P&H Custom Sea Kayaks Blog

Sea Kayaking Articles from P&H Staff, Team Paddlers, and Friends

Scotland, the Northwest Highlands; the perfect expedition venue to take a Volan 160 and Cetus MV for an adventure…

Words by Doug Cooper

Photos by Doug Cooper & Pete Astles

Every year, my good friend Pete Astles from Peak PS and I block out two weeks in our diary for a Scottish sea kayaking adventure – the primary aim is to get away from it all and have fun. Last year was no exception, and on a warm and sunny June day, we found ourselves in the Northwest Highlands just north of Ullapool on a stony beach, getting ready to set off for 8 days ‘away from it all’. It was that usual start of a trip; two big piles of kit sat alongside two empty sea kayaks, the two of us wondering if it would all fit! Kit for a self-support trip of this length is nothing we are not used to, but our trip was going to take us initially through the Summer Isles where water was scarce, so we needed to fit in extra water; alongside some of the extra comforts two slightly more ageing adventurers now look to take on trips!

I was packing my trusty Cetus MV that I have paddled for many years now, but Pete was in a new Volan 160 that he was looking forward to trying out, and I was very interested to see how it’d compare with my Cetus! I must admit I was sceptical the Volan 160 would fit all of Pete’s kit in, but it passed this first test with flying colours – everything was in, and its carrying capacity seemed not too restrictive compared to the Cetus.

With perfect weather and a myriad of islands to explore, wild campsites to savour and breathtaking scenery to take in, we spent the next five days exploring every nook and cranny of the beautiful Summer Isles. Evenings were spent enjoying watching the sun set over the distant Outer Hebrides, whilst days were spent venturing between the islands, landing on the beaches, and exploring the caves; all under the watchful eye of the resident wildlife and the towering sentinels that are the surrounding Assynt Mountains.

Whilst exploring the islands, we decided to swap kayaks each day, both wanting to discover the performance differences between our two boats. In the calm conditions, both kayaks cut through the water like a dream, with the Volan 160 consistently surprisingly fast – how could this shorter and wider boat maintain its speed so well was our constant source of discussion; the anticipated ‘faster’ Cetus was not leaving the Volan behind that was for sure. Enjoying exploring the caves, arches, and rocks, the manoeuvrability of a kayak makes such a difference to the ease of what can be achieved; we both had to agree the Volan 160 top trumped the Cetus MV big time when it came to this!

Leaving the Summer Isles behind, our journey continued around the dramatic headland of Rubha Coigeach, with expansive views west to the Hebrides, north to Cape Wrath, and east into the mighty Assynt mountains, a sight to behold. A stunning beach provided our camp for the night, a perfect end to this magical day; however, with the sun setting, the forecast advised us all was to change for the next few days. Waking to a sea of white horses, we planned a conservative route to take us ever north, where we planned to finish at Lochinver. Setting off, we enjoyed a ‘playful’ force 5-6 to get us going, but by the early afternoon, this had evolved into a ‘robust’ force 7-8, and thus, a downwind surf to shelter was required.

The ‘playful’ and then ‘robust’ conditions again provided a great opportunity to test how the two kayaks performed. It was obvious that the Cetus MV tracked a bit better in the side winds, but that said, with appropriate trim and skeg, the Volan 160 was certainly easy enough to keep on track. When the robust conditions asked for stability, manoeuvrability, and confidence-inspiring from the kayaks, then neither let us down. That said, in the Volan 160, it was obvious less effort was required to turn in the conditions, and there was definite extra stability to allow for a slightly more ‘relaxed’ as opposed to ‘focussed’ look on our faces! As for the Force 8 downwind surf – well, that certainly put a big smile on both our faces in our respective craft. However, when it came to cutting about on the following sea waves, the Volan 160 won the price for minimum effort and maximum style, but when it came to getting to the shore first in a straight line at speed, the Cetus MV was there to welcome the Volan ashore!

June in the far Northwest Highlands provides close to twenty-four hours of daylight, so, having sheltered from the wind all afternoon, we could make use of a late evening calm period to continue our journey. Our last camp was on the outskirts of Lochinver, where the following morning we could catch a bus to return us to our car. After our brief stormy period, it provided a tranquillity that could be savoured more than usual as we sat and watched the sunset one last time. It allowed us to reflect on our 8 days ‘away from it all’, chat about sights seen and experiences lived, and, of course, most importantly of all, plan where we will head for the following year’s two-week adventure – already in the diary. The final question to ponder, will I be joining Pete in paddling a Volan 160 for the trip – I think I might be!

Paddling over Grass on Slovenian’s Intermittent Lakes

words: Carmen Kuntz
photos: Rok Rozman

In Slovenia, we are spoiled. We are used to paddling on water so clear you can see the bottom of the river or sea. But looking down and seeing dandelions, clover, and grass dancing in the current… is a whole new water world to discover.

This is an intermittent lake, a rare phenomenon worldwide, but a common occurrence in Slovenia. This isn’t a flood event or any reason to panic. This happens a couple of times a year when the underwater aquifers fill up and overflow, covering the farm fields with a layer of clear, clean spring water. Locals have been living with these hide-and-seek lakes for centuries, and they are wise. They don’t live too close to the ‘lake’ even when it’s just green grass. And they pay close attention to Mother Nature’s cues and get livestock and tractors off the fields before they fill up with water.

Fall in Slovenia is always rainy, and this year we decided to leave the swollen Soča for an afternoon and get to know these wild little lakes. Planinsko Polje is located near the village of Unec, about a 30-minute drive southwest of Ljubljana. Her sister lake is much more famous, called Lake Cerknica, but we were drawn in by the beauty of the sun bouncing off the smaller Planinsko Polje and the Unica River that gets lost in the lake’s volume and decided to save Cerknica for another day.

We put on and found the flow of the river by following the direction of the grass flowing under our boats. Drifting over wildflowers, cow patties, and farm fences, we got caught in the current and drifted along, stopping to explore all the little bays along the way.

We were bird-watching from under raincoat hoods. Sipping tea from a thermos while floating under massive oak trees. And paddling over gravel roads – we had full freedom to drift wherever we wanted.

It was an afternoon spent reiterating the freedom a kayak and paddle gives us and served as an aquatic reminder to take time to explore water, in all her moods and forms. In all weather and seasons. Flat, flowing and everything in between.

Carmen and Rok are both pictured here paddling the P&H Leo; at 16′ in length, it’s an excellent choice for such inland waterway adventures.

Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium 2023. More than a Sea Kayak event

Celebrating a decade of the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium fills us with overwhelming joy and pride as we declare this year’s instalment to be our most exceptional offering to date. Beyond being a mere paddling event, the symposium has blossomed into a vibrant gathering, uniting community members, local businesses, passionate paddlers, and skilled coaches for an unforgettable weekend filled with extraordinary experiences on and off the water.

P&H Leo MV at the Argyler River

The exponential growth of camaraderie, community dedication, and shared enthusiasm is a source of immense pride, making this milestone anniversary a living testament to the positive impact the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium has had on fostering connections and creating lasting memories. With a foundation rooted in commitment, integrity, and a focus on the long game, the symposium stands as a beacon for those who cherish not only the thrill of paddling but also the enduring bonds and positive community spirit that enrich our lives. Here’s to a decade filled with joyous paddling, continuous learning, and the ongoing building of a community that celebrates the love of the sea and adventure!

Highlight for this year’s symposium

A surge of enthusiasm and anticipation filled the air as 74 sea kayak students, guided by a dedicated team of 18 coaching staff, embarked on a thrilling three-day paddling adventure. Behind the scenes, the success of this year’s symposium was fuelled by the hard work and countless hours of dedication by numerous volunteers. Their meticulous planning and unwavering commitment ensured flawless session execution, showcasing seamless coordination and teamwork. As the kayaks gracefully navigated the water, not only were skills strengthened, but a profound sense of camaraderie and shared enjoyment blossomed among the participants. This immersive experience was not just a testament to the adventure on the water but also to the dedication and hard work behind the scenes that made this symposium an extraordinary success. Here’s to celebrating the triumph of this remarkable paddling adventure, cherished by all who partook in this aquatic journey!

Staff serving the Lobster dinner.

We are elated to share the fantastic news of yet another triumphant lobster supper at Ye Old Argyler! Our heartfelt gratitude extends to Alexster Fisheries Limited for their generous contribution of the finest lobsters, elevating our delightful evening. Special thanks are also due to Tusket Toyota for their invaluable sponsorship, making this event possible and enhancing the overall experience for all attendees. This lobster dinner’s success is not only attributed too exceptional seafood but also to the hard work and dedication of countless volunteers who played crucial roles behind the scenes. Their efforts, combined with fantastic community support, made this event truly memorable. Here’s to another year of joyous gatherings and delicious moments, a testament to the collaborative spirit that brings our community together!

P&H Team Paddler Adam Harmer with his team Sunday during the symposium.

The community dinner at the West Pubnico Fire Hall was an undeniable success, fostering warmth and camaraderie among neighbours. Our sincere appreciation goes to Committed 2 the Core Sea Kayak Coaching for their support and the delightful complements beer sourced from Tusket Fall Brewing, adding a unique touch to the event. The success of this community dinner was made possible not only by the generosity of contributors but also by the hard work and dedication of the countless volunteers who devoted many hours to ensure its success. The West Pubnico ladies auxiliary plus members of the fire department made the whole meal amazing. Witnessing the positive impact of these collaborations transforms a simple gathering into an extraordinary occasion. A heartfelt thank you to all who contributed to making our community dinner a truly special and thriving event!

Testimonial from Coach Sid Sinfield And P&H team Paddler

“It was great to get across to the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium. It was a really well-organised and executed event, as always. It is great to see an event that links with the local community to help them understand why we all descend upon their local area to explore its beautiful coastline. I can’t think of another event that does this. Likewise, taking the time to organize an additional ‘coaches day’ for those attending to be able to take the opportunity for some shared learning. Helping to connect the coaching community from across North America and wider. The event allowed those involved to explore the amazing coastline that this part of Nova Scotia has to offer. A great event and one not to be missed.”

P&H Team Paddler Sid Sinfiled calling students’ names at morning briefing.

Testimonial from Donna Hendy Bay of fundy participant.

BOFSS was an excellent all ‘round experience. – The on water sessions met my paddling needs – the variety of coaches and paddling locations gave me an plenty of opportunity to stretch and challenge myself, and take away skills and drills to continue learning after the symposium. – The off water time provided plenty of opportunity to interact with friends, meet new paddlers and coaches. – The final added bonus was connecting with members of the community, at the community dinner, and knowing that they were happy to have the symposium in the area. Everything from car horns blasting as folks paddled at the Argyle River, to waves and shouts of encouragement from folks along the shore near the Forchu Lighthouse, and folks in boats on the water watching sessions, and commenting on and asking questions about the things they saw when they were at the dinner.

West Pubnico Fire Cheif Gordon Amiro and Odette D’eon acceting a cheque from Christopher Lockyer Executive Directory of the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium.

In the face of the wildfire that swept through the South West Nova Scotia area in the spring of 2023, our community rallied together with resilience and generosity. The devastation left behind by the fires affected vast expanses of forested land and numerous residential areas. Recognizing the crucial role of our local fire departments, particularly the dedicated volunteers of the Vollentee Fire Department, who serve as the backbone of rural communities in Nova Scotia, we felt compelled to support their efforts. As a member of my local fire department, I understand the physical and financial challenges these heroes face daily. This year, during our symposium, we organized a silent auction, receiving generous product contributions from esteemed paddling retailers like Kokatat and P&H Sea Kayak. With the collective efforts of our community, we were thrilled to donate $10,000 to the West Pubnico Fire Department, demonstrating the positive impact we can achieve when we come together in solidarity.

As we wrap up the festivities of our Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium’s decade celebration, we’re pleased to share some practical details for the future. Take note and mark your calendars, as we’ve set the dates for our upcoming symposium! We invite you to join us for another gathering, filled with paddling, learning, and community spirit. Save the dates of October 4-6, 2025, and plan to be a part of the experience. With a decade’s worth of memories behind us and the expectation of more to come, we’re genuinely excited about the prospect of bringing people together once again. As we count down to 2025, let the anticipation grow, and we look forward to seeing you for what promises to be another memorable chapter in our symposium’s journey! Sea you in 2025

A Taste of the Ultralight Volan

As a proud owner of a Cetus, I have been on many sea kayaking adventures, exploring the outer Hebrides, the caves of South Wales, and the coastlines of Scandinavia as far north as Tromso in Norway. However, I always thought that a longer, expedition-style sea kayak was necessary for these types of trips – which I realise might be a common misconception. That is until I was told to check out the P&H Volan

I have wanted to paddle a Volan since its release, and I was curious to see if a shorter kayak could still provide the speed I needed for group paddles and solo missions, while also offering more manoeuvrability for rock hopping and playing along the British coastline. So, when I had the opportunity to try out a demo of the Volan 158 in P&H’s new Ultralight layup, I jumped at the chance to steal it for a weekend.

The Expedition layup of my Cetus, complete with rudders and accessories, weighs around 26 kg. In contrast, this new Ultralight Volan, made of a kevlar/carbon weave with additional strengthening bands, weighed in at only 14.8kgs. It is truly a thing of beauty, and I was warned not to break it!

Despite being designed for touring in the fjords of Norway, lakes from Windermere to the Great Lakes in the USA, and the perfect conditions of the European continent and the Mediterranean, the weather and the tides don’t always tell the story you want to hear though, and the fun Spring tide conditions in Pembrokeshire were calling Gabi and I to make the trip to West Wales for the bank holiday weekend.

As someone who grew up as a slalom paddler, I have developed a strong appreciation for lightweight composite boats, while also learning to avoid rocks. Most slalom paddlers will remember the sound of the first time their composite boat connected with the rocks below, but most also remain true to their composite roots. I was amazed by how light the Volan felt when I picked it up, and in the right light, you could see the construction showing through, which served as a reminder that rocks are not our friends.

This education makes us all too aware that composite boats are not to be seal-launched or landed on rocks.

My first impression of this boat began the moment I picked it up to place it on the roof, but I knew that the real test was to come when we arrived in Pembrokeshire. The Bitches, a tidal race between St Davids and Ramsey Island, is well-known for its fast-moving water, complex eddy lines, and breaking waves and would also be a perfect testing ground to make sure the specification was strong enough to be a P&H Sea Kayak. The new Ultralight construction did not falter in these conditions, and it was an absolute joy to paddle. It cruised quickly up the coastline, ferrying across the flow, through the back eddies and paddling out of the whirlpool-like transitions between all the contrasting flows. The Volan’s manoeuvrability blew me away when I threw it on edge, where I am sure weight is a contributing factor, but not the only factor for this design excelling.

While there was a little more flex in the hull due to the reduced layers of fabric, this was only noticeable when I side-surfed a larger breaking wave on the back of the tidal race. Even then, there was no damage to report, but it’s worth noting that these are not the conditions that the Ultralight construction is designed for.

The P&H design team had a vision for this new construction, and I’m sure that it will be a hit among paddlers around the world. The single-person carrying and loading onto roofs are just some of the benefits, as the Ultralight layup is a game-changer on the water.

Whether you’re touring in the fjords or paddling on lakes in calmer conditions in this spec, or playing in the British coastline with a more hardy Expedition layup, the Volan’s versatility is evident in every stroke and it is firmly on my list as a boat to work towards.

All models of P&H Composite Sea Kayak are available to order in the Ultralight layup now, including the brand-new Composite Virgo!

Hulls and Hatches: Saltwater and Whitewater Multi-Days in Corsica

.: words – Carmen Kuntz

.: photos – Rok Rozman

Hiking trips are great – you have all you need on your back. Bike trips are cool too – with everything neatly tucked into panniers. But when it comes to comfort, carry capacity and the ability to cover some solid kilometers… nothing beats the kayak. Regardless of whether you are a lover of saltwater or whitewater, the kayak is a vessel that allows you to pack all your gear inside your mode of transportation. And this opens up a world of multi-day adventure possibilities.

This spring we had a thirst for on-water exploration, but couldn’t decide between rivers or the sea. So, we brought boats for both. We loaded two Scorches and two Leos onto our truck and rumbled our way to Corsica to dip our paddle in two types of paddling styles, enjoying the simplicity of paddle-powered multi-days.

Sea kayaking is best done in the sun.

And sunshine is what greeted us when our ferry landed in Bastia, Corsica’s primary port town. Mid-April in Corsica can mean that either snowmelt or rain storms fill up the rivers. We were a little late for the former, and a bit too early for the latter, so we sipped some Cap du Corse liquor and poured over the paper map to plan a 6-day sea kayak trip. What better way to wait for the rain than to build up some paddle muscles on the sea!

We drove to the small west coast town of Galéria, which is located approximately on the forehead of the almost-face-shaped island. Parked just meters from the sea, gear was spread out in the parking lot like a yard sale. This was my first multiday-day sea kayak trip, and I was shocked by the amount of gear I could tuck into the hatches and hull of my lime-green Leo. As my boat was swallowing gear, I realized I would have space for my book, paints, a camp chair and some cans of beer. All the luxuries that often get left behind when we go hiking in the mountains of Slovenia. For this holiday-style trip weight wasn’t a concern as we would be floating, paddling (or sailing) our way some 150 km to the Liamone River Delta, and taking our time to do so.

I felt like a pirate as I walked into town to buy provisions – bread, rice, wine, and some local wild boar salami. Rok, on the other hand, was enjoying the puzzle of tucking fishing rods under the elastic hull straps and securing lures and line in the cockpit for easy access. The plan was to catch the protein that would power our paddles.

Once on the water, we glided over the turquoise water, and popped our sails up as soon as we rounded the first point, red rock cliffs and a tailwind greeting us. We used paddles and the power of the wind to trace the coastline, relishing in the details of the rock formations and the scents of the flowering macchia.

As the sun dipped low, we found a beach to camp on and dragged our boats onto the pebble shore, appreciating the sturdy nature of our CoreLite X hulls, which felt stiff and responsive in the water, yet were light enough (and tough enough) to easily move on land. These boats perfectly matched the carefree yet efficient vibe of our trip. On the pebble beach, shoes came off immediately and gear came out, one hatch at a time.

Again, I was surprised – this time by how easy it was to be organized in a long sea kayak. Each hatch had a purpose. Water and other ‘hydration’ liquids in one hatch. Sleeping gear in another. Placing my trust in the watertight hatches meant I didn’t have to wrestle with bulky drybags. Navigation implements (map and phone) were within reach in the small front portal. And the final hatch was home to food – veggies and spices, cookies and coffee.

Rok’s preference for camp spots was based on fishing possibilities, while every beach looked like a piece of paradise to me. He wasted no time in casting a line, and we ate from the sea each day of the trip. From barracuda, to conger eel, amber jack and even a massive snapper! Add rice, garlic, salt and wine, and we ate like kings!

Each day we were treated to sunshine, blue skies and often a tailwind – a real treat on the exposed west coast of the island. We had easy morning coffees, packed and paddled, some days not before noon! We stopped at a couple of seaside villages for ice cream and sightseeing, castles on rocky outcrops drawing us in. We played the lottery daily, gambling on choosing the perfect beach right in front of us, or daring to check the next. Fish over a savory driftwood fire and sipping beer until the stars made their late arrival, our heads hit the pillow each night without worries. We were drunk on the simplicity of having all the gear to be comfortable, while having a vessel that allowed us to explore a coastline that was otherwise completely inaccessible by foot. And doing it all in the season before the crowds and yachts pepper the bays.

We almost lost track of time, enjoying the daily routine of the nomadic life on the sea. But on our sixth day, the weather made the call for us, and we half sailed, half surfed our way onto the kilometres-long Liamone beach, with high winds and waves building and the forecast calling for rain. It was a perfect way to end a trip rich in flavours of the sea, coastal exploration and pure enjoyment of moving over water with all the camping luxuries stowed below deck. Because no matter how much gear and treats you have with you, the weather and the sea provide the real indulgences.

* * *

Whitewater kayaking, on the other hand, is a sport often enjoyed in the rain. But a multiday trip spent dodging raindrops and hiding out under tarps isn’t much fun. So, we let the rain build the rivers up, and when the sunshine returned we packed up and paddled off for an overnight on one of the mellow sections of the Taravo River.

With its source in the mountains near the small village of Cozzano, the river flows mostly southwest meeting the Mediterranean near the town of Propriano, just two big bays down from where our sea kayaking trip ended.  We washed the saltwater from our gear on the grade 5 section, but were keen to see more of the river. A night sleeping on the granite banks was one way to satisfy that hunger.

After an hour of mostly floating and sightseeing, we found a flat granite slab with a little eddy tucked behind, and stopped to enjoy the afternoon sun. Packing for a whitewater kayak overnighter (not to be confused with an expedition), is much simpler, as the limited space in your boat ultimately dictates what you can bring. Unpacking my kit, I realized how our luxurious sea kayaking kit was slimmed down for a river trip. Small and simple. Sleeping gear in one back quadrant, safe inside a big drybag. Clothes and cooking gear in separate drybags in the other. And a third drybag in my lap – holding my notebook, snacks, headtorch, toothbrush and other necessities. (Rok’s fishing rod also made the cut, a small tenkara suited for some catch-and-release fishing for the native Corsican trout).

After Asian noodle soup with tuna and veggies, (followed by whiskey and chocolate cookies), we were ready for bed. We taco-ed ourselves in the small tarp and hoped for a dry night, but the steady drizzle that started in the early morning hours eventually forced us out of bed and into drysuits. Like on our sea kayak trip, we left each camp spot without a trace of our presence. The sun broke through after about an hour of paddling, and the trees overhanging the river lit up, in sections forming a disco-green tunnel over the water.

Leaning back and letting the current take us at the river’s pace was much like letting the wind push us along the sea. Going at the pace of nature – with the help of a paddle stroke here and there – we were able to appreciate spring in a way that can’t be done by day trips. These days and nights spent by the water ultimately reminded us that a kayak is more than the sum of all its parts; it allows you the ultimate luxury – being a part of the aquatic environs for a moment or two.

A Short Paddling Trip to Scotland (and a Lot of Cake)

Now, I’m far from being a seasoned sea kayaker, in fact, I’m actually a whitewater kayaker, but when the opportunity came up for a few days of exploring in Scotland with good pals, I wasn’t going to turn it down!

For anyone here that’s also a whitewater kayaker, you may know that I’ve been fortunate enough to work all over the world with TV wildlife presenter, Steve Backshall. It was a big birthday for Stevo this year, and we wanted to make it a memorable one.

This would be unlike any trip I’d done before, mainly because a beautiful 102ft sailing boat known as Lady of Avenel would be our home for the next couple of days. Not only was this an amazing treat, but it would also allow us to paddle and explore to our heart’s content. Stefan Fritz owned the Lady and would be our fantastic skipper, accompanied by friend of the ship, Patrick Winterton (of Scot Ocean Sports), who had kindly offered to join us, sharing his local knowledge and expertise, as well as excellent company!

Unlike our usual missions, the aim was not to conquer anything big and gnarly, discover unknown territories, or document grizzly bear behaviour, it was simply to have fun with friends, paddling somewhere new -and that’s exactly what we did!

Day 1
Our adventure started from Dunstaffnage marina, near the town of Oban, and as always, began with a healthy chunk of kit faff. It appeared that the vital bag of PFDs and breakdown paddles was sitting on Steve’s driveway almost 500 miles away. Steve 1 blamed Steve 2 (Backshall) and Steve 2 blamed Steve 1. Thankfully we managed to beg, borrow, and steal enough gear for everyone and were finally sailing out of the marina, accompanied by some playful porpoise!

We were heading towards the Isle of Lismore, or Lios Mòr, which is thought to mean ‘Great Garden’ in Gaelic and relates to the green and fertile lowlands on this small, Inner Hebrides island. About 180 people live on the 10-mile long by 1-mile wide island, as well as a rich population of seals, otters, peregrine falcons, and razorbills.

With the Lady’s anchor down, we set off in our sea kayaks past the tall, white Musdile lighthouse in calm waters and glorious sunshine, surrounded by black guillemots and squawking seagulls. Continuing west, we passed a small skerry known as ‘Lady’s Rock’, before reaching Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull. It was here that Patrick told us the gruesome, but slightly comical story behind these landmarks and how this seemingly indistinct skerry got its name…

Way back in 1527, a rather unpleasant chap called Lachlan Maclean of Duart rowed his wife, Lady Catherine Campbell to this tiny chunk of rock in the sea, leaving her there to drown once high tide came around. Looking out from his castle window the next morning and seeing no life, he announced Catherine’s death. The plan backfired somewhat when his conversation with
Catherine’s family about the ‘terrible illness’ that took her life was abruptly interrupted by the Lady herself walking into the room and joining them at the dining table!

After a quick stop in the bay at Duart Point, we crossed northeast through the Bernera gap and along Lismore’s west coast -where lots of seals were either sunbathing on the beach or bobbing up beside our kayaks! We then rejoined the ship and crossed from Lismore to Port Appin on the mainland.

We pulled in at Airds Bay, where we were met by seals enjoying the evening sun and a bagpiper playing happy birthday for Stevo -a surprise we’d set up with the help of skipper, Stefan! The anchor went down and a night of celebrations followed, including two very large cakes.

Day 2
The Lady sailed us from Airds Bay to Kerrera Island, which at 7km long and 2km wide is home to approximately 70 people. Two communities exist on the island- north and south, and a road connecting the two was only developed a couple of years ago!

Life on Kerrera is not for everyone, especially as residents have to travel to mainland Scotland for everyday basics such as schools, shops, post offices, banks, and health services; however, it boasts some of the best highland island views, which we got to enjoy until we reached just north of the Slate Island of Siel. Here we launched the sea kayaks and paddled the relatively narrow sea channel between the island and the mainland (only 12km between the two) and under the ‘Bridge over the Atlantic’ (Clachan Bridge).

It had been relatively calm and sheltered as we paddled through the Sound of Siel, but as we etched further south the wind really started to ramp up. Rounding the southern tip of Siel, the increasing wind put an abrupt end to our noisy chatter and banter, instead adopting the ‘head down and paddle’ approach! This was amplified even more so when we met the boiley currents of the Sound of Cuan and even stronger winds.

After the gruelling gales and confusing currents, Patrick waved us over to a small harbour in a tiny village called Easdale. Earlier that day, we’d all thought that he’d been joking when he talked about World Rock Skimming Championships. However, it turns out that this is actually a thing and
this is where it’s hosted each year. Patrick announced that we weren’t allowed to leave Easdale until we had at least one round of competition.

Obviously, Patrick was a regular here, as his rock skims pretty much covered the entire length of the natural pool. After some embarrassingly bad attempts on my behalf, we got into our kayaks and back into the wind, spotting several Oyster Catchers with their long, orange bills and loud ‘peeping’ call, along the way. By the time we rejoined the Lady, everyone was ready for a cup of tea and of course, more cake.

By the evening, the winds had died down and the Lady made her way back up to Kerrera. Here we enjoyed one last night all together (with more cake), before getting up early for a day of sea swimming and journeying back to Oban.

There are over 40 islands making up the Inner Hebrides islands and we’d only scraped the surface, leaving plenty to come back and explore another time. We’d been limited to just a couple of short days here in Scotland, but we all shared the feeling that we’d had so much during that time. Everything from glorious sunshine to storms and strong winds; calm seas to confused currents and spinning whirlpools; porpoises, seals and lots of sea birds; kayaking, swimming and sailing; laughs, banter, long overdue catch-ups; and of course, a lot of cake.

Thank you, Scotland and we’ll be back soon!

Huge ‘thank you’s go to Steve and the crew for a very fun and memorable trip; S1 for driving and putting up with me for two very long car journeys; Stefan, Jules, and Samantha for looking after us so well on the Lady of Avenel; Patrick of Scots Ocean Sports for the local knowledge, guidance, and excellent company for our sea kayaking explorations.

Images: Steve Backshall, Rosie Gloyns, Keith Partridge, James Brickell, Sal Montgomery

We’re Charity Champions!

You may recall that in March of 2022, we set about raising funds for the DEC to support their relief efforts in Ukraine – unbelievably, a year has passed since then!

With your help, we ultimately raised over £88,600, and as a result of this significant contribution, in February of this year, Work for Good (the platform which manages larger donations to the DEC) named us as one of their ‘Sales Fundraising Stars’.

Sadly, the situation in Ukraine continues, leaving many in need of aid. If you wish, you can still donate to the DEC directly on the following link: https://donation.dec.org.uk/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal

The Full-Carbon Cetus

We make many boats each year between our rotomoulding facility and head office in Cheshire, and our composite workshop in Derby; both have very skilled teams using some sophisticated equipment, and sometimes quite basic skills in a sophisticated way.

In my 52 years in this industry, I have seen some exceptional skill and craftsmanship from our team, from our suppliers, and from some competitors, much of which most of our customers would never see or understand.

I am so used to it that I wrongly take it for granted, but occasionally, something I see makes me realise just how far we have travelled and just what a skilled, talented, and wonderful team of people we’re lucky to have building our kayaks.

Recently, I saw a Lightweight Kevlar/Carbon Infusion Cetus with Clear Carbon all-round that was utterly exquisite.  From 3 metres away, it looked like any full-carbon kayak, but when I got close, I was “gobstruck” (for our international friends, this means ‘overwhelmed with wonder, surprise, or shock’), speechless, and rendered immobile. I poured over the deck, stroking its form and looking for a blemish that was never found.

For some time, I have been proud of our team’s skill in laying down a full layer of carbon in the hull without weave distortion and folding. The painting of bows and sterns in a solid colour to disguise the cutting of fabric necessary for low-skill manufacture are not the P&H way. To see the deck laid down without such painted segments around its many complex features is an entirely different order of difficulty! There was no fabric weave distortion or any cuts around the RDFs (Recessed Deck Fittings, which hold the decklines, elastics, and handles) or hatches. Around the heavily contoured compass, sail mast foot, and split-paddle shaft recesses there was one little cut which had to be pointed out to me, but I still couldn’t see it. It was invisible.

Steven Pericleous, you are a master craftsman, but so are many more in our team whose skills aren’t so easy to see.

Graham Mackereth

Paddling the Chalk Cliffs of Møn – Denmark

Many say the island called Møn in the eastern part of the Danish Baltic Sea is the most beautiful island with the most spectacular section of coastline in the whole of the little Kingdom. This means a lot because the country is supposed to own 1,400 islands and a coastline of more than 7000 km in length. I could quite agree with that, but I have not even seen yet maybe 150 of their islets.

What makes it stand out from the others are its chalk cliffs. The white walls called Møns Klint stretch for about 7 km along the eastern coast of Møn. They consist of shells that accumulated 70 million years ago on the seabed of an ancient tropic sea. Billions of microscopic plankton with chalk skeletons made up a thick layer of sediment, that was later exposed by the glaciers of the ice age. If you are lucky enough you can find fossils of shellfish or sea urchins at the foot of the cliffs.

The highest point, the Dronningestolen, reaches 128 m above the sea level of the Baltic Sea. This kind of rock is also common on both sides of the English Channel like in famous places like Étretat in France, or the White Cliffs of Dover. A wonderful old beech forest that grows alongside the cliff sets the Danish wall apart.

The best time to paddle along this coast is the early morning when the sunrise hits the white, carbonate rock. If the weather is right you will paddle under the glowing “Klint” and look up in awe and wonder as there are plenty of cracks, little towers, and fallen trees along the shore to see.

But the Island has more to offer than the Klint. When you paddle around it, which means about a 110-kilometre distance and approximately 3 days of paddling, you will encounter long and empty sandy beaches and the cute little town of Steege with its historic centre.

The western shores of Møn are pretty sheltered by a lot of small islands, some only inhabited by cows and birds. On the narrow points, you will encounter a little tidal and wind-induced flow.

The main stretch of the route around the island is open to the waves of the Baltic Sea which can be pretty powerful when the wind stirs up over 5 Beaufort. A wonderful thing is the Danish system of free overnight places in the wild, called “Overnantinig i det fri”. Those are designated sites specially reserved for hikers, bikers, or paddlers. Along the shore of Møn you will find some of them in tactical, well-suited positions for a circumnavigation if combined with one of the normal camping sites. Some “Overnantinig i det fri” sites offer Scandinavian-type open wooden shelters and fireplaces, which are perfect for sitting out bad weather.

If you bring your fishing gear alongside and buy a cheap Danish fishing license in a post office, you can catch some sea trout and mackerel to enrich your cooking. So why not visit the little kingdom of Denmark and bring your sea kayak?

There is much more to discover. You can paddle alongside Copenhagen’s City or surf the waves of the North Sea in Klittmöller or Hvide Sande. Looking for a mellow camping trip? Paddle the Limfjord which offers wonderful nature, many “Overnattning i det fri” places, and an intricate system of water bodies…

End of Season Sale

It’s been a busy year, with lots of new products and lots of new paddlers taking to the water!

To ensure they had the right product to suit each and every one of those new paddlers, our network of specialist dealers stocked up more than ever – now that we’re heading into the traditionally quieter winter season, though, this means they have a little more remaining stock than they might usually have had, including some of our kayaks that we know will be yearning for the water!

If you want to pick up one of those kayaks at an outstanding price, then just give one of the dealers below a call, drop them an email, or, better still, pay them a visit:


Port Edgar Watersports (JP Watersports) – 0131 319 1820 – bookings@portedgarwatersports.com

North East

Northeast Kayaks – 01665 714 039 – sales@northeastkayaks.co.uk

Robin Hood Watersports – 01924 444888 – sales@roho.co.uk

Wet and Wild – 01482 354076 – sales@1stwetwild.co.uk

North West

Go Kayaking – 01928 710770 – info@go-kayaking.com

South Wales

Up and Under – 029 20 578 579 – watersports@upandunder.co.uk

South East

Kent Canoes – 01732 886688 – info@kentcanoes.co.uk

South West

AS Watersports – 01392 219600 – sales@aswatersports.co.uk

South Coast Canoes – 01202 914224 – sales@south-coast-canoes.co.uk

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