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30 July 2004

Inspired by a tee shirt

In my teenage years in the 1980s I was a very enthusiastic kayaker taking part in slalom competitions and white water river trips at every opportunity. After I left school, however, my enthusiasm waned. Until recently.

Last year I was picking out clothes for my son when I saw a tee shirt with a picture of an elegant long kayak and the caption "Sea kayak expedition". I remembered my own kayaking days and thought it odd that what I had always regarded as a niche branch of a niche sport had found its way onto children's clothing. For the rest of the summer I found myself thinking about sea kayaking whenever my son wore the tee shirt.

At about the same time I came across Chris Duff's book, On Celtic Tides, which is the story of his 1996 circumnavigation of Ireland by sea kayak. Reading it inspired me to take the next step and join my local canoe club.

After a couple of refresher sessions on the Thames I passed my assessment for the BCU 3 star award - the kayakers 'driving test' - on Tuesday. So now I am all set for my first sea kayaking expedition this weekend.