Where are the Podcasts?

Duncan at WideBlueYonder.net, who helps me when I get stuck in web-treacle, has told me the Podcast feed from SeaKayakRoutes.com seems to have broken.

Apologies to anyone who is wondering where their podcasts have gone. I will try to fix the feed once my broadband activates (hopefully by Saturday). There are plenty to download directly from the Podcast Library.

But there won't be many more.

Partly it's technical. Apple's iWeb system is making it harder to publish MP3 files, converting them to .MOV files. If you're keen you can read about it here and Apple's 'fix' here.

Mainly it's because I want to do something fresh. I looked at the list of speakers at the SCA Perth Show and realised I've already interviewed the most interesting sea kayakers. While there are plenty of folk I'd like to interview, there aren't enough to return to regular podcasts.

I will fix the feed. It will be worth staying subscribed or dropping back occasionally to see what's new. But the days of three podcasts a month are over for now.

Yoga Retreat

Looks nice, doesn't it?

Liz is here right now. She sent me a text this morning saying "namaste". It's one of those sort of places.

I could have gone, but when she booked it didn't seem my sort of thing. Right now, watching the world's financial markets turn to dust, and all the gloom and doom putting our soon-to-be-required retirement fund under pressure, a few days in the Spanish mountains sounds just about perfect.

Seen the light?

How sad am I? I'm actually excited about this box of tricks.

It's a top light for my TV camera, but way better than the one which is standard in our kit. It's a 6 x 8 array of LEDs and runs off just 4 AA batteries.

And boy does it kick out some power! First time I turned it on I nearly seared my retina. I'll be playing this weekend while Liz heads off to a yoga retreat in Spain.


For a nano second I considered trying to jump this on my bike.

What a crash it would have made...

Hidden Speed Trap

Can they do this? legally?

Are the operators of speed traps allowed to use their own vehicles to partially obscure the high visability markings on the rear of the speed camera van?

That's what's happened at this one near Tain in northern Scotland. Was it deliberate? I don't know. But since the cameras must be clearly marked, obscuring those markings would seem to be against the spirit if not letter of that regulation.

And I don't yet know if it 'got' me.

Four Kayaks, One Roof

I can be delighted by the strangest things. Take this van parked in Tiso's car park, Inverness.

We're getting a van like this at the end of November, but Liz and I can't agree the size of Kari-Tek roof rack we should buy. She says it should be wide enough for two boats, three at most, because that's all we'll carry.
I say it should be able to take four, in case we want to shuttle with another pair. Liz insisted the bars, big enough for four, would stick out past the sides of the van.
Then I saw this van, with a four kayak rig, which did not stick out past the side of the van. 'Perfect', I thought, 'this will convince Liz'.
Wrong. We still can't agree the size to buy.

Simon Trigger

“Simon and Simon” was how we registered in the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon in July 2006. A friend had dropped out and Simon Trigger (right) stepped in at the last moment.

We were then new members of Westerlands Hill Running Club. It didn’t seem to matter to him that he was a far, far better runner than I’ll ever be. The racehorse didn’t appear to mind coaxing the carthorse over the Lakeland fells. Or if he did, he didn’t show it.

Somehow in his ultra-light, stripped to the essentials mountain marathon kit, he’d managed to pack a radio so he could listen to the football at the overnight camp. He drew quite a crowd of fellow enthusiasts.

Shortly afterwards, injury forced me to withdraw from hill running and I left the club, so I hadn’t seen Simon for ages.

Now comes the awful news. After two days trapped in a snow hole near Dome du Gouter on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, Simon died. I know no more than what I’ve read in the newspaper and the moving comments on the Westies’ website.

According to reports, Simon and his climbing partner left the Gonella refuge, but hampered by high winds they had to dig in. They spoke to the rescue services by mobile phone, and the chopper located them at 13,000ft but couldn’t land. A rescue team on foot was repelled by the conditions. The next day, the chopper spotted Simon’s partner heading down cold but unhurt. Five hours later Simon was found in the snowhole, on Thursday 11th September.

I wholeheartedly agree with the statement on the Westie’s site which reads: “Simon was a rare and unique character. He never had a bad word to say against anyone, and seemed on a mission to spread positive energy into the world, and get the most possible out of his life”.

I can’t add to that. Except to say a final “thanks” to Simon for a great weekend in the hills.

Atmospheric Kayaks

Kirkwall harbour on Orkney, two weeks ago.

I didn't meet this team, but I did chat with quite a few sea kayakers while I was on the islands. All agreed there had been more cars with sea kayaks on the roof, driving the islands roads, than on previous years.

Due doubt this is down to the excellent Pesda Publication. And of course, the excellent kayaking.

Feel Naked

Feeling naked in a public place is meant to be a common dream.
Fortunately, I wasn't naked here. It's the bridge of the Hamnavoe, the ferry which sails between Scrabster and Stromness on Orkney. And no they didn't let me drive.
But I am feeling naked. Well, exposed would be more the description. Because today is the day.
Broadband and telephone are switched off at our Glasgow flat to be transferred to the cottage. In this whizzy technical age, how long will this simple transfer take.
2 WEEKS! I can fly around the world in that time!!
So no dreams of being starkers, but enough to make me loose sleep.

Filming TV Reports

Sorry there have been no new Podcasts for a while. I've been concentrating on video.

In my 'day-job' I've been getting to grips with a TV Camera, learning to shoot and edit my own stuff. It's going well.

I spent last week on Orkney shooting four TV and two radio reports about tidal power. The easiest to see now is the online version.

A much longer version was transmitted the previous evening. (I didn't do the graphics!)

Only the Name is Changed

The Scottish Kayak Trail has become the ScottishSeaKayakTrail.com.

Otherwise, it's pretty much the same. Publication date is still 12th May 2009. Lots to do before then...

Scottish Sea Kayak Symposium 2009

Put the dates in your diary now - Skye, 22-25th May 2009.

We called in on Morag and Gordon Brown this weekend to discover the planning team, inculding Ken and Duncan had met over the previous day to devise a schedule and discuss guest speakers. Of course, I'm sworn to secrecy, but it'll will be worth going.

This year you will be able to download application forms from the symposium website, but you'll still have to print them out and snail-mail them back with your cheque. Apparently this remains the most reliable way to ensure everyone receives the accommodation, food etc they have paid for.

Places are strictly limited and you can register your interest by sending an e-mail now.

If all goes to plan, it might also be where I launch my Scottish Sea Kayak Trail book, so if you disagree with the notion of a trail, start saving your tomatos and eggs and work on your throwing action.