Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

CCKA Family paddle 5 March 2011

March 5, 2011

Another beautiful spring morning for a paddle down the Bann.  Five open boats and two kayaks took to the water at the University watersports centre.

Robin Ruddock as usual was a fantastic guide for the trip, pointing out all the local areas of interest enroute and a quick lesson or three in local wildlife identification.

The water was calm and not a wisp of wind – hard to believe winter was just a few weeks away.

We stopped of for coffee just along side the path which runs to Portstewart beach it wasn’t long before the natives popped past for a wee look see.  I was quietly worried that I would be talked into giving beginners lessons to the bunch but it was apparent they weren’t interested in paddling they were just nosey.

We continued a bit further to the coastguard cottages where the trip ended 😦

cant wait to get out again!! Oh I mean tomorrow – 2/3 star training at Portrush !! Its great to be back at it!!


Whiterocks skive 2, 9/9/09

September 9, 2009

Now its hard for me to rise out of bed on a day off but, when there is a paddle on offer well thats a different story!!!

I met up with Andy at the whiterocks, portrush for 9am and I will admit i was a bit scared and questioned my reasoning.  Lots and lots of beautiful waves, big waves that is and bigger than i  had ever been out in.


Andy was first off the beach and was straight out through the white stuff and caught a lovely wave on the way in. Jealous, yes! Alot to aspire too – yes!


So attempt one at getting out, fail, on beach.  The waves were well powerful.  I loved to see if there was some way of getting out but it was just a tumble drier session for me.  After a few tries to get to the green I decided to play about in the mosh pit at the beach.    Managed a few nice slides back to the shore with minimal spillage.

I retired to the shore to watch Andy and realised that my lack of strength, heavy paddle, tiring arms and my fear were limiting me.  Surveying Andy I watched him perform an amazing sommersault nose over tail.  I’m not sure how intentional this was but I hope someone caught it on camera!!!


Andy gave me a go in his nice little valley surf kayak with an equally beautiful (light and short) Robson paddle.  Totally different boat in the surf!! Nice  bit scarey for me punched though the waves well and I was able to edge it a lot better than the wee uni boat I was in.  I want one of them paddles – so easy to get speed up compared to the log I was using.


I am totally exhausted now!  Ready for a big soak and to scrub the sand outta the mop!!

Woohooo Back on the water

September 8, 2009

After what seems like an age (3 months)  I finally got out on the water yesterday. 

I met up with Andy at the whiterocks, Portrush, but the surf was well um wasnt’y

It seemed like such a shame not to check out the other beaches in the Port.  West was rubbish with the east looking slightly better, that was until we got the boats to the shore….


After a couple of hours and rather small and infrequent waves we decided to call it a day.


Fingers crossed tomorrow is a bit better 9am start grrrrr

Kayak withdawl symptoms

June 20, 2009

No kayaking, no canoing, not swimming no nathan!! Bah humbug to work. On a happier note, I passed my degree with a 2.1 and I will be in NI for the next 3 years doing a Phd aka more paddling 🙂

Surf tomorrow please sea gods puuurrrleassseeeee. I need to paddle bad, I even looked at the Bush today in Armoy thinking I could paddle as far as my dads in stranocum, hmm – not on your own my deary!!

Paddling Home, Ballintoy to Ballycastle 4th June 2009

June 5, 2009

I dont think I have ever got home so quick from Belfast! Work sucks but is more than compensated by my desire to paddle!!  The paddle was from Ballintoy to Ballycastle, having consulted Robin I was to remain in B/C to take drivers back to the start point.  I was panicking a bit about this paddle as the last time I was out I went for a wee swim and I had a look at the sea and it was um interesting.  High tide was to be ~10pm so leaving at 8pm i kinda reckoned  this trip was going to be fun and wet.

I was only out of ballintoy harbour when I started to feel sea sick, John paddled out with me a bit, talking to me tryin to get me to chill out a bit.  Paddling when you are stressing is a disaster, you are so uptight and rigid.


The paddle out to larry bane was challanging enough for me as I had started to feel a bit sicky and I was petrified as we rounded the headland.  My favourite stroke for the evening was skiming the paddle over the surface- thanks John for reminding me to keep my paddle in the water – thanks to the tips I had received  from harbour to here from John I managed to not go swimming!!


The view of the Rope bridge from the water was amazing!!  I had been looking forward to paddling under it but there was too much swell!! No swimming today!   As we paddled on, I realised that my forward paddling has changed, I didnt seem to be tiring as much.

The coastline was filled with caves, cracks and the most amazing wildlife, its hard to believe  I have never seen this part of the coast before, despite living here.   Kinbane head was a real treat – as was sneeking “under it”.

As we continued along the coastline a little seal popped up to great us!!  If you ever have the opportunity to paddle this bit of coastline do it – from the sunset to the different perspective of “my local” you will not be dissapointed.

(I didnt manage to swim either!!)

Portna cannal, Kilrea 25th May 2009

May 27, 2009

This is a place holder for the lovely little outing Julie, Marting and myself hadwith Robert to help us brush up on our open canoe before our UKCC 1 assessment this weekend

Cushendun Maritime Festival

May 24, 2009

I was really lucky to have the opportunity to assist the splash and dash session ran by Ardclinis. I am gutted that it was on the same day as the sea kayaking race and the raft race but to be honest I’m not that competitive and probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it. There will always be next year!!

I was really nervous about the idea of working with Ardclinis and also the kids. No point finishing the coaching course if I don’t enjoy doing the coaching!

The festival itself had a great turn out with exhibitors including the Coast Guard, Ambulance and Fire Brigade. My First role of the day was to ensure a model of the life boat didn’t get swished out to sea!!

The first group of 6 hit the water with Damian leading the session. I very soon realised that in a splash and dash session the main thing is water confidence and making the kids enjoy themselves. Damian coached me through the whole session, questioning me throughout the session as to what the paddlers were doing wrong and how to correct. For me the day was totally invaluable.

I had my sea kayak on the top of car all day and had been itching to get it out onto the sea. Before we had packed up a few nice waves appeared and John, Matthew, Kevin and myself went out for a surf. It was another bailing session for the first while but eventually I was managing to stay on the surf. John gave me a telling off about my braces and spent 5 or 10 minutes rocking me up and down having me high or low brace to save myself!! Was the best days craic I have ever had.

The whole day was totally rewarding- It was so nice to see the kids leaving so happy after the session!

The Craic…

May 18, 2009

Well its been a while since I have posted anything of interest- the last few weeks have been manic to be honest! Dissertation handed in, impromptu trip to lower lough erne, exams, and now freedom to paddle every day. I don’t know myself now!

The Lower Lough Erne trip was fantastic, my first real trip out in albert! We paddled to Devenish first and had a wee look arounf before heading up to Castle Archdale, checking off all the wee islands on the way up. One of the islands was in full bloom of bluebells which was so beautiful. Passing the Manor hotel we were entertained by a sailing regatta. Definately a trip to do again.

Just last week I was out again with CCKA paddling from Portballintrae to Portrush, via the Skerries. It wasn’t really off to a good start when I decided to follow the more proficient for a bit of rock hopping and managed to go for a swim (thanks Steve, for fishing me out). The rest of the trip was amazing. I have never seen such beautiful coastline and I never ever realised that it would be right on my door step. Dunluce castle from the sea- outstanding, whiterocks- equally, if not more outstandig. I was a bit apprehensive paddling out the Skerries, I had never ever been that far away from the coast (or the harbour before). The Skerries were beautiful, a seal and a million or so birds came to great (and poo) on us.

On Sunday I took my two sisters to the have a go day in Portstewart. They had a great day orienteering and shooting arrows at targets. Their day was made when Steve (from xplore outdoors and fisher of Michelle fish!) took the pair of them out sea kayaking. Its great now to have two sisters so very keen to kayak however I apparently have to purchase 2 more sea kayaks and gear to take them out!!

My mission this week is too work out how best to fish from my kayak without swiming and without having to drill big ignorant brackets onto my boat.!!

Group picture

‘Have-a-Go’ Day Sunday 17th Portstewart Strand

May 16, 2009

If you fancy a challenge and the opportunity to try an exhilarating
mix of outdoor activities come along to Portstewart Strand.
The ‘Have-a-Go’ Day will be a great chance for all the family to try
canoeing, orienteering, surfing, archery, blow-karting and lots more!
Go on. Have-a-Go!
Portstewart Strand BT55 7PG 11am-5pm

Car admission : £4.50 free national trust members

Link to flyer

Goals for summer 2009

April 27, 2009

I think it is pretty obvious that my heart lies deep in the big blue ocean. I am so smitten with kayaking I actually dream about rolling. I probably spend more time obessing about kayaking than I do studying for uni, which is quite concerning.

I am feeling healthier, not drinking and nearly off the ciggies too and all this I accredit to kayaking.

So I have decided to set myself some goals.

3B’s? Body,Blade and Boat.
Body – get as fit as possible to do well at kayaking. I am just about recovered from the weekend now, that is not natural to be so exhausted.
Blade – Perfect and be able to teach all the strokes I know to date.
Boat – get into as many boat as possible. If someone offers a go, I am forbidden to say no.

I’ll admit canoe is not my basket so my objective for this summer is to get to 3 star standard in open canoe. Why do something I dislike? Well my guess is I only dislike it as I am crap at it. I am quiet happy to jump into any kind of kayak now but I still have hang ups with open boats.

I also intend to make myself a paddle as I have discovered that i struggle with a lot of the club paddles as I cant pull them through the water. Square tipped paddles are out for me so I will have to make a beavertail or ottertail to help me with that part. Also I need a short paddle being the petite little parcel I am.

Ok I think thats enough goals for now, I will review in September!