Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Watching the people enjoying the river made me wish l could be out on the water as well but l didn't see how. I had kayaked when l was a youngster back home at a holiday camp l used to go to, l spent hours out on the water & loved it. I hadn't allowed for the fact that Brian was at work behind the scenes.

I had been at a fairly local practice, only 60mile round trip/day for about 4 weeks and had a couple weeks more to go on return l got speaking to one of the vet's vet as he had mentioned his "new boat". It turned out this was an inflatable kayak, my thoughts were the plastic play things you see on the beach, boy was l wrong. Reading up it turns out one make (one of the cheapest ones) has done the Amazon River 2xs in the 60s, they are no toy.

He bought his off Amazon so l looked into it. There was problems with the one he had, it was on for messing about in l wanted a multi use more serious kayak. Finally l found one that l liked & decided to save up for, not cheap at just over £300.
talking to him after he had his first outing he agreed with my assessment & said he was looking for a better one for himself the other was great for using with his young kids.

With saving up in mind l met up with some friends by chance a couple of weeks later and told them what l was doing. I was told a friend of a friend was selling a brand new, unused canoe for £500 and it cost £1500. I contacted J and arranged to buy & collect it. The canoe was to big & heavy for me, it took 3 of us to lift it on & off the car roof for a start so l took it the next day to Brookbank who put it up for sale for me and we did a deal on the one l wanted blue not red & bits: paddle, buoyancy aid, dry bag, pump, dry holder for phone, wet suit bottoms, neoprene socks & gloves. I want to canoe year round and felt l may as well get the items up front.

It took about 4 weeks for the sale to get sorted, to get my
British Canoe Union membership through so l could access inland waterways, rivers & canals plus problems with mum before l could get out on the water.

My first trip was 3 weeks ago l went out on the Leeds Liverpool canal but miss read google and the ended up at a lock with a 10ft drop to high to get out of or down to. It was chucking it down with rain and even the ducks & fish had looked for shelter. So l tootled around on the top end of the canal between locks getting the feel of handling in the wind that blasted across the water and the rain that drenched me, a good intro.
One narrow boater that went past well wrapped laughed and said l was crazier than he was. I know l was certainly wetter & colder than him so l guess he was right about crazy, but l was having fun.

The following week was clear blue skies, l found a new easier launch place and set out. After about 3.5hrs paddling l had this sudden thought..."l got here l now have to get back!" by the end of about 6hrs my back and arms knew it.
Was a fantastic day though and people were surprised to see a canoe so had lots of chats as l went past and hellos.

Thankfully l read up on paddles and got a good one that l can tour with. Warnings said distance with the cheap ones don't work as you get rubbing as the paddle connecting bar twists.
The kayak is very light l want to try with the skeg think that will help. As it isn't ridged the canoe twists enough that you may not notice but your muscles can feel the strain after a long day l love it though.

Fired up by this & liking the dark l decided to do a night tour & chose the opposite way as there was less homes. I set out at 19:00 got back at 23:00. I played the music saved on my phone and as the sun set played Brian's favourite song, which l had also played at his funeral "Wind Beneath My Wings" the music faded as the sun dipped & with tears pouring down my face l turned the music off & paddled in the silence with the dark descending, everyone home & the silence of the canal with glinting water to myself.
It was very spiritual & l have decided that as l like walking in the dark so kayaking in the dark is also my favourite time.

Scenes from Leeds Liverpool Canal

Night Descends


Dave the Dog said...

Nice shots. It looks lovely and peaceful.

Vetnurse said...

It is very peaceful Dave, thats why l love being out but night is better. If you go out earlier everyone is chatting and speaking to you. Not that that is in its self a problem but the peace of the water only comes out when there is noone around in the middle of the night.