VW T5 Campervan and Sea Kayaking Pt2

Right from the start we knew this campervan would be used for sea kayaking.

So the first question we asked converters was, “can we put kayaks on the roof”.

We’d wondered whether we’d have to buy a trailer, something we were keen to avoid.

We were delighted when Simon Poole from Jerba Campervans told us, “Yes, no problem. I carry kayaks on a pop up roof and it’s fine. It’s designed to take a much heavier load than 2 kayak”.

Sorted. Until that awful May day when we realised our roof was collapsing. Two Cetus had been on the roof for two days, and a definite ‘dish’ had appeared on one side. It seemed the edge of the roof was slipping off the side of the van and, unsupported, collapsing.

Take a look at the photo. You can see the bend in the roof from the inside. If you look at the one above, you'll also see how the edge of the roof has slid off the van and is touching the door.


Before you go any further, please read the first part of the story. You’ll see we love the van as a base for kayaking and we had this problem resolved with very little effort by ourselves.

Simon Poole at Jerba Campervans was utterly superb. That's him below with the spanners. I'd buy another van off him any time and would highly recommend him to anyone.

I drove the vehicle down to Edinburgh, where he realigned the roof. He explained it would be a temporary fix to allow us to enjoy our holiday in the Western Isles, but not a long term solution.

Initially, I suspect the roof manufacturers, a German firm called Reimo, tried to back-pedal on the weight limitations of their roofs.

But then Simon got through to the right person who clearly said something like, “come on - this is a duff roof. Bring it back and send them a new one. And make it strong”. In German.

I admit, I’m guessing. I have not had to deal with Reimo at all.

Simon has done all that negotiation. Reimo were keen to explain how tough their roofs are. Vehicles have rolled off roads and their roofs have been intact. The company is proud of their strong roofs.

Yet here was mine. Dished.

No-one has fully explained what went wrong. My guess is that it was built slightly out of shape.

The roof is meant to be narrower in the middle, ‘waisted’ like a ski, not to turn, but to sit on the metal edges on the top of the van.

Ours wasn’t. So under load it splayed out and one edge slid off the van.

The new Reimo roof is a different design. You’ll notice it now has a nose-cone, which might help keep it in place. I was told the roof would also be specially strengthened, but I’m not sure that happened.

We’ve driven around locally with kayaks up there, and left two Nordkapps on the roof for an entire week. No hint of bending yet.

We’ve yet to try a long trip with the roof and kayaks, but that will come soon. I’m heading up to Skye shortly to start filming for the second Volume of Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown and I’ll probably take a kayak.

Just to test the roof.

[edit - as of Sept 2012 (read long term test) we have had no problems whatsoever from our new roof.  If I was planning to buy a VW campervan and carry sea kayaks on the roof, I would not go anywhere other than Jerba, as they now have the expertise which, I suspect, other converters might lack]

New Podcast - In the Wake of Shackleton

The story of a remarkable expedition to retrace the route taken by Ernest Shackleton as he escaped from Elephant Island and crossed to South Georgia.

It was undertaken by Trevor Potts, and while it's not a

kayaking story, it’s a great tale. Watch, download and subscribe free at SeaKayakPodcasts.com. You’ll also find an MP3 version in the Podcast Library.

Check out Trevor's other pordcast, the first western sea kayak expedition to cross the Bering Strait.

Last Night in Stirling

Was quiet. Very quiet. And weirdly red under the lamp heaters...

Thanks for coming.

10% Discount Coupon on Fitness Kit

I think I'm allowed to do this.... 

The email said "share this with your friends". So here you are, friend. 4 days to treat your other half or yourself to some new running shoes.   



10% OFF COUPON CODE (Re-usable until 30th November 2009)


Enter coupon code in your basket during checkout.
Click here now to visit www.startfitness.co.uk or call 0844 848 8803 to order by telephone

Please feel free to pass this email on to your friends.

Offer ends 30th November 2009
Not valid in conjunction with any other offer

To Unsubscribe from our mailing list please click here

Last Night In Stockport

A smaller than usual turn out last night, possibly because it was late night shopping in the run-up to Christmas.

My thanks to those who came and I hope you enjoyed the presentations. I particularly appreciated the follow-up e-mails from some of the audience - thanks guys. And great to see Jim Krawiecki there too.

If you have the DVD, you might still be interested in how we shot some of the rough water sections and the background to the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail.

Tonight In Stockport

Flashy projection screen, eh? Hope to see you here at Brookbank
Canoes, Stockport or Stirling Canoes Friday.

Last Night In Lancaster

A keen crowd gathered at Brookbank Canoes in Lancaster last night.

If you're interested in watching some great sea kayak coaching on DVD and in celebrating kayaking on Scotland's west coast, join me at Brookbank Canoes Stockport tonight at 19:30 or Stirling Canoes Friday. Both are free.

My thanks to everyone in Lancaster for being such a great audience and making me feel so welcome.

Judging by the book and DVD sales everyone enjoyed the presentations, and it was great to see Woody, who I last saw on a beach off Loch Moidart. "That's my group in that photograph", he told us. edit: I later noticed Woody had added this post to the UK Forum about my presentation. I'm flattered and pleased.

Sea Kayaking at Night

Duncan Smith has published an excellent article about night paddling on his blog Solent Sea Kayaking.

He's inviting comments and shared experiences too.

Last Night In Liverpool

This is the excellent crowd from Liverpool CC who turned up for two hours of Scottish sea kayaking by proxy. Thank you all for being so welcoming and buying so many books and DVDs. Tonight, Brookbank Canoes in Lancaster. And it's free!

See You Later

If you're coming here tonight I'll see you about 19:30 for a 19:45 kick off.

On The Road

Boring view, eh? Bothwell Motorway services just south of Glasgow. More of these to enjoy over the next week, driving through heavy rain.

Whereas Mark Sundin of Expedition Kayaks in Queensland Australia is getting ready for a long drive to their big symposium this weekend in 40 degree heat. We exchanged emails before iIleft at 5am. Mark says he'd welcome rain! I mention this because the DVD will be shown at
that Symposium and Mark is doing a great job selling down under.

Liverpool, Lancaster, Stockport & Stirling

That's where I'll be about 7:30 pm from Tuesday onwards, talking about the trail and the making of the DVD.
Tue: Liverpool Wed: Lancaster Thur: Stockport Fri: Stirling.

Smoked Haddock and Prawn Chowder

Tucked away on the Blar Mhor Industrial Estate outside Fort William, this is the Crannog Seafood Shop.

It's linked to the Crannog Restaurant and other enterprises based in the town itself, as you can read on their website.

It is not a flash fish shop. And as you can see, the counter is bare.

Yet hidden away in the chill cabinet was some excellent smoked haddock, which even I managed to turn into a delicious meal by adapting Sophie Grigson's recipie.

It's so easy I thought I'd set it out here. It's from the book Soup Kitchen published by Collins.

1 chopped onion
30g butter
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 large carrots, rough chopped
2 celery stalks rough chopped
1 green pepper, seeded & cut into postage-stamp squares
2 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into 1cm cubes
30g plain flor
250g smoked haddock fillet cut into 2.5cm squares
110g peeled, cooked prawns
600ml milk
150ml water
a handfull of grated Cheddar to dress.

Fry the onion until soft. Add bay leaf, half the parsley, all the veg and stir. Sprinkle over the flour and some seasoning (lots of pepper) and stir for about a minute to distribute flour evenly.

Add 1/3 of the milk and stir. Then add the rest of the milk, the water and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Don't go check your e-mails or the milk will burn.

Turn the heat down very low to barely simmer for 30 mins until veg is tender, stirring to prevent burning. Add water if the mix seems too thick. Check seasoning - you might need a add more salt & peppers (I was amazed at how much this needed).

5 minutes before serving chuck in the haddock. 3 minutes before serving add the prawns.

Serve in large bowlfuls, sprinkled with remaining parsley and plenty of cheese, plus a hunk of brown bread. Utterly gorgeous!

Test Your Kayak Safety Awareness

New Zealand's Coastguard Boating Education have put live the first in a series of online Kayaking Safety Modules.

While aimed at New Zealand kayakers, much is applicable in other parts of the world.

Pretty good for going through 'what-if' scenarios.

It seems John and Maia have got a really good deal on a couple of sit-on kayaks and are raring to go shark fishing.

Or something like that....

DVD - 2 Reviews

I'm not writing only about the DVD, Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown. But I can't really ignore significant developments either.

Two North American reviews appeared this week. Different geography, styles and kayaking traditions bring a different perspective.

Have Kayaks, will Travel website describes Gordon's approach in his book and DVD as bringing 'idiosyncratic perspectives'. Depends where you stand I guess.

Chicago Area Sea Kayakers produced an equally helpful and occasionally self-contradicting review. They kindly posted a response from me to their main criticism, that mixing Journey and Coaching produced a 'hybrid' film.

My thanks to both for their valuable reviews. I should emphasise - both saw the Preview copies.

I had explained at length, the Preview copies had different menus to the Final versions. Preview copies could only be watched with the Journey and Coaching mixed. Most reviewers understood and reported this. So let's be clear.

In the US / Canadian version for sale now, viewers can watch the Journey; or the Coaching; or a mix of the two. You can go back and study each coaching session one by one, or all the Coaching Sessions together.

This was achieved by the superb menu architecture coded by Alison at Stable Recordings.

How Many Kinds of Kayak Are There?

That's not my question, but one asked recently in a local newspaper in Florida, the Pine Island Eagle.

Here's a short article posted by Mike Newell of Gulf Coast Kayaks.

Oh, and the answer is not a number.

VW T5 Campervan and Sea Kayaking & Cycling Pt1

(If you find this helpful or just interesting PLEASE click a few of the adverts - it really helps to keep the site going!)

This seems to be a very popular story but there is an important Part 2.

What's more, in Sept 2012 I updated it with long-term observations. 

It looks like the perfect sea kayaker’s vehicle. 

A great base for several days away from home, with no B&Bs to pay and the freedom to come and go as you please.  The reality is slightly different.

It’s almost a year since we bought our VW T5 Campervan, so now is a good time to think through some of the good and bad points of using it for sea kayaking.  [edit - she now has a name, "Nelly".]
Firstly, the conversion. We looked at several models but settled on one by Jerba Campervans, who’re based just outside Edinburgh in North Berwick. 

Family owned, Simon Poole has been superb to deal with, and deal with him we have had to do. 

Because as this tale (especially the next episode) will reveal, we have had more than our share of problems. Poor Simon, he now dreads opening e-mails from me.

I'll start by explaining what we bought and why.

It’s a Cromarty conversion, based on a long wheelbase VW Transporter T5. Customers first specify the van model they want, and Jerba go and buy it. If you decide you want air conditioning (we didn’t - mistake) [edit - not necessarily.  Two trips to France and Italy and we haven't missed the air con]  or rear parking sensors (we did - great idea) then this is the stage to do it.  

[edit - by 2011 our parking sensors failed. My local garage tells me water frequently gets into the sensor and causes a short circuit. They start working again once they've dried out after several weeks somewhere hot].

Some VW side windows leak. It’s a known fault, and ours was no different. But who should fix it under warranty?  

In theory, it should be able to be fixed by any VW Van Specialist under warranty. But Howco in Inverness simply did not want to know. 

So I had to drive it to Edinburgh Van Centre, the company which supplied the van to Jerba and between whom there is a long standing relationship. Simple enough, but that’s a six hour return trip.

This should be the first point of concern for anyone having a conversion. Does the conversion alter anything in the VW Warranty? And if it does, who’ll fix it should anything go wrong? Its seems obvious now, but it never crossed my mind at the start.

After reading this, Simon Poole subsequently wrote the following and asked me to add it:

"Our conversion doesn't affect the VW warranty and in fact in the last few weeks we have been approved by VW as one of their official suppliers of their T5 Motorhome based vehicle (only 5 other UK converters have this - Bilbo's, Autosleeper, Reimo, Murvi and Torbay. All based down south). It's been a long road to gain this, but it now means that we are recognised as a leading converter and have started appearing in the motorhome press!"

"The Motorhome spec vehicle is basically a T5 with quite a few bells and whistles - colour coded bumpers and mirrors, upgraded radio, cab comfort items including carpets, extra vents, storage pockets etc etc. It's not a base spec that suits everyone as many folk are happy without colour coding and carpets!"

Make no mistake, the Jerba conversion is superb. 

Spanish Pyrenees
It makes fantastic use of space, with lots of well placed cupboards, room under the triple rear seat for storage, and an easily converted, large rear bed.

We nearly bought the short wheelbase, but we’re relieved we didn’t. That extra 40cm in front of the rear wheel arch adds very useful space, and means one person can do things in the van while the other is in bed.

It adds to the price, but does not make it any more difficult to drive. Except when parking in supermarkets, but then with kayaks on the roof, you have to take care there anyway. It also adds nothing to the fuel consumption figures, officially at least.

Ah yes, fuel consumption. Under 30 mpg is normal. We bought the 2.5L engine, on the advice of a builder friend who advised the 190 lacked pull.  I’m not sure it was a wise move, but anyway, the fuel figures are officially similar.

[edit - longer term the fuel consumption hovers around 32mpg - slightly more on long runs - but we rarely drive Nelly over 60mph]

Naively we wondered whether this might be the only vehicle we’d need. 

But living in the Scottish Highlands, where a trip to the nearest supermarket is 50+ miles, we quickly realised this was not an economic option.

It tends to sit around over winter, and that feels like a waste of tax and insurance, but it’s too expensive to use as a run-around. We haven't really come to terms with this yet.  

[edit: we didn't use Nelly at all one very a cold winter and the battery went flat. There is a battery health indicator console, so it's worth monitoring this and occasionally taking the van for a spin]

However, the van comes into its own on 'sporting' occasions; when we’re heading out kayaking or road biking and need a base to work from.

It’s fantastic when we want an early start on the day. 

We can head out the previous evening to launch site and go from there. 

[Edit: when taking part in triathlons or cycling Sportives, Nelly has been a superb companion]

It has quickly become our holiday home - on wheels. It doesn’t feel at all like camping, except when we have to go to the toilet. 

[edit - A wide mouthed plastic tub and a roll of biodegradable bin bags are our alternatives, plus some hand sanitiser. It's not elegant but in extremis, it works]

While filming the DVDs, Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown, it was our mobile production base. 

Immediately we finished filming that, we were off to the Western Isles for three weeks kayaking and filming Patrick & Mick's attempt to kayak to the Faroes.  

Once again, it was a superb base. I thought we’d eat out, but we ended up eating in the van almost every night. [edit - amazingly this also happened when in France and Italy.  Eating in the van is so convenient].  

Sometimes we stayed in campsites, other times we camped wild. It was summer, so the wet kit easily dried outside before we went to bed.

With the awning up, we had far more space than we needed. 

As far as I can see, for two people the main advantage of the awning is that it reserves your spot on a campsite. 

If you've paid for a couple of nights, but head off kayaking during the day, it's not great to discover someone has nipped into 'your' spot while you were away. 

Carrying the awning take up a lot of luggage space, but it is useful in that regard.  It also serves as an 'air-lock' for midges! Keep a coil burning in here and they won't get near the van.

[edit - we found we had too much space and used the awning less and less because it took up too much room in the van. So we sold it on e-bay and made our own removable 'porch' and midge-proof coverings for windows.]

What made this such a comfortable base, even in hot weather, is the pop-up roof. 

Hinged at the rear, the raised roof has a window in the front and midge netting on the sides. With the roof down, we’ve a snug space. 

With the roof up, two people can easily stand and move around, and with the netting uncovered, a cooling breeze can blow through the van.

We developed a 'system' involving plastic stacking crates. we kept our clothes in these, and our kayaking kit in tough, waterproof garden crates. The lids could be fastened onto these, and we stored them outside the van wherever we stopped.

One problem. Our roof collapsed!  The story of that epic, and how Simon at Jerba sorted our problem without us having to do a thing, is in Part 2, with a long term review from Sept 2012 here.

If you have found this story helpful, PLEASE click a few of the advert links. It really does help keep the site running.

Kayakers and Biosecurity - New SCA Guidelines

New guidelines on biosecurity and dealing with invasive, non-native species (nasties) have been issued by the Scottish Canoe Association.

Staggering amounts of money is being spent dealing with these problems. It's costing the Scottish economy (ie - us!) over £500m a year, and up to £6bn for the whole of the UK.

One million, non-native North American Signal Crayfish were reportedly removed recently from Loch Ken by the Galloway Fisheries Trust.

What to do? Simples. “The most simple and effective step that any paddler can do to reduce his or her risk to biosecurity is to drain your boat every time you leave the water." says Mike Dales, the Access and Environment bloke at the SCA. "We encourage every paddler to spend an hour looking at the advice on our website, to learn more about this issue.” SCA

We're fortunate to have statuatory rights of access in Scotland, and with them comes responsibilities. This is one such responsibility we'd be stupid to ignore.

Photographing in the Arctic And... (video)

Sent to me by Dominque - what a shot!

No More DVD Plugs

I was quite rightly chastised for plugging the DVD more than I was blogging.

The blog reflects what's going on in my life, which has been dominated by the DVD. But looking back, I can see you were right.

Thanks for pointing it out.

With the launch of the US / Canadian online store for the DVD Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown, I think I can safely leave it alone. You know where it is if you want it!

So this is my final gratuitous post on the subject of the DVD, and it's to point out there are now three different box-types out there.

US & Canadian NTSC versions come in fatter, more traditional DVD cases, like the middle one in this little pile.

European PAL versions come in slimline cases. But there are two different types. The original pressing came in a black case, as on the bottom of the pile.

I ordered identical cases for the second pressing, but they were delivered in the tougher, more expensive clear cases. Actually, I rather like them. Since many of these will go into shops, I think the clear case might stand-out more.

There's another difference too. The new PAL versions feature the new logo of one of our sponsors, Valley Sea Kayaks.

So that's it - any more mentions of this damn DVD will have to earn their place on this blog.

USA / Canadian Store Open - DVD, Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown

The US side of the webstore for the DVD, Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown is now live.

It's being shipped from Colorado, so it'll be around 9am their time that orders start to be fulfilled.

I'm also monitoring orders this end so I can see when an order is placed.

DVD Review - UK Sea Kayak Forum

Located here.

Singing lessons by Gordon Brown

Postby MikeB on 13 Nov 2009 21:24

Well - if you enjoy a touch of traditional music, the resonance of a sea cave with a Highland tune being sung in it, and some inspirational photography showing Scotland's scenery at it's very best, then this DVD is for you. Oh, and you'll learn a wee bit about handling a sea kayak as well!

In fact, you'll learn a lot about handling a sea kayak - and you'll learn it against the backdrop of realalistic, real-life conditions where you get to see just what the boat does, what you (your body) is doing and what the paddle is doing (boat / body / blade).

Simon's photography and film making skills, combined with Gordon's clear and straightforward teaching style, bring a rich mix of material together in a very watchable format. I guess there were some technical challenges in getting the material used, and if it was challenging, it doesn't show - which is half the trick. Try sitting on a rock with white water crashing around you - that's noisy - yet similar scenes on the video doesn't have intrusive noise, you're still able to hear the explanations of what's happening. Nice.

That said, much will depend on your personal learning style - I was left a little frustrated that the superb visuals and excellent descriptions of what was going on were not necessarily matched by the depth of explanation, or "why" things worked or happened. For example, an excellent description of the dynamics of edging didn't include any explanation of "why" edging turns the boat, so (for me at least) an opportunity to overlay some pictorial support material illustrating the changing dynamics of the hull would have helped me in understanding.

The same is true of "why" you have to lean the boat to cope with tidal paddling - if you've come from a river background, or have sea paddled for a while, you'll hopefully know "why" that edging is important! Again, an opportunity for a technical explanation supported with static images to satisfy the theoreticians amongst us.

But I'm being picky - there is much to observe in this video, and even experienced paddlers will pick up some tips - I'd always thought that a stern rudder was a stern rudder - perhaps I used all four variants intuitively but I'd never categorised them before watching and listening to Gordon describe them.

Even the contentious "cross bow rudder" makes an appearance - well, it would, wouldn't it? - and for the first time, I began to gain a greater understanding of it's potential as a practical, everyday stroke. I'll be working on developing mine.

Gordon demonstrates fundamentals such as forward paddling in a way which sets a standard to aim to - and may well challenge some people's perceptions of just what makes a good forward paddling stroke. Not being a Level 5 Coach, I don't feel qualifed to comment on the technical aspect of such things - I do know it gave me food for thought, and challenged a few of the perceptions and learned approaches I currently use. So that's all good.

Producing a video teaching tool to teach a highly experiential and complex skill is a challenge - and a challenge I've always been highly dubious could be undertaken sucessfully. Given that it's going to be challenging to take the video out on a boat in order to mirror the skills, it's still a very good tool to use in setting some of those skills in your mental map to work on replicating them on the water.

Well worth buying - both for the skills tuition, the scenery, and some fascinating wee snippets of a coastline which is itself worth a visit.

And the singing? Well, I rather liked it.


200 DVDs and a Lot of Bags of Sugar

This is how our tiny village Post Office weighs large boxes. On a scale, balanced with bags of sugar!

400 copies of the DVD Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown will arrive soon at our distributors Cordee.

This is double their initial order, which I couldn't fulfill, having sold too many of the first batch. 600 went in just 10 days!

A second presing of 1000 arrived 2 days ago. But with advance orders I now have fewer than 600 left in the UK and under 550 in the US. And there's not time for another pressing before Christmas.

If you're a UK / European retailer waiting for your order, Cordee should get out to you in the next few days.

However, I suspect they might use a more sophisticated measuring aparatus.

US / Canadian Online Store Clarification

A reader has asked me to clarify the availability of the NTSC version of the DVD Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown.

The fastest way to ensure you receive a copy is to use our Online store. Priced US $29.95 payment is via PayPal. You don't need a PayPal account, just a valid credit card. Shipping is free worldwide, but international orders may incur local taxes or duty.

These DVDs are shipped by a fufillment company in Colorado, not from me here in deepest darkest Scotland. So they'll reach you quicker. You can't buy from that company.

If you are a retailer and wish to purchase bulk orders, then please contact our distributors for the US and Canada, The Heliconia Press.

Heliconia Press have already started shipping to retailers around North America, so the DVD might appear in other stores soon. Beware - some might take orders without holding stock, then try to order from us, so that could be a much slower route. (This happened in Europe and some customers were not happy!)

Why have I only pressed 700 copies? That's when I ran out of money!

Initially we planned a Spring launch in N.America so we could fund the operation from European sales. Fortunately, those sales exceeded predictions. This allowed me to bring forward the N.America launch.

DVD Review - 'More Than Kayaking Porn'

I firmly believe in the benefits of constructive criticism. Of course, it's nice when balanced with praise. But criticism is good, provided it can be learnt from.

So this review which doesn't simply say the DVD Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown is great, but takes some time to develop critical points is extremely valuable. For example:

"The trip along the coast of Skye was nice and my only criticism was that it was way too short. Clearly, it sets the stage for extra volumes but they should have padded out this one with some gratuitous paddling about in boats."

That's useful information. To be honest, I'm still digesting the idea that someone thought this was 'kayaking porn'.

"To my surprise, it is much more than kayaking porn and actually full of good instruction which encourages you to go out and practice."

I'll take that as a compliment!

Monday - Store Open Canadian / USA DVDs, Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown

A dilligent team from Wide Blue Yonder will be working over the weekend to test and put live the North American side of our online web store.

I hope North American paddlers will enjoy Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown, but we've only printed 700 copies - just incase.

In the UK, I sold 700 in three weeks. Retailers in Europe are crying out for more. So if you want a US copy before Christmas, please get in fast!

Wide Blue Yonder designed and maintain the store, with TW-Media in Colorado fulfilling individual orders. $29.95 US will buy you a coaching DVD I'm fairly sure you will want to watch time and again. In Canadian stores it should retail at $34.95 and our distributors are The Heliconia Press.

Check US reviews like KayakQuixotica or the opinions of a variety of reviewers.

One of Those Clear, Crisp Days

Sunday didn't start too bright.

Like so many days on Scotland's west coast, a sky of solid light grey cloud felt like someone had put a tupperware lid on our world.

Around lunchtime, it lifted and Sunday turned into a lovely winter paddling day as we tackled a central section of Loch Linnhe. We know the area well but this was the first time we'd kayaked this particular section. It all seemed remarkably fresh.

Garbh Bheinn watched over us throughout. Our route, along with GPS track, is now among the Scottish Sea Kayak Routes.