Monday, 8 September 2014

Days Out in Devon: Paddling in Exeter

Howdy folks!  I've woken this morning and can barely use my arms as they ache so much.  Driving is going to be interesting.  The reason is that I was out on  the water yesterday using muscles that I'd forgotten I had.  Here I am with some of 'Our Little Kayak Gang'.  How exciting!  I haven't been part of a gang since schooldays. As you'll guess it's not the shoot-'em-up, drug dealing type. We're just armed with our paddles and our capacity to talk ourselves out of any awkward situation that we're found in.

The story starts on Saturday morning with a wardrobe crisis.  Scouring a cupboard filled with natty short skirts and the little dresses that are my chosen garb, I discovered that I did not have anything remotely suited to a trip down river with a possible dunking or two.  A wetsuit was what I needed.  I've been thinking of buying one for a while now after I'd achieved my target weight so I can continue my wild swimming habit in the chillier months.  That  prospect seems way off as I have the propensity to eat and drink for England.   Life's too short to stick to a rigid diet.  After all chocolate is God given isn't it?   A quick trip to Trago Mills sorted me out.  After balking at the cost of ones that were fifty quid upwards,  I sourced a quality number for £16.99 that'll do in the interim.  As I suspected, the lithe surfer look that I aspire to evades me.  I look more like Madame Cholet before she's put her apron on!

After forcing bits of my body that didn't want to budge into that neoprene sheath and making a vow not to visit a toilet for the rest of the day I was out on the Exeter shipping canal.  Not unsupervised I hasten to add   Even though I might come across as daft as a brush I'm really quite a cautious individual.  We hired an instructor, Moss, who is a mate but also works for Haven Banks Outdoor Centre. They run a range of courses for adults and children from their spangly new place in the heart of Exeter.  Not only did Moss take us down the canal to the pub for lunch, a decent enough goal in itself in my book,   he gave us a star each from the British Canoe Union.  That's after we'd had the compulsory dunking and tried out a couple of different styles of boats.  As one of the world's most uncoordinated individuals I've developed my own unique style of paddling but it works.  Thanks fellow river rats for a brilliant fun day.  We'll be out adrift again soon.  You'll be able to find us by listening out for the singing and laughter on a waterway near you!

1 comment:

  1. The last time we were in a canoe we capsized - into a very swollen river, after the instructor tried to ' help' us. What he actually achieved was to shove us into overhanging trees - KL ducked and capsized us.

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