Last Sunday with just two of the open canoe coaching course guinea pigs fit, there was a change of plan. Rather than a day on Loch Lomond practicing canoe sailing as intended, we headed to deepest darkest Ayrshire to canoe the River Ayr. With Graham Roy, Scott Anderson and myself never having paddled the river we only had the guide book to rely on.

The mandatory faff to find the best get in, do the shuttle and for one of us to buy lunch meant we headed off just before midday. Being a chance for Graham S to practice his coaching styles this meant every question asked was greeted with……”that’s a good question – off you go and find out” – in the olden days the coach may have even answered a question or two… not any more!

After lunch we played with CLAP… for those in the know this is what paddlers should I think about if they are going to be a useful trip members…

C – Communication – let others know what you plan to do/would like them to do.
L – Line of sight (can you see your trip members and what is next on the river)
A – Anticipation – what might go wrong…
P – Position of maximum usefulness – – based on what you think may happen will you be:
a. taking photographs?
b. holding a throwline?
c. in your boat ready to rescue Scott?

After all that good stuff and with the sun poking through the clouds, a kind offer was made to do rescue practice. Scott and Graham both said yes and so began a pleasant mile jumping in and out of boats.

All to soon the final Grade 3 rapid approached. Sadly the man and his son who had been playing with their remote control speedboat in the pool above the drop had run out of batteries so they were not able to show us the line. Graham S. led off with some trepidation and made the main chute look doable, however Scott and Graham R wisely chose the central chute as a safer but still exciting option.

A short carry up to the cars and off home. A grand day out – just no pictures to prove it.


P.S. Level was medium on the wheresthewater site and we started at Stair and everything to the get our was very mellow. The 2 bigger drops could have been readily portaged too. A great alternative to the mighty Teith.