Rather be here

But I’d rather be here than be anywhere
Is there anywhere better than here?
You know these feelings I’ve found they are oh so rare
Is there anywhere better than here?

Rather Be The Verve, Forth

No matter whether it’s battling the roiling seas off the Western Isles, or going for a tootle up/down the Clyde, I’m fast realising lately that there are few places I’d rather be than on the sea. The adjacent photo of me is one of my favourites, not because of my understated style and elegance, but because I look so darned happy. It’s all natural, not a bit of it posed – I really couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear.

The weather in Cowal has been nothing short of dire recently. We can’t remember the last dry day. Any hope of a last burst of summer is rapidly diminishing, and this can leave one feeling a little depressed. Saturday wasn’t the most inspiring day to go a paddle, yet we knew that if we stayed in, we’d go mad. So we hopped down to the bottom of the road and jumped into the Clyde again, as it were.

Kayaking past the PS Waverley

Kayaking past the PS Waverley

The Cowal Highland Gathering was in full swing, so we thought we’d take a wander up to Dunoon to soak up any atmosphere that might have worked its way out on to the water. On the way, we passed the PS Waverley (when I told my neighbour this later, she marvelled that we must have been paddling at quite a speed – she’s so funny). The skies appeared more like those of a nuclear winter as opposed to a late summer’s day. Even so, I instantly felt my mood change just simply being out on the water and observing the passing scenery and wildlife. Of course, that’s what happens when you find yourself living in the moment and uncluttering your mind, a state readily facilitated by kayaking.

The Gantocks

The Gantocks

We paddled around the Gantocks, the infamous rocks upon which many a ship has run aground (including the Waverley!), although conditions were quite unthreatening for us. Indeed, the little wind that there had been lessened to non-existent and the river resembled the proverbial mill-pond as we returned. This gave rise to some extended rudder strokes practice as we veered and looped our way homewards in extravagant turns and zig-zags. The casual observer must have thought we really didn’t have a clue about how to get our kayaks under control (but we did, so).

And so we were back by tea-time, ready to rinse down our kayaks, our dry suits, our boots, our BAs, our spraydecks, ourselves. Yes, there’s a bit of preparation and de-(un?)preparation involved in this activity, but with each outing we become more efficient and I’ve yet to conclude that it isn’t worth it.

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