leave the day behind, before a big pot of sweet corn soup and small pasta shells, then bed.  

We were up at 05.00, and soon I had the super porridge mix from Tent meals ready.  800 calories, that are well thought through, tasty and had been fuelling me for the first few hours each morning.  I was feeling surprisingly good and It was an amazing sunrise, which stoked me further.  East coast here we come!  

Magical sunrise start 

This was day five and this was probably the hardest part of the trip for me, a gentle head wind, that grinded away at me and headlands that stuck out further.  Meaning, it was better to paddle across the bay.  The lighthouse of Favaritx stood still.  I guess I was tired and tried to focus on being more effective with my stroke.  Floating each break time in the water, next to my board became essential and part of my break each hour.  We were eventually around Favaritx and heading further South towards Es Grau.  Yep, coffee time and some lunch felt good.  I had that second wave of ‘we could stay here’.   Yet I was also aware we could, just may be complete the loop.  We had around 20 km to go!

We headed on out with Mahon as the focus and I found a 2ndwind.  I felt efficient, excited and strong.  Maybe it was the coffee! It was just as well as the entrance to Mahon saw a few small sailing boats and motor boats, moving about.  The latter setting up an exciting inshore swell, while I dodged the sailing boats!

Illa de L’Aire, is the island of the SE tip, seeing it meant we were getting closer!  At Cala Alcalfar we had one of those tough decisions, with 6km to go but with one hour of daylight.  I had no real reason to take a risk and aim to finish in 5 days, so after a brief discussion we headed in to the natural harbour to take a look.  A lovely little village with a flat rocky area which would be ideal for our camp and what sounded like a restaurant or a hotel at the back of the bay.  It was a hotel so Gin & Tonics soon arrived, as we decide on what to eat for the evening.  49 km and my personal best!

Leaving and the protected harbour of Alcaufar and the last 6km!

Pausing ...

Time for coffee

Up and on the water early, as the wind was due to increase.  We headed on to Punta Prima for coffee and as it happened a full English, cooked breakfast!  20 minutes’ later we were back at the start, unpacking and laying out kit.  Soon the restaurant was open and we were sitting down to another tasty meal.  I could get used to this, I thought!

Job done now time for some food!
Big thanks to Sonja for the support, McConks for the paddleboard and paddle,  VE paddles, Kokatat for clothing and Kayak en Menorca for being so helpful.


You can read here, a shorter version that I wrote for Stand Up Paddle Mag UK.

To see my video of the adventure on YouTube 

Winter Sea Kayaking courses and more ...
Here is a brief summary of courses that still have availability, over the Winter and into early Spring.  Plus this Summer's sea kayak expeditions:

6-9th November - Advanced sea kayak leader training (5*) with Open water navigation and tidal planning.  With ratio of 1:4 - 2 places left.

13-17th November - Moderate sea kayak leader training (4*) with Coastal navigation and tidal planning.  With ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

9/10th December - Advanced sea kayaking.  For those who are close to being assessed at Moderate sea kayak leader (4*) or Advanced sea kayak leader trained (5*).  Based around the Advanced sea kayak leader and performance syllabus.  ratio of 1:4 - 3 places left

16/17th Dec - Surf & tide races.  From Intermediate to advanced and with the aim of really getting you surfing those waves.  ratio of 1:4 - 3 places left.

13/14th January 2018 - Advanced sea kayaking, with ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

3/4th Feb - Surf & tide races.  Details as above and ratio of 1:4 - 3 places left

17/18th Feb - Intermediate Plus, working on Moderate water skills and ideal for those who have completed the Moderate sea kayak leader training and want support with their action plan.  ratio of 1:6 - 4 places left

24/25th Feb - Surf & tide races.  Details as above and ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

28/2 - 4th March - Advanced sea kayak leader training and Open water navigation, with ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

10 -14th March - Moderate sea kayak leader training and Coastal navigation, with ratio of 1:6 - 3 places left.

17/18th March - Surf & tide races.  Details as above and ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

Shetland sea kayak expedition - 23-29th July at £695 - 2 places left

Orkney sea kayak expedition - 4-10th August at £695 - 4 places left.

Interested in any of the above then email with your questions and I will get back to you with further information.  

Make a change in 2018 and have an adventure! 


Roof of Britain (RoB) 2017 - Fort William to Inverness, the 'Salty' Version!
The plan had always been to do the complete loop, linking up the West and East coast with the Great Glen.  A journey of 800km.  Yet time was running out for us and at Thurso on the North coast and informal decision, or was it a thought, that was made to get to Inverness. This way we had a clear start and finish and a salty version of the RoB.  This felt right and
as long as bodies held out and the weather played ball it was possible.  

The start at Corpack with Ben Nevis in snow!!

My Facebook feed from the 16th April 2017, has the daily action here.   I'm going to keep this Blog to the bare bones, with a summary, facts and my favourite ten photos.

looking up the Sound of Mull
  • From GPS our total distance was 727km
  • 27 days in total with 8 days off, with 6 storm days and 2 days were we arrived earlier and decided to use the benefit of a public camp or caravan sight, to wait out the storm.  In both cases this really paid off, so good sleep was had and we could each refuel.
Tobermory, Isle of Mull, with Don, Craig, Alan, Gerry and Roger

Sunrise, just North of Tobermorry (Mull) and our first early start

  • Longest day was day 25, with 67km and this was Wick on the East coast to 8km South of Helmsdale.  6 hours on a flood Spring tide and then paddling close in along a spectacular coastline with thousands of sea birds. A 13 hour day.
Gairloch, after a snow storm
  • Shortest distance was day 1, after leaving a car to Inverness and packing the boats at Corpack (N of Fort William) to the Corran Narrows - 16km

  • Our most efficient distance was our last day.  Day 27 Cromarty to Inverness, 45km in under 5 hours!
  • 11 wild camps,   7 public camps, 1 at a hostel, 4 in a caravan, 2 accommodation connected to a pub and 1 night on a floor (brother in law of Alan's).
Arrival at the stunning Sandwood Bay NW Scotland

Sandwood Bay was totally magic!

  • On 17 beaches we did a 2 minute Nurdle hunt and we found none.  This came as a surprise, but is great!  We also only found 2 cotton ear buds and details have been sent to FEDRA and the Great Nurdle Hunt
Duncansby Head and we're on the East coast!
  • We saw many sea ducks, red and black throated divers as well as great northern, 2 white tailed sea eagles, 7-9 otters, 4 pods of dolphins (common, risso and 2 bottlenosed), submarine motoring along 1-2km North Rona, 2 artic skua's, puffins from around the Gairlock area and my first time hearing puffins calling was at Thurso.  Many other sea birds with the most prolific on the east coast south of Wick.
  • We camped/bivied at Sandwood bay (last sandy beach before Cape Wrath and landed for a break at Kervaig (first sandy beach on the North coast).  Both are in amazing locations and two places I thought it would take along time to get the right weather, to be able to visit!!
Bringing the journey to an end at Inverness ...
As with most big trips, theres is always those that help to keep things moving forwards and after so many snapped tent poles with Gerrys F10 tent, Kate Duffus and a chance meeting helped with similar diameter poles.  The hostel at Lochinver were ace in receiving a new set of poles.  Sue (Alan's friend), was a great help and took both Gerry and Alan across to collect while we were off the water in the Summer Isles.  Alan's brother in law did us proud when we arrived in Cromarty at 20:00 at his front door, having never received a text and the pub had stopped serving food!  Thanks for the many super messages on social media of information, support and encouragement.

Big thanks to Sonja for managing the bookings while I was away and doing a super job.

Dates for the Roof of Britain and One Big Adventure 2018 (1BG) will be out soon, so if your interested and want more information, have a look here or email me at 

The Roof of Britain and hunting for Nurdles!
On the 15th April 2017 we begin our journey to paddle around the 'Roof of Britain' (RoB) a journey of 400 nm and with some of Britain's most exciting, committing and beautiful coastline.   Basically its the top half of mainland Scotland, involving Cape Wrath and the Pentland Firth.  

The team is made up of Alan from Sheffield, Don from Portsmouth area, Gerry form the Isle of Man, Craig from Anglesey and myself.

Thanks to Tavi for this original creation!
We have had two intensive training weekends over the last 10 months and with a chilly overnighter mid January, to test kit, tents and equipment.  Back in 2015 we got surprised by snow on a couple of beaches!!  Since January action plans have been further worked on and emails have flown back and forth.  

Where we will start the RoB, will depend on the weather at the time and for the forecast for the following week. We have 4 weeks in total to work with and to get as far as we can and complete the loop if the weather and bodies allow.   

In 2015 we lost 10 days to storms and ended up with some big mileage days to try and complete the loop.  It was a truly stunning expedition with a couple of exceptional mammal sightings - three Orca on the North coast and a Minke Whale, South of The small Isles (on the West coast).  If you want to read our 2015 adventure then a couple of Blogs area here:

On the North coast of the RoB and a totally magic day with a BIG ground swell and a super sunny blue sky day.

The other exciting news is we have team up with FIDRA to map Nurdles (raw plastic).  Nurdles, really, yep!  One month ago I had never heard of these and just thought it was broken down and worn out plastic.  As I became aware of the problem I started to see then more easily on the sandy beaches near the high water mark. The plan is as we paddle the RoB, on each beach we land, the intention is to do a 2 minute collection.  As well as observe and record is there more, so as to provide further evidence of how bad the spread is.  Hopefully this will further support the work this company is doing in education and management.

Ive since learnt its better to ware gloves due to the toxins!

So, I wonder what weather we will experience in April/May 2017?   We will keep a weekly updates via Twitter and Facebook on our progress and if the weather is bad, then there will be time for a blog!

Hoping for many days of the sun on our faces and the wind on our backs - wish us luck  ;)

Greenland - Eat, Paddle, Sleep, Climb 2017
Back in 2008 Olly first invited me to Greenland but at the time it was my first real season with Coastal Spirit, so I said no!

When discussing the possibility of a trip in the summer of 2017, I was really keen to be part of it.  That possibility has now become a reality with funding from the Artic Club and supported by Gino Watkins Memorial Fund; A & J Simpson Award.  Many thanks for this!

The plan is to be self contained and journey in sea kayaks going North of Upernivik (on the North West coast) to explore the numerous potentials for climbing on the many islands in this area. The main objectives will be climbing alpine style roures we come across, accessed in a low impact approach from sea kayaks.  

We will have 28 days in total.  This will allow us to travel to the area, and probably 24 days  in Greenland.  We will need to pack our sea kayak with all of our food, camping kit, paddling and rock climbing gear for the whole time.

Im really looking forward to my 
first time in Greenland and my second time above the Artic 
circle.  I'll aim to keep you all updated with progress.

I would also like to thank Tent Meals  for their support towards our expedition, with great tasting, natural high energy breakfasts and evening meals.  

Photo taken by Olly Sanders
Photo taken by Olly Sanders

Photo taken by Olly Sanders

Surf & Tide-race Course
This is the type of course that comes up on the various sea kayak festivals and for the last year Coastal Spirit has been offering two focused days paddling in the Surf and Tide-races of Anglesey, North Wales.  This is through open courses, ass advertised below and  weekends also for clubs were this has been a specific focus.

Experience the thrill of catching a wave, developing greater control and stretch your comfort zone, with support and guidance - good 3* skills as a minimum and the ability to roll at the Intermediate level. If windy we go beach surfing or a down wind run on the classic Menai Straits or if calm surf one or more of Anglesey's classic tide-race's.  Learn how best to use your body, gain an insight into Performance Psychology, hear the rush of the waves and feel the salt on your face.

With a maximum of four paddlers you get more from this exciting opportunity and can really develop.

To enlarge the photo click on one of them.

This could be you, just imagine that!  

If your fit, keen, motivated to learn and want a focused time in the waves and surf of Anglesey, this course is for you.  How does it work?  Who ever first books on begins to influence the weekend.  For example, If an Intermediate (3*) paddler books on then the course will be Intermediate to Intermediate Plus (4* trained).  While if on another weekend an Advanced (5* trained) paddler books on then its Intermediate Plus to Advanced.  

Due to small personal group size, individual needs are more easily managed, so you get more from the weekend.  Keep in mind, due to only 4 places available, course's book up fast.  Cost £160 for the 2 days and current availability is as follows:

10/11th June: Intermediate to Intermediate Plus, with 2 places left.

8/9th July: Intermediate Plus (could go either way) 3 places left.

23/24th September: Intermediate Plus to Advanced, 1 place left.

If one of these dates works for you and you want to move this forward then either email me or follow this link to complete an online booking form 

More dates may be added, so keep an eye on my website or contact me if you have a specific date in mind -

Thanks Roger

Spring course's with Coastal Spirit, Anglesey, North Wales
The following courses currently have places on them this Spring and into early Summer.  All are all based in North Wales, Anglesey:

Surf & Tide-race's - Intermediate Plus (4* leader trained) to Advanced with maximum of four paddlers and with one place left.  Cost £160 on the 11/12th March.  Follow this link

Sea Kayak Leader Training (4*) on the 27th-30th March with Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning (CNTP) theory.  Three places left and at a cost of £270.  Follow this link

Advanced Sea Kayak Leader training (5*) on the 3-6th April, with Open water Navigation theory and night navigation.  One place left at £270.  Follow this link

Intermediate sea kayaking - working on 3 star performance skills, 4 places left at £160 20/21st May.  Follow this link

For any further information on any of the above follow the links above or email

I look forward to sharing the stunning Anglesey coastline with you.

The 3 Lakes Challenge, Solo, Un-Supported on a Paddleboard.
The Beginning 

I think my first go was in April 2015 or was it October 2014, either way I was keen to forget it!  It looked so easy and that's what I expected it to be, so i was shocked, when i couldn't stand up for more than a moment.  So I forgot about it.

I love being on the water. At the same time, its good to leave my kayak on the rack once in a while and stretch those legs.  I was looking for something different were I could play, rest and yes stretch those legs. Earlier this April I was inspired by Jack Hewlett as I worked with him on his British Canoeing 3 star sea.  Ive grown up with Jack and its felt a real privilege to have been involved and shared holidays with his parents, Sean and Mandy and brother Charlie.  

Salcombe, South Devon - Jack and Sean

This time we were on holiday down in South Devon and between sessions, he made Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) look so easy.  I gave it ago.  After staying on the board for 50 mins, I was really chuffed and wanted more.  I bought a Paddleboard and over the next few months I started putting some distance in on The Menai Straits, Anglesey and shorter sessions working in the tidal flow of the Swellies.  This challenged my balance, reactions and was alot of fun.

A previous client had done a sea kayaking courses with me, earlier in the year and I was aware of her achievement with the 3 lakes Challenge, unsupported, solo, over 3 days on a Paddleboard and the first to have done this.  This time I had a thought.  A small thought or question really.  Could I do this, the 3 lakes?  What would it be like? Ive only been Paddleboarding for 6ish months, would that be enough?  I’d done proper long sea kayaking days and expeditions, but what would it be like on a Paddleboard?  I allowed the thought to slip to the back of my mind …but i continued to put in time once or twice each week on my paddleboard and on top of a number of days sea kayaking.

I had a block of days off coming up late September and early October, which i had been protecting.  I was keen to go back up to Orkney or sea kayak around Skye, but the weather was really unsettled.  Then I thought what about my Paddleboard?  I felt vulnerable, so I only told two people and as I got closer to the Friday the weather was looking settled for all 3 lakes.  I began to sort out my kit in preparation.

Llyn Tegid (Bala)

I got up at 0530 and checked the forecast.  Not brilliant with a f3/4, blowing down the lake and then dropping.  I’ve tended to stick to a saying my good friend Sean shared with me once.  ‘rub your nose in it and then decide’ - meaning the forecast is only a part of the big picture.  I decide to set off and have look.  I arrived in rain, with the wind blowing down the lake as suspected and it was cold.  Although It did look like I could sneak up the North shore to the far end and if I could manage that I would then use the tail wind for the return journey.

Wondering 'should I stay or should I go ...

I went fairly light with a spare paddle, storm jacket (like a big cape), water in a hydration pack on my back, bum bag with camera, flare and snacks.  I wore my trusty Kokatat salopettes and paddle jacket and set off.  It felt exciting and committing to the decision felt good.  I had decided if after 30 mins I’d got no wear I could let the wind push me back.  I set my self a point on each bay, working towards the next headland and took a pause i each bay.  I was experimenting with a different style of forward paddling I’d seen the night before on UTube and it seemed to be effective as my shoulders were filling good!

Taking a short land break and no rain!

As I reached the far end of the lake the sun came out, i landed had some food and then set of for the middle of the lake, to make the most of the wind on the way back.  2 hr 30 mins later I had landed and Lake Bala was in the bag!  I changed out of paddling clothes, had lunch, a mug of tea and then I was off for the Lakes to stay with my parents for the night.  

Lake Windermere

I was up early and at my start point before light.  I had more kit this time, with a change of clothes for the other end, a lighter paddle jacket, my paddleboard kit bag, to transport the board back on the steam boat and more food!

As I set off there was a gentle breeze against me, i only hoped that's what it remained, gentle.  I soon found my rhythm as I moved along the East shore.  As approached Bowness on Windermere I watched the car ferry cross and hung back, deciding which side to cross to.  I decided to stay on the East side and worked my way through the moored Yatchs and then crossed over to the West side, via the Northern point of Belle Isle.  It was great seeing the various hills and peaks wakening up and beginning to show them selves as the day enfolded.

I watched the steam ferry heading for the top of the lake and I squinted into the distance.   This was my end point and I could just make it out.  A few yachts were out and that breeze I was pleased to say had dropped right off and a glassy glaze had been left behind on the surface of the water.  

Ambleside and time to pack it all away for the steam ferry ride back

4hr 12mins and I paddled into a bustling Ambleside, pleased with my time.  I quickly looked at my watch and I had 20 minutes to catch the steam boat back or, get the one after at 1300.  I went for the later as it allowed me to change my clothes, pack my Paddleboard and have a big mug of tea and a baked potato, with salad beans and cheese.

The drive North and a brief pause to soak up a super sunset

Loch Awe

I had now paddled 18 miles, near enough 30km and I was wondering how the 40 km of Loch Awe would go. It was clear that I was moving at an average of 4.5 km per hour so with breaks the best I could do was around 10 hours.  As I drove North i had phoned ahead to stay at the Toran Bay Hostel, as the winds had an Easterly then SE component I was planning to paddle South to North.  

This also meant I was right by the water edges, so up at 0530 again and paddling away at first light gave me 12 hours of daylight.  The only new bit of kit I had added was a hooped bivi bag.  If needed my intention was to put my change of clothes on, sleep on top of my board (on the land!!) and have the bivi bag to keep me dry.  I had enough snacks, but I choose to leave the stove, sleeping mat and bag behind.  I wanted the thought of a bad nights sleep to spur me on.  Plus I had spoken to the owner of the hostel and we had arranged for a small fee a pick up time and i don't like letting people down or being late!

I had also thought differently about my clothing and with such a good forecast, decided to wear sandals, thermal leggings my Kokatat pac light water proof trousers and a short sleeve thermal top with a hooded long sleave thermal top.  I had got two hot the previous two days.   The hydration bag had worked really well on lake Windermere and I had another 1lt container of water on the board. 

The start with the drifting mist  ... 
I left the jetty and it was the first time my internal dialogue was active and negative with self doubt.  The mist was reeling in and I soon realised it was actually fog.  It felt like I was really paddling into the unknown, it was cold and there was a dampness to the air.  I had around 100-150 mt visibility and a very gentle breeze and swell towards me.  All I could do was keep the shore in sight and as soon as I saw a brief headland, I would set a course for this.  

Lunch on land and the sunshine is out!
3 hours later the sunshine began to show its self and bit by bit the fog was burnt off.  Yay, as I felt the sun on my back and then a change in the breeze.  I headed away from the shore and for headlands further away, now with a breeze on my back.  Time for some lunch and a break on land.  I allowed my self 20 minutes, knowing this now had to fuel me for the half of the journey.  I had been slower than expected, as the fog had made me keep much closer to the shore, so I had some time to make up.  I wasn't going to bevy out!!   

Down to my short sleeved t shirt ...

I headed off more in the centre of the Loch and towards the Black Islands, with the breese just to the right of me. My shoulders were feeling sore now but I could see the NE end of the Loch in sight, and this spurred me on.  It was a beautiful afternoon and the mountains and the water looked stunning.   I was very pleased to be out there on the water.  

What a magical end to a SUPer day :)

I paddled towards the bridge in magic light and super silky surface.  9hr 40 mins was my time and I was really chuffed.  I changed and deflated my board, packing it all away and carried it to the car park.  I was staying a 2nd night in Toran Bay hostel, and once back went straight for a shower to get that hot water on my well exercised shoulders!

43 paddling miles, solo, unsupported, in 3 days and the 2nd person on a Paddleboard with a total time of 16hr 22mins.

The end, for now ....

Further articles that Roger wrote, can be read below and a short film he also created of the magic conditions he had:

The 3 lakes Challenge information can be found here

Update - Roger is excited to share, is that since the 3 Lakes Challenge he has received sponsorship from Andy of McConks Padleboards and he looks forward to paddling the 10.6 for local playing and the 12.8 explorer for future adventures.  

Roger is more than happy for previous clients and friends to try and see if Paddleboarding may open up adventures for other's too, as he now has three different paddleboards.

Orkney Sea Kayaking, the magic 2016
We had a fairly grim forecast, with strong gale force winds from the North which meant cold temperatures and a good solid swell running.  thankfully so of that blew through and with Orkney being made up of over 70 islands, protection can often be found.

South Ronaldsay, East coast from water sound down and around Helcro Head, on to Old Head and then back up Wind Wick was the day.  A super  mix of playful surf at the start, swell and rock hoping, big clifts, caves, stunning arches and sea stacks, an amazing blow hole, some tidal flow and a small race and an intro to the magical Orkney. 

Dat 2 saw us still avoiding the forecasted swell and the Deerness peninsular was paddled.  Trolly stunning coastline up near Mull Head and whats known as a Gloop - cave, were the roof has fallen in, so daylight is seen, and then back into a cave.  Must have been 200 mt in length!

Day 3 was really wild with lots of rain so we saw the local delights and various neolithic sites.

Day 4 although still windy, we went for a down wind run in the protected Scapa Flow.  The result 18 km covered in 2 hours!  As one of the team said they did more surfing in that 2 hours than they had done in the last year!!

Days 5 and 6 and we finally had a more settled forecast and the potentially of an overnight. Fins town with the Westerly wind on our backs and into the String (the sound between Mainland Orkney and Shapinsay, around Berwick Head and South to The Ness and a super wild campsite.

Douglas with the cannon lookout on the right!

A beautiful breakfast sunny morning, set us up for the day with a crossing to Shapinsay and a visit to the local cafe and super cute puppy only a few weeks old ...

The finish of our paddling, back at Finstown and a super happy bunch.  Well done Julie for managing the guys and to all for making it a super trip, despite the mixed weather.

We crossed on the ferry with a super blue sky silky sea day, which would have been perfect with the SE wind to have paddled from Scotland to the Orkney.  Another time!

Interested in Orkney?  In 2017 there is a sea kayak festival on Orkney, i will be there and also offering a similar course beforehand.  Details on a Coastal Spirit course will be out around Nov/December, so watch this space for 2017!

Thanks, Roger

4 Star Leader Training - 13 day developmental programme

Have you ever wanted more time to develop your personal paddling, incident management, assisted/self rescue skills and leadership, in Moderate tidal water’s.  If so, from the 9th November a 13 day course begins that will take you thorough the British Canoeing 4 Star Performance and Leadership award and much more.

Adriana Eyzaguirre of Explora Expeditions has organized an exciting extended 4 Star Leader training programme, with my self, here on Anglesey, North Wales. 

Currently 4 people have booked on, so the course will go ahead and they are looking for 2 more to join.
 The team will be training for 13 days with weekend breaks and the course includes the Coastal Navigation & Tidal planning award and Foundation Coaching the Mind award.

Additionally, I’m is also offering the option to come along for two weekends following the 13 days programme to assist/observe me with his groups (must have solid roll for this and only one person per weekend). 
I’m also offering an opportunity to join the coaching and mentoring programme offered by Coastal Spirit.

The team will be staying at Anglesey Outdoors bunk house, during the programme.

This is a unique opportunity to bring on further your skills, with a good mix of conditions and time to reflect over the 13 days.   You will also leave the programme with a detailed action plan.

Interested? Would you like more details then contact Adriana via email:


Performance Psychology - Coaching the Mind Module - By Keith Wilbraham
Coaching the Mind Course my personal experience.

I did the coaching the mind course last year run by Lee Pooley and Roger here is my experience of the course and where it has taken me since.

I was in a bit of a rut with my paddling getting out about once a month and sticking very much to my comfort zone and avoiding getting wet. This was proving to be a problem as my paddling had not really progressed for years and I really wanted to pass my 3star assessment.

The first day’s session with Lee was interesting and went through a lot of approaches to how you considered things and how you could use the techniques taught to improve your performance and approach to activities. Lee’s teaching is interesting, his depth of knowledge and experience keeps you engaged with the subject enabling you to learn effectively. This is important to me as I tend to have a short attention span and don’t always do well in a class room.

The second day was on the water and the idea was to take what you had learned during the first day and come up with a plan to do some focus on some aspects of paddling which you wanted improve. I had a sleepless night, but found a bit if pizza box to jot down my ideas for day 2. I decided to work on the three worst areas of my paddling, rough water, self rescues and rolling. The plan was hopelessly ambitious for time available and for my fitness level but Roger and Lee somehow managed to accommodate the variety of things people wanted to try and I did some work on rough water, rolling and rescues.

Highlights of the weekend for me was feeling more in control in rough water and completing three rolls.

Since the course I have achieved a number of things that I don’t think would have accomplished without the input from Roger and Lee.

My partner and I went to Plockton last summer and paddled in a place I was unfamiliar with.

I completed my first solo paddle.

I passed my three star.

I have and approach to paddling in tide races which is allowing me to slowly improve my performance and cope with the environment.

I think this course enabled me to move my paddling one and was excellent in helping me achieve my goals.

Keith Wilbraham

Many thanks Keith, for your comments and Blog above.

The next course is this weekend 16/17th July for Intermediate paddlers or above and you can attend both days or just the first day.  The first day involves various work and theory inputs and is fairly active and dry!  The day can count as a British Canoeing Coach update and is aimed at Coaches, Leaders and those that want to improve their understanding and performance.  

This could be white water paddlers, canoeists, climbers and so on.  The skills are highly transferable.  

The 2nd day is putting the theory into practice for sea paddlers.

Email or call him on +44 7873 132999 for more specific information or to book a place.  £180 both days or £90 for the first day.

Rolling is all in your mind … Why you should know about “Choking” in sport by Tavi Murray

Rolling is all in your mind … Why you should know about “Choking” in sport.

How many people do you know who have lost their roll just before an assessment? Maybe it’s happened to you? If so you probably experienced what is called “choking” … Intrested, then read on to find out what happens in your head and how to prevent it …

I have a pretty good roll in my sea kayak. Last year I swam just twice, once pinned against a wall at the Falls of Lora and once surfing. I lost count of the many rolls I did in anger, mostly in the surf.

I decided it was time to go for my 5* sea assessment … I worked hard in preparation … practicing things like map reading in the dark and surfing, and I took countless friends off around Ramsey Island, St David’s Head and to the Bitches tide race (thanks all!). Last winter I got Roger to run some 5* weekends based around mock assessments. Everything felt on track.

But one weekend this February it nearly fell apart: I lost my roll.

It was supposed to be an “advanced” weekend with another provider. Saturday morning we were deliberately rolling on both sides while side surfing … some of mine were 2nd or 3rd attempts, I wasn’t thinking much about it – I was up and paddling again after all.

Then I let the person coaching into my head … “Hey Tavi, your roll isn’t bomber at the moment, do you want me to have a look?” Doubt started, after all I was acutely aware I had an assessment looming. “Ok” … I rolled offside, set up … effortless.

“That was perfect, try this, I find it usually breaks a roll …” and it did. Within minutes I was over thinking, trying to concentrate on sweeping, on blade angle, on set up … on whatever would give me that effortless roll back … and all the time doubts about assessment and the fear of losing my roll crept into my mind. That day I was a rolling beginner. I could roll maybe one attempt in 10 on flat water and it wasn’t my effortless roll at all.

Overnight I was really stressed. I had an assessment in a few weeks. Maybe I should cancel it? Maybe I’d lost my roll? How could I enjoy paddling without a roll? Sunday my roll was worse, so in the end I just got on with surfing …

Monday I was in the pool, playing polo with the teenagers I’d been coaching. My roll was back, effortless again. And the next day I took my sea kayak to a pool session, and rolled and self-rescued maybe 50 or 100 times, no thinking, no pressure, effortless.


A chance encounter with Roger led to an email exchange (I’m in the Coastal Spirit mentoring program – which I highly recommend!), and in his answer Roger suggested looking at “choking” in sport. It seems this is what I had experienced. Choking is the phenomenon that causes famous golfers under pressure to miss easy shots that will win them major tournaments, and causes footballers to miss the goal posts entirely during championship penalty shoot outs.

Choking causes loss of automatic behaviour, turning an expert into a beginner. It is caused by focussing on the uncontrollables, which includes “am I losing my roll” or the outcome of an assessment, rather than the “now”. It isn’t helped by thinking consciously about the process (overthinking) – in fact that makes it worse. But reading around I found there are research-evidence based methods to reduce the risk of choking …

One method involves thinking about a holistic, positive description of your roll (after all it’s impossible to not think at all!) … For me this would be “effortless” which is what all my good rolls are. So I concentrate on the word “effortless” as I roll. For you the description might be very different! I suspect the phrase Roger has mentioned he uses, “I’m coming up” fits this well.

The other sounds a little odd to start with … but is to do with activating the right-hand (RH) side of the brain. This is the part of the brain that controls automatic behaviour such as an expert undertaking a task (rather than consciously controlled behaviour). The RH side of your brain also controls movement of the left side of your body. Before you try and roll squeeze your left hand on your paddle – that should activate the RH side of your brain and help reduce the risk of choking.

I found the experience of “choking” pretty scary and very stressful. It was a real relief to discover this wasn’t just me and that I wasn’t losing my roll. This was a well-known and understood phenomenon. And what’s more – I passed my 5* assessment last week. My roll on assessment? It was just fine.

The moral of this story for paddlers? Think about trying these techniques – maybe one will prevent you experiencing choking under pressure!

The moral of this story for coaches? Celebrate every roll you see.  Each roll is a victory, and the product of a lot of hard work, but each one is also a potential trigger to doubt … And think about informing paddlers about choking and how to prevent it.

The moral of this story for assessors? Don’t judge too quickly if someone fails a roll … maybe you are witnessing choking? Maybe suggesting one of these techniques could help trigger automatic behaviour and success? Maybe if you think you have seen choking you might point to this information in your feedback?

Happy paddling to you all, and may all your rolls be effortless (or whichever descriptor you choose)!

You can find further information on choking on the web – if you can’t get the original papers and would like to read them feel free to drop me an email:

A quick search on “choking in sport” will lead you to lots of articles describing what choking is.

The specific research I mention above is at:

The holistic description word technique:

Hand squeezing technique – there’s a great lay summary here:

The original research:

You can find information on Coastal Spirit’s mentoring program (which I highly recommend) here:

And if the psychological aspects of paddling are of interest check this course out:

Tavi Murray

Menorca - a sea kayaking paradise and an open crossing back to Mallorca.
Following our successful paddle around Mallorca, we took a day off and managed to stay and catch up with my good friend Pete and his family.  This also allowed us to wash and sort out kit, charge phones/cameras and pause for a moment.  

Now I had heard of this but I hadn't really realised how significant this wind was ...

The strong Tramontana wind is a fairly regular feature of the region in all seasons except summer. This variant of the French Mistral wind blows NE-SW across the landscape for 3-12 days at a time, and can be bitter when the Pyrenees are covered in snow and ice. 

This we experienced the day after paddling on to the North coast of Mallorca, with big swell and increasing winds.  Yeah, it was cold too...

The forecast looked good for Tuesday and a ferry on that evening could also work.  We had the one trolly, so we would try and walk the kayaks on, one at a time.  Getting them on from Alcudia was fine and free, getting them off was more difficult!  When we arrived we had to move the sea kayaks as one unit and with full kit and 12lts of water that was going to be challenging. We got the impression the Boss guy wanted to go home!!

Theres a special feeling walking a sea kayak on to a ferry, which feels like a real adventure ...

Wishing we had brought two trollies ... after realising it was a 2km portage to the beach form the ferry port!!

Into the beautiful setting light of the day 

We played with the swell and the light on the wall, savouring the moment ...

Rounding the Southern tip, with the top light of the lighthouse and looking for a place to camp!!

Bay after bay just looked amazing and with so much wild camping potential

And yet more magical colour and clarity ...

The cliffs were smaller than Mallorca, but still stunning

Clear evidence of cave dwellings ...

A beach bar at Cala Binidall with Wifi for forecasts and a cool beer ... perfect!

Super little camp ...

Crossing the entrance of Mahon

Time for lunch ...

The final push back to our start point, and into a head wind, but with some fun swell

With the evening paddle on the first day and 3 further days we were around Menorca and to be honest i felt like going around again and this time much slower.  After Mallorca, finding places to easily camp/bivi was such a relief and the island was so green and softer.  We had been told that camp/bivi was almost part of the Menorcan culture and the problems were more with the incomers who now own property!!

We made it about 120km around, but again we were able to cross from headland to headland on the North coast, if you had to keep closer in the mileage would go up. 

We landed back at Ciutadella and discussed options.  I was super keen for the crossing, so headed off for more lunch type food and some more water, while Barry went off to the ferry port to clarify times.  We both met back at a cafe with Wifi and decided to find a sheltered bay, to camp again for the night and if the forecast held for the morning we would go for the crossing.  

Open Crossing to Mallorca

The wind was a f3 East, there about, but 3-4km limited viability.  Not ideal, but at least the wind was in a helpful direction.  The main channel was about 40km across so we felt 7 hours and that would be done, then it was about getting back to Alcudia and were my van was.  We set off on a bearing and after 1:30 hours we lost sight of land and worked on finding some rhythm ... as we left the shelter of the island swell got more confused and running at two different angles making my sea kayak more difficult to manage ...
It felt good to see the ferry from Mallorca ... 

The confused swell that was running ...

And now the ferry from Menorca ...

Now we hadn't been able to get a map that had both islands on.  This was the best we could do ... ;)

Around the 5 hour mark we saw Mallorca, but to be honest it was confusing and disorientating.  What part of the island was it?  I'd left my Mallorca map in the van.  Well it was sunny before and I could see the whole island from Menorca!

Around 7hours, 30 minutes we had reached the Southern headland of Alcudia Bay and now the job was to paddle and find the van.  10 hours 40 and over 60 km paddled,  the job was done.  Wet tired and hungry we changed and loaded the kayaks.

Pleased to be in dry clothes and on the way to find some food.  Happy days  ;)

Big thanks to P&H Custom Sea Kayaks for the Cetus mv and Hilleberg the Tent Maker for my solo tent.  For support from Reed Chillcheater for my deck and cockpit cover, Mitchel blades for my paddle and Kokatat for paddle wear.

And once again Mr Shaw, it twas fun fella  ;)


PS:  keep your eyes open for a sea kayaking expedition back out to Menorca in October 2016, with warm seas and settled winds - email me if interested -

Paddling around Mallorca 2016
Back in 2007 when i attempted to paddle around Mallorca with good friend Pete Evans, we climbed a lot together, managing 2 weeks in the French alp's and even sailed across the English Channel but never done the sea kayaking thing together.  Well we had some mixed and mainly bad weather and we run out of time but we did manage to paddle the North coast.  Which is truly amazing!!

So when i was talking with Barry Shaw about my initial thoughts about a solo trip he was interested and suggested the Balearic's.  I didn't need much convincing and over the next week or so, as we created a plan.

It was over 1500m drive and two ferries (2 hours and then 8 or so).  We decided to go for Dover to Dunkirk and drive through France to  Spain and get the 2nd ferry from Barcelona to Alcudia on Mallorca as it was 100 euros cheaper.  We left at 0500 on the Saturday and arrived on the Monday morning at 0500, and looked for someway to park up and wait for the morning to begin!

Driving on down and some super cloud formations

Now with over 400 photos, yep ... its difficult to decide on those that paint our story.  So Ive done my best and hope you enjoy our adventure.  I'll try and keep the words to a minimum!!

We started on the SW side of the most Southerly point and this was our first lighthouse of many!!

Thankfully we explored and stopped at this small Cala, which made for a perfect
nights camp and with enough time to dry kit!

As we moved up the East coast (were going anti clockwise), we had some super assistance form the wind.

Honestly it is that kind of blue ...

This magic blow hole was so much fun ...

Day 2 had been a long day.  Not through choice, just that we couldn't find a wild enough camp.  
Time to be up early then!!

The variety and colour along the coast was fantastic

just had to be done!

having a floating break before crossing the bay of Alcudia

Whoop, whoop... Cap de Formentor, the most Northerly point

As the North coast unfolds, it was time to look for a camp!  

Do your stuff Mr Baz Dundee....

Cala Figuera and my trusted kit!

Next morning was chilly and atmospheric!!

Heading for Cala Sant Vincent for more water

Just leaving Cala Sant Vincent, in an increasing swell and wind ... we turned back, due to the next section of coastline was to be the most committing, with no landing until Sa Calobra, which even then we were unsure about.

The next day, rest and ready

The morning sun really brought the coast alive ...

We had a gentler increasing wind on our backs and smiled our way along the coastline ...

Entrance to Torrent de Pareis
Just trying to capture the height!!

The cost was that good  ;)

Getting a fly by with a large flock of Shearwater's -it was such a great sweep through  

One of many we passed along the way

Now on the SW side and on the way to the Bay of Palma!

We found it ... just a little to close to Magaluf!

Beautiful start to the next day, although 45 minutes into the crossing and the wind suddenly increased to Bf4 -5 the f5 gusting f6, offer and out of the bay!!  Thank fully 1 hour latter the aggressive front had passed  ...

We can get this at home ...

Final on the water lunch ...

Seven days in total which wasn't through choice.   It was difficult to find wild camp spots and we found out afterwards, you can get fined for wild camping!

We made the distance to be 280km although we tended to go from headland to headland and overall we were fairly lucky with being able to do that

Big thanks to Hilleberg  for the solo tent, Reed for the deck and cockpit cover and P&H Custom Sea kayaks for the demo Cetus mv - much appreciated Mathew  ;)  Further thanks to the support of  Mitchel Blades  for my paddle and Kokatat, for paddle wear.

And nice one Barry - thanks for the company  ;)


Having a good run along the coast in my Cetus ...

Claa Sant Vincent and a 4km loop before returning ...

Landing in Cala Sant Vincent

Skye’s the limit! Expedition prep time again… by Tavi Murray
Skye’s the limit! Expedition prep time again…                 

The last few weeks have been jam packed – it’s now just days before we head north to circumnavigate Skye. The Isle of Skye has some 280 km of the most amazing and committing coastline in Britain. We’re paddling in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK as two of us have parents with dementia.

I’d been planning to circumnavigate Skye since last summer, but unfortunately the person I was hoping to paddle with had an accident in December that meant she could no longer commit to the trip. So at that point I set about assembling a new team with the aid of facebook … “Team Skye” now consists of a friend, the friend of a friend and a responder to a Facebook advert! Hopefully at the end of the trip we’ll all just be friends!

Introducing Team Skye: Kevin Brown, Fiona Buttrey, Anita Daimond, Tavi Murray.

Over Easter we all met for the first time on Anglesey to paddle together. We spent a day planning (big thanks to Penny and Stan at Anglesey Outdoors for the loan of the dining room) and 2 days paddling, getting some distance in as well as practising rescues etc. We even managed a forward paddling clinic!

Since then our nights and weekends have been busy with expedition preparation. We’ve been getting in some fitness paddles, pounding the canals as well as on the coastline round Anglesey and south Wales. Kevin described the Manchester canal as feeling like a Scalextric track! I’ve managed two 40km paddles on the canal as well as some evening paddles, fewer long paddles than last year but I hope I’ve regained some of my fitness! We’ve all been to the pool practising our rolls and self-rescues too.

We’re a group with complex food needs … Various allergies and a vegetarian and a vegan team member means we need to take our own food and not rely on the small shops on Skye. We’ve arranged resupply so we don’t have to carry it all at once, and now our food has been purchased and packed. Maps have been made and we’ve all practised packing our boats. My new boat gives a bit of extra space but has needed lots of small jobs doing to get it ready from drilling the skeg to installing new deck elastics.

I think we’re ready for the off! We’re travelling north to Skye this Friday 22nd April and hope to start paddling on Sunday. Fingers crossed for some settled weather – we’d like to get some of the committing west and north coast done as soon as possible. As yet though both our start point and the direction we’ll go is weather dependent!

I’m so much looking forward to the stacks and caves and reputedly amazing coastline … we’ll post on facebook as much as we can as we make progress– send Tavi Murray a friend request if you’d like to follow us!

If you’d like to make a donation to Alzheimer’s Research UK we have a justgiving page:

By Tavi Murray

This is an independent trip that Tavi has organised separate from Coastal Spirit and Roger wishes Team Skye a successful and rewarding experience.  Paddle safe and enjoy the journey.

I look forward to hearing about your adventures on your return.

Thanks Roger.

PS: Tavi is on Coastal Spirit's mentoring programme.

Springing Forwards with Coastal Spirit
Its been a great start to 2016, with a number of Advanced sea kayaking courses, InterMediate, 3 star
training/assessment courses and InterMediate Plus.  A few Bespoke private courses, during the week and with a near full callender up until late May.

With Summer just around the corner its a good time to start focusing on what you want from 2016 and those early wishes you may have made in January, to actually action!

Here is a list below of what is available currently.

  • Introduction to sea kayaking private and unique.  Available during the week, with details available here
  • IntroMediate aimed at those who want to progress their sea kayaking skills with a gentle introduction to swell, current, wind and waves - 11/12th June, 9/10th July at £160.  Have a look here
  • InterMediate working towards 3 * performance skills - 28/29th May, 2/3rd July, 30/31st July at £160 p/p and during the week 19-22nd July at £270.  Have a look here
  • InterMediate Plus, is aimed at 4 star leader and performance skills, while working in moderate conditions - 18/19th June, 6/7th August at £160.  Have a look here.
  • Advanced sea kayaking is aimed at 5 star Leader and performance skills and at a ratio of 1:4 - 25/26th June, 23/24th July and 20/21st August at £160.  Have a look here
  • Coaching the Mind - for leaders, coaches and paddlers who want to increase their understanding, confidence and performance.  Sports Psychology in action, with the first day of theory and work shops, which also can be used as a coaching up date and the 2nd day on the water putting theory into practice.  Ratio of 1:4 and delivered by Lee Pooley and Roger Chandler.  At £180 - have a look here for more information 
  • 4 star leader training with coastal navigation and tidal planning - 25-28th July at £270.  Have a look here
  • Orkney sea kayaking for top end Intermediate paddlers 8-16th August at £655.  Have a look here
  • 5 star leader training with open water navigation and tidal planning 17-21st September at £330 and only one place left.  Have a look here

Bespoke opportunities are available form early June.  A day is set at your pace, based on what you want and need.  A great way to progress further and gain more form your time on the water.  More information can be found here

For further information on the above either follow the links or email me direct at

I hope to see you on the water

Storms and Winter Sea Kayaking, a Reflection ...
Nine Storms have impacted the UK this Winter, with three of those in 2016 - Gertrude, Henry and Imogen.  Yet in between these storms theres been time and space for some super Winter Sea Kayaking this January 2016.

The course I want to draw attention to is the Advanced course and this one in particular was the 2nd, 5* Leader preparation course I had run over the Winter.  The course was aimed at those who had done the 5* Leader training and wanted to work in 5* assessment conditions.  This was in a work shop format on specific skills and tasks or areas each person felt supported their individual action plan.  

From the forecast we had the perfect weekend with Penrhyn Mawr working for some tide race action, some swell, wind picking up from the NW for the night navigation in Trearddur Bay and then a Skerries open water crossing on the Sunday with remnants of the wind.  It had been a long weekend with conformations, further learning and further action plans created ...

A Leadership model I have used over the years which I feel really works and may help to provide a useful structure is by John Adair and is called Action Centred Leadership (ACL) and works around three circles - Task, Team and Individual.  You may have a main Task for example of leading an Advanced journey involving a couple of tide races and then sub tasks.  A sub task could be getting the team of the beach, through the surf at the start of the day.  If we consider the Task: Whats the strategy to achieve the task most effectively? How are you going to work the team, team functions, giving purpose, buddy system, sub leader/No2?  and do any of the individuals need specific attention, encouragement, how can I use individuals so there work contributes over all to the team objective?  

Generally its difficult, if not imposable to manage all three areas at once, so time is given to one of the three areas and once thats been achieved, attention needs to be given to the other areas.  If for example only the Task is focused on, one can probably see the job gets down, at the expense of the Team and the Individual!

So why not explore and experiment using the model below and enhance your leadership abilities and skills, as well as surfing that tide race wave!

Action Centred Leadership - John Adair

Tavi getting a good hit and looking solid ...

Zoe working with Debs in Buddy Leadership
The main race, with Zoe up flow, Julie centre and just the head of Debs (on the right)

Leaving The Skerries on a flood tide

Thanks to Tavi Murray for originally contacting me about the weekends and the idea.  And Julie Jones, Debs Heldon and Zoe Robinson for making the weekend work.  As for me, my personal learning was when you get a new paddle, remember to put reflective tape on it, just like you have on the other one.  So if you ever loose a black paddle at night it may then just have a greater chance of seeing it!!


PS:  Thanks to Zoe for finding my paddle, some 30+ minutes later!
explore. dream. discover

Traditional kayak building workshop - Adriana Eyzaguirre

Traditional kayak building workshop -  Adriana Eyzaguirre.
Our kayak building workshop is one of those classes that we can truly call “Once in a lifetime” – Kiliii Fish, founder of Seawolf Kayaks, is coming from the Pacific Northwest to teach the ancient art of building traditional skin-on-frame kayaks. He has been delivering the workshop for over 10 years so the experience, learning and results you will get as a participant are outstanding.

When you bring a boat to life in the traditional fashion, you create stories just as the first kayakers did and still do. You learn complex building techniques like steam-bending, but also how to understand wood, lashings and hand tools. In class we talk about kayak history, native history and paddling adventures.

Every participant creates a functional piece of art: In our workshops, every builder completes an ultralight kayak. On the final day, weather permitting, we will paddle our boats and learn about Greenland kayaking technique.

All the Seawolf kayak models undergo extensive R&D and are each designed with a particular set of needs in mind - from long expeditions and fishing, to surfing and rock gardening. Our builders will have4 models to choose from.

Our next workshop will be September in Scotland. Our plan is to follow the workshop with a two day expedition in the fiords and seas around our base.

If you want more information then contact Adriana -

Current Courses and Exciting Opportunities for 2016
2015 was a busy year, right until the end and I thank you for that!  These last few weeks have been really useful and I have relished, doing those out standing jobs, like inputting on my new website, some study and generally catching up with my self.  Except my tax return/accounts which was really boring, but had to be done.  Its currently grey, windy and sleeting outside, so its easier to be sat in front of my PC!

2016 has started well and a number of courses are already full. The new calendar or find course by category, is up and running and dates are now up to August 2016.  The following currently have places on and are going ahead:

6-7th Feb - Intermediate: aimed at working on 3 star skills and has only 2 places left, at a cost of £160.

5th March - Open Water Navigation & Tidal Planning:  An element of the 5 star leader training, although this can be a stand alone theory course as well, providing a good understanding of coastal planning is already held. Cost £90

6-9th March - 5 star leader training:  Advanced leadership and performance training, with night navigation also included.  2 days is the minimum requirement - 4 allows more time to allow for different sea conditions and processing. 5 days incl OWNTP at £330, 4 days at £270, 3 days at £230 and just the training at £160.  Gain feedback and leave with a comprehensive action plan. 2 places are left.

16th March - Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning (CNTP): Theory day around understanding weather, tides, charts and planning coastal journeys.  Part of the 4 star leader training, although this day can also be attended if you have basic tidal planning understanding and you want to increase your understanding.  Cost £90.

17-18th March - 4 Star Leader training:  Leadership and performance training in Moderate conditions.  3 days with the CNTP above is £230, just the training is £160. Gain feedback and leave with a comprehensive action plan.  3 places are left.

2/3rd April - IntroMediate:  Only 4 places on this course which gentle brings a paddler into contact with flow, wind, swell and small surf - Now only 2 places left.  Cost £160.

Two further courses I will highlight here are the Pembroke Sea kayaking, which follows the Stackpole sea kayak festival which I'm working on and 'Coaching the Mind', sports psychology course.

23-25th May - Pembroke sea kayaking:  This 2 or 3 day course is for InterMediate paddlers as a minimum and aims to paddle some to Pembroke's classic islands and locations.   It follows the stackpole sea kayak festival, so hopefully within the 5 days we will get a mix of sea conditions, weather, wildlife and with Puffins galore!!.  This is separate from the Stockpile festival so go direct to them to book on the weekend.  With me, its £230 for 3 days or £160 for 2 days and only 4 places are left.

16-17th July - Coaching the Mind:  This is the 2nd course we have run and it was a great success, in 2015.  This year we are adding a one day option, by attending only the theory course.  Or as before with the 2nd day on the water sea kayaking and putting mental skills training into action.  

The first day is theory behind sports psychology, in brief and is a mix of PowerPoint, active work shops and discussion.  This means its open to any one who is interested in improving their own performance and coaching style.  So if you rock climb, white water paddle, stand up paddle board or mountain bike, then come along.

The 2nd day is putting mental skills training into a sea kayaking environment, to enable your confidence to be able to grow and use the techniques, with on the water support.  Because of this minimum ability is InterMediate and the working ratio is 2:8 - two coaches to 8 individuals or one to four.

One day costs £90 and two days is £180.  On both days Lee Pooley, one of British Canoings national trainers and Roger Chandler owner of Coastal Spirit.

Only 8 places on the 2 day option, and 6 are currently available.  A further 4 places are available on the first day. 

With all of the above either email or message me on FB, for further information.  Check out my website for other course and if you want something unique and individualised, then consider Bespoke sea kayaking.  In the week, set at your pace and designed for you.

I hope a course above inspires you and I look forward to working with you on the water soon.


Adventures in Chile 2015
Its been cancelled, our flight from Madrid to Santiago, Nick said.  We were both tired and really could do with out this.  Thankfully after being patient and talking with Iberia, they managed to get us on a flight that evening, so we were back on track!

Before I go much further, I would like to say a BIG thanks to Pueblito Expediciones, for inviting me out to Chile, to work on the 3rd Sea Kayak Symposium.  Its a long way to travel, from the UK (30+ hours) so creating other plans and adventures, is essential for me.

After an evening in Valdivia, catching up with Kate Hives, the plan was to get a bus to Pucon and then on to Puesco Fest. A festival of whitewater paddling, local culture and supporting Patagonia without Dams.  The event was in a super and beautiful location, great campsite with fire fits shared around the site.  The white water we saw was extreme, so i for one was happy to soak up the atmosphere of the event. Evenings were taken up with live music, with a strong Reggae influence.

Back in Pucon and the lovely Ecole hostel, which served vegetarian meals with breakfast, lunches and dinners.  In town but set a few blocks back from the main street.  Ben from Kayak Chile had hired kayaks to Kate and Nick, the previous year.  So after a few words we had kayaks, a driver and a van to drop us on the river and pick us up.  Perfect!

Rio Liucura and the Rio Trancura, lower and upper were run over the following three days and a good mix from class 2-4.  It was good for me to cover familiar ground again and work on getting a more accurate line, from a previous day.  I was on a steep learning curve, that was for sure.  Everything was faster, bigger and words such as 'pushy' became common place. Nick below.

Day four and Ben said he and a few buddies were off to do the Rio Machin a class IV, 7km.  River running, amazing canyons and with some steeper rapids.  Would we like to join them ....   I was pleased with my progress and felt we had been working really well as a team.  I won't know otherwise, so lets do it!

The Rio Machin had been amazing. Yes I had been scared and excited.  I'd walk one short rapid, that looked really awkward.  And even after that decision I was still happy with my call.  I'd also paddled what felt like the crux rapid,  which had taken me a few moments to gain my focus.  I new I could make the right to left, must make move.  Although what followed was much more hazy.  Which probably explains why I landed in a hole and took a moment to roll up!!

A truly beautiful river.  Technical and fast and at other times allowing enough time to pause.  It was by far the hardest sustained and committing white water I had ever paddled.  I was chuffed and tired!!

The following day I had booked to climb Villarica, with a company, as this was now a requirement.  That evening was the first clear view of the Volcano towering over the town.  Earlier in 2015 there had been an eruption, so the Volcano had been closed.  Deciding to open the Volcano had moved very slow for the local companies, but at least there seemed to be a more standardised approach.  For example, you could only access the mountain through booking on with a company and no more than 12 people with 3 guides also.  I was looking forward to getting my legs working and at 2,800 mt, they were going to get worked!!

It took about 4.5 - 5 hours to get to the top and the view was amazing.  It had been tough and I had felt the effects of altitude - feet very heavy, lungs not getting enough air and shuffling forwards.   Max 12 people and 3 guides made sure people moved at an appropriate pace.  Coming down was a total blast and took about 1.5 hours and is another advantage of going early in the season when there is more snow around.  Your given a plastic bum sledge, which you clip into your waist belt.  On the steeper sections you slide on the waterproof trousers and as the slope gets gentle, then the bum sledges are sat on and off you zoom.  Each person has an ice axe to help control speed.  I LOVED IT!!

Id never done a whitewater road trip before and the 4 of us fancied hiring a pick up truck and kayaks off Ben and heading over to the West to paddle the Rio Fuy class 3+ and 4k and then the Rio San Pedro class 3 and 18km.

This is the Rio Fuy from the bridge and the get on is down in the eddy on the right.  The guide book said the first section was steeper, then it eased off.  This was my 5th white water day and 6th day of action.  It was going like a train and all of the other rivers, had begun steady and allowed me time to warm up.  This was fast, powerful and I was feeling anxious.  My quiet inner voice was saying 'drive the van and run the shuttle' and i tried positive self talk and actually talked my self into running the river.  After all its only 4km and I'd paddled harder and much further ....

As i left the eddy, I wasn't happy and then I was hit, by a wave and I was over .... I rolled and paddled hard to the edge of the river and got into another eddy.  I looked down river watching the other bounce about.  As I left the eddy, wave after wave hit me, it was like i was in a boxing ring and all I could do was take the punches.  I was finding it difficult to see any form of line, then I hit a hole.  My weight was to far back and my bow went over my head and I got recirculated.  What happened next I'm really not sure, but I hung in ... missed another roll and I felt I had moved out of the stopper, I set my self up for another roll and then felt the rocks pressing against me ... time to exit!

I popped up, grabbing my kayak and paddle kicking for the bank.  Nick soon had his bow towards me and paddled backwards into the eddy.  Few ... my first swim in 5 years!!

For the next 3.5 km Christian and Kate led and Nick worked with me.  The end was a relief and I was pleased to have kept it together on the other rapids.  Christian below, we met him at Puesco Fest and we all got on well.  He was from France and had dovetailed well into the team and was clearly enjoying him self. 

That afternoon we drove across to the start of the Rio San Pedro and I reflected back on the day. Was it wise to do the next river?  I didn't want to hold my buddies back and create difficulties but it was supposed to be an easier river and it certainly looked like it started gentle!!

Well it was a super nights sleep, really peaceful and a still morning.  There was a river gauge and it was reading 1:8 mt, which based on the fact there was others further up the bank, suggested it was not in spate and more like normal conditions?!

I did a load of stretching and had a leisurely breakfast.  This worked well.  I took my self off 30 mins before every one else and did load of rolls.  Working on the belief and understanding that mind and body are linked, so if I can influence my physiology I can also effect my psychology.  I got my self into a good place and I felt happy to give it all a go. 

Two rapids had been huge.  Amazing wave trains, like South Stack race being funnelled into a narrow channel.  I just kept looking for my amigos, working hard to see my line and deciding to follow or go more left or right of them.  With also an awareness and one eye on any recirculating holes.  None appeared that were problematic, and could be easily avoided. Body forward, eyes up and concentrate on the line, was my mantra.  I was very pleased to have decided to paddle the Rio San Pedro as it felt like a fitting end to my time before SKPS.

It had been totally amazing and good, to be in that student learning place.  Uncomfortable at times with a need to dig deep, but also to be reminded of that inner voice that's often quite and gentle, yet is so knowledgeable.  

The four amigos, with Kate, Christian, Nick and my self.  Thanks to both Kate and Nick for the white water photos and for sharing a super time in Chile.  And enabling me to achieve a BIG tick on my 50 things to do in 50's - paddling ww outside the UK!


explore. dream. discover

Chile and the 3rd South Pacific Sea Kayaking Symposium
To have been invited back in 2013 to the first Sea Kayak Symposium in South America, was very special.  Two years later and having just finished the 3rd SKPS I feel very privileged, to be part of a great coaching team, with a well organised event and to work with the wonderful Chilean people.

The first two events had been in November and this year, the 4 days were moved to December.  We had 3 super sunny days, although the Patagonian wind was still present on two of those days, the venue of Chaihuin provided suitable shelter and challenge.

Our first evening in Chaihuin, was very special and the local community were the food is served produced a cocktail buffet of local produce.  The time, effort and love each had put into the preparation was clear.  Many thanks.

The Great team of Eduardo Saldias, Jorge Muller Roberto Saldias (with the cap).

The first morning as sea kayaks arrived (high proportion of P&H) and were unloaded was colourful and my sessions for the 4 days ranged from Rough Water Rescues, Coastal Navigation and Tidal Paddling - practical and Rock Gardening x2 days.

I let the photos below tell there story ....

Paulo and his Rockpool Taran 16, who was my super interpreter for 2 days.  Many thanks my friend, it was hugely appreciated.

Working with James from Anglesey, UK (one on the left)  was great and we had some good conditions for the rock gardening.  The before, as the wave hits and ...

The after ....

My final day was working with Nick (from Anglesey, UK) and who's Spanish has really developed - nice one fella.  The day although bright and sunny had a stronger wind and a bigger swell was running.   Areas to work were chosen carefully!! It was also good to be working with students earlier in the week and to see their progress ....

After a fantastic surprise evening meal, in a beautiful venue - a wooden shack in the woods, with a big fire pit.  An Asado was cooked for us all.  This is a traditional Chilean bar b que of a sheep slowly cooked on a big spit.  It was so delicious and a really special end to the event.  Once again, I had left my camera behind, so no pictures, sorry!!

The next morning we said our good byes, as a few of the coaching team were going straight to the airport.  While the rest of us travelled back the hostel in Valdivia.  I'll write another Blog soon about my travels and adventures in Chile, but for now a BIG thanks to  and the super friendly people of Chile, for such a wonderful time.  

Ciao, gracias.



InterMediate Sea Kayaking - Anglesey, North Wales
Our InterMediate sea kayaking course aims to move you towards solid 3 star performance skills, in wind, swell, surf and current.  And as you can see form the forecast below, it was going to be an exciting weekend of interesting weather.  Lets be honest, though.  What an amazing Autumn we've had!

Simon, Mandy and Douglas were up for the weekend and at least we had a gentle start to the day.  Trearddur bay on the West coast of Holyhead Island, Anglesey, would allow us to go into wind and then get blown back, when we decided to leave.

We started with number of circuits, working on down and upwind turns left and right.  Then running down wind, with emphasis on the use of body, along side a stern rudder to assist the turn and trying to keep momentum.  Mandy below enjoying the conditions ...

Simon below, with a low angled stern rudder ...

Douglas below ... as we headed into one of the sheltered bays and then re tracing our paddle strokes back into the bay as the wind began to arrive ...

The sea now go a little more confused, with reflected waves and now a Beaufort F4 wind was blowing ...

Time for some surfing ....  Mandy below on her way back out ....

Sunday and with the aim of working those down wind skills a journey from Moel Y Don to Menai Bridge, with the last 3 hours of the ebb, would create wind against tide conditions.   the main channel was over 1mt and surfing white tops ...  We were on a smaller tide, which was helpful and kept to the Anglesey side.  There was a couple of surging 1mt swells but over all it was more 0.5 mt as we eddy hoped our way along.

Just below the Britannia Bridge, was a super playful area which was more sheltered, and great for eddy turns and a couple of surfs.

After lunch we headed on through the Swellies which were now flowing with us and a couple of rolls later, for Douglas and then a self rescue finished the day.  Reflections and hot drinks in Dylan's wrapped up the day and the weekend.

The next Winter InterMediate weekend is the 6/7th February (1 place left), March is already full and then its the 9/10th April  (5 places currently left).  Calendar for the rest of the year will be out in the next month.

Interested?  Then email me at


Below is a refection from Douglas Barrie on his Bespoke day and the weekend Intermediate course -

Theory Into Practice: The Endless Trials and Tribulations of an Intermediate Paddler

A personnel day with Roger provided the opportunity to road test whether my attendance at a “Coaching the Mind” weekend during the summer had managed to permeate my rather thick skull. Never a quick learner I am now at the age where practice begets more practice, and perhaps in the fullness of time, and then a bit, some improvement.

With following seas a particular Bogey-Mermaid of my own, the forecast conditions for the day were well suited to provide an examination of whether I would be able to grasp some of the tools offered by the two-day course on “mind control”. I’m not particularly bothered being munched by a wave when beach surfing, within the reasonable parameters of no broken bones or permanent scarring, but put the same wave in a following sea environment, and it’s that three-cracker dry mouth.

Irrespective of my personal prognosis, I’d recommend heartily the course: first of all it’s a good laugh, well delivered, and provides a balanced mix of the theory and practical.
Out at the neck of Trearddur Bay with a force 3-4 breeze and a good meter swell (Roger’s measure, not mine, my following sea swell ratings have been based traditionally more around pallid knuckles and facial blood drainage) I was bobbing around in a way that previously has tempted the flight response in my neo-cortex.

Was I happy as a sand boy – not quite- but with a bit of visualisation and self-talk (the latter unprintable, but for those with the misfortune to have made my acquaintance you might imagine it was at the fruity end of my already green-grocer rich vocabulary,) I felt I could manage what was going on around me. As the day progressed, and under the invaluable tutelage and re-assuring presence of Roger, I settled more into the bouncy water and even began to suspect that within reason I actually might begin to enjoy the surfing opportunities of a following sea – I just visualise the golden sands of a hazard-free beach about 30 meters in front of every wave.
Surfing, Tiderace's and Dolphins!!
 Flavio was over again from Switzerland for a few days coaching before the 4* Leader training.  With a good swell running we focused on surfing, bringing all those skills together, with the excitement of the ride.  The waves gently rolled in and as skills developed we moved further right, to the steeper waves.

Two other paddlers arrived, who were Mark and Amanda out for the day.  Apparently Rhoscolyn had some flow but no waves ... come and join us here then, was my reply!!

On the way back to Rhoscolyn, we nipped out to the Beacon to see if there was any change and then headed back in to wrap up the day.

With NW winds strengthening overnight, a fair swell was running into Trearddur Bay and we were soon amongst the waves.  These waves had more power ...  Flavio was really getting the idea of leaning, using the body to make the boat work for you ...

And as its likely at some point we did some back surfing ....  as the surf began to drop off, we headed along the coast towards Porth Dafach, in some good moderate conditions.

Day 3,  I was now keen to put the well honed beach surfing back in to a tidal environment.  harry Furlongs race, with a SW was nice and protected and on a neap would give us enough to play with.  Eddy turns, with low brace and carved, then maintaining position in the flow ...

 Out to West Mouse and then on around Carmell Head and time to take in some lunch ....

Not a bad lunch spot, looking across to the Skerries ....

Day 4 and the aim was Point Lynas, with a F4 SW forecast, we could build on the previous day and put some rescues into the mix too.  However, while taking the kayaks off a nice couple said we've just seen these, as the guy showed me a photo he had taken on his camera.  Its a dolphin and looks like it could be a Risso's Dolphin ... they, were about 1 mile out close to a boat, which was observing them and just west of East Mouse.

We ran down on the ebbing tide and sat and watch a pod of around 10-14, with a few younger ones in the midst.  They were slowly moving around not bothered by us or the boat, which had its engine ticking over.  Two guys on the boat were taking photos of the dorsal fins for records.

We slowly followed them as they moved closer to the coast and I'd say it was just over rate hour we shared there company.  The pod came in about 80 meters from the cliffs and then started moving out again, occasionally slapping their tails.  It was a totally magic moment, a first for Flavio and the longest Ive been with a pod for.

Apparently Risso Dolphins are closer to Whales, they have a flat front forehead and are deep water feeders.  Squid and Octopus are what they love but they will go for whats also about.

Last weekend a rare sighting of around 50 Risso Dolphins were sighted on Anglesey, by the sea watch foundation.

Full of smiles, WOWs and how amazing was that, comments we headed into Bull Bay for some lunch  ...


A GOOD EIGG & MORE - By Tracy Arnold

What to do ? Camping from our kayak in Scotland with Whirlygig winds forecast or a Greek getaway with no kayaking and long faces ?
We couldn't forgo the camping,  we had some adventure food to trial and I needed to take my Pilgrim exped out for one last wild camp.
The forecast for Scotland included a couple of light wind sunshine days so we took our chances and many maps so we could be responsive to wind direction and like the two big kids we are excitedly set off . One bonus of being an adult and excited is we didn't ask each other if we were nearly there yet .
Parking up at the campsite at  at Caepaich outside Arisaig we had a lovely late afternoon paddle in sunshine and no wind.  We planned our next days crossing to Eigg , an open crossing of around 15k from the campsite.

We set off from within 3m of the van on the campsite reckoning on enough time to see us at the port on Eigg as the tide turned.  Winds were very light and 1knot of tide was with us .We had slight swell on our starboard stern which meant i had some sweeping and sitting in different positions to get the tracking right .I hadn't paddled this boat loaded for years.

The views were fantastic.  The Cuillins to our right and Eigg and Rum ahead. We paddled by a lone male Eider ,a couple of young Shearwaters that actually grumbled at us as we past, watched Gannets diving and saw a pod of about 10 porpoises.

A lunch stop near the campsite just outside the Port at Galmisdale and then onwards along committing coastline to the campsite of Camas Sgiotaig or Singing Sands on the northwestern side.
The coastline is stunning - amazing geology. Looking up at the Sgurr outlined against the blue sky as we paddled north was fantastic. Grazing cattle gave us an idea of scale of the height of the cliffs. Large caves are present on this side one of which was the site of a massacre hundreds of years ago.
 The sea state was a little higher on this side given that the wind was n- Nw.

We made camp  high up the beach on a fairly small area of grass and proceeded to enjoy watching the sunset behind Rum . We also managed to get the weather forecast which gave f 5-6 NW veering N the next day. We thought we would decide the onward commitment when we had the forecast in the morning.

The wind got up overnight ,we could not access the forecast so we decided to play safe and complete the circumnavigation of Eigg .We launched through 1m breaking surf and paddled north just as the tide turned against us. The swell was about 0.5 -1m at that point but petered out as we left the NE side after catching a few surfs on the way. Clear waters, many jelly fish and a Minke Whale added to our eye candy as we travelled along to the harbour to catch the ferry back to Mallaig.
Eigg is a community owned island and has earn green credentials for its management of its estate and a good cafe with a bar can be found at the Port ,  general store and Post Office . Leave food in your tent oat your peril f you stay at the campsite near the port. Apparently a rat enjoyed some teacakes that didn't belong to him (advice from paddler we met)

It was hard work moving the loaded kayaks off the ferry - thank goodness for the trolley but after a cup of tea in Mallaig, a chat with some locals, we paddled off in glorious late afternoon sunshine.
 The next leg of our Journey took us north from Mallaig to Inverie in Knoydart a distance of about 13k . We arrived just after 7pm . Just in time for the MIDGES.

Apparently the weather had been so bad the poor midges had not had time to hatch and live their lives so a couple of nice weeks had allowed them to make up for lost time. Note to self - ALWAYS take head nets unless it is actively freezing. Smidge is very good if you've never tried it .
Inverie was really beautiful but has a long carry if arriving at low water (Eds note: if the far right stream is used, as you look at the beach, one can get closer to the beach/camp areas.  Its close to a hide).  Thankfully this was not the case for us.

The next day dawned bright and beautiful - I watched a tick crawling over the outside of our inner tent and delighted in  the fact I was inside and he was out and ensured I tucked trousers my socks !
Knoydart is also owned and run by its community and is really stunning.  Westerly views look back across the head of Loch Nevis towards the Sound of Sleat , easterly looking into the mountains where a 2 day trek ends up at Glenfinnan.  We were so fortunate to see it in good weather and we made the most of the sunshine and katabatic winds keeping the midges at bay sunbathed and explored the village area.

A friendly cafe serving good food was a welcome find and there is a bunkhouse near the campsite that charges £4 for a shower which includes use of towel. The campsite loo is a composting one which was built using traditional methods and has a turf roof and hydro power is produced from the river.  The water is untreated being from the local loch and the advice is to boil it but It made delicious tea.No VHF signal so we had to  interrogate a fisherman to get a forecast for the following day which was NW-N F 3.

A misty day dawned and we set off at high water the following morning to paddle back to the van - about 20k. We sat and watched a white tailed Eagle for a while on the way out of Loch Nevis and had a pretty paddle back . Heavy rain rinsed us off as we came to the end of our journey and many seals popped up around us as we got closer to the campsite.
A long haul up the beach was necessary but after a break neck sort out of gear and superman type change into something more comfortable all was well with a cup of tea in hand.
Arisaig Inn is a lovely place to plan, eat, drink and enjoy the music and that's just what we did that evening, deciding to move to Glenuig the next day.

A leisurely morning with a clear cool start promising a beautiful day saw us finally launching from the jetty at Glenuig for an experiment to see how far into Loch Moidart we could get. The tide was with us as we paddled out in anticipation. The waters were crystal clear with many fish, sea stars and anemones' visible beneath.

A very interesting exercise in translating physical evidence to the map took place as we paddled south towards Eilean Shona and  entered the North Channel. It was an amazing day - we met a man who was practically bursting with excitement who told us how amazing he thought the coastline and the day was and that it was his first time sea kayaking. How fantastic !

 Eddy hopping up the North Channel was very pretty and we  just managed to paddle through  portaging about 5m over the ford. After getting back in the boats the water was flowing out with us which was very convenient ! We paddled round Riska Island admiring  13th Century Castle Tioram which was ruined by fire in the 1700s and lunched opposite on Eilean Shona enjoying the sunshine. Paddling west through the South Channel we passed quite a few seal covered skerries and found it difficult to give them wide berths on some occasions.

The journey back to Glenuig was an exercise in joyous relaxation and just being in the moment.
It was a super trip covering about 26k and a great finish to a wonderful holiday.

Tracy and Andy Arnold.

Foot note - The above Blog, is about an independent journey that Tracy & Andy made and aims to highlight and provide a snap shot of what others are doing, who are part of the mentoring programme.  Through coaching, support and encouragement from Coastal Spirit - great read and what a top time, you both had.  I love the mermaid shot at the end ...   ;)  
Thanks, Roger

Sea Kayaking Courses this Winter and into the Spring!
The following Anglesey, North Wales courses from CoastalSpirit, have a few spaces left on them:

Open Water Navigation and Tidal Planning (OWNTP) - 30th Sep or 24th October - theres no need to be going for your 5 star leader.  Have a good understanding of coastal tidal planning and keen to learn more complex planning.  Cost £90 and its a theory based day.

InterMediate sea kayaking with 3 star training (and assessment if suitable) - 3/4th October and at £160 for the weekend.  2 places left

Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning (CNTP) - 10th October and £90 for the day.  No need to be going for the 4 star leader award.  Having a basic understanding of coastal tidal planning is useful.

4 Star Leader Training - 11/12th October at £160 or with the CNTP above £230 for the 3 days. 2 places left

5 Star Leader Training - 25/26th October (incl night navigation) at £160 or with the OWNTP on the 24th Oct £230.  2 places left

Winter Sea Kayaking is at three levels, so you can get more from the course and allows you to keep those skills active, develop further and meet like minded people.  So when the Summer arrives you can go and have your own adventures ...

And may be, if were lucky, experience Anglesey and Holy Island as its rarely seen ... Gogarth Bay above

InterMediate Sea Kayaking for those working on 3 star skills:  7/8th Nov; 6/7th Feb and 12/13th March.

InterMediate Plus Sea Kayaking is for those who are working towards the 4 star leader award or similar skill level and want coaching and to develop further while in a moderate sea environment: 19/20th Dec; 23/24th Jan and 20/21st Feb

Advanced Sea Kayaking is for those who are working towards the 5 star Leadership award or similar skills and want further support, coaching and guidance in an advanced water environment: 21/22nd Dec; 30/31st Jan and 5/6th March.

Further details on the Winter weekends can be found here

Move towards 2016 with fresh skills, confidence and ability.  Contact me for further details or to book a place.

Thanks, Roger

roger chandler

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Our Facebook reviews
Stella King

"There are a number of wonderful things about Roger. He has a very light touch in his coaching, and he's always smiling and encouraging you to relax into the enjoyment of the day"

Tavi Murray

"And I'm probably learning more from his mentoring now, as my paddling horizons expand, than ever before. I can't count how many questions I've asked... and he's answered. Roger has the knack of making that suggestion that radically changes your thinking and moves your paddling on in leaps and bounds."

Simon Turnbull

"I've just completed a two day 4* Sea kayak training course with Roger. Having been coached by Roger in the past, I choose to do this course with Roger because I knew I would get a great deal from the course. My expectations were certainly well and truly met"

We come recommended
Wanted to say a big thank you for the day, really enjoyed it ...  the photos are great too. 
Darren from Yorkshire