Markfield Quarry

  Friday 26th April 2013   A day working as Technical Advisor for Leicester Outdoor Pursuits in Markfield Quarry. This was a familiarisation day for SPA qualified to look at the potential as an introductory crag venue. Fine by me. A day working as Technical Advisor for Leicester Outdoor Pursuits in Markfield Quarry. This was a familiarisation day for SPA qualified to look at the potential as an introductory crag venue. Fine by...

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Skomer Wildlife Tour

  Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st April 2013   Having wanted to spend a night on Skomer for some time now, this was my first opportunity to run this trip for Sea Kayak Guides. I was also very fortunate to be supported by two excellent, experienced and very knowledgeable assistant guides Tom & Dr Lou Luddington. Tom works for the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group http://www.pembrokeshireoutdoors.org.uk/ Dr Lou is an expert in...

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Wild Scotland Guide Programme

  Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th April 2013   This was the start of this year’s excellent Guide Training Programme http://www.wild-scotland.org.uk/about-us/wilderness-guide-training-programme/ For me; this gave me the opportunity to catch up on the opposing modules which I could not attend last year. The first day’s training was Astronomy delivered by Rupert Hutchinson. This was a brilliant day which tried to put across the...

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BCU Five Star Training

  Wednesday 10th & Thursday 11th April 2013   A group of four keen, enthusiastic and competent paddlers provided an excellent couple of days. The big spring tide and southerly swell produced some exceptional conditions on the infamous “Bar” at the entrance to Salcombe Harbour. These were well in excess of what is required of the award at times. Unfortunately the strong winds and deteriorating conditions meant that we needed to...

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BCU Coastal & Open Water Tidal Planning Courses

    Monday 8th April & Tuesday 9th April 2013   Day one allowed me to observe Lee delivering the programme supported by some excellent presentations. I was more than happy to recommend him as a future BCU provider for the course. Tuesday evening gave me the opportunity to help Lee and Nick Arding install the promotional stickers on their kayaks for their forthcoming (depart 17th May) around the UK trip in aid of Clic...

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BCU Four Star Sea Assessment Devon

  Sunday 7th April 2013   This and the following three courses were run in conjunction with Lee Pooley of International Coaching http://www.internationalcoachingandguiding.co.uk/   Using the Bolt Tail area off the South Devon coast, the fresh south easterly wind against the flood tide gave excellent conditions for the...

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BCU Four Star Sea Assessment Dorset

  Thursday 4th April & Friday 5th April 2013   This privately organised, but open course was run in conjunction with Nigel Robinson of Sea Kayak Guides http://www.seakayakguides.co.uk/ on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset and Poole Harbour area. The continuing cold off shore winds did not make it the most pleasant of assessment...

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BCU Five Star Sea Assessment, Pembrokeshire

  28th & 29th March   Run in conjunction with Nigel Robinson of Sea Kayak Guides http://www.seakayakguides.co.uk/ this course was organised for a group of American paddlers working towards their BCU 5* award. The Spring tides and bitterly cold off shore winds provided demanding conditions for the candidates and guinea pigs alike, as well as extremely careful venue consideration by the assessors! After setting out, I eventually...

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Photographic Weekend With Colin Prior

  16th & 17th March   This inspirational workshop was organised by Wilderness Scotland as part of their Guide Development Program. Colin Prior’s http://www.colinprior.co.uk/home/ landscape photography is legendary, but a chance to take part in one of his workshops was a great privilege. As an ex transparency SLR photographer, I was used to concepts of shutter speed, depth of field, ISO etc, however I have never received any...

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BCU Four Star Sea Assessment, Pembrokeshire

  9th & 10th March   The first BCU paddling course of the year, and the weather to remain the same for the next few months! Very cold offshore winds made it difficult for the assessors to find suitable and safe locations to run the course. Take a look at the pictures for a full impression. However they never give a full appreciation of the...

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Canoe Hire on the River Wye

  During the spring I have been undertaking work for the BCU in conjunction with the Environment Agency on the River Wye. The volume of people now paddling the River Wye, the increase in hire companies and a number of incidents has raised concern on how these issues can be addressed. Using the existing BCU Approved Paddlesport Provider scheme, incorporating the River Wye Canoe Hire Association (Based on the Glaisbury Protocol) guidelines...

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BCU Coastal Navigation Course Rutland Water

  9th & 10th February   This course was located on the north side of Rutland Water, at Whitwell Quay and was organised to cater for paddlers in the East of the country. Sadly the facilities and the timeliness of staff did not live up to what was originally envisaged and was aggravated by the low temperatures! I need to explore a good location for the east side of the country for future winter weekend courses. Anyone got any...

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BCU Coastal and Open Water Navigation Course, Seaport Centre, Folkstone Kent

  26th & 27th January   This weekend course has become established in this area at this time of year to meet demand for London and the south east of the country. The use of the local Scout Headquarters was a great improvement of the previous year and allowed participants to spread out on the large tables. Hopefully the proposed new Seapoint Centre will be up and running by 2014. Book now for 2014, 24th &...

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Smash & Bash & BCU Coastal Navigation Weekend, Canary Wharf, London

  19th & 20th January   Smash & Bash was the brain child of Matthias Altin. Matthias had attended my morning boat repair clinic at the 2011 Isle of Wight symposium and wanted to expand on the concept offering it to local clubs. We covered everything from how modern sea kayaks are manufactured, to how much effort is required to smash a hole in them and finishing with practical sessions on GRP repairs and plastic welding....

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Sea Kayak Navigation Aid (SKNA) Production Problems

  December-January 2012 Pre-Christmas I was overwhelmed with orders for the SKNA; unfortunately this coincided with my original supplier being unable to continue producing them to the standard I required. After a frantic search for a new supplier, I was fortunate to find a local specialist plastic printing company PlasTech Print http://www.plastechprint.co.uk/. PlasTech were able to produce the SKANA in a slightly thicker, opaque, low...

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Sea Kayak Podcasts

  April 2013 Simon Willis has some very interesting podcasts on his site – click here for this great resource, it’s well worth a visit.    

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Howard Interviewed By Simon Willis

  Here is a podcast of me interviewed by journalist and Sea Kayak fanatic Simon Willis. Find out more about Simon here…     Right-click here and select ‘Save as’ to download the podcast to use on your own playback...

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RYA Diesel Engine Course, South Notts College

  Tuesday 18th December 2012 The end of another very successful certificated RYA Diesel engine course. Great bunch of students who were keen to get stuck in and get their hands dirty! Even managed to fit in a full service for one of the participant’s yachts.   Book now for courses starting on Tuesday 9th January 2013. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. Looking forward to...

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