Tuesday, November 19, 2013

7th UK Storm Gathering - Oban 2013

Photo: Jennie Richardson
Having had an amazing blustery day in the Caingorms the previous day, arriving on Friday afternoon through showers of sleet and rain did little to inspire me to join Ollie Jay who was playing in the Falls of Lora. Instead, we stopped for a nice warm brew in the Oyster Inn over the road then headed into town to browse the wares offered by Sea Kayak Oban.

On the soggy Saturday morning 70 participants gathered in the Kilbowie Outdoor Centre to meet the coaches for their chosen sessions, trips and workshops. I accompanied Dr Mark Tozer into the Sound of Kerrera with a group that set about exploring the different techniques and tactics to deal with the challenges of sea kayak leadership.

At times it was difficult to think about leadership when mother nature kept showing off with dramatic skies, lumpy seas and rapidly changing weather.

Sea Kayak Oban presented the evening lecture which was by the National Geographic Adventurer of 2012 Erik Boomer and his partner Sarah McNair-Landry. After hearing about Erik's adrenaline fuelled white water adventures we shared the delights, disappointments and successes of their trip across the southern part of Baffin Island. A Truly inspirational evening.

Once back at the centre the party began to get in full swing in the games room. Bar football, air hockey and table tennis tournaments got more exciting with every beer that was drunk.

Sunday brought me sharing a group with Chris Lockyer at the Falls of Lora. Initially we practised crossing eddylines and ferry gliding but as the current increased we practised rolling, rescues and whirlpool avoidance!

In the evening there was no avoiding yet more convivial banter, games and frolics. The games room was mayhem so I joined in a game of Jenga.

Monday saw us all departing the centre into a blustery day and on to our final paddling activities. I was with Jim Wilson leading a more laid back session than most. We hid from the worst of the wind and waves in the Sound of Kerrera. The next Storm Gathering will be in 2015... but where will it be?


Ollie said...

Hi Jim,
As always you have managed to sum up the weekend perfectly. Thanks must go to the organisers Mark Tozer, Helen Wilson, Nick Cunliffe and Matt Giblin.
Cheers guys see you soon,

Mark Tozer said...

Any event will always benefit from having you there Jim, both on and off the water. All the best :-)