Name: Kirstie Macmillan (Kmac)
Above: Falls of Feugh, Banchory
Current Kit: Wavesport Diesel 65/Wavesport EZG 50, Playboater Workdeck, Werner Sherpa 191, Sweet Wanderer, Palm Naiya Cag and Sidewinder Pants, Astral Bella, Palm 15m throwline, Palm Granites/Lomo boots. Continue reading
Before 2014, I’d only seen a Pyranha Spanish Fly and a Big Dog OC1 on the rivers around Scotland. They looked weird and I didn’t like the idea of swamping and kneeling when I could have a comfy kayak seat and a spraydeck. After stumbling across a group of OC1ers in Glen Etive one New Year’s Eve, I really had my eyes opened to the C-boat world, albeit a rather mad one! After enjoying open canoeing for the past few years and becoming impartial to the single blade, I’ve recently decided to take the plunge with a Silverbirch Covert 9.3.
This is what I think of it so far…
In our paddling journey, we often hit dead ends, have a bad day, pickup injuries or simply lose interest over time. Here’s some ideas to not just get you back into paddling, but spice up your skills and love being on the water again.
Here are my 10 ways to fall in love with paddling again.
Fear! Sometime we’re not sure why we even bother.
Try a different discipline – if you’re a kayaker, try a canoe. Embrace the range of skills which you can learn from a different discipline, skills which are transferable across all paddlesport. You could try open canoeing, C-boating, kayaking, marathon, sprint, slalom, SUPing, rafting, dragonboating… the possibilities are endless!
Until recently, I didn’t realise how much South Wales could offer in terms of open canoeing day trips. I’d heard of the classic Wye tours but did not realise just how much there is to paddle there: From meandering grade 1 to technical grade 3, something for everyone! I had the opportunity to spend some time down there and between walking and caving, I managed to borrow a subtle lime green canoe and sample some of many stretches of Welsh goodness.
The Garry Boater-X is in its 3rd year, held on the dam-release River Garry near Fort Augustus and organised by Kevin Barclay and Daryn Hubbucks in association with the SCA, Pillow Rock and Go Kayaking Scotland. This year, the competition was attended by 41 men, 18 ladies and many more spectators. Here’s a little write-up from my first experience of boater-x.
The Garry Boater-X 2015 was a truly well-organised event. A friendly host of mainly Scottish paddlers were welcoming on arrival at the river and despite knowing very few other people on arrival, by the time the last finals were held, it seemed that everyone knew everyone despite some fierce rivalries and intense competition!
Kirstie Macmillan gives us her first thoughts on the Five Ten Canyoneer 3 boots.
What Five Ten Say:
In canyoneering, where static friction is life and sliding friction death, Canyoneers have become the gold standard. The Canyoneer 3, with its Stealth S1 soles, reflects more than 15 years of R&D in some of the world’s harshest environments. The new 2015 Canyoneer retains the burly protection and excellent stability of its predecessor, but adds an increased lug height for improved penetration on soft ground and easier mud release. We’ve added welded rubber rands that interlock with the mesh upper to eliminate any chance of delamination; an asymmetric fast-lace system for single-handed adjustability in cold, wet conditions; a protective tuck-away lace pouch and svelte heel cage for torsional stiffness and support. And the flexible ankle cuff gives you support and protection without compromising range of motion.
Hōu Canoes are a new UK-based company who are manufacturing open Canadians ranging from 13 to 17 foot with choice of red or green colour.
Looking to do more canoeing on both flat and easy moving water, I bought a Hōu 13, the smallest canoe available in their fleet at 13’3”. The moulds were designed by Colin Broadway (a UK based canoeing legend) and were very successful for many years under his company name Mobile Adventure, the Hou 13 being closest to the old Majorette, re-using a perfectly good design from the past. The other canoes in Hōu’s fleet are also created using reclaimed and recycled moulds, re-established and re-outfitted in the North West of the UK. Continue reading
Review by: Kirstie Macmillan
At 8’9″ (266cm), the Liquidlogic Flying Squirrel 85 is much longer than my current creek boat, a Wavesport Recon 70. Despite the Squirrel’s sporty length, it is surprisingly light and doesn’t feel like you are paddling a barge!
I’ve seen many photographs and videos of Corsica since I started kayaking 4 years ago but never imagined that I’d actually get to go and experience the crystal waters and steep creeks of this stunning island. It is difficult to get any detailed information on the kayaking out there aside from a few videos and German guidebooks from the 80s full of air bracing pioneers in fibreglass boats!
Getting to the island involved a drive to Dover, the channel ferry, a 13 hour drive to Toulon and an overnight ferry across the Mediterranean. Despite over 24 hours of travelling, once you’re on the island, the rivers are all very close by and range from relaxing grades 2/3 to some scary 5/6 with siphons the size of cars and portages as long as some British rivers!
We spent the first day finding our feet on the grade 2/3+ Lower Vecchio and Tavignano Gorge, working out team dynamics and acclimatising to the Corsican style. Later in the week we paddled another section of the Tavignano which had some awesome surf spots and flair opportunities, a great river for beginner and intermediate paddlers to practice skills on! Continue reading
Hitting my 5th year of paddling, I decided that it was high time I got a dry suit. With a free choice of the market, I was after something that fitted well, was tough and looked good! After looking at specifications and reviews of IR, Typhoon, DamX, Peak and Lomo drysuits, I decided to invest in a Ladies Palm Element.