Those of you that know me well will know I am a bit of a fanatic about water. I’m always near it, on it, or in it and I am very passionate about other people getting a chance to experience the same. I was taught to swim from an early age and I consider it a hugely important skill for people to have. I still swim of course (wouldn’t be a great lifeguard otherwise) but I am not a distance swimmer at all. However, I have decided to challenge myself to swim 1km in open water, in aid of Level Water. The lakes of the UK and the Outdoor Swimming Society are supporting Level Water in their mission to provide bespoke, 1-1 swimming lessons for children with disabilities across the UK. Level Water wants a world where everyone has access to swimming. For life.
By donating to this challenge you are helping to make sure that, once pools have re-opened, lessons can continue straight away and children can continue to learn this life-changing skill. Please consider donating via my Just Giving page as every little helps.
My employer, the University of Worcester, holds a 24 Hour Charity Challenge every two years. Due to COVID-19 it could not take place last year. So we were extra delighted to help make it a success this time around. In aid of Cure Leukaemia, teams from across all areas of the university competed in several events. Walking, canoeing, running, basketball and a water assault course to finish. Working for our outdoor campus, I was able to help with the design and build of the assault course. Testing it out and lifeguarding were a lot of fun.
My qualifications meant that I could also assist as one of the safety boat crews for the canoeing. Getting up at 2.00am, the plan was for a 16 mile journey in sparred canoes along the River Severn, starting at 5.00am and finishing around 8.00am. The views of the sunrise and the mist on the water were stunning and thankfully only my photography skills were called upon. The best part of course was raising £15,864 for a very worthy cause.
My work is not often about the calm outdoors. My focus is usually on the excitement and risk and my videos tend to reflect that. However, the outdoors has much more to offer. The healing and calming benefits of being in the outdoors are undisputed. Much research in to mental health and wellbeing shows that there are numerous benefits to spending time on or near water, in the woods, or just open countryside.
I thought it might be fun therefore to take this one in a different direction. No paddlesport, climbing, zip-wire, powerboating etc. Just a relaxing video featuring the sights and sounds of “my office”. ASMR? Perhaps. Enjoy.
Would you like to join me on a relaxing river trip? One of my roles is that of a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) powerboat instructor. This time though I was taking our boat out solo to provide escort to some canoeists. Our short journey was from Upon-Upon-Severn in Worcestershire, to Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. I wanted to make some kind of ASMR video, but the noise of the outboard is no good for that. So instead I chose some relaxing music. Enjoy the scenery, watch the wildlife and relax.
By the way, the picture above was not taken on this trip but a previous coastal journey of mine. I am pretty sure that there are no dolphins in the River Severn. Sadly!
I have been working toward my British Canoeing Coach Award for some time. I should have completed it in early 2020, but the pandemic put a stop to that. Last week, after several delays, I finally achieved success. The Coach Award (formerly known as UKCC Level 2) allows me to move on from just facilitating taster sessions, and to begin the coached development of paddlers, in both canoe and kayak. The pandemic has caused frustration amongst many of us of course, but just being able to get back on the water will be amazing.
Hopefully I can add stand-up paddle boarding to my remit very soon, but for now, bring on the sunshine!
I am looking at planting some wildflower seeds at work to create a bee and butterfly friendly space. Beebombs have the ideal solution. I read a scary statistic, that 97% of native British wildflower habitat has been lost since the second world war. These habitats are vital to the survival of both bees and butterflies and I dread to think what the future will look like for our children without them. Also, wildflowers are essential for essential biodiversity.
Not being much of a gardener isn’t a problem for me as Beebombs have made the process very straightforward. I just need to scatter the small, clay “bombs” on to bare soil and be patient. Spring seems to be the right time to plant and we hope for plenty of sunshine and rain. Working on an outdoor university campus I have plenty of scope and I have picked out an area that is suitable. I think it might be fun to produce a video for my YouTube channel on the subject. Anything we can do to help #bringthebeesback.
I have the best job in the world. I realise that is quite a claim, but as far as I am concerned it is true. I work in outdoor education which means that I essentially get paid to play. My employer is a university and so I get to work with adults and children from a range of backgrounds. For a number of reasons, they come to us to learn a range of skills and to challenge themselves.
The reason I’m telling you all this is that nearly all the videos that I have created for my YouTube channel so far, have featured photography. So I have decided that this one should feature another passion of mine. For those of you that are only here for the cameras, don’t worry, they’ll be back.
I’m currently enjoying a Christmas break and so please enjoy this short look at a typical day for me. I will hopefully see you all shortly.
If, like me, you paddle a canoe on a regular basis, at some point you’ll want to purchase your own paddle. But because I spent my hard earned money, I want to keep it in good condition. For a while at least. A common problem is that the paddle can scrape along the gunwale, causing scratches to the shaft. Many people therefore choose to protect their paddle by wrapping the shaft with something like paracord.
I decided to do the same and because I have training in “fancy” ropework, I thought why not make it look pretty whilst keeping it protected. I managed to track down some bright and reflective cord and used two colours to create the spiral grip. I then used some white cord to add a Turk’s Head knot, top & bottom, to finish it off. I’m really please with how it turned out.