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Monday, 28 May 2012

Sea Kayaking Glenmore lodge course

Some time ago Ana had booked a sea kayaking course at Glenmore lodge: Glenmore lodge is the Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre which is part funded by the government and this is money well spent as the quality of the courses, instructors and equipment is second to none.

When the weather forecast displayed temperatures up to 27 degrees for Aviemore for the whole weekend we knew that that we were in for a winner. The course was £235 per person for two days which included top notch equipment (sea kayak, paddle, wet suit, cagoule etc.), a 1:5 instructor to client ratio, accommodation at the lodge from Friday to Sunday and quality food from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon.

I arrived Friday evening and it was already gorgeous with the car thermometer displaying 25 degrees at time.   Here is loch Morlich with the still snowy Northern corries behind. A cold night and a winter climb is still possible.
 On Saturday we met Mike and Stuart, the very experienced instructors. We first practiced turning upside down and leaving the kayak in the Glenmore lodge pool. All fine. We then loaded all the kayaks onto the big trailer and went onto loch Morlich where we paddled in the sun and worked in two 5er groups on our technique: forward, turning in a circle and upside down, getting back into the kayak alone and without help and a few fast strokes. Rather good at well over 20 degrees.
Glenmore lodge provides a packed lunch for a break on the shore.
A wee bit of theory about tides and all that and then a pint at the bar. Mike and Stuart decided to drive us in the Glenmore van plus kayak trailer across the Moray firth over Kessock bridge to launch our kayaks on the other side. Again a gorgeous day.
 We paddled under the bridge in calm waters...
 ... on the Northern shore eastwards...
 ... to find a great place for lunch.
 We then caught the inflowing tide with more waves and practised paddling 90 degrees to the waves and surfed the odd wave.
 Under Kessock bridge the waves were chaotic going in all directions due to the currents, wind...
 ... and we were riding a strong current but with few waves to our launch point.
 Here we practised rescues again in salt water and then went back to the lodge on the happy bus.

Overall the weekend was one of the most enjoyable and we are now fully fired up to do some more sea kayaking. The course and other courses by Glenmore lodge and other providers are much recommended especially for beginners and intermediates as the instructors will ensure a good day and good skills. Also Glenmore lodge courses are a good idea for those coming from abroad who not only the full Scottish breakfast but also full Scottish action. Both is guaranteed!

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