Congratulations to Hamish Wilkinson, aged 19, who has just paddled his skin-on-frame kayak around Ireland. That's roughly 1000 miles in 70 days. Apart from the adventure of it, and the satisfaction of doing the trip in a kayak built by himself and his father, there's also the fundraising side of it with donations to Action Cancer and Greenpeace. Click here to find out all about Hamish's trip or add to the charity donation. Hamish's father builds wooden canoes in Northern Ireland under the Valkyrie Craft banner. Hamish enjoyed his share of sunshine and calm weather, but also days like this one with John R. Great big waves, tiny little kayaks:
So, what is a kayak? “The kayak is far and away the best one-man boat in existence.” Fridtjof Nansen, polar explorer, Norwegian diplomat and Nobel prize-winner. He was talking about the classic Greenland kayak. Today the sit-on-top kayak is more popular because a total beginner can climb on and go paddling.
A sea kayak is :
- fast. A classic sea kayak can easily go faster and further than a walker, fast enough to go against a current.
- quick to get ready. Put it on your car, drive to a beautiful place, launch and go.
- light. Just carry it down the beach, or hook it up in the roof of your garage, or even take it in the lift up to a city-centre flat.
- slim. A sea kayak will take you through a reed bed, into a cave, up a narrow river, or between a tide race and the cliffs.
- beautiful. More than one sculptor has kept a Greenland kayak for inspiration in the studio.
- affordable. A good one can take thirty or forty years of hard use, and you can make a tough and lovely sea kayak for next to nothing.
- it's great for wildlife. A sea kayak is low, fast and silent so you see nature up close. No flapping sails, squeaking oars or engine noise.
- .... but most of all, a sea kayak is seaworthy. A trained sea kayaker in the right kayak can cope with waves, surf and wind from the Arctic to the tropics. When you're experienced, you can do things that would make a sailor or powerboater's jaw drop. Kayakers often like to go where there aren't any yachts or powerboats.