Sunday, 23 October 2011

More Storms and Assessed in Anglsey

With a day of playing and enjoyment under my belt followed by an evening of frivolity partaking in a mixture of the hilarious and sometimes down right embarrassing acts of the "Around the Stacks" quiz night, I devote the remaining two days to the sobering task I've set myself at the end of the week which is to be assessed for the BCU four star leadership award. This was to be the culmination to my thoughts started back in the spring of 2009. So to bolster confidence I begin by partaking in a leadership session headed up by Nick Cunliffe.  In strong southerly force 6 winds, but to look at the photos you wouldn't believe it, our small group take it in turns to lead the others as a group along the coast to various destinations. This tested our group management skills around headlands, rock gardens and landings.

consensus of opinion of ones current location is . . .

There was little bit of a swell running that made our rock hopping session quite fun, culminating in me getting the Cappella entirely airborne, and at one point taking a rocky swim. Shame there were no pics as I understand it was quite entertaining.

The evening shenanigans was started off by a very frank presentation delivered by Jeff Allen, "In to the Wind", where he recounted his and Harry Whelan's recent record breaking achievement of the circumnavigation of Ireland in 25 days. If you get the chance to hear Jeff give this talk, take it, as it is a very open and honest account of their experience. It has an underlying message of how not to undertake a paddling expedition, where uncompromising goal setting can undermine sound judgement and decision making.

The last day of the gathering I went to a rolling clinic run by the betrothed partnership of Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer to resurrect my drysuit bloated roll.

Watching Helen perform her rolls you feel the need to be whisked off to some far eastern country, shave off all your hair, begin to chant daily, only to return when you can transcend yourself into some zen like state of being. I really, really want one of her ultra cool stealth invisible paddles.

Returning to my tent I got into the lotus position to wait out the next two days, mentally preparing myself for the forthcoming four star assessment. Anyone might think I was apprehensive.

After 2 days R&R I joined Francesco (Sicily), Mikael (Sweden) and Beat (Switzerland), to form an international group of kayakers ready for assessment. 
By then the wind had subsided to just about force 5 and the sea state had calmed right down, this gave our days assessor, Axel Schoevers, a bit of a task to find us some challenging conditions in which to test our self rescue, towing, navigation and paddling skills. But he did.

The second day's weather had built up to provide excellent conditions for today's assessment which would consist of: leadership; group management; rescue skills; navigation and paddle skills, assessed by Kate Dufus. Kate had just completed an attempt at the current circumnavigation of Anglesey the previous day.
What if Mikael were to capsize (deliberately) right now, what would I do?
Kate kept us all on our toes during our turns of "leading", throwing in various incidents. It was actually very good fun. I think everyone managed to relax and actually enjoy the experience.

Sunshine even

Which way?

Beat enjoying a swell time

Kate incident planning or planning an incident?

Beat unflinchingly enjoys a bit of clapotis

Kate having a blast!
We all return to dry land to be debriefed individually by both Axel and Kate. After being given pointers for continued improvement we were all to be awarded with our stars. Happy bunnies all around, and a very satisfying conclusion to a few great days paddling "up north".

1 comment:

Taran Tyla said...

Well done Eurion, that's fantastic news ;D