Adventure doesn’t always mean extreme!
Our very first blog post!
We’re really excited to start sharing stories and thoughts from members of the paddling community. Stories are so often cut short, limited to 140 characters nowadays, or briefly discussed at the pub after a long day on the water. We think stories are there to be shared far and wide. Everyone who has ever been on the water has a paddling story, something to say and to proudly proclaim to the wider world. We want to collect as many of these as we can and use PaddleMore as a site where you can come and read about other people’s experiences.
Already we have had a few stories in and comments from the writers around how refreshing it is to write something down, to relive it on a personal level without the need to ‘put on a show’ as we tell it.
Stories can be personal, they can be a feeling, a moment, a thought or an experience. They can be long, short, direct experiences or a reflection on your paddling journey. Whatever you have to say, we want to hear it. We will endeavor to get as many of these stories shared with the world and not let the art of telling tales get lost.
The PaddleMore blog. More people, more paddling, more stories, more often.
We’re kicking off with a really interesting piece from Ellie and how it doesn’t have to be extreme to be an adventure.
“I am sitting on the edge of my seat, my heart is thudding in my chest, I am almost biting my nails; this is my physical and emotional response to the video I am watching. Tyler Bradt paddling over the edge of the 189ft Palouse Falls. He kayaks over the edge becoming invisible in the torrent of white water for what seems like eons before he finally he emerges. Bedraggled but alive.
Often we conjure the most extreme images in our minds of what adventure sport looks like. We think of river paddling as tackling enormous rapids and waterfalls; mountain biking as dropping down vertical hillsides; rock climbing as clinging to the underbelly of an overhang. High speed, high risk, high adrenaline are all phrases we associate with extreme sport and adventure sport.
However I would like to paraphrase the Cambridge online dictionary’s definition of adventure – Adventure: an unusual, exciting, and possibly dangerous activity.
Unusual and exciting? Yes, sign me up! That’s what I want from my free time.
Straight up danger though? I would rather not thanks.
However, the possibility of danger I feel I can tolerate. There is the possibility of danger all the time whether you’re crossing the road, driving your car or being adventurous. You never know when you might be run down by a stampede of large ducks, or some angry Shetland ponies!
Risk is a factor in adventure sports, the beauty is that we can choose how we engage with that. For example, if I decided to paddle over a massive waterfall, I am pretty certain it would end badly. I don’t have the knowledge, understanding or technical skill to do that. Well I guess I could try but there is a high risk of failure. When I choose to paddle in an environment I don’t know much about, I do my research: I read guide books; check the weather; check the water levels and ask my experienced friends to tell me about it. Sometimes I even take them with me! Although to be honest often they take me with them, no one likes to be a passenger in my car for some reason? Too risky perhaps?
Let’s put that aside all of that rambling and think about adventures we might have had that don’t look like plummeting down a 189ft waterfall. Sea kayaking with a bunch of friends to an island to buy ice cream. Exciting? Check! Who isn’t excited by ice cream? Or dairy free alternatives for those who can’t ingest lactose.
Rescuing a sheep from the side of a gentle flowing river and naming him Chris. Unusual? absolutely!
Getting on the loch in tandem craft for an hour with your friend to catch up before they head back to tuck their toddler into bed. An unhappy toddler? Possibly dangerous!
I think they all count. All are made better by doing them outside in our beautiful natural environment!
I guess what I am trying to say is that adventure is a personal thing, it varies from person to person. For some it is kayaking over a huge waterfall but for others, it is getting on some water in some form of paddle craft to explore a new place! I definitely fall into the latter.
To quote an actual writer “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing–absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows.”
Ellie grew up on the west coast of Scotland, so knows a thing or two about adventure and wild weather. She is an experienced paddle sport guide who can be found guiding groups around the country or paddling along with Gigha, dog and favoured paddle partner.