off Costa Head, west coast orkney

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Blades and guns!!

I returned from my weekend away with my new Mitchell Blades touring paddles and planned a short trip to try them out on Tuesday afternoon. Never expecting it to end with me in the back of a Police car and the C.I.D department coming to my egress!!

New cranked paddles

All was quiet and I was on my own when I set off from the beach bellow Craigiefield in St Ola with a Force 2-3 Northerly wind. A short but refreshing paddle around Theives holm with a nice 2-3 knots Flood tide flowing and a little lift in the tide race to the NE of the Holm. During Flood tide a nice big Eddie appears at the East side of Theives Holm allowing a safe, familiar place to play around on a freindly but well defined eddie line.

This gave my new paddles a good work out and certainly felt secure when bracing, with a great grip on the water and a powerfull catch. They felt really good and thankfully as It is almost the most expensive piece of kit I own!!

The real excitement was yet to come though and as I returned to the beach where the van was parked my mobile was ringing, being a man I couldnt multi task (paddling and answering the phone!) I returned the call when I landed and as I was talking on the phone I noticed what looked like a toy hand gun on amongst the rocks.

After the call I took a closer look, sitting just above the water line and 10 foot or so bellow high tide mark. It was heavy and made of metal and clearly a REAL Pistol! My first thoughts were it looked like an old handgun, perhaps war time.

I decided to do the right thing and phone the local police as it could well contain live ammo. The PC's that arrived first couldnt identify the weapon so just took a statement from me in there car until C.I.D arrived. They immediatly recognised it as a 'Luger' apparently a standard issue revolver in the german navy!

The 'Luger' what it would have looked like when new

The police are now getting it tested to see if it is live and try and understand how it got there.

A different kind of ending to a paddle in a very familiar setting, one of the reasons I never get tired of just getting out in the sea!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

600 mile drive for a game of Polo!!!???

Trips away to compete in Scottish Canoe polo division 1 can be quite an epic journey. It is possible to leave on the early ferry Sunday morning and do the 300 mile trip arriving for the 4.30 start. This is asuming there is no delay on the way!

Personaly Iam not a fan of tight scheduals so we tend to leave a day or two early and use the time for some more fun!!

Me and Adam left Saturday morning in Bananavan with 5 Polo boats on the roof and two play boats (and a drum kit) in the back destined to arrive in Stirling at night with running a river on the way.

Steve Mackinnon was meeting us in the small town of Alness just of the A9 with a couple of his friends, when I pulled up and saw that these 3 experianced river runners all had creek boats I felt the butterflies flutter a wee bit!

Alness is only paddleable in spate conditions and as Steve put it 'we must have sacrafised somone in Orkney to the apese the Snow melt god!!' she was running at a good level and was a lovely fast bouncy grade 2-3+ with a few river wide stoppers and pour overs..

Despite this only being Adams second river he nailed it with only one little mishap.. Not his fault though...

That was done and dusted in 45 minutes and we hit the road again not even 2 hours after we had pulled over.

sexy new blades!

The next day saw a trip to Brookbank so I could 'Look at' a sea paddle that I had been eyeing up on the Mitchell Blades website for a wee while now. After a painfull half hour of wanting it badly but knowing that the money would be bettter spent on boring things like bills ....I ended up buying it!

Polo was another hard graft and a couple of big defeats by two far stronger and better teams, followed by what was probably a fair 4-4 draw against the Scarlet ladys.

We then drove for 90 minutes to Pitlochry arriving just in time to catch the chipshop.
A loaded Bananavan

Monday morning and there was talks of surfing at Thurso before the ferry at night but we had 200 miles and boats to pick up from Glenmore lodge. By the time we had put 5 Polo boats, 3 river boats, 2 Open boats (one belonging to Mary S ) and a sea kayak on the the van roof we had run out of time for paddling! All in all we had a full weekend as it was.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A cold but productive weekend

The winter weather continues to bite and although I had a weekend with no other plans I still didn't manage to get out and paddle.

Instead I worked on the old Polo boats that kirkwall Kayak Club bought earlier in the year. This one is Carbon/ Fiber Glass and extremely light, but also this makes it a bit more vunerable to cracks.

I had to build a makeshift tent out of insulation and old bed sheets to contain the heat. Fiberglass needs warmth to set and it is currently -5 in the evenings!!

All set now for next weekends division 1 games!