By Chris Bullock
Having been asked by my brother if I was interested to spend the weekend away canoeing and camping in the woods, the childhood Boy Scout in me was instantly interested. In all honesty I don’t see enough of my big brother so I thought it’d be time well spent.
Having turned up I initially felt a bit like the odd one out having not done anything like this in years, yet within minutes the rest of the group as well as the instructors made me feel more than welcome and we all got chatting from the off, asking each other’s back grounds and experience on the water.
The weekend’s plan was explained and within the hour we were on the water! Certainly not quite like a duck...
Within a few hours my basic confidence was growing with the regular tips and advice from the instructors, as well as the more experienced paddlers in the group. My brother and I had a go in a dragon boat a few years ago, so I was happy to follow his lead again. It was a genuinely calm and relaxed atmosphere all day.
Setting up camp in the evening was a really good experience - ‘roughing it’ with such a diverse and interesting group of people. When I say roughing it, I don’t think I’ve eaten as well since! Walking out into the surrounding estate at night was a particular highlight, our guide explained about the local wildlife and we managed to hear some owls! We also randomly found a tiny centipede that was glowing in the dark! That genuinely blew my mind and it’s not something I’d ever seen before.
Sunday started much like the day before, until we headed for the water gates! I was quite excited to try solo and again the advice and direction from the instructors really was second to none. To be honest I think they were a little surprised I managed to stay in the kayak on more than one occasion, their encouraging words have made me want to get back in again as soon as I can.
Over all I had an amazing weekend and met some really interesting people, it was an awesome group and I can’t commend how well run the whole weekend was. Even the dogs had fun! My brother and I have already said we’re going to do another trip, and we’re open to anything from kayaks to climbing!