And so it is that another flight to the Himalayas has seen fit that I am to spend another season in the mountains and rivers I love. It hasn’t always been like this. I started kayaking over 20 years ago with my local canoe club, Pennine in Yorkshire. I had good teachers and people who believed in my ability. I visited the club last week and heard that when I was learning that some of the club members thought that I would either kill myself whilst kayaking or become rather good at it. I haven’t died yet and have no intention of doing so.
This brings me nicely to the point of this short ramble. Without the grass roots clubs and youth leaders we will not have people to mentor paddlers of future generations. Without the network of friends that plan together and grow with the sport, we will loose any sense of what the sport really means. It is not enough that we paddle, we all need to be ambassadors for our sport, we all need to move forward with a goal that promotes the sport and believe in the action and moves we make. For some this will be beating the drum for access on rivers in England, for others they will be promoting and building clubs for the first wobble in a pool to competition. For some they will chase the glory of the media and others will be content to jus ‘be’ on the water. Then on the river, we owe our brothers and sisters the nod and wink, the trust and that which is said; just with a glance.
Remember no matter where you paddle and what you do within the sport, you are important for its growth.
* All images on Washburn river taken when I was a teenager and could not yet grow a beard.