There's something about finishing work early, jumping in the car and making the most of a summer evening outdoors. I recently did this with my friend, and fellow wild swimming enthusiast, Cheryl. We don't live too far from each other, so decided to head further out Deeside and go for a walk and a swim at Loch Kinord, near Dinnet in Aberdeenshire.
The loch was nice and mild so we stayed in for a good 45 minutes to an hour, mainly paddling about and doing a bit of swimming too. It was so calm and relaxing.
The Isle of Arran, often called 'Scotland in miniature', is a place I've visited several times over the past decade or so. I think I fall in love with it a little more each time I go, and my recent trip of approximately 28 hours in the summer sunshine was no exception.
So, the timescale went a bit like this:
08.20 Ferry departed Ardrossan
9.15 Arrived in Arran, and had breakfast outside in the sunshine at Little Rock cafe (highly recommended) then bought snacks at the Co-op for climbing Goatfell
11.00 Set off for Goatfell and began the climb!
SUP. Three letters that until recently I had no idea meant Stand Up Paddleboarding... something I’d seen all over Instagram and knew must be the latest thing. With my feeds full of people doing SUP in beautiful locations, and my newly found desire to push myself to try things, I wanted to find out more about it - and more importantly - how I could try it. Luckily this coincided with someone at work talking about a new business that had started up in Stonehaven, a coastal town in Aberdeenshire not far from where I live. Better still, they wanted to try it too! So, long story short, we had our beginners lesson with Stonehaven Paddleboarding on a sunny Saturday morning in June – along with 4 other intrepid adventurers!
The lesson lasted for just over two hours, and covered tuition on how to check and set up your paddle board, followed by time on the water gaining confidence going from kneeling on the board to standing up, steering, and dealing with windier conditions (it was fairly calm on the morning of the lesson). We paddled around the harbour, navigating the small sailing boats going in and out, and towards the end we got to head out close to the cliffs, which was when I really had a ‘this is amazing’ moment seeing my surroundings from such a different perspective.
By the end of it, 5 out of 6 of us had fallen in. I'm not going to lie, I had a bit of a scary moment when I fell off and it seemed to take forever to get back to the surface, never mind haul myself back on the board! But I did, and I suppose falling off was fairly inevitable. Fingers crossed I can only get better from there…. I do intend to try it again to build up my confidence on the board, so I'll keep you posted on my progress!
Find out more at http://stonehavenpaddleboarding.co.uk/
I'm Kelly. A thirty-something year old adventurer from Aberdeenshire. Read more about me in the ABOUT ME section.