Kayaking or Climbing?

Today I turned up to Bridgwater Canal expecting to go paddling and thought there may be a bit of ice around. The Canal was frozen solid and took three blows from a metal bar to penetrate the ice. This obviously ment I had a choice to make about how to amuse my students for the rest of the morning, although skating about on kayaks crossed my mind,we headed into the climbing wall where it was warm and spent a few hours bouldering and climbing routes. Much better than freezing out on the canal.

Snow Bikers

Bike Trailer Maiden Voyage



At Bicknoller Post

Bicknoller Post to Halsway Post

Hugging the Crowcombe Trig Point

Today was a day of firsts. It was the first time I got to use my new bike trailer, the first time I got to use my new bike, the first time most of the fleet have been out and the first time I have been in snow since I came south from Scotland last spring. What a day!!

We were up on The Quantock Hills with Bridgwater College students and all (or most of them) enjoyed the views and cycling through snow and on ice. I was assisted by Andy and Leon today and we had about 4 hours of riding punctuated by coffee stop.

New Trailer Arrives

The last few days have been manic with packing boxes and moving house. The good news is that I today took delivery of the new bespoke 16 Mountain Bike Trailer built for me by Bridgwater Trailers. It will be having it's maiden voyage on Monday

Cazoos in the Forest

Time for Popcorn

Making a Cazoo

Hard at Work

Today I was back in the forest sheltering from the snow making Cazoos whilst sitting as close to the first as possible. It never really warmed up and stayed sub zero all day under the trees. We made Cazoos and cooked ourselves some bacon butties and sausages before giving into the cold and heading back to college after lunch.

More Paddling, Bridgwater Canal

Another group from Bridgwater College and another trip up the canal in canoes and kayaks. The swans were still around as were a few fishermen. Nice weather again today although the water was not warm. No capsizes and just a few numb hands

Canoes, Kayaks and Swans

Today I was with Bridgwater College students out on the canal undertaking a 2 hour journey to to the Boat and Anchor and back. Each student chose the boat they wanted to paddle and we headed up the canal having to negotiate swans along the way whilst working on strokes and techniques.

Compasses on The Quantocks

Back out on The Quantock Hills today with college students looking at Navigation techniques. The mist was down and the compasses out for the first part of the morning until we dropped into the valley. We covered about 13km whilst looking at map orientation, compass work, timing and a spot of handrailing.

Uphill Climbing

Today I was working at Uphill Quarry with a group from Abbey School in Reading. They have their own qualified Climbing Instructor (Rich) who works full time at the school and he has run a number of indoor sessions for the girls to learn belaying and movement on walls. Today he brought them down to Uphill Quarry so they got to climb outside and I was there was help out. To be fair though they were very good at tying on and belaying so it was a stand back supervisory role for me today. Rich led one of the more experienced students up Uphill Corner HS 4a to give her the chance of seconding a route. The day ended with a number of students abseiling before stripping the ropes down and getting to the bus about 10 minutes before it went dark.

Wet your Whistle

Student pretending that this is his whistle (it is actually mine)

Back at Forest School today with Bridgwater College students. All the wood was soaking today but we were still able to make whistles and catapaults as well as testing our cooking skills on the open fires. The weather was not great but we had plenty of protection from the rain under the trees

Wet and Windy on the Canal

Looking happy!

Back on the Canal today with another college group who were again working towards 1 and 2 star awards. After the usual paddle around looking at various strokes it was back to capsize drills. Another demo from me (I am sure it was colder again) and all the students did a capsize. No takers to do a second drill though. I wonder why?
The weather was really miserable today so the camera only came out the once.

Cold Capsize 1, Even Colder Capsize 2

Local Residents

 Brand New YMCA Building

Today I was working with  Bridgwater College students on their second week of paddlesport where they are working towards their 1 and 2 Star Awards. We were in Kayaks this week and looked at forward, reverse, turning, sideways and stopping. As is always the case with watersports we had to tackle capsize drills at some time and today was the day.
I demonstrated a perfect capsize to the morning group and they all in turn did as required. For the afternoon group I had to go again but hadn't really warmed up from the previous one and it certainly was colder second time round. Again all students demonstrated a safe capsize

Blue Skies on The Quantock Hills

 Blue Skies

The local residents

Today I was out with Bridgwater College students looking at Navigation Skills. Last week they planned a 12km route around the Quantock Hills and today they had to carry it out. Although when I woke up it was misty and frozen by the time we arived on the hills the sun was out and it was a crisp and clear day that even started to warm up after lunch.

MLTA South West Meeting, Dartmoor

John teaching Pete slick set ups

Gav leading Alistair on Mucky Gully

Brian showing Paul the ropes

Me allowing myself to be "confidence roped" down Leather Tor

Today  I was on Dartmoor having arranged a meet for the SW region of the MLTA. I was assisted by Brian, John, Steve and Gav. Between us we ran a work shop on Mountain Leader Ropework, Climbing, Setting up Climbing Ropes and Navigation. The weather was good and everyone had a good time.

RLSS/IQL Update Day

Today I was at the Royal Lifesaving Society Update Day for National Trainer Assessors. This day was to keep me in date and current for the next 3 years and was based around "best practice" and how to mentor effectively.

Windy Paddle on Bridgwater Canal

Today I had two groups of students out on Bridgwater Canal for their introduction to Open Boating session.  After covering some theory on equipment and clothing we hit the water to look at basic paddling strokes including forwards, backwards, sideways and turning.The wind was blowing straight down the canal making progress difficult at times but most students grasped the basics before the session was up.