Are our Leaders mad??

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Are our Leaders mad??

17 December 2012

Yes they are, is the simple answer as this weekend (15/16 Dec) – 5 mad individuals decided to take to the water or to be the precise the rather cold River Ribble, in an attempt to achieve their British Canoe Union 2* qualification.

Why?  A question a few of us asked earlier in the week as the temperatures dropped well below freezing, but it is part of the master plan to give the troop more opportunities to experience different activities, and in particular water activities such as Kayaking and Canoeing.


So 5, Chris (GSL), Alex (ASL), Richard (CL), Rachel (Richard’s partner, willing helper and keen Kayaker) and Ian (Chair/Adult helper), arrived at Waddow Hall keen to get going on Saturday morning.

Come on Ian get out it's not going to be that bad - honest
Come on Ian get out it’s not going to be that bad – honest

And it was off into the rather fast flowing Ribble we went, after choosing our Kayaks, and appropriate safety gear.  Things didn’t start that well with Ian deciding going round in circles was better than straight lines, Richard being the first to take an early dip, and Chris and Alex being told off for disappearing into the distance.

Lesson 1 & 2 quickly learnt – 1. Listen to instructions and 2. boat selection is very important – that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it – I am sure Richard will back me up on that one.


After a slight change in plan it was some time in Canoes and Kayaks refining skills or refreshing basics, and then we were the guinea pigs for some students being assessed as 2* coaches, this is individual coaching helped a lot.  Later on it was individual work in the big Canadian Canoes which unfortunately at the end of the day we had to carry up the hill!

Before we got wet #1


Back home at the end of day 1 for warm showers, all a bit tied and finding muscles that we didn’t know existed.


Day 2 – first success of the day we all returned for another challenge, Sunday was all about refining the basic skills learnt, could we control the various boats and then the bit none of us was looking forward to – Rescue time.  The morning was more individual work in both Kayaks and Canoes, and after a very light lunch…

Before part 2

It was that joyful time of having to capsize – rescue yourself and boat by swimming to shore, and then being rescued and recovering into the boat with somebody’s assistance.  Some other quick learning points here, make sure your shoes can be tied tightly otherwise when you capsize they fall off and disappear downstream!  Second when you have to right a boat after it has capsized make sure you know the front (which has some little bolts on it) from the back otherwise it fills with water!  Sorry Alex!


In the end, however, we all passed admittedly some more easily than others.  So what next, this means that with an appropriately trained leader we can support activities on the water.  In the New Year we are going to start fund raising activities to see if we can purchase some boats with grant support, and borrow boats from the District.


It was a very enjoyable weekend, thanks everyone.