With the changing of the clocks on the first day of training we did wonder if anybody would turn up at the wrong time.
It was early as I parked up outside The Glasgow Academy. Met the group and started the long process of kit checks.
Duke of Edinburgh Gold training. Upon discovering that there was very little previous experience I started to realise that I had my work cut out.
I ran through everything from how to do up a dry bag so that it stands half a chance of staying dry to the tactical approach required for easy canoeing in the wind.
Day one saw us leaving Balmaha and hunting out the lee of the wind to teach and test navigation. We were hunting out a good camp site on Inchmoan as the light was starting to fade.
Day two a beautiful dawn over a calm bay and a peaceful loch. This idyllic illusion was soon destroyed as we made our way round the corner and out into the wind. My lesson plan was to teach how to paddle in the wind and to demonstrate that canoeing can often be more work than walking. Once we had regrouped at Inchmurrin I moved on to teach a little about hypothermia and how to look after the rest of your team while out on D of E. The message seemed to hit home as I made them put their hand into the water throughout my speech. One of the girls even said “gosh it’s really dangerous”. After a bit of a break and some rafting up, box tows and inline towing we made our way around the bottom of the island then up the windward side of the island. This was not greatly received and yet again my learn by doing style seemed to have the desired effect.
Day three the sun rose and the wind started to whip up again. As discussed the previous night it was time to get wet and go swimming. To make it more ‘real’ I took the team into the wind and started teaching capsize drills. Greatly to my surprise they opted to perform an all in rescue. It took a while of laughing and getting it wrong before they pulled it together and started to fix the problem at hand.