What is your job and briefly what does it involve? I am a Professor, so I mainly teach Geography students and do research, primarily on economic, social and cultural change.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Enthusiastic Cheerful Adventurous (OK, Julie told me them…)
What is your favorite & best stuff: food/music/interests/weekend/ movie? Red wine. Oh, and white wine. Pubs. Food. Being on the water. Films. Walking and paddling with Julie and Harvey the dog. Travel. Manchester Utd. and St. Johnstone..
What does sea kayaking offer you? Getting out into a totally different environment and experiencing it. Just amazing being out on the sea, and then finding yourself sharing the local wildlife’s world.
It’s a challenge as well, and something that you can approach as you like, whether it’s a gentle trip or attempting to manage wind, surf and tidal current. Spending a week journeying is a fantastic feeling, going with wind and tide and finding a new rhythm to life. It completely takes you out of ‘normal’ life. It feels like an all round physical, sensual and psychological experience.
What have you achieved to date through paddling with Coastal Spirit? I started paddling about five years ago, from a complete beginner to where I am now. I gained the BCU 3* sea qualification and have since been working on getting a more consistent roll, particularly in rougher water. I did the BC 4* leader training summer 2010. The British Canoeing (BC) awards are a good way of focusing skills development, but I think the Coastal Spirit experience will develop you as a paddler whether you are interested in the awards or not.
I originally got into the sport for the expedition and journeying side of things, so I’ve also been on a Norway and west coast Scotland Coastal Spirit expeditions and have learned about how to pack boats for camping for a week. Last summer Julie and myself did our first self-contained 2 day paddle with a camp! More generally, I’ve learned a lot about what you need to be a good all round paddler: skills, safety, tidal planning, kit, expedition planning, navigation and, most of all, confidence!
In 2017 I prepared my self to be part of the team to paddle the Roof of Britain (RoB). A journey that takes in the West coast of Scotland from Fort William, Cape Wrath and the North coast to the infamous pentland Firth and down the East coast Inverness - 700km and in 28 days!
Why Coastal Spirit? Very friendly, enthusiastic and supportive coaching (and Roger does have the ability to keep a straight face when you are doing your worst!). High quality of service, from the coaching to the kit and transport and knowledge of the area, wildlife etc and the follow-up photographs (usually of you doing your worst!).
Close attention to detail and working out what you have done and what you want to get out of the day and your longer term development. There are also times when you really have to trust your coach to get you back out of the water!
What are you looking forward to and where would you most like to paddle next and why?
I am looking forward to getting out paddling more! Soon up to Scotland and then I am off to Seattle, the Isles of Scilly, and Im also keen to plan and manage a paddle around Anglesey (update - completed with Julie in 3.5 days, during August 2011, with a super 50k day). Longer term I’d really like to paddle in Greenland (achieved 8/2012), Self supported 10 day trip along the West coast of Sweden 7/2015 and the Isle of Orkney 8/2015.
Alaska and Canada’s Queen Charlotte Islands, for a combination of remote locations and great scenery and wildlife and different cultures.
Choose 3 words to sum up your time with Coastal Spirit?
Fun, Challenging & Confidence building (OK, that’s 4!)
"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"
"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."
"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"