Saturday, July 11, 2015

Off to the races

Over the last three weekends I have been off to the races! The first was to tried and tested Conwy Ascent Race. This wonderful event has been hosted by Dyfryn Conwy Paddlers for many years and is always well-attended.

The Le Mans style start makes this event a real favourite for me. Tripping, stumbling and splashing your way into a 15km race usually results in a bit of chaos and entertainment. All good fun! The race ends at Dolgarrog in a civilised manner with endless cups of tea and giant sandwiches.

The bird life on the Farne Islands is amazing this time of year but the annual Midsummer pilgrimage to Northumberland just wouldn't be complete without the Coquet Island Race! The Coquet Canoe Club were proudly showing off their new facility on The Braid at Amble. Its always great to meet up with my northern friends and have beers in the lovely pubs in Beadnell.

Finally, I took part in the Hilbre Island Race for the first time. This event is hosted by Liverpool Canoe Club at the Dee Sailing Club. As we glanced across the Dee Estuary before the start, Wales disappeared in a monstrous rainstorm. On this occasion, it seemed to be more a storm endurance test than a race. Highly enjoyable! The sun even came out to dry the bedraggled paddlers and organisers.

Cackle TV - Kayaking the Aleutians

It isn't often that I sit and watch TV and I certainly wouldn't normally bother to write about the experience. However, on this occasion it seems right to mention the latest offering from Justine Curgenven's Cackle TV.

I have watched plenty of Justine's previous films. They always tell great stories and there is rarely a dull moment. Kayaking the Aleutians is no exception. The expedition was an audacious challenge especially considering Sara Outen's limited sea kayaking experience.

This film tells the story of two amazing women on a paddling adventure to make your eyes water. Exposure, exhaustion, exhilaration and nudity!

One morning, Sarah bears all to go for a wash in a stream. The first inkling that she got that there was something fishy going on, was when a grizzly turned up looking for lunch! In the meantime, in true journalistic style, Justine reached for her movie camera. It turned out that Sarah had gone skinny dipping in a salmon river. 

It takes skill and dedication to keep filming on expeditions when exhausted, or in scary situations. The depth of the story is greatly enriched when Justine and Sarah take time to meet people along the way in  the isolated Aleutian communities. The get welcomed ashore with traditional music and dance and afterwards get to sample some wholesome Aleutian food.

Kayaking the Aleutians is available to buy from the Cackle TV website.