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

Author: Kate Duffus

Coquet Island Race 2013

The sun shone as paddlers descended on the Braid country park in the Northumberland town of Amble. The race is a five mile route down the river, out through the harbour and round Coquet Island.

 Here paddlers are assembling before the start. I’m the one in the dark boat in the far background. Conditions are about perfect and the seals and terns are ready and waiting to ambush us in the vicinity of the island.

 This is where we went.

 I couldn’t take pictures during the event, but this is the prizegiving afterwards. I won the women’s prize paddling my lovely lightweight carbon kevlar Cetus LV but I think I’m going to have to do a bit more training before next time as there wasn’t much gap between first and second.


Scottish Sea Kayak Symposium


Last weekend saw around 250 paddlers descend on the Sleat peninsula of Skye for the Scottish Sea Kayak Symposium. The weather was kind to us and it was good to see so many folks enjoying the sunshine, the coaching, guided trips and just general banter.

The first session I attended was on forward paddling technique.


Next was a session all about balance. Gordon Brown led us in a range of crazy stunts that had us soaking wet, but by the end of the session, very much more balanced in our boats. Here I am proving how stable a Cetus LV is.

And here’s Kevin trying out a Cetus HV.

And here’s me again, paddling SOT style.

Greenland rolling was a popular session with many people wanting to explore traditional skills.

This was a session on self rescues.

More rolling practice.

 After the main event, there were four days of guided journeys. Rowland and I led this group on an otter spotting journey from Kyleakin towards Plockton and back. Sadly we didn’t see any otters but had fantastic views across to the distant Cuillin.

 Found an adder lurking in the grass of an abandonned village.

Always a magic moment when an otter sits still long enough to take a photo.

 On Thursday, Rob and I led a group on a journey from Elgol into Coruisk and then round the island of Soay before returning to Elgol. The scenary was stunning and the weather couldn’t have been better.

 This was a great chance to put my new Cetus LV through its paces and I’m pleased to say it paddles just as well as it looks.

OBAN Sea Kayak Race 2012

Last Saturday was the third Oban sea kayak race. The event kicked off at the Kilbowie outdoor centre, which sits right on the shore in the Sound of Kererra. After a delayed start, due to many of the participants getting caught up in a road closure, boats were duly laid out on the grass for inspection.
Once on the water, the flotilla of fifty boats paraded into Oban bay. It was fantastic to be part of such a big group of kayaks.


Photo courtesy of Graham Milne


In this picture we have just started and are heading for the Sound of Kererra. Conditions are perfect with a northerly wind and no rain.
Photo courtesy of Graham Milne
Crossing Oban Bay

The route is a circumnavigation of the island of Kererra

And this is me, 20km and 2hrs 20minutes later crossing the finish line in Oban Bay
Photo Graham Milne
And here are the race results


I was the first woman to finish in a time of 2hrs 20mins. Previous women’s winning times have been in excess of 2hrs 30mins so I was pretty pleased with my time. Now of course I will have to go back next year and see if I can do better.

The event was very well run, and well supported locally. Local sponsors had covered the running costs so that race entry fees and raffle takings were donated to the Oban lifeboat, about £1500 I believe.

Scottish Women’s Paddle Symposium

Having neither tartan blood nor living north of the wall, I was very pleased to have been invited once again to coach at the Scottish Women’s paddle Symposium. The event was based around the Royal Findhorn Yacht Club making good use of the sheltered water of Findhorn bay and more exposed rocky coastline between Burghead and Lossiemouth.
The event caters for sea kayakers, canoeists, surf and white water paddlers. Check out the Pyranha paddlers blog for Fran’s account of the white water side of things.

As well as coaching, I took a selection of P&H demo boats for participants to try out, the most popular being the Cetus LV and MV. These were liked by all who tried them.


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