Trading Places

In a post last year called 'The River Wild', I explained how we had realised that before long we would have to expand into two canoes to be able to take Little Sister with us and allow James and Little Brother to become front paddlers in their own right. A stepping stone towards this was for me to get used to paddling at the stern.

Trading Places

All of this meant getting out on the water to practice, but the wind just would not let up. We grew rather tired of listening to Inshore Waters forecasts of 'South-westerly 5 or 6; Rain; Good'. That's not a great forecast for a sea kayak, and anything above a Force 3 is incompatible for canoeing with small boys.

One day, when the forecast was a bit better, although still windy, we decided to go to Loch Leven in the hope of finding some relative shelter. We found a nice, calm bay to launch from, but once we got out into the main loch it was clear that there would be no escape from the wind, and after going a little distance, we decided to turn back. That's why this post is not called 'Reflections on Loch Leven'.

We went back to the bay where we had launched, and had lunch on a small island there. Over lunch, we decided that we would practice our skills around the bay. The sheltered water meant this didn't have to be restricted to me and Daddy swapping places, and we spent the rest of the afternoon taking it in turns to paddle with each other. James with Mummy; James with Daddy; Mummy with Little Brother; Daddy with Little Brother. The bay was perfect: there were lots of buoys and boats and the boys had a great time deciding which we should head for next.

What was surprising was how well Little Brother responded to being given the responsibility of being front paddler. He loved it, and grinned all the way round, but was also quite useful.

Although we didn't get up Loch Leven, we had a really rewarding day. We are now on the lookout for a second boat...

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About the Author

Helen & Ian

Helen & Ian

About Me & Mine

Hi there! Helen and Ian here from the Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border! We have two boys who love everything in the Great Outdoors (especially sticks), and a border collie who also loves everything in the Great Outdoors (especially tennis balls). We also have a toddler daughter who is fiercely independent and proving to be just as intrepid as her brothers.

Favourite place in the world:

A difficult one... There are so many wonderful places to choose from... But it has to be Sandwood Bay in the far north-west of Scotland which can only be reached by a 4-mile walk. Last time we went it was a full-on winter mountaineering experience (with ice axe and crampons!) just to get there. Wild and windswept, it's totally unspoilt.

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Enjoy beaches, woods, and coastal paths; explore waterways in our open canoe; go for a big day out on a small hill; go rock climbing; collect sticks, conkers, and acorns; investigate puddles and rockpools; ride our tandem; fly a kite against a clear blue sky.

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