If I had it my own way, I would be on the water kayaking every day. I used to turn up at my dad's house, right on the River Tay, and if I couldn't find him in the house, I'd head to the garden and look out across the water. If I could see a kayaker in the distance, I would assume it was my dad, grab my own kayak and head out, meeting him in the middle on the river. Ever since a neighbour who was moving abroad gave us a long-term loan of his two kayaks, I've had a great time heading out for a paddle whenever the weather was dry and wind-less, and the river was still and glistening like a mirror. When you see it shimmering out of your window, a feeling like no other just spurs you to grab the paddles. If you haven't been kayaking before and need a little encouragement to give it a bash, have a read below of my top reasons why I love kayaking.
If you've read my other posts, or know me personally, you've probably got the picture already that I adore being near the water. I grew up basically on the banks of a river, so it's always been important to me to be near the water. Kayaking gives you everything that js great about the water. Peace and serenity. The calming waves, the beautiful reflections. There's a reason there are so many water-sounds on sleep cd's. Kayaks are such quiet vessels, you can truly relax, bobbing with the natural ebb and flow.
Following the above, the feeling of being as-one with nature is intensified when kayaking. Being so quiet and allowing yourself to be unenclosed as you would be with a boat, allows for wildlife to become intrigued and sometimes approach you. When kayaking in Australia we were surrounded by a huge pod of stunning dolphins, and a sea lion left his island every time we paddled past, just so he could frolick between the kayaks and play. My dad's favourite story is of him kayaking up the river tay, passing a cliff, when a bird of prey swooped passed his kayak and pinned it's prey against the cliff face. These experiences aren't always possible if you have a noisy engine or are speeding past at full pelt.
3) Experiences/views/perspectives not seen from land
The likes of my dad's experience just aren't things you could see following your standard footpath and sign-posted road. Kayaking allows you to experience places from a perspective you haven't seen before. Even a road or path you had treaded regularly can look completely different and give you entirely new experiences you haven't had before.
Adventure and nature aside, kayaking is a damn good work out. Your arms while paddling are an obvious one. But your torso can feel the burn too. Your core helps you balance and balance is a key part to kayaking. All muscles are worked in one way or another - particularly if you find yourself in some rough waves!
5) Adrenaline rush
But rough waves can get your juices going! Obviously we would all love to paddle in perfectly still waters, or with non-life-threatening waves. But all kayaker will admit that at one time or another, particularly as a beginner, the weather has turned out they have underestimated a trip. But this can be FUN. And it's a great test of your ability and a learning curve. A vessel that is lightweight and controlled by your balance can be easily caught out on rough situations. Waves may look small from the beach or out of your window, but get right down to water-level sitting in your kayak and they suddenly look huge! Even something as simple as a boat going past can give you some waves to play in and/or test your ability. It's not a bad thing to get the adrenaline going, and can heighten yours skills and help you learn!
Whatever your excuses, I've just anialated all of them. So get off your butt, find yourself a local group and get out there! I'm joining a kayaking group in Edinburgh as soon as I get my wetsuit in order, and cannot wait to get out on the water on a weekly basis! :D
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