Sea Kayaking In Scotland For Beginners - Cold, But Fun!
This guy looks way warmer than I was on my trip, sea kayaking in Scotland!
A while ago I had to arrange a stag party as my friend was getting married. I decided to arrange sea kayaking as one of the activities. I'd never tried it before, this is what it was like if you're thinking of doing it!
Most of the people that went, hadn't done it before. We had had a pretty hard night the previous evening and everyone had drank quite a lot, so something really strenuous wouldn't have been ideal, especially as we had another night to go. I'd chosen Edinburgh in Scotland as the city of choice for the weekend and there are several sea kayaking organisers up there, I used Dun Eideann Kayaking. I have no affiliation whatsoever with them, but they did a good job, so I thought I'd give them a mention.
Anyway you need to make sure you take some warm clothes, you probably will be getting wet at some point so something that you don't mind getting a bit dirty is probably best, rather than your best suit. As most of us hadn't done it before, then there was a lesson before we started on what to expect and how to steer the kayak. This is pretty straightforward really and comes naturally once you get on the water. After that we picked up our kayaks and went down to the water!
Relaxing is relaxing
The safest photo I could find..
Once we got onto the water, then I realised how unstable sea kayaks feel! Although they feel like you're going to tip, I was told that as long as you keep your head over the centre line then it won't tip and that was true as I didn't go over. Once you start moving then it is actually very relaxing and only as strenuous as you want it to be as you don't need to go crazily fast. We were told not to ram each other as apparently the front of the kayak is the perfect height to jam straight into someone's ribs, which sounds painful and also told if anyone fell out to try to point it out before laughing.
We were next to the Forth bridge in Edinburgh, so we started off by kayaking around the stanchions, before heading down the coast. There is an island there with some world war 2 defence buildings, built to defend the harbour which we kayaked around and had a good look at. We then headed up to a beach for a break and a drink. Amazingly enough no one fell out while we were out in the open sea, although someone did fall out as he tried to climb out of the kayay onto the beach, which was a nice opportunity for the dry lads to have a good laugh. As it was a stag event, then I had brought a mankini for the stag, which he had to change into on the beach before doing some general antics there, for everybody's amusement.
Anyway after a bottle of whisky, shared between the 15 or lads that were there, kindly provided by George, the man responsible for taking us out, we got back on the sea and after a while headed back to the starting point. We were out on the water for several hours, but no one was really tired, or particularlarly wet. After we got back to the starting point, we all felt good and we also nice and refreshed from the previous night's drinking, which was great as it gave us a good starter for that evening. I'd highly recommend it as a stag activity, it's good fun, a bit different from your usual activities like paintballing / karting etc and isn't so tiring that you're knackered for your evening out on the town. All of us said we'd do it again, so I'd definitely recommend doing it!