Posted by: rogerdane | 3 June 2011

Tollymore Strangford Lough Paddle – 02/06/11

Back in January when I had decided that the time had come to really take up kayaking again I had a day free midweek and took a run down to Tollymore National Outdoor Centre (  At that time I hadn’t managed to hook up with Belfast Kayak Club ( and wasn’t sure who I was going to be paddling with.  When I heard that Tollymore ran evening sea kayaking trips during the summer I signed up for a series of four.  Now originally these were meant to fall in May but due to the pressure of rehearsals and performances for two separate theatrical productions it just wasn’t happening so I put them off until June.

Yesterday was the day that I finally managed to get out and after meeting up at Balloo House in Killinchy at seven o’clock we drove down to Whiterocks.  The paddle was led by Oisin from Tollymore ably assisted by Johnny and after issuing kit to those who needed it and a briefing it was off onto the water.

The weather had been beautiful all day and thankfully it carried on throughout the evening.  Evening sunshine and a flat calm lough meant the conditions were idyllic and led to a wonderful paddle.  You can see this from the pictures that we had plenty of time to stop and look at the wildlife but unfortunately the one seal that we met decided to bugger off just as I was ready to take a picture.  Altogether it was a lovely trip with great leaders and friendly company and I’m looking forward to two weeks time when I can do it again.

For those who’ve read the rest of this blog you’ll know that I get so excited about getting going that I often forget to use some of the tech that I bring with me.  This evening was no exception.  Doh!  I did however manage to remember to set up my iPhone so that I have a Runkeeper track of the paddle home from our mid-trip break which can be found at

This evening because of the benign conditions I decided to use my Werner Kalliste paddle (  The one time I’ve used this paddle before was on one of my sorties around the bay and I hadn’t liked it very much.  However with the gentle conditions I decided to give it another longer try.  This time I found it very comfortable to paddle with.  Oisin picked me up on my stroke technique and after moving to a stroke with the proper body rotation it became even easier and seemed to produce much more power.  Although I’ve yet to try it out for this purpose I would imagine that this would be a very good paddle for covering long distances comfortably.  My one minor quibble is that I still haven’t as much confidence in it for bracing as I have with my Werner Ikelos (  However, I think this is down to me and my level of ability and not the paddle itself.  We’ll see.

Next up is a sea paddle tomorrow morning with BKC leaving Knockinelder at 09:30 so I’d better get to bed.

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