Petestack Blog

1 November 2021

New ‘paddling’ category

Filed under: Paddling — admin @ 7:12 pm

No, this isn’t about walking through ankle-deep water, but about paddling boats!

Having tried kayaking many years ago and been actively considering buying a kayak for the past few years, I suddenly find myself with the prospect of owning several paddling boats not so long after getting my first in June. But how and why?

Well, for a start, I wanted a high-quality inflatable but couldn’t get my first choice (a Gumotex Safari 330), so got the tiny Twist 1 to try as just about the only available Gumotex while simultaneously keeping the Safari on pre-order with thoughts of later either selling the Twist or keeping it as a packraft substitute. But then decided I’m just not going to carry even a 9kg boat to paddle mountain lochans etc. when I could be carrying a 3kg boat, so ordered an Alpacka packraft. But none of these boats (great fun though they are) are really going to take you anywhere fast and I’d also like something capable of covering more sea miles quicker, so am going to Sea Kayak Oban on Thursday to discuss hardshell boats and courses. So probably won’t really ‘need’ the Twist and might yet end up selling it, but it’s still such a great wee boat for spontaneous fun as well as potentially worth carrying along with the Safari and a dinghy on Fly when cruising two or more up. Extravagant, perhaps, but you could pay the same for a single high-end kayak as several good ones when boats and what I want to do with them form a core part of the retirement I hope to enjoy and, hell, I’ve only got one bicycle when some folk have multiple kayaks and bicycles!

Enough of that anyway and time to talk about what I’ve done with the wee Twist so far, which includes multiple outings on my ‘home ground’ of Loch Leven, one on upper Loch Creran down to and through the Creagan Bridge and one at Kiloran Bay on Colonsay after carrying it over on the ferry. Some have been pretty calm and some more ‘interesting’ where this wee boat’s proved it can cope with more than you might think if you’re sensible with it, but still just isn’t going to take you anywhere fast. So here we are on Kiloran Bay in September, where I went out round the rocks to the left of the first photo in more swell than you can see, then most of the way across the bay till the swell started to get bigger than I was then prepared to handle. And I’ve since got a kayak-specific buoyancy aid to replace that old orange one as well as some more kayak-specific clothing with autumn and spring paddling in mind:

Yes, my top hand’s way high in the first of this sequence and the paddle’s moved so my hands are different distances from the blades, but I at least had reasons for the angle of the stroke in this boat and will return to this in my next blog:

Now, talking of autumn, I’ve had three Loch Leven kayak outings (as well as another boat trip taking Fly down to Loch Creran to get lifted for the winter) over the past eight days, heading through the Caolas nan Con narrows and back in some interesting wind-over-tide conditions last Monday, followed by a truly flat-water trip back up the Loch including a landing on Eilean nam Ban/Seagulls Island (defended by hordes of noisy gulls when I previously went round this summer!) on Friday and return to the island with camera today. And, yes, it was breezy, but sheltered inside the island, so I took the chance to head across with the hills looking terrific then paddled once round for fun!

I brought the golf ball home (wondering whether it had simply got washed up or someone hit it from the lay-by!) but not the broken piece of ‘DANGER’ sign:

The Twist 1’s not an easy boat to take composed photos from because it spins round so quickly when you stop paddling, but I was quite pleased with these for both capturing more or less what I wanted and showing the difference inside and outside of the island:

And that’s all for now except to say I’ve created the ‘paddling’ category here expecting to use it again! :-)


  1. Still heading to Oban tomorrow, but know I shouldn’t be making decisions about hardshell boats till I get the chance to try some with appropriate training. Still want to discuss what sizes and shapes of boats might work for me as well as where best to go from where I am now (which could well include arranging some instruction), and looking forward to that. So I might be keen (the guy who wants everything now), but not completely stupid!

    Comment by admin — 3 November 2021 @ 11:57 am

  2. Super-positive experience this morning with friendly, expert advice and the chance to sit in three boats that all fit! Booked to join (weather permitting) a Sea Kayak Experience Day next week where I’ll be able to try one of them, then looking at a course in the spring as well as the possibility of further demos, so hopefully heading towards choosing wisely after that. :-)

    Comment by admin — 4 November 2021 @ 6:32 pm

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