Canoeing and Climbing in The Adventure Show

I've seen the next edition of The Adventure Show and it's a cracker.

Tuesday 8th Feb, 7:30 BBC-2 Scotland, Sky 990, FreeSat 970 and iPlayer for 7 days.

Indoor 'rock' climbing sounds a bit dull. But these are the IFSC World Youth Championships, held in Edinburgh last September.

The skills are breathtaking. The one-on-one speed climbing at the end had me on the edge of my seat, and I was meant to be writing the script.

There's also a feature about Justine Curgenven & Barry Shaw canoeing across Rannoch Moor with Dave Rossetter and Scott Simon. It's a cut-down from her DVD This Is Canoeing, so if you've seen that, you've seen the pictures, althogh there's an extra interview with Justine.

The March programme will feature the Strathpuffer 24 hour mountain bike race. I've nearly completed the first edit of the show and I'm really pleased. The camera folk and reporters have captured the atmosphere of the unique event. Video shortly.

Paddle to Seattle Guys now Row Down Ganges

The guys behind the great film Paddle To Seattle are putting together their next project about rowing down the River Ganges.

They're now assembling the film, but it sounds like a rough trip.


The photo is from Dudes on Media.

Head Down... Editing

I've spent the last two days wading through hours and hours of footage from six camera people who we had covering the recent Strathpuffer 24 mountain bike event.

Heavens there's a lot! Oh, and my local bike shop team, Nevis Cycles, came second. They're one of the two teams we follow through the race.

I must now get the programme rough-cut before the end of this week. Because I'll be on Skye shooting DVD-2 from Monday. The final edit of the Strathpuffer-24 for BBC-2 Scotland's Adventure Show will follow a week later.

Add to that my own bike training, and you'll forgive me if I don't have time to write much here this week.

Road Bike Training Program

It's nearly the end of January and I've done no sea kayaking this year!

That will change soon as we start shooting DVD-2 at the end of this month.

In the meantime, I'm concentrating on my cycling, and I plan to try using the training programme in this book, 'The Time-crunched Cyclist'.

Just reading it makes me exhausted!

The notion behind it is this: normal training plans, which build and endurance base then gradual add speed intervals, work really well provided you can guarantee more than eight hours of effort each week.

In summer that's fine, and I clock up (many) more hours than that.

But I have entered two sportives in May; the 81 mile Etape Caledonia and the 95 mile Skye Mor. Early mornings and evenings are still dangerously dark on our single-track roads, so I must squeeze my training into less time.

The training plan in this book crams the workload into fewer hours in a way which just might work. Either that or you'll find me in the Belford Hospital clutching my chest.

First step is to do two speed tests to determine my average heart-rate at close to maximum effort. I'll do that next weekend. Then the 'fun' begins.

Irish Canoe Classics - New froom Pesda Press

This new offering from Pesda Press is going to be tricky to review, as I don't have a canoe and I've never paddled in Ireland!

It's due out in March costing £16.95 but as I haven't seen it, this is from the press release.

An illustrated guide to some of the finest tours of Ireland’s waterways. Wild loughs, placid canals and broad rivers, as they can only be seen from a canoe or kayak … Eddie and Tony have chosen the best inland touring routes. They are described in great detail and illustrated with numerous colour photos and maps.

The selected routes are suitable for open canoes, sit-on-tops and touring kayaks. Many of them can be tackled as a single voyage or a series of day trips, with campsites en route. The journeys are all accessible but highly varied, taking place on inland loughs, sheltered coastland and rivers.

A wonderful book for planning voyages and inspiring dreams, or sharing your experiences with others.

The authors are Eddie Palmer (author of Scottish Canoe Classics) and Tony Monaghan.

Eddie Palmer built his first wood and canvas kayak some 50 years ago. He has paddled extensively in the UK, Ireland, Europe, North America and Southern Africa. He is a keen member of the Scottish Canoe Association, and is currently the Board member concerned with Access and Environment.

His passion is for long-distance canoe touring and camping, although he also paddles whitewater, sails canoes and yachts. He is the editor of and a contributor to Scottish Canoe Touring, and author of Scottish Canoe Classics (Pesda Press).

Since childhood Tony Monaghan has spent his free time in the outdoors, becoming an expert in bushcraft and camping skills. Having discovered the freedom the open canoe ­offers he has been canoe touring here in Ireland and in Europe ever since. Tony is a member of the Wildwater Kayak Club, Ireland and also kayaks and plays canoe polo.

New Greenland Paddling UK Website

You'll find it here:


There's some material on the site already and the forum is starting up.

There's also an appeal for contributors from Mike Holgate:

"I need your help to get this up and running so please drop me a line with any news, photos, or whatever, that has a Greenland Style Kayaking theme in anyway shape or form including links to your favorite web-sites, blogs, suppliers for UK paddlers and so on."

Fort William Mountain Film Festival


This is my local film festival, right on my door. So it's hugely remiss of me that I didn't know a thing about it until I saw an advertisment.

Our DVD won awards at three international film festivals. I found out all about them, so as a film-maker I really ought to be much more aware of my local one.

To be honest, I don't even know who organises it! Considerning I'm making a film about Ben Nevis for the owners of the damn big lump of rock, I really ought to know.

Must to do better. Still, the emphasis is very much on 'Mountain' so perhaps that's why .

Indeed, the trailer for the festival manages to make sea kayaking look like a very dull sport.

Traditional Kayak Meeting 2011 - Lake District

This from Bill Samson:


This year the Traditional Kayak Meeting (TKM) will return to Ullswater, and will take place on the weekend of 17th/18th September 2011.

It will be based at the Waterside Farm campsite and as usual everybody should make their own arrangements direct with the campsite.

In case you've not been to one of these before, it is thoroughly informal - no registration, no fee - just getting together to try each others' kayaks, go for paddles on the lake, and most of all to chat and eat. There's a laundry room that works nicely as a place to show off photos and DVDs. I plan to bring a laptop.

Some of us may arrive a day or two early, and some may choose to stay on after the weekend - The 17th and 18th just represent the 'core' time of the meeting.

I look forward to meeting old friends as well as seeing new faces this year.
Photos from 2009 at Ullswater and 2010.

Expedition Communications

Occasionally kayakers seek my advice about getting the media interested in their expedition.

I break it down to before, during and after the trip - and help devise a separate media strategy for each, based on the details of their destination and goal.


Waterproof and shockproof, it Bluetooth links to your Smartphone and allows you to send a text at 50c (32p) a time. Like earlier Spot devices, it can also send your location and/or a preset message.

This means you can live update your blog, with your location, from anywhere in the world. That's major plus for people who expedition in places without cell-phone coverage. Like the west coast of Scotland!

However, you cannot make voice-calls over the satellite, or receive texts.

It will launch in the UK at the end of January costing £110 plus £65 a year annual fee. As it also serves as an emergency beacon, this could be the must-have piece of kit for expeditioners. Oh, and gap-year students.

Soon - A Visitor's Guide to Sea Kayaking off Vancouver Island

Now THAT is what I call whale watching! Look how close the sea kayak is to that Orca!!

One of the destinations I'm keen to kayak is Vancouver Island. Trouble is - where do you start?

With a limited period of holiday time, where do you base yourself, what are the must-see highlights, and where can you get as close to an Ora as in that photo?

At the weekend I recorded a great Podcast with paddler and blogger Mike Jackson, who lives in Victoria. Mike answered all my questions and much, much more.

He plays tour guide and told me all I needed to know. For those of you who tend to listen to my podcast on the move, this might be one to listen to again while at a computer so you can use Google Maps to follow his description of the different areas.

That podcast will go live on 1st Feb (-ish) at SeaKayakPodcasts.com

Justine & Barry Tackle Cape Horn

For those of you who aren't following already, I strongly recommend you subscribe to Justine Curgenven's blog.

She and Barry will attempt to circumnavigate Tierra Del Fuego.

But look at those expressions. That's nothing to do with the weather or sea conditions, and everything to do with bureaucracy.

Once they get underway I don't know whether they'll be able to update their blog, but we should be able to follow progress using their satellite tracker.

A real plus of following one of Justine's expeditions is that you know, some months later, you'll be able to watch the whole thing on video. We wish them luck!

Quiet. Too Quiet.

I know. My blog has been unusually quiet. However, Liz and I have not been so silent.
Nasal sprays, Strepsils and NightNurse have been our constant companions since before Hogmanay.

Liz, usually as healthy as an ox and seemingly immune to infections, picked up a cold from one of the family on Christmas Day (we know who you are - grrr). The outcome was inevitable.

We spent New Year's Eve in bed, not sipping champagne but LemSip.

Only now are the snivels and hacking coughs starting to subside. Until today it was an effort to merely think, let along write.

I'm itching to get on my bike, but the short walk to post a book left me embarrassingly breathless. No matter, the newly returned snow doesn't make safe road-riding conditions. I've a lot of training to do before the Etape Caledonia in May.

Did I mention I have a place in Scotland's only closed-road Sportive? Liz is going to train with me, for which we've decided, she needs a new road bike. Her previous, twenty-year old Specialised finally wobbled to a wheezing end in November. Sounds just like me, right now.

New Podcast - Tsunami Rangers

'Commander' Eric Soares is the co-founder of the Californian extreme sea kayak team, the Tsunami Rangers.

If you know who they are, you'll love this interview. If you don't then you have a real treat in store as you learn about their exploits.

It's a great way to kick off 2011 with