Gentle training session, Gladhouse Reservoir, Sunday 9 September

Gentle training session, Gladhouse Reservoir, Sunday 9 September

With Force 4 winds forecast the session took place on the calmer waters of Gladhouse Reservoir. When I arrived, really really late, there were 8 kayaks of different shapes and sizes on the water: stable to unstable, short to long, great tracking to highly manoeuvrable. Conditions were ideal with sunshine and a bit of a breeze.

The paddlers were as varied as the kayaks with a mixture of new club members Lorraine, Debbie, Alan, Joachim, together with Katerina, Dougie, Duncan and Marysia.

The first exercise after I arrived was gentle turning in figures of 8 – learning handling of new boats for some, or getting more on edge for others.

We then move round the reservoir making use of our skegs in the increasing wind and paddling with the wind from different directions. For some in the group this was their first use of skegs, for others it was a reminder that they had a skeg and it could make their paddling easier.

Moving on from skegs, we paired up to experiment with making boats bow or stern heavy by placing large rocks on top of the boat hatches. Michael And Lorraine swapped boats as Lorraine’s boat was not long enough to fit a rock on the front.

Having learnt how our different boats behaved with skegs we headed downwind towards the dam. The wind was building steadily as we surfed along. Getting away from the dam was tricky for Alan as he was challenged by the low primary stability of his kayak.

As we headed back upwind towards home the wind built further with a sustained gust bringing white caps and rain. This was pretty demanding but good fun at first. I had a bouncy ride in Lorraine’s Dagger Blackwater. Lorraine, Debbie, Alan, Joachim were all doing really well until Alan took a swim and became separated from his kayak. Alan was brought ashore to warm up before we finished our paddle back to base in easing winds.

Once next to the shore in shallow waters Lorraine, Debbie and Michael worked on our low and high braces under the guidance of Dougie.

Thank you very much to Katerina for leading this session, making it such a great learning experience, adapting the session to the conditions, and explaining everything so well.

Thank you Dougie for supporting Katerina.

Thank you to the rest of the group for making it such a supportive, fun time. It was great to see confidence and skills building as the day went by.

And judging by how much I ache the day after it was a pretty good workout too,


Michael Wilkinson