Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Commando Kayaking

I rather like Dubside's attitude to kayaking, and in particular one of his 'rules' for commando kayaking:
"2. Kayaking effected so as to render the automobile superfluous."

It does go against the grain a bit to have to use your car to get out paddling. Not so bad when there are a few of you, but when you are by yourself..........

So, this Sunday, with a great weather forecast and only myself to paddle with, I decided to cycle to the Mermaid (Foel, Anglesey), towing my kayak, paddle down the Menai strait as far as Nelson, and then return with the tide. About 10k of cycling and 20k of paddling. The hardest bit by far being the mainly uphill return journey from Foel to home. Strange how it always seems to be uphill on the way back from the sea.

Towing the kayak (Rainbow, Laser) was suprisingly straightforward. I had looked at a few ideas on the web, and come up with a very simple design for a bracket (piece of plywood) at rear axle level on the bike, connected to the kayak via a couple of bungies.

Of course it would have been a good idea to oil the kayak trolley wheels, and even better if the trolley had proper bearings, but it was a warm summers day and I was not in any hurry. Also the friction did provide some extra control on downhill sections.

My main tip, if you are thinking of trying something similar, would be to keep as much weight (kayaking kit, food, water, etc) as possible directly over the trolley while towing, rather than packed in the way you might for a trip.

Monday, 29 June 2009


Great visit to Cornwall (based at Gentle Jane in the Camel estuary). 5 trips in 8 days including one of just 4k to the pub for lunch, and 22k out round Pentire head to smugglers' cove.

Conditions good apart from one day, but pretty lumpy around Pentire head and through the Mouls channel. Sea sickness struck one of our group so Rich and I both got some towing practice - much easier than expected with a skinny paddle - but I am beginning to realise that the supposed limitations of Greenland style paddles are mostly in the minds of people that don't use them.

Another example would be launching in surf - now that I have seen four paddlers do this without any problems, I am not sure what the concern is.