I recently had the privilege of attending two evening starter sea-kayaking sessions on Killington Lake on 4th and 11th of May.
I had only been in a sea-kayak once before, and I had a sense of trepidation as I made my way from work in heavy rain to attend the first session. As I joined the rest of the group, it appeared I was not alone in feeling nervous. Mike and Mac did their best to set us at ease, giving us some general information before getting us kitted up and out on the water.
The rain eased, and we began to receive instruction on the basics of sea-kayaking. Before long we were all moving well on the water, and the nerves began to settle. In addition to focusing on the practical and technical aspects, Mike and Mac successfully shared their passion for sea-kayaking and let us know the pathways available to us if we wished to develop in the future.
As the evening progressed, the weather continued to improve. We saw some wildlife including large numbers of nesting cormorants on a nearby island. Our technique and confidence increased at a rate I had not expected for the first session. By the end of the evening the wind had completely dropped, there was a coating of snow on the Howgills, and we had also been treated to a double rainbow. A satisfied group of participants went their separate ways, looking forward to the next session.
The following week we met again. This time there were enough people for two groups. I was with the same group who had attended the previous week and we started where we left off, practicing what we had learned. It was surprising how much we had remembered and progressed after only one session. I clearly hadn’t remembered everything, as I inadvertently demonstrated how to capsize to the group. I was well supported to get back in the kayak that had thrown me, and continued for the rest of the session. Once again the weather smiled on us and we were treated to a calm, sunny evening on the lake. We were fortunate to have good views of both Canadian and Greylag geese and goslings. After working us through the different techniques of paddling, Mike got us all to slow down and savour being out on the water in glorious conditions, taking in the sights, sounds and wildlife. We had spent a good while out on the water this evening. Mike also told us about other events open to us over the summer and beyond for anyone who wishes to follow up these taster sessions.
Two sessions in and I’m hooked and have joined a club. I’m already booked on another session and I plan to attend more over the rest of the year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike and Mac for these wonderful starter sessions. They were really well tailored to the needs of the participants, helping us to gradually build confidence and setting the tone about the aim to develop new sea-kayakers from beginner level.