People who know me in person will no doubt be aware of my special relationship with Athleticism, Sports and Team Sports and how much the other members of the Three Musketeers and I were the red hot stars of the school sport’s playing field. This relationship did not preclude other sorts of outdoor activity which I can give example of with a trip to Arthog for outdoor adventure. It was the start of Year 8 (ages 12-13, I don’t know the equivalent Grade in USA schools) and I signed up for a four day excursion to an out activity orientated Youth Hostel in Wales and while there I befriended a chap by the name of Andrew Blake and try as I might I was unable to find five more people to join this friendship group, the rest of the three Musketeers had not opted to go on this trip and in honesty at this stage in our school life we had been established as the ‘three musketeers’- but that is another story. The befriending of Blake was a bargain of necessity and I recall he was a fairly affable chap but the friendship didn’t spread beyond the boundaries of Wales as we all clicked backed to our various friendship groups once back at school (being in different halves of the year probably didn’t hep either), so we’d be partnered up for the various activities. As I recall we the did Orienteering both at day and at night, a mountain walk, a day kayaking and a morning descending a Gorge which involved getting very wet.
The day’s Kayaking was down the near by estuary and it was a nice relaxed days exercise despite the rather inclement weather, the water wasn’t too rough I recall but I think everyone objected to the small store’s worth of clothes we were expected to wear and that was before we had the wet suits and life jackets put upon us (going for a pee was a complicated affair for us blokes, gawd knows how it was for the girls). As we were all inexperienced newbies the instructors installed tail fins on the kayaks to ease the steering, however due to circumstances mine had come off and I ended up putting a huge amount of effort to steer in comparison to the rest of the group… it was lunch break it was discovered and this was only because the instructor couldn’t work out why I was putting so much more effort in.
This cemented my affection for water based activity and from then on every summer holiday I would make sure I had at least one day where I would be on the water whether it be on a river, lake or reservoir. To date I can happily say I have never capsized or lost my paddle while out on the water, probably more through luck then judgement though. Over the past two summers Heather and I were thinking about buying a cheap two-person kayak/canoe and set ourselves upon the great water ways of county, somehow I don’t think the entire country is ready for us to be water based. It is worth noting that Heather does have a sailing certificate thanks to her family going to Sail and Surf in the Lake District when she was a child, Sail and Surf being a Christian based sailing group and her father was quite into Church from what she tells me. We didn’t follow up on these because of various issues involving Heather’s optical health but I think once the apocalypse has passed over I will suggest to Heather we get on the water ways. Locally we can hire kayaks and canoes for an hour or so and paddle up and down the River Severn or alternatively it is only about an hour’s drive to lake Vyrnwy where there is plenty of boat based activity to be done.