Out canoeing I enjoy paddling (a lot), and by that I don’t mean taking my shoes off, rolling up my trousers and stepping into the icy North Sea.  I prefer the paddling that involves a boat and a paddle.

I’m not alone though as there are growing numbers of people at all ages getting involved in the huge variety of different paddlesports.  With events such as the hugely successful Tay Descent (a family friendly fun event on the River Tay) more and more people are becoming aware of the enjoyment on offer from paddlesports (Tay Descent 2012).

I tend towards canoes and sea kayaks, and with lots and lots still to learn I’m always on the look out for advice, tips, recommendations and accounts of other paddlers’ experiences.  The explosion in social media forums is making access to this information easier by the day, but my favourite forum is one that’s been established for quite some time now, and was the brainchild of a man is known as MagicKelly.

song of the paddle otter logoThe Song of the Paddle forum was created after MagicKelly spent some time searching for information on open canoeing in the UK.  There are a number of canoeing sites with sections for open canoe users, but no site devoted solely to them, so he made one!

The main part of the site has information and links for the open canoeist but the heart of the site is the forum.  This is where much of the content of the main site is created and refined.  The forum is an area where open canoeists can share ideas, ask questions arrange outings, compare kit and sell off their old kit. It is this interactive element that is the strength of the Song of the Paddle site.  If a review has left you with questions, you can ask them.  If you disagree you can say so, and why.  Even if it is just that your non-canoeing friends are tired of you talking about it, your Song of the Paddle friends are bound to be keen to hear about your latest trip and see the photos!

Why “Song of the Paddle”? The Song of the Paddle is a well known book amongst open canoeists.  It is written by Bill Mason and is subtitled “An Illustrated Guide to Wilderness Camping”.  So, although it is a book about open canoeing it is also about the exploring of wild places in your canoe.  There’s also a short film you can watch by the same name featuring Bill andhis family.

In the UK our wild places are fewer and less wild than Bill had in Canada but even here, when out in your open canoe you can get to feel more at one with nature and escape from the ties of modern life.  This is as true with a few snatched hours on the local lake or loch as it is on a multi-day camping adventure. This site passes on some of this feeling to those who have not yet heard the song, and gives a place to share your experiences for those who have heard the song.

I’ve used the forum regularly and on one particularly eventful adventure (a canoe crossing of Rannoch Moor in November), I managed to get loads of advice in the lead up to challenge, from guys that had recently done the same trip.

So go and check it out for yourself and have a look about the site. Sign up to the forum if you wish and share your thoughts with those of a like mind. I can thoroughly recommend it and commend the efforts of MagicKelly for his continued efforts in keeping the site ticking over nicely.

Song of the Paddle forum.

Useful links for sea kayakers :

Lothian Sea Kayak Club (of which I am a member)

Kayarchy

Be sure to share this with your friends and fellow paddlers!

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