I count myself to be lucky. Very lucky. I grew up around kayaking with both my parents active paddlers and my father a BCU Senior Instructor. I remember being at pool sessions he was teaching, trips he led on the River Wye with various groups and family holidays to the welsh Coast where he would surf in very small waves with me sat on his spraydeck holding the paddle.In my teens, holidays always involved a campervan and kayaks/open canoes. France, Austria, The Lake District, Wales. Meanwhile my parents joined a local canoe club where we began to participate in Slalom events.
At the age of 16 my parents sent me on a 10 day white water paddling holiday to Austria where, along with several other 16-18 years olds we paddled classic alpine rivers like the River Inn and Trisanna/Rosanna. They also took the family on multi-activity holidays at an Outdoor Centre in the Lake District which ultimately led to me returning there as an instructor each holiday whilst I was at University.They were never pushy or tried to force the sport on me or my Sister. Simply provided an amazing range of opportunities for us to experience the outdoors and in particular paddling. Something I will forever be grateful for.
The fact I can now spend free time in a Sea kayak, that I have made some fantastic friends and colleagues in the outdoor community and that as a father myself now can introduce my own children to kayaking/open canoeing is all down to their patience and efforts in involving me in the outdoors.
We still, all too infrequently, paddle together and the shots in this post are from a recent trip around Poole Harbour shortly after my parents returned from 5 weeks with their Campervan and Sea Kayaks in the Shetland Isles.
I owe it all to them and can only hope that my own children will be in a similar position to me in years to come. I have a lot to live up to!