Having had enforced time out from boating it got me thinking back to the good old days when I was just getting into things. As it's a quiet sunday afternoon, here's the tale....
Oldish skool boating
Not pure old school but late 90s which I reckon still counts.
6am, December, Glasgow Uni canoe shed just getting light. 5 folk, 5 sets of borrowed boating kit and one Vauxhall Nova 1.1litre. 3 hours to the Orchy at 50mph in 4th gear, paddy hopkirk roof rack straining the whole way. Warming-up meant cranking the car heating on to full.
Snow on the river banks, several swims but ample protection from an old long john wetsuit (damp from the outset), a jumper masquerading as a thermal, trainers, semi dry cag and yellow protec helmet. Cutting edge boating with 3 Hurricanes ('playboats'), a Kendo and one expert in his cool new Topo. 1 set of plastic paddles and 4 sets of Schlegels, with varying degrees of blade surface and one set usually left handed because someone was still half asleep and forgot to check.
Get down the Orchy and the Etive with nearly all of the kit intact and just before it gets dark. Top swimmer gets to run the shuttle (they need the warm up) and finding even one student with a car they've borrowed from their parents was a miracle, 2 car trips were still a few years away.
Heading home, stopping to tie the boats back on at least twice (with rope). 4pm pass Neil Farmer heading north to do his first river of the day! Finally back to the Beer Bar for a £1.00 pint and putting a couple of quid each in the kitty for petrol.
The days when one boat had to do everything and going boating was a day long mini adventure. Not a drysuit, ratchet backrest, set of werners, digital camera, kayaking 'athlete' or Audi Estate in sight.