New Podcast - Justine Curgenven & Barry Shaw

Ever wonder why Justine's business is called Cackle TV?  Listen to this podcast and you'll be in no doubt.   

There's lots of laughter as they talk about their circumnavigation of New Zealand South Island. The film of that expedition is on Justine's excellent new DVD, briefly reviewed here.

Subscribe to the Podcasts free here or download directly from the Podcast Library.  

Justine and Barry are embarking on a UK and USA tour to publicise This Is the Sea 4.  Here you can listen to what you might expect if you go along.  It's a lot of fun.

That's all folks

Heading home. Not here tomorrow which is a shame. But hey, it has been

Exclusive- for smaller paddlers

The Rockpool Isel. First one out of the plug. A few custom versions
have been loved by smaller women paddlers (Anne at Kari-Tek). So Mike
made this for them. ""I'll have to endure being approached by lots of
women now" he said. Not complaining.

Standing Room Only

For Brian Wilson. He doesn't do many talks and this one was very

Great show!

If you're in Scotland the forecast for tomorrow isn't good. Come watch
this instead.

Justine Curgenven presentation

An aqful photo of Justine and Stuart Smith CEO of the SCA. And a full
house. Justine is talking again tomorrow at 11:30.

Bad Camping Style

One tent, two camping styles outside the two porches. One good, the
one bad. Part of a quiz to enter here in Perth with some genuinely
good prizes.

Keeping warm

Looking out for new things I found these.

The Rapier

One of the sexiest boats in the show. From Valley it looks fast just
on the stand. Price: £2000 as slight second. Bring your cheque book.

Dry Suits at Paddle 08

Lomo sold out of their excellent dry suit at this show last year so
Bruce & Mark tell me they're taking no chances. They have boxes and
boxes of the things here ready to go.

Sea Level Snow in Scotland

By the banks of the Clyde. Pass my skis.

Britain's Got Talent?

Alegedly. Auditions of the hopeful and sad at Glasgow's SECC today.
Lots of 'whoop' - ing. No sign of the other (richer) Simon.

Paddle 08, Perth

If you're not going, this is some of what you're missing. I'll blog what I can.

Saturday Presentations
11:30 Preview and talk about "This is the Sea 4",
Justine Curgenven
12:30 Upsidedown - a beginner's view of sea kayaking, Andy Kirkpatrick
13:30 Tall Tales from Short Boats - adventures, mis-adventures and 'great-escapes', Brian Wilson
14:30 Q&A with Brian Wilson

15:00 The Dudh Kosi, Dave Manby
16:00 Q&A with Dave Manby, Dave Manby

Saturday Workshops
11:30 Pick of the Stands - Christmas Shopping List, Richard Turner (aka Biscuit)
12:30 Mechanics and principles of forward paddling - lessons learnt from Olympic disciplines, Barney Wainwright
13:30 Physical Preparation for Kayaking, Liz Bell
15:00 Outfitting an Open Boat, Paul Chapman

Sunday Presentations
11:00 Preview and talk about "This is the Sea 4", Justine Curgenven
12:00 Surf kayaking in Morocco, Nathan Eades
13:00 Photography whilst paddling, Douglas Wilcox
14:00 Q&A with Douglas Wilcox
14:30 Never too old to learn something new, Fred Belcher
15:30 Tall Stories - Andy Jackson, a biography, Ron Cameron

Sunday Workshops
11:00 Paddle making, James Homer
12:00 Tarpology - the "origami" of tarp, a secret art, Jed Yarnold
13:00 Traditional skin-on-frame kayaks , Bill Samson and Sean Gallagher
14:00 Q&A with Bill Samson and Sean Gallagher
14:30 Location aids and rescue, Anne Young and Rick Raeburn


Standing outside this iconic building I realised it is thirteen years since I worked here. So much has changed since then, and I don't just mean a new tube station.

I couldn't have guessed my next visit would be part of a programme designed to help those who are leaving. I'm attending a workshop called "setting up as a sole trader".

I remember my first course here in July 1983 as if it was yesterday.

Today feels exciting, scary and after twenty five years, rather momentous.

Blogging Paddle 08 Next Weekend

I'll be at Paddle 08 in Perth next weekend and will blog when I can.
It's the Scottish Canoe Association's annual get together.

Check back over the weekend to find out what's happening. I'll use my
iPhone as last year neither the cabled network or wifi worked.

First Impressions - This Is The Sea 4

Disc Two:
Why review this disc first? Surely this is the 'Bonus Disc'.

Well, for me this is the reason to buy This Is The Sea 4 because it has the best two kayak expedition films I've seen.
* Circumnavigating Haida Gwai (Queen Charlotte Islands)
* Circumnavigating New zealand South Island.

If Justine doesn't win an award for the New Zealand film I will eat my copy of the DVD. This is the best kayak expedition film I've seen and worth buying for this disc alone.
And there's more...

Disc One:
* Rock hopping in Baja
* Profile of Dubside, possibly better than, in Pacific Horizons?
* Kayak Fishing off San Diego
* Island Hopping the Bass Strait to tasmania
* Surfing standing waves on the Ottawa River with Justine genuinely scared (best bit on Disc One)
* Israel coastal paddling
* Norwegian paddlers showing off standing up, and Barry showing them how to surf a wave
* Lake Superior travelogue-ish

Some of these rank only 'OK' on my viewing pleasure-ometer. But Justine set the bar high with the short films in TITS3. And anyway, for me this is the bonus disc, not the other way around.

Buy it. Or better still, send this review to someone and get them to buy it for your Christmas present.

Journalist's Perks

One of the perks of being a journalists is that, occasionally, I get sent freebies. Sorry, items to review.

This Is the Sea 4 arrived today but I haven't yet had a chance to put it in the player.

Justine had a few problems with the master copies getting lost in the post and this one only reached her at 4pm yesterday. She's busy mailing out copies to European dealers and magazines as I write.

I can't wait to watch it.


I was woken in the early hours by a loud rumble.  At first I thought a huge truck was climbing the small hill outside our window, which is usually open.  But the window was shut.  And there was no truck.  

Later I overheard two woman talking in the Spar shop in Arisaig. "Did you feel the earthquake", asked one.  Then I caught BBC News for the Highlands, and the 'quake' was second story

Magnitude 3.4 apparently.  Sorry, no photo. 

Small Ferry

Each year our bigger ferry heads south for service and refit. This
small one takes it's place over the Corran narrows.

As the rally cars on trailers cross on their way to Mull it's very busy.

Scotland Cycling Consultation

A consultation on cycling in Scotland is due to end soon.

My own particular moan is parking in cycle-lanes. The special paint used to mark out such lanes in Glasgow is very expensive. Yet by not enforcing parking in the lanes, cyclists are forced even further out into traffic.

Missing Midges

Their arrival hearalds the start of summer.

Now, thank heaven, they're gone for another season. Yesterday the weather was rather evil for most of the morning. So I spent the day fixing up the new office.

Ikea office bits and pieces on the wall. Hardrives wired up into a system for editing. And the broadband finally working.

I'm not looking forward to the dark wet days ahead, but at least we won't get bitten as often.

New Podcast - Baffin Island

This is Alistair Gray, and those with sharp eyes will spot that behind him is Kirkwall harbour on Orkney.

While I was visiting for work, I dropped in on Alistair to hear about his trip to Baffin Island.

The podcast is live now at  Download it directly from the Podcast Library.  Alternatively, listen or subscribe free at

Sorry the podcasts are now infrequent - too much to do. 

Nice door

They really don't make doors like this any more, do they?
I've had two texts from BT telling me that my broadband will be live before the end of tonight. I'll believe it when it happens.
All we wanted to do was move the phone and broadband account from our flat to our cottage. BT cancelled the flat OK, but to get the phone working int he cottage took five mobile phone calls, each lasting twenty minutes, down by Loch Sunart, the only place I have O2 reception.
Eventually the phone was connected, and we were assured the broadband would follow in five days. It didn't. I rang BT. "What Broadband?", I was asked. They had lost the order. I was transferred to BT homemovers and was cut-off in the process. Twice. Finally, someone started a new order which should be fulfilled tonight. We'll see.
Then I'll be able to download music again. But what would the person who carved this wonderful door for the Society of Musicians have made call centres, BT and broadband?
Or, for that matter, blogging?

Rubber Chopper

This chap came a little close to the building where I was working this morning.

I snapped a shot on my iPhone and discovered this curious effect.

At least, I hope it was an effect...

Your Christmas Present

It will be. Or at least, it should be. Probably.

A review copy should be heading my way in a week. There are preview clips on Justine's blog. Derrick has a great promo in better quality which takes a while to download but looks marvellous.

And if you want more, Justine is at Paddle 08 in Perth (Scotland) on the 25th and 26th of this month. She's on at 11:30 on the Saturday and 11:00 on the Sunday.

Anyone use a VW van without a KariTek rack?

Having been quoted £515 for a rack which will take two boats, I'm trying to decide if we really need one.

Anyone use a VW T5 van, or similar, without a KariTek? How hard is it to load boats with two people? I'm keen to hear in the comments or on this thread.