Today is sunny. Yesterday was not. It was wet, dark and grey. In keeping with an alarm call sufficiently severe to catch the 0625 ferry from the island where I make my home.
Strange old business this paddling and the ties that bind us. Leave the Isle of Bute and journey south along the Clyde coast to the village of Maidens. Set up a shuttle back to Dunfoot by Ayr and then float the boats. Twelve boats to be precise. The one I placed my personal butt in is a Tiderace Xcite. Carbon job. I like the lack of kilos when it comes to that lifting and carrying stuff. She’s called Stardust, and I’ve had her three years and she has, as a good friend from Shetland would say, “been ‘roon the world and other places besides.”
That’s the nature of kayaks. Float the one that makes you smile. In spite of the early start and ‘dreich’ weather, I was smiling a lot. My pal Dave from Penrith, that’s two friends if you’re counting, had brought some new Tiderace boats up from Knoydart for me at Kayak Bute. Because I’m generous of heart I let him paddle one of them. Actually, I always like to put a friend in a new boat. It’s a risk assessment thing – you never know if they float ’til you see it happen. Roll on the coming season.
As for the paddle. Organised by yet another friend, Jim. Excellent. Indented rocky Ayrshire coast with lots of play opportunities. A residual swell from the high winds of the previous days was just enough to make life a little interesting off some of the headlands. Getting involved in some rolling practice at the mouth of the River Doon was the icing on the cake. Or the ice round the head. Thanks for getting the tides so right Jim.
As for the ‘ties that bind us’ and leaving the Isle of Bute at the crack of dawn. Well, it’s the company that makes the paddle. Sometimes our own silent companion. And sometimes the sharing. As he said in a certain film, “Happiness has to be shared”. Thanks Stardust.