P&H Custom Sea Kayaks Blog

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

The P&H Volan; A Tale of Two Boats

The developmental road of the Volan has been a long one, and we thank the members of our global network of specialist dealers and P&H Pro Paddlers who packed generous amounts of energy and enthusiasm, and joined us for the journey…

We originally announced the concept, a complementary pairing of polyethylene and composite, lightweight sea kayaks focused on day and weekend trips, at PADDLEexpo in 2018. Whilst many have found their perfect, two-boat fleet in a combination of an Aries or Delphin, and a Cetus or Scorpio, we also recognised that not all had the necessary funds or storage space for two boats and that this new range also had the potential to fulfil the needs of those paddlers.

We soon reached a fork in the developmental road, though; one path led to a shorter design with a relatively straight keel, whilst the other’s destination was a 16’ sea kayak with pronounced rocker. We decided to explore both, with the former becoming the polyethylene Virgo (you can read more about the Virgo in its own blog post), and the latter becoming the composite Volan.

The Volan is 16’ in length with a pronounced rocker profile and subtle chines, which in combination, allow the boat to swing around nimbly in the surf, and keep the weight low, reducing the effort required to move the boat around both on and off the water.

Our 50+ years of cross-discipline design experience shine through once again, including the incorporation of the innovative wave deflectors seen in recent Pyranha models, deflecting spray outwards, away from the paddler when powering through chop, and creating dynamic bow lift without excessive volume or rocker.

The Volan’s combination of a planing, mid-section hull and finely tailored chines is enhanced by decades of experience with the performance characteristics of this type of hull in the Pyranha range of whitewater kayaks, ensuring the edges are tuned to engage when desired without hindering the paddler otherwise. The hull shape and dimensions promote planing performance and manoeuvrability at high speed on a wave yet retain tracking and efficiency at the lower speeds associated with normal paddling.

In that vein, the Volan eschews the school of thought which says a sea kayak must be unstable when motionless to perform in motion, and is exceptionally stable when flat, yet comes alive at the influence of your paddle strokes or the engagement of an edge.

The properties of the Volan’s hull are amplified by our advanced construction offerings; Lightweight Kevlar/Carbon Infusion offers incredible, industry-leading weight saving, hull stiffness, and durability, for higher performance, lower exertion, and increased longevity. Learn more on our constructions page.

In summary, the Volan’s features include:

  • The renowned comfort of our Connect outfitting
  • All the predictably smooth characteristics of the Cetus in a lighter, more compact format for shorter journeys and easier portaging, transport, and storage.
  • Influences from the Aries, such as a wave-piercing bow, to enhance the play potential of the responsive, compact design with lower swing weight.
  • A planing, mid-section hull with subtle chines, which can carve on a wave face and manoeuvred using traditional techniques during normal paddling.
  • A rocker profile tailored to partner with the intent of the hull design, whilst working with the bow wave deflectors to produce a dry ride in a wide variety of water conditions.
  • Exceptional stability, making a great platform for all abilities to take in the sights, whether that’s with your eyes or a camera.
  • Balanced sheerline and deck profile, allowing simple trimming with the skeg to neutralise the effect of wind and waves.
  • Low-profile back deck and cockpit rim for easier rolling and re-entry.
  • Bow, Stern, and Day Hatches as standard, with optional Pod Hatch, allowing paddlers to choose between the weight saving or additional storage.
  • The most comprehensive range of construction and custom options available. Create your own, bespoke P&H Sea Kayak on our customiser.

We’re proud to offer a performance, composite sea kayak which combines the essence of both the Aries and Cetus in a single, compact, lightweight design, making it equally competent from simple excursions over a long-weekend to a few hours of fun in the surf, and all the varied trips in between; the Volan.

Dre’s West Coast Adventure: Part One, “I only meant to go to the bridge.”

This time last year, Andrea ‘Dre’ Knepper was on an epic mission to paddle solo along all 3000 miles of the West Coast of the USA from Canada to Mexico.

Unfortunately, we were in the midst of writing a new P&H website at the time, and hadn’t yet finished up its blog page; Dre’s posts, therefore, sadly got buried in our ever-overflowing inbox.

As they say, however, every cloud has a silver lining, and reminded by Dre’s current run of interviews and podcasts, we’re finally getting her posts uploaded. We’re sure, like us, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to get lost in her words and pictures, and absorbed in the story of her incredible journey. Enjoy…

I only meant to go to the bridge.

If you haven’t met me, my name is Andrea. I’ve planned a long paddle for this summer. I plan to paddle the West Coast of the Lower 48. I’ve wanted to do this for at least 15 years. 

The first leg of the journey, after months of planning and dehydrating food and looking at charts, was almost over. But I stopped 40 miles away from the end of my 2100 mile drive from Chicago, where I live, to Portland where my mom lives and where a boat was waiting nearby for me. I stopped at Multnomah Falls. 

I’ve been going to the Columbia River Gorge and the falls area for 45 years. This evening, I decided to make a quick stop at the end of a beautiful days’ drive. 

I was just going to take a quick walk up to the bridge over the lower falls. 

But then I wanted to go around the corner for the views of the Columbia. And then I wanted to go around the next hairpin for views with less obstructions. Pretty soon, I was on my way to the top of the upper falls. And I realized, hiking along in flip flops with a small cup of mocha from the snack bar and no water, that this was why I’m taking this trip this summer. Because there’s always something so beautiful to see around the next bend, the next point, at the next rest area. This world is stunning, and I like when I get to see it. Really see it.

I like long journeys. I want to know what’s next. So I stopped at  Multnomah Falls to take a quick walk to the bridge, and hiked to the top. And I’ve been eye-ing the West Coast for a long paddling expedition for 15 years.

I hope I’m more prepared for this than for my flip-flop-attired hike up to the top of Multnomah Falls! The right gear is critical for this endeavor. I put a fair amount of thought into what boat I’d like to use. The boat I’ve paddled for 15 years is playful and fun, but doesn’t particularly like to go straight. I wanted something a bit more happy to go straight, while still responsive. I needed a boat that would fit me – most boats are too big for me. And I wanted a boat made by a company with a good solid record of consistently good quality boats. 

I find it terrifying to ask other people to get behind my own endeavors. I run a non-profit – and hate fundraising. And the idea of asking companies in the paddling industry if they would sponsor this trip was almost enough to make me decide to use my boat that would double the mileage of this trip with all the zig-zagging it would do. But I screwed up my courage, made a brochure about what I was doing, and asked P&H if they would consider sponsoring the trip. They said yes! So I’m paddling a brand new Scorpio LV from Canada to Mexico. 

It’s a long journey – and I love long journeys. I also like un-mediated immersion in nature. I was struck by this at Multnomah Falls. After a fire a couple years ago that burned a lot of trees and destabilized the soil, there are locking fences where there didn’t used to be. After a large slab of rock fell from the falls 15 years ago, the stone walls along the path by the pool have had posts and chain added so it’s quite difficult to hike around the pool or behind the falls. I was a bit sad – I have this amazing childhood memory of standing behind the falls filling up my canteen. That water tasted really good! It was in the days before we filtered our water, when there were signs warning us to stay on the path. Signs that were next to well-trod unofficial paths around and behind the falls, belying the fact that the powers that be didn’t enforce the rules. 

On this journey, there are no warning signs. There are no fences. There’s no one else to tell me when and where to decide not to go. There’s no one to mediate my experience or my safety. 

I don’t think it’s a bad thing that so many of our experiences of nature are mediated, controlled, regulated. The imposition of safety regulations allows folks who don’t have knowledge or experience to see incredible places. It increases access for so many people who don’t get the chance to be in nature. 

I’m often the person mediating the experience for others. I impose rules that people don’t like and sometimes don’t understand. I direct Chicago Adventure Therapy – a non-profit working with under-served youth in Chicago, using outdoor sports to build skills. Creating access for them means taking responsibility for safety decisions they aren’t equipped to make.

It also means helping them learn to make those decisions for themselves. Because here’s the thing.  It’s great to hike to the bridge at Multnomah Falls.  It’s super-crowded with tourists from all over the world. It’s got a smooth asphalt trail to it. It’s got railings and fences and locks that don’t let you get into a place you shouldn’t be. And it’s absolutely beautiful. It takes your breath away.

It’s also incredible to have the opportunity to take long journeys in nature. Where you have every opportunity to get in trouble – and every opportunity to see what’s around the next point or to hike behind the waterfall and fill your canteen. 

I’ve been dehydrating food, paddling in conditions nothing like the Pacific, figuring out what gear to use to keep myself safe. I’ve been wrapping things up at Chicago Adventure Therapy – paddling with our community at our spring retreat and at the first Midwest symposium of the season, moving our office out of my home, transferring responsibilities to my staff. I’ve picked up the boat (with help from a couple cats) and did a test pack to see if  I can take a month’s worth of food at a time. The preparations are done and it’s time to start the journey. I’m hoping to fill up my canteen this summer. Because there’s no better water than the water I get to be on for four months.

The Sun is Setting on Pre-2004 P&H Capella Product Support

From the 1st of September 2020, we will cease production and supply of the moulded rubber Thigh Grips and Square Hatch Covers featured on several generations of P&H Capella manufactured up until 2004.

A Pre-2004 P&H Capella

Our reasons for taking this decision are as follows:

The stated maximum UV resistance lifespan of the high-density polyethylene used in our current production process is around 12 years; this is inclusive of many incremental developments we have made in conjunction with our suppliers over our 35+ years of rotomoulding experience to produce the optimal plastic alloy for canoe & kayak production and assumes average use as well as consistent and proper maintenance. This figure is also in relation to areas of low-UV concentration such as the UK and changes dramatically in areas of high-UV concentration such as Australia.

Top & Side Views of a Pre-2004 Capella

Pre-2004 generations of Capella were manufactured by a third party, prior to Pyranha Mouldings Ltd.’s acquisition of P&H Sea Kayaks, and therefore we cannot verify the exact alloy of polyethylene compounds or their performance with regards to UV resistance.

We are certain, however, that even using a conservative estimation of UV resistance given the available polymer technology during the time of production, at over 16 years old, these models will have long since seen a drastic reduction in structural integrity due to UV degradation.

As a result, we would strongly recommend that any Pre-2004 Capella not be used in any situation in which the paddler would not be comfortable swimming to shore, and ideally be rendered unpaddleable and either re-purposed or recycled.

Pre-2004 Capella Thigh Grips

The Thigh Grips and Hatch Covers in question are also themselves particularly susceptible to UV degradation, especially in comparison to the KajakSport hatch covers used on all P&H Sea Kayaks since 2005, and we, therefore, don’t feel they are representative of the standards of quality paddlers have come to expect from P&H.

A Pre-2004 Capella at Rubha Coigeach Sea Stack some years ago.

The 222 Mile Challenge

In May 2020, myself and Paul, both veterans, both suffering from PTSD, and both a little crazy for taking on this nutty challenge, will be leaving Dungeness, across the English Channel on an epic 222-mile challenge!

We will be using 2 P&H Scorpio kayaks, recommended by experienced professionals due to their versatility, design, weight & handling. Built purposely for sea kayaking, we will be putting them through their paces on a 29-mile crossing facing the open sea and dealing with larger waves than usual.

Neither of us have ever kayaked, and are training over the coming months to complete this challenge and raise funds for veterans’ mental health care and support. Landing at Pegasus Bridge for the 75th anniversary year of VE day (Declaration of Peace) and finally ending by taking in the views of Point Du Hoc memorial in Normandy from sea level. Over a total of 14 days of paddling, we will be filming our journey and sharing live footage, blogs, and updates as we progress.

A bridge too far? Haha, we don’t think so. Physical and mental torture, being pushed to the limit, exhaustion, and attacks from wildlife… maybe! But we will do this; the adventure, the achievement, and a £250k target make it all worthwhile.

Giving a little can make a huge difference: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/221-mile-kayak

Destination Guide – Inside Passage, BC, Canada

This Summer, my partner Amy and I headed over to British Columbia to paddle a section of the Inside Passage. If you’ve not heard of the ‘bucket-list’ worthy Inside Passage, it’s a coastal route that stretches 1700km from Washington, USA, through Western British Columbia, up to Skagway, Alaska. Its major drawcards being the teeming wildlife, a multitude of islands to weave, and the perfect balance of solitude versus opportunities to re-stock in remote First Nations communities.

We had a month to play with, so opted for a 780km section of this marine passage, from Comox on Vancouver Island up to Prince Rupert, in the north-west of British Columbia. We had a brilliant time encountering wildlife, meeting locals, and living the simple life, submersed in stunning scenery. This guide is intended to help you plan your Inside Passage adventure and hopefully provide a few nuggets of inspiration and lessons learnt.

When to go

The climate is quite similar to Scotland, so expect rain and also stunning blue skies. We went mid-August to mid-September and paddled in t-shirts for 90% of the time. The great thing about Aug/Sept is the salmon are starting to run, so lots of Orca, Humpbacks, and the bears should be well fed (fingers crossed).

Where to go

Quick hit – The most compact enjoyment was certainly around Telegraph Cove. There are lots of guided trip options, amazing scenery, and loads of Orca and Humpback to get excited about.

For wildlife – The Broughton Islands certainly offered us the most varied scenery, tides, and wildlife. We saw about 60 Orca on separate occasions, Humpbacks galore, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Bald Eagles, but no Bears…

Wilderness – The further north we travelled, the fewer people we encountered. Although most of the coast has been logged at some point, north of Vancouver Island thick forest lines the high tide mark with only the occasional small village breaking the vista.

How to get there

Fly to Vancouver and catch either a bus and ferry over to Vancouver Island, or get a floatplane to your starting point from £50 upwards.

Boat hire

We found it surprisingly difficult to hire boats. MEC hire Scorpios from Vancouver City, but then you need to get them to your starting point. Most of the companies in the north of Vancouver Island only do guided trips. The best option we found was from a company called Comox Valley Kayaks. They hire out boats for any duration and provide a drop-off and pick-up service. We met other paddlers on shorter trips who used private boat shuttles to fine-tune their drop-off and pick-up points.

Maps

There are lots of marine charts and topographic maps available of the BC west coast. Depending on the length of your trip I’d recommend marine charts from 1:40,000 scale and smaller. As our trip was quite long and space was at a premium, we opted to use a road atlas for large scale planning and the Viewranger and Navionics apps for our day to day navigation. To charge our devices we had a 17 Watt, waterproof, Voltaic Systems solar panel and battery. This system worked amazingly well, enabling us to charge cameras, phones, VHF and head-torches.

Useful info

There is a ton of useful resources out there to help you plan your paddle. The Inside Passage Facebook Group is a great treasure trove of knowledge. We downloaded the book ‘Kayaking the Inside Passage’ by R.H. Miller onto our phones which offered information on history, tides, wildlife, routes, campsites, and much more. There are various online maps from previous paddling trips, featuring notated information such as campsites, water, and resupply points.

General conditions

We found the paddling relatively straight forward. The majority of the route is sheltered by islands with only a few exposed headlands. The wind offered some challenges but was never a show stopper for us. However, we have heard from other paddlers that it gets much stronger & prohibiting. As a general rule of thumb, you could set your watch by winds picking up at 3 pm in the afternoon. Tides do get pretty strong in areas with overfalls and whirlpools so a good knowledge of tidal planning is vital. Lots of the tidal cruxes need to be paddled at slack water and it was often possible to paddle up tide by hugging the coastline. Landings are found quite regularly and we found many more campsites than recorded online or in Miller’s book. We carried up to 13l of water each and managed to fill up from taps with the back up of water purification means with us if necessary. Bears… We saw one from the water and heard another near camp whilst in our tent. Cook away from your tent spot where possible. Store all smellies in your hatches, seal them and flip your boat overnight. Get studious and read up on bear-safe camping. Again, not a show stopper, but we have heard of trips earlier in the year with a greater number of sightings & encounters.

This area really is a sea kayaker’s paradise, with something for everyone. If you are thinking about a trip out there, do it! Give me a shout if you would like to chat more about it, and happy paddling.

Worst Case Scenario II

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T52e0iWOCy4

So, let’s talk about safety!  It has been a while since our first “Worst Case Scenario” video (where we are recovering an unconscious victim in awaiting of the Coast Guard) and our attention was drawn by a few real-life stories from fellow paddlers that lost their boat during their trips.  Why is it that a board surfer is tethered to his board, and a surf skier is also tethered to his surf ski….?  But I rarely hear sea kayakers tethering themselves to their boat?  Of course, it can be dangerous in specific situations such as during surfing, or during rock hopping.  But when one goes offshore than there are only benefits by attaching yourself to your boat.  We tried a few setups during the past year, going from the use of the long tow line on the belt to a mid-size safety line, to the short tow line just in front of the cockpit.  I chose the last option, where I hook the carabiner of the short tow line (a piece of bungie) to the loop of my spray deck.  That way I can still pull my spray deck in case of emergency, it is also not in the way of a roll.  There is also a minimum risk of entanglement.  This video shows what could happen if you lose your boat, and how you can prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario.  Feel free to comment or share experiences and what works best for you.  Have fun and be safe on the water!

The P&H Virgo: A Polyethylene Sea Kayak That Takes Day & Weekend Trips Seriously

How often do your sea kayak excursions extend beyond a long weekend?

If the answer is ‘rarely’, you’re not alone; in speaking to our customers, colleagues, and counterparts, it became clear to us that few sea kayak trips justify the length and storage capacity of expedition-ready models such as the Scorpio.

While we’re proud to say that the Scorpio’s meticulous design means that there’s little disadvantage in manoeuvrability, and that our advanced CoreLite X material helps keep weight to a minimum, it’s hard to bring the boat weight lower or make transport and storage any easier without losing some of that length.

It’s at this point that the Virgo was conceptualised; a compact, but uncompromising sea kayak for weekend warriors.

P&H Virgo CX with Bow Mini Hatch in Ocean Turquoise
P&H Virgo CX with Bow Mini Hatch in Ocean Turquoise

In many ways, the Virgo is a successor to the firmly-established Easky 15, but almost 20 years on, it’s safe to say boat design and features have come a long way!

Our focus was on retaining the familiar stability and hull speed, complimenting the surf potential that a boat of such manageable size and weight creates with a carving rail, and packing in all the essential features you’d expect of any other sea kayak in the P&H range, including a low-profile back deck for easy rolling and re-entry, and the option of a Bow Mini Hatch just in front of the paddler.

Here’s a summary of the Virgo’s key features:

  • The short, 14’6” length increases the play potential and keeps the overall boat weight at a minimum, meaning you can really throw the Virgo around on the water all day long, and still easily lift it on to the car afterwards.
  • A V-hull cuts cleanly through the water and tracks beautifully when you’re simply headed for the horizon but softens towards the centre of the boat for comfortable stability and easy release when you’re exploring what you find there.
  • Moderate rocker allows the Virgo to pick up and carry speed efficiently when flat but swing around effortlessly on edge, perfect for catching surges and weaving in and out of every nook and cranny when rock gardening.
  • As well as responding to traditional sea kayak edging techniques, the Virgo’s hard chines engage for carving performance when edging into the turn; highly intuitive for beginner/intermediates or those from a whitewater background, and exhilaratingly responsive on a wave.
  • A moderately steep bow ensures a high proportion of the length acts as effective waterline for hull speed and combines with flared bow edges to give a dry ride through choppy water and lift the boat over waves on the paddle out from the shore.
  • Carefully planned bow deck geometry provides stiffness and strength for deep water rescues, kayak sailing, and all the other demands of a varied, memorable trip.
  • The rear deck is ergonomically shaped and minimal in height to allow easy rolling and re-entry and features a paddle shaft recess for bracing during entry, giving you the confidence to try new and more adventurous things.
  • Bulkheaded bow and stern main hatches with market-leading KajakSport hatch covers, providing ample capacity for long weekend adventures and maximum safety when exploring remote coastlines.
  • Styling and functional details such as split paddle recesses, a drop-forged, anodised aluminium security point, a paddle park, a full complement of deck lines and bungees, and comfortable, highly-adjustable and reliable outfitting are in keeping with P&H Sea Kayak design heritage and round out the Virgo’s design to make it something that’ll be a pleasure both to own and paddle.

It’s nice to have options, and on the Virgo, they are:

  • A Silva 70P compass (northern or southern hemisphere variants are available) fitted to the moulded recess in front of the bow hatch.
  • The choice of CoreLite X for hull stiffness and minimal weight, or MZ3 for high impact resistance.
  • An optional Bow Mini Hatch for close-to-hand storage of on-the-water essentials like snacks and sun cream.
  • The ability to simply and securely install a P&H Sail System using the moulded-in inserts.
  • Skeg or Skudder options with the choice of a simple cleat & cord or advanced MKII Skeg Slider System control.
P&H Virgo MZ3 in Sunbeam
P&H Virgo MZ3 in Sunbeam

You can expect to see the Virgo arriving with dealers in the UK and Europe over the next few weeks, and the following dealers have confirmed the will have a demo available:

FRANCE
Passion Nature, Saint Jean d’Illac
SWITZERLAND
SeeKajak.ch, Illnau
Siesta Oppi, Neuenegg
GERMANY
Sport Schröer, Unna
Gadermann, Norderstedt
Paddelprofi, Konstanz
DENMARK
Kano & Kajak Butikken, Søborg
NORWAY
Padlespesialisten, Arendal
FINLAND
Welhonpesä, Klaukkala
Melontapiste, Turku
North-West Import, Espoo
NETHERLANDS
Kanocentrum Arjan Bloem, Wormer
SCOTLAND
Sea Kayak Oban, Oban
ENGLAND
AS Watersports, Exeter
Wild Things, Redruth
Kent Canoes, Wrotham
Whitewater the Canoe Centre, Shepperton
South Coast Canoes, Wimborne
WALES
Summit to Sea, Holyhead
Up and Under, Cardiff
IRELAND
I-Canoe, Dublin
Bantry Bay Canoes, Cork

North America will see the Virgo reach its shores later this season; contact your local dealer to let them know you’re interested!

#ExploreTheSea with P&H Sea Kayaks

Sea Kayak Training Camp 2019

With the success of the SKTC of last year it became clear that there certainly would be another chapter in this story. We were asked again to coach this training camp a second time. Of course, we joined in, to share our passion and knowledge with other sea kayak enthusiasts. The advantage of this SKTC is that everyone can join and that we can start with basic things in a calm and beautiful environment with low risks. That way it’s possible to give a very personal approach what was very much appreciated by the participants. Safety and making fun are key in the program, if there is no smile on your face, then there must be something wrong. The camp takes places over five days with both theoretic lessons and a lot of practice on the water. We start with basic things and then move over to combined exercises and even worst-case scenarios where the participants must solve the problem. Working as a team is equally important, the first day we immediately said that we don’t want a group, but a team! I want to thank the team members for their positive spirit during the camp, my assistant Winoc to be at my side during coaching and Boris & Ivka from http://spiritofkorkyra.com/ for again a perfect organisation. Let us not forget NSK team member Sylvie! Without her it would not been possible to make this video, she spends hours on the beach to take a lot of footage…. Maybe we will see you next year? Paddle safe and take care of each other!

Cleopatras Needle Flooded Sea Kayak Rescue

This time we are showing you how we fix a worst-case scenario, as in “my kayak is sinking”! We are 4 kilometers offshore and we pulled of one of our hatches, leaving the front compartment exposed to the sea water. With a little leaning our kayak is flooding. It’s scary when doing this training exercise for the first time. We trained on this a lot in the safety of the harbor, and we advise you to get started in a safe environment when doing this training for the first time. You will be surprised how easy this rescue is. Of course, the harder the conditions, the harder it will get. But most important, we know that it is still possible to rescue ourselves when the worst thing happens. Follow up the top tips that we are giving in the video and you will do just fine. Make sure to carry a grab bag at all times, and make sure that you have duct tape with you. Trust us, this can happen (we have seen this happen only once, but still…) in real life.

Destination Guide – Lofoten

Lofoten really is a sea kayakers paradise.  It combines Scotland’s intricate west coast with the mountain scapes of Patagonia and the wildlife of an Attenborough episode to create a truly magical place.  This summer Amy Dunis and I spent a month exploring this archipelago and have put together a destination guide to inspire and help you head out to enjoy these islands as much as we did.

Different places to paddle

Henningsvær – Is called the “Little Venice” of Lofoten.  You can explore and fish around the surrounding islands, then paddle into the spectacular harbor that cuts right through the picturesque town.

Moskenesøya – Is an amazing island in the south of the Archipelago that is the definition of wilderness.  Towering cliffs, soaring sea eagles, endless beaches. This is the place to go to get away from it all.

Trolltindan mountains – Towering peaks, hanging glaciers, smooth granite faces and lush green fields dotted with grass roofed huts.  A circumnavigation of this area gives you a real taste for all that is good about Lofoten.

Must sees

1. Sea eagles are by far the coolest looking bird out in Norway.  With a wingspan of up to 240cm they keep watch from cliffy headlands and saw overhead with such grace.  On our best day we spotted 11 birds with each sighting as exciting as the last.

2. Trollfjord is the crème de la crème of fjords.  1100m peaks drop straight into the 100m wide Fjord with snow capped mountains surrounding you.  Our top tip would be to get there early before all of the noisy tour ribs arrive.

3. Rulten in the Trolltindan mountain range claims the title of “Lofotens most beautiful mountain”. Paddling in crystal blue waters beneath the peak with a pristine grass roofed hut in the foreground sums up the Lofoten landscape perfectly.

4. Renei Fjord is a stunning 3 pronged fjord that cuts deep into the Moskenesøya mountains.  It is the perfect place to paddle when the open seas are wild and a great place to explore if you are new to sea kayaking.

5. Moskenesøya beaches are by far the best in Lofoten. They are plentiful and their white sands stretch for miles.  Camped up, with a fire roaring and the sun setting is pretty hard to beat.

When to go

The climate is similar to Scotland but on average 4°C colder so the best time to go is June to August.  This also allows you to experience the amazing 24h daylight.  Prepare to experience rain and wind but you will have the best chance to experience that classic Lofoten sun.

How to get there

This depends on your trip duration, budget and how many podcasts you have.  We chose to drive as we wanted to take our boats, lots of food and not have to hire a car.  It was a 47h drive so not for the fainthearted or those with limited time.  Another option is to fly to Tromso and then transfer to Lofoten by either bus, express boat, plane or onboard the Hurtigruten (ferry).  A hire car would make life a lot easier but isn’t essential.

 

Boat hire

Reine Adventure in the south and Lofoten Aktiv AS in the North hire boats and gear but you must have evidence of being at least BC 3*.  Both companies will be able to give you some great advice on where to go with the forecasted weather.

Where to stay

Wild camping opportunities in Norway are amazing.  You can camp for up to two nights anywhere on uncultivated land as long as you are over 150m from an inhabited building.  This is a great way to save money and also wake up in truly amazing places. There are plenty of campsites with good facilities and hotels if you are feeling fancy.

Guidebook

Yann Engstad and Olly Saunders have produced a brilliant guide to the Lofoten islands with loads of brilliant day trips to do and a detailed explanation of the outer coast for those seeking to circumnavigate some or all of these magical islands.

Thanks to P&H for the use of the brilliant Scorpios 🙂

If you would like any more information about paddling or climbing in these magical islands please get in touch – Highland Kayak School.

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