Video - Lots of Kayak Videos

The videos I shot for P&H with Doug Cooper are now live on the P&H Website. There are eight in all.  

Plus five videos which show different boats in action, with Doug describing the features and characteristics of each.  I'll post the pages here in the coming days.  And if you're not sure who Doug Cooper is, watch below.





Shot & edited by SunartMedia.com

New P&H Brochure

I've just got internet access and managed to download the new catalogue for P&H Sea Kayaks.  Download here.


Looks really good, with lots of dramatic photos from names well known in the sea kayak scene.  My own four "snaps" are in good company.

They were all taken on our summer trip to create the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail.  Only problem is they're appearing here before in my book.

Elbow Grease

Down South giving the new baby a wash and wax. Heading to Dorset just
after Christmas to use her in earnest. We've yet to sleep on board.
But at least she's clean.

Royal Mineral Water Hospital

Yep, there is one. What happens inside? Do they cure sick water? Or
use water to cure sick people? I'd rather speculate than discover -
not journalistic but much more fun. Oh, we're in the city of Bath.

Homeless at Christmas

Clearing out my Mother-in-Law's garage we found these two mice in the
bottom of a big box which had been on it's side.

They couldn't remain there, but rather than evict then the pair were
rehoused in another part of the garden with plenty of shelter.

A kind of mousey nativity scene?

Me. On TV. In a Different Universe!

Go to 39" and stand by to laugh at me.  I can't even remember doing this.  I'm guessing it was 1982.  Dig that 80's fringe!  Looks like Hitler...


The Adventure Show - filming on Mull

This is some of the team behind the BBC-2 Scotland TV programme, The Adventure Show.  We're relaxing after an intense day filming Cyclo-cross yesterday at Glengorm Castle, eating sandwiches in the rain.  Glamorous business, television.  This episode goes out in February. 
 
Not as exhausting or as muddy as actually racing, but believe me, it came close on both counts.  This was my first shoot where I couldn't say, "er, can you do that again".  I had to get it right every time.  

In the rain.  With the rain-cover steaming up.  And the viewing screen.  And the eyepiece.  Point and shoot came into play.  I'll hear soon whether my tapes were as good as a hope or.... well, I don't want to go there.

Here's the presenter of The Adventure Show, Dougie.  Making sure everyone has a warm drink, like a good presenter should.  Just as I used to do.  Hmm.  You know what - I'm living my career backwards!  
I started as a presenter while at University, way back in 1979.  I still occasionally present Newsnight Scotland (my freelance website is SimonWillis.info).  I've produced and directed some pretty 'big' programmes.  But now I'm also working as a cameraman.  And editor.  

Anyone got a brush?  I'll do that too.

First Clients for Sunart Media

Top quality clients too!


Doug Cooper, head of paddlesport at Glenmore Lodge and his main sponsor.  

We've been shooting and editing a series of videos over recent weeks and have been blessed with wonderful winter light.

Some will be released on various websites to tie in with other projects.  Some might come out on DVD.  

If it sounds like I'm being cagey, it's because I am.  Sorry.   I'll let you know when they are live.

Gordon Brown & Skyak on BBC-1

Just in case you missed this. Shown on 1st June and recently repeated.

Deep and Crusty and Blown

Our regular local hill repulsed us Saturday.


The track I've run hundreds of times was best tackled on ice skates.  Which we didn't have. 

Snow compressed by farmers in 4X4s feeding their stock, then subjected to freeze/thaw cycle, was un-walkable.  We made slow progress through the poached, tussocky ground either side.

Further up, the snow was piled pretty deep.  The crust, just strong enough to lure you into thinking you were safe on top.  A knee wrenching plunge into a hidden hole was only a couple of steps away.  

We left Ben Resipole for another day.

Pay Up or the Salmon Gets It

I'll be honest, I'm still working out how I feel about this. Judge for yourself after you read the recent e-mail from Bryan Smith.

As you no doubt know by now, we're mounting a kayak expedition to explore a region of the world with tremendous ecological implications for all of us. We're funding the expedition and research through small donations from family, friends and fellow paddlers.

If you're receiving this email, it's for 1 of 3 reasons:


1. You've intended to donate to the Kamchatka Project, but haven't gotten to it yet. So here's a reminder: please donate if you can. www.active.com/donate/kamchatka

2. You've been thinking about donating, but are still on the fence. Do you eat salmon? Do you value the role they play in the ecosystem? Remember that 1/4 of all the salmon in the world spawn on Kamchatka , and it is vital that we protect the remaining salmon habitat if salmon are to survive the next century:
www.active.com/donate/kamchatka

3. You're a fellow paddler and haven't heard about what we're attempting.To find out more go to http://kamchatkaproject.blogspot.com

If you can't donate but want to help us spread the message, join us on Facebook ... and spread the word to your Facebook Friends.


It's certainly enterprising. And ambitious. Bryan's challenging people to sign up 100 of their friends and then challenge them to do the same. The sort of thing you might do for a cancer charity...

As of writing they have $6785 towards a $50k goal. Good luck Bryan, I'll be interested to hear how many hundreds sign up.

Our Cold Thirsty Baby

After filling up for the second time I've worked out our big, grey baby does 26 miles per gallon. Which is awful for a car. But then, it's not a car. It's a mobile house. We need to change our way of thinking.

For those of you who wanted to see inside, here are a few snaps. She's awfully bare right now. (The van, that is, not Liz. Liz is swaddled against the elements.) We'll fit personalise her in a few days with bits and pieces, and then she's migrating south for Christmas.

The poor deal is getting frozen by this cold snap. Her tap fell off! It's just a push-on spout, or in this case, push-off. Ice had formed behind it and expanded. Fortunately all the water pipes are rubber and expand as I didn't have time to drain the system before these sub-zero days arrived.

So there she is. I have no doubt I'll bore you with many more tales in the years to come.

My Hat Is Not on the Menu

Back in October I was first to review This Is The Sea when I made a rather rash statement.

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.

I just received an e-mail from Justine which reads:

"you don't have to eat one of the "This
is the sea 4" discs!! The NZ film won 'best mountain adventure film' at Kendal Mountain Film festival just over a week ago which is very exciting indeed!!! You're safe!! ( and thanks for your faith!)"

Phew.  If you're going to buy a copy, please buy it directly from Justine as she offers free worldwide shipping.

When Gravel Freezes

The freeze thaw cycle has been busy on last weekend's snow. (Apologies to those of you who cope with REAL snow. Scotland used to but now struggles.)

Our gravel drive developed an impenetrable crust of snow/ice. Even the weight of the car couldn't crack it, so I couldn't drive fully in.

There's a hill nearby which causes a few problems in these conditions, so our council dumps small piles of grit alongside. Drivers shovel it onto the road if they get stuck.

So I went to get a shovel-full for the entrance to our drive. The pile of grit was frozen solid. Not a lot of use to me and even worse if you were stuck on the hill. More snow is forecast tonight, then a big freeze.

So that'll be fun.

New Podcast - "Sustainable Expeditions"

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

This is Tom Pendrey. He became briefly famous in Scotland when, in the summer of 2008, lots of newspapers reported his attempt to kayak the Western Isles in a "sustainable" style.

He also came in for a little criticism from some people. In his podcast, recorded at the SCA show in Perth, Tom tells us all about it.