Thursday, 12 October 2017

Winter Sea Kayaking courses and more ...

Here is a brief summary of courses that still have availability, over the Winter and into early Spring.  Plus this Summer's sea kayak expeditions:

6-9th November - Advanced sea kayak leader training (5*) with Open water navigation and tidal planning.  With ratio of 1:4 - 2 places left.

13-17th November - Moderate sea kayak leader training (4*) with Coastal navigation and tidal planning.  With ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

9/10th December - Advanced sea kayaking.  For those who are close to being assessed at Moderate sea kayak leader (4*) or Advanced sea kayak leader trained (5*).  Based around the Advanced sea kayak leader and performance syllabus.  ratio of 1:4 - 3 places left

16/17th Dec - Surf & tide races.  From Intermediate to advanced and with the aim of really getting you surfing those waves.  ratio of 1:4 - 3 places left.

13/14th January 2018 - Advanced sea kayaking, with ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

3/4th Feb - Surf & tide races.  Details as above and ratio of 1:4 - 3 places left

17/18th Feb - Intermediate Plus, working on Moderate water skills and ideal for those who have completed the Moderate sea kayak leader training and want support with their action plan.  ratio of 1:6 - 4 places left

24/25th Feb - Surf & tide races.  Details as above and ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

28/2 - 4th March - Advanced sea kayak leader training and Open water navigation, with ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

10 -14th March - Moderate sea kayak leader training and Coastal navigation, with ratio of 1:6 - 3 places left.

17/18th March - Surf & tide races.  Details as above and ratio of 1:4 - 4 places left

Shetland sea kayak expedition - 23-29th July at £695 - 2 places left

Orkney sea kayak expedition - 4-10th August at £695 - 4 places left.

Interested in any of the above then email with your questions and I will get back to you with further information.  

Make a change in 2018 and have an adventure! 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Roof of Britain (RoB) 2017 - Fort William to Inverness, the 'Salty' Version!

The plan had always been to do the complete loop, linking up the West and East coast with the Great Glen.  A journey of 800km.  Yet time was running out for us and at Thurso on the North coast and informal decision, or was it a thought, that was made to get to Inverness. This way we had a clear start and finish and a salty version of the RoB.  This felt right and
as long as bodies held out and the weather played ball it was possible.  

The start at Corpack with Ben Nevis in snow!!

My Facebook feed from the 16th April 2017, has the daily action here.   I'm going to keep this Blog to the bare bones, with a summary, facts and my favourite ten photos.

looking up the Sound of Mull
  • From GPS our total distance was 727km
  • 27 days in total with 8 days off, with 6 storm days and 2 days were we arrived earlier and decided to use the benefit of a public camp or caravan sight, to wait out the storm.  In both cases this really paid off, so good sleep was had and we could each refuel.
Tobermory, Isle of Mull, with Don, Craig, Alan, Gerry and Roger

Sunrise, just North of Tobermorry (Mull) and our first early start

  • Longest day was day 25, with 67km and this was Wick on the East coast to 8km South of Helmsdale.  6 hours on a flood Spring tide and then paddling close in along a spectacular coastline with thousands of sea birds. A 13 hour day.
Gairloch, after a snow storm
  • Shortest distance was day 1, after leaving a car to Inverness and packing the boats at Corpack (N of Fort William) to the Corran Narrows - 16km

  • Our most efficient distance was our last day.  Day 27 Cromarty to Inverness, 45km in under 5 hours!
  • 11 wild camps,   7 public camps, 1 at a hostel, 4 in a caravan, 2 accommodation connected to a pub and 1 night on a floor (brother in law of Alan's).
Arrival at the stunning Sandwood Bay NW Scotland

Sandwood Bay was totally magic!

  • On 17 beaches we did a 2 minute Nurdle hunt and we found none.  This came as a surprise, but is great!  We also only found 2 cotton ear buds and details have been sent to FEDRA and the Great Nurdle Hunt
Duncansby Head and we're on the East coast!
  • We saw many sea ducks, red and black throated divers as well as great northern, 2 white tailed sea eagles, 7-9 otters, 4 pods of dolphins (common, risso and 2 bottlenosed), submarine motoring along 1-2km North Rona, 2 artic skua's, puffins from around the Gairlock area and my first time hearing puffins calling was at Thurso.  Many other sea birds with the most prolific on the east coast south of Wick.
  • We camped/bivied at Sandwood bay (last sandy beach before Cape Wrath and landed for a break at Kervaig (first sandy beach on the North coast).  Both are in amazing locations and two places I thought it would take along time to get the right weather, to be able to visit!!
Bringing the journey to an end at Inverness ...
As with most big trips, theres is always those that help to keep things moving forwards and after so many snapped tent poles with Gerrys F10 tent, Kate Duffus and a chance meeting helped with similar diameter poles.  The hostel at Lochinver were ace in receiving a new set of poles.  Sue (Alan's friend), was a great help and took both Gerry and Alan across to collect while we were off the water in the Summer Isles.  Alan's brother in law did us proud when we arrived in Cromarty at 20:00 at his front door, having never received a text and the pub had stopped serving food!  Thanks for the many super messages on social media of information, support and encouragement.

Big thanks to Sonja for managing the bookings while I was away and doing a super job.

Dates for the Roof of Britain and One Big Adventure 2018 (1BG) will be out soon, so if your interested and want more information, have a look here or email me at 


Friday, 24 March 2017

The Roof of Britain and hunting for Nurdles!

On the 15th April 2017 we begin our journey to paddle around the 'Roof of Britain' (RoB) a journey of 400 nm and with some of Britain's most exciting, committing and beautiful coastline.   Basically its the top half of mainland Scotland, involving Cape Wrath and the Pentland Firth.  

The team is made up of Alan from Sheffield, Don from Portsmouth area, Gerry form the Isle of Man, Craig from Anglesey and myself.

Thanks to Tavi for this original creation!
We have had two intensive training weekends over the last 10 months and with a chilly overnighter mid January, to test kit, tents and equipment.  Back in 2015 we got surprised by snow on a couple of beaches!!  Since January action plans have been further worked on and emails have flown back and forth.  

Where we will start the RoB, will depend on the weather at the time and for the forecast for the following week. We have 4 weeks in total to work with and to get as far as we can and complete the loop if the weather and bodies allow.   

In 2015 we lost 10 days to storms and ended up with some big mileage days to try and complete the loop.  It was a truly stunning expedition with a couple of exceptional mammal sightings - three Orca on the North coast and a Minke Whale, South of The small Isles (on the West coast).  If you want to read our 2015 adventure then a couple of Blogs area here:

On the North coast of the RoB and a totally magic day with a BIG ground swell and a super sunny blue sky day.

The other exciting news is we have team up with FIDRA to map Nurdles (raw plastic).  Nurdles, really, yep!  One month ago I had never heard of these and just thought it was broken down and worn out plastic.  As I became aware of the problem I started to see then more easily on the sandy beaches near the high water mark. The plan is as we paddle the RoB, on each beach we land, the intention is to do a 2 minute collection.  As well as observe and record is there more, so as to provide further evidence of how bad the spread is.  Hopefully this will further support the work this company is doing in education and management.

Ive since learnt its better to ware gloves due to the toxins!

So, I wonder what weather we will experience in April/May 2017?   We will keep a weekly updates via Twitter and Facebook on our progress and if the weather is bad, then there will be time for a blog!

Hoping for many days of the sun on our faces and the wind on our backs - wish us luck  ;)

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Greenland - Eat, Paddle, Sleep, Climb 2017

Back in 2008 Olly first invited me to Greenland but at the time it was my first real season with Coastal Spirit, so I said no!

When discussing the possibility of a trip in the summer of 2017, I was really keen to be part of it.  That possibility has now become a reality with funding from the Artic Club and supported by Gino Watkins Memorial Fund; A & J Simpson Award.  Many thanks for this!

The plan is to be self contained and journey in sea kayaks going North of Upernivik (on the North West coast) to explore the numerous potentials for climbing on the many islands in this area. The main objectives will be climbing alpine style roures we come across, accessed in a low impact approach from sea kayaks.  

We will have 28 days in total.  This will allow us to travel to the area, and probably 24 days  in Greenland.  We will need to pack our sea kayak with all of our food, camping kit, paddling and rock climbing gear for the whole time.

Im really looking forward to my 
first time in Greenland and my second time above the Artic 
circle.  I'll aim to keep you all updated with progress.

I would also like to thank Tent Meals  for their support towards our expedition, with great tasting, natural high energy breakfasts and evening meals.  

Photo taken by Olly Sanders
Photo taken by Olly Sanders

Photo taken by Olly Sanders

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Surf & Tide-race Course

This is the type of course that comes up on the various sea kayak festivals and for the last year Coastal Spirit has been offering two focused days paddling in the Surf and Tide-races of Anglesey, North Wales.  This is through open courses, ass advertised below and  weekends also for clubs were this has been a specific focus.

Experience the thrill of catching a wave, developing greater control and stretch your comfort zone, with support and guidance - good 3* skills as a minimum and the ability to roll at the Intermediate level. If windy we go beach surfing or a down wind run on the classic Menai Straits or if calm surf one or more of Anglesey's classic tide-race's.  Learn how best to use your body, gain an insight into Performance Psychology, hear the rush of the waves and feel the salt on your face.

With a maximum of four paddlers you get more from this exciting opportunity and can really develop.

To enlarge the photo click on one of them.

This could be you, just imagine that!  

If your fit, keen, motivated to learn and want a focused time in the waves and surf of Anglesey, this course is for you.  How does it work?  Who ever first books on begins to influence the weekend.  For example, If an Intermediate (3*) paddler books on then the course will be Intermediate to Intermediate Plus (4* trained).  While if on another weekend an Advanced (5* trained) paddler books on then its Intermediate Plus to Advanced.  

Due to small personal group size, individual needs are more easily managed, so you get more from the weekend.  Keep in mind, due to only 4 places available, course's book up fast.  Cost £160 for the 2 days and current availability is as follows:

10/11th June: Intermediate to Intermediate Plus, with 2 places left.

8/9th July: Intermediate Plus (could go either way) 3 places left.

23/24th September: Intermediate Plus to Advanced, 1 place left.

If one of these dates works for you and you want to move this forward then either email me or follow this link to complete an online booking form 

More dates may be added, so keep an eye on my website or contact me if you have a specific date in mind -

Thanks Roger

Spring course's with Coastal Spirit, Anglesey, North Wales

The following courses currently have places on them this Spring and into early Summer.  All are all based in North Wales, Anglesey:

Surf & Tide-race's - Intermediate Plus (4* leader trained) to Advanced with maximum of four paddlers and with one place left.  Cost £160 on the 11/12th March.  Follow this link

Sea Kayak Leader Training (4*) on the 27th-30th March with Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning (CNTP) theory.  Three places left and at a cost of £270.  Follow this link

Advanced Sea Kayak Leader training (5*) on the 3-6th April, with Open water Navigation theory and night navigation.  One place left at £270.  Follow this link

Intermediate sea kayaking - working on 3 star performance skills, 4 places left at £160 20/21st May.  Follow this link

For any further information on any of the above follow the links above or email

I look forward to sharing the stunning Anglesey coastline with you.