So I am currently cruising around the USA running BCU courses and supporting some cool events. This has involved some mega travelling, from coast to coast on more than one occasion and now currently a little hurricane dodging here in NY State.
After a short period of Sea Kayak Guide Development work with the kids of the Exp Programme at SUNY Plattsburgh in Maine, I had a epic drive followed by a epic flight all the way to Portland, Oregon to meet up with and work with the one and only Paul Kuthe of Alder Creek and deliver a bunch of BCU courses on the followed by supporting there fantastic Sea Kayak Symposium ‘Lumpy Waters’ run at a superb location in Pacific City. This event was one of the best symposiums I have ever worked at and a real date for your diary not to be missed in 2013!! Dates for 2013 look like they will be 18th – 20th October, so book now here http://www.lumpywaters.com/ for this superb event. I got to work with some of the best sea kayak coaches any where, with us all putting huge amounts of fun and smiles into great classes, and the best pub quiz I have taken part in ever. The Monday was followed by a superb coaches paddle at 3 Arch Rocks. Here is some pictures to inspire you to come in 2013….
I am now in up state New York, and have just finished running the 2nd ever BCU 4* Canoe Training in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains (Good work Andrea Knepper, John Ozard and Garrett Cooper), a UKCC BCU Level 2 Assessment (Congrats Andrea Knepper & Ed Lawlor), next step a UKCC BCU Level 1 Coach course.
Whilst here I have made a bunch of new friends, who I greatly look forward to paddling with again in 2013. A special thanks has to go to Paul Kuthe, Kate Ross, Steve Maynard and Melissa Maynard for making me so at home whilst over here in the USA, Karl from http://www.kokatat.com/ for lending me a awesome drysuit, Jamie from http://www.phseakayaks.com/ & http://www.pyranha.com/ for lending boats, Shawna and Leon of http://www.bodyboatblade.com/ for being great cabin mates/coaches to work with and of course Dave & Suzi from http://aldercreek.com/ for running such a great outfit. You folks are all legends.
Twelve months ago we were asked by a group of UK canoeists to find a lengthy wilderness Swedish canoe expedition that would challenge not only them, but also our guiding skills. Now this was not any old group of paddlers, they consisted of 3x BCU Level 4 Canoe coaches and most of the group have paddled on many self organised remote canoe expeditions in Canada. So against our usual model of trips, expeditions and wilderness tours that are inclusive for those who just want an adventure and have not necessarily canoed before, we set about taking up the challenge. After much map scouring, exploring and paddling, we hit upon a jack pot of the ‘Langan River System’ starting on the Norwegian border and finishing near Ostersund in Sweden. This expedition had it all, huge waterfalls, rapids, gorges, portages, a massive lake and of course beautiful Swedish wilderness.
My research has led me to believe that the river system as a whole is very very rarely paddled, the rapids usually portaged and the upper section we completed having last been completed in 1997! If you fancy going to give it a try, you will need to get your own boats to Sweden as all the local canoe outfitters, do not hire canoes for it as it is too hard and be prepared for a 5* adventure.
If something like this, inspires your imagination why not request your own unique adventure tailored perfectly to you and your friends. We love to be challenged, so get dreaming and send us a email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will sort the rest.
As per usual lets let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
This summers Intern & Assistant Guide Ryan Ward, asked me to write a article for his blog http://www.duffekandaboof.blogspot.com/ on catering for groups on trips / tours and expeditions. So here it is, please have a check out of his blog as well, he has some lovely photos Enjoy – Rob
I spend a lot of my year, looking after people on the water in canoes & kayaks, around campsites, in historic accommodation, in the bush and whilst hiking in the hills. One of the things that people always ask, is how we provide such good food for our friends and clients whilst in the wilderness. Well I am not going to give away all my secrets (you will have to buy the book when I finish it), but here are few thoughts to start.
Firstly it worth saying that my usual ethos is to eat as well as possible whilst out, I aim to surprise and amaze people with how well you can actually eat whilst away from home. The concept of restaurant quality food whilst in a camp site, is one I hold very close to mine and my company’s heart.
Secondly we eat as little (or no) pre-prepared dehydrated so called expedition foods. Yes they have their place, but really have we actually forgotten how to cook, use our imaginations and not only that, it is at least 8 times the price! I also however do believe in not carrying too much…. and this is a fine balance to strike. So out with the Dutch ovens, and in with a good wok, pan and outback oven.
The danger with not relying on the freeze dried approach, is that we actually have to engage our brains and really understand food. What fresh foods last longest, how can we help vegetables last longer and still be edible, how many calories of decent food does someone need to eat to remain safe and well on a trip, and lastly how are foods actually produced? Do we understand the TRUE nutritional difference between rolled whole grain oats and some of the other so called porridges attractively available to us?
So where to start? Get yourself a plan, either for the day in hand but usually for me it’s weeks in advance. Next, in your plan you need to give cooking food time, care and patience. If the MSR is going full tilt, probably you will burn something; under cook it or worse still deny some part of the dish of flavour. So plan what you want to serve and when, ensuring your menu has flavour, texture, variety & enough quantity. If it is on a trip, expedition or course, have a wholesome, quick, good looking tasty snack for people to eat within 30 minutes of finishing for the day. This along with a hot drink usually buys you a couple of hours to allow your clients to explore and you to create a culinary master piece.
So on with the master piece, have your plan, ingredients and if clients want to get involved out of a desire to learn what you do let them help you. But I personally do not have it as an expectation of them. Spend time in preparation, and arrange yourself to have everything to hand prior to starting cooking……
The next bit needs practice, so get practicing on friends, family and anyone else willing to eat your food. Only perfect practice is good enough, so vary it and cook over open fires, wood burning stoves, MSR’s, gas stoves and of course at home in your own kitchen. Challenge your imagination, try new ingredients and ask for honest negative feedback (as well as praise) as it’s the only way you will improve.
Lastly every meal is eaten generally by the eyes and nose before; it ever is consumed by the mouth (now that’s a little Heston Blumenthal), so ensure it smells great and looks stunning. This will set people in the right mind set to truly taste what you have lovingly prepared for them.
In short good, wholesome foods cooked simply with love, and presented with passion makes for delicious eating and very happy friends and clients.
Whilst only a few weeks ago, our canoe wilderness tour in the Malingsbo – Kloten Nature Reserve here in Sweden seems like a happy distant memory.
Our week was spent exploring this beautiful nature reserve, mostly basking in the sunny weather exploring the stunning interconnecting small lakes, fishing and camping each night in some of the most idyllic remote places southern Sweden has to offer. Whilst unusually we did not see much wildlife, evidence of Moose, Beaver and Reindeer was plentiful
This trip has proven itself again as a fantastic location to spend a week canoeing around, truly suitable for the entire family, non paddlers or paddlers who just want a relaxing week in a amazing location. So when considering a holiday for your club, friends or family we would recommend this highly for 2013, with discounted small group bookings being taken starting in May and ending in September. Email email@example.com to find out some more about group bookings, or for solo / individual booked places dates will be here very very soon. http://www.elements.eu.com/adv_hols_expeds/sweden_malingsbo-kloten.html
Courtesy of one of our clients Alan, here is a bunch of great photos on this stunning wilderness tour.
After more than a year in the design and making we are delighted to present ‘Elements Forest School’.
Starting as a holiday programme this summer for children aged 8 – 12yrs, we will quickly be expanding the programme to offer great woodland experiences to adults and families as well.
To find out more please feel free to visit our new website http://elementsforestschool.com/
1. Compose the scene - don't just 'point and shoot' - think before you depress the shutter button. Think in terms of the rule of thirds - where have you placed the subject in the frame, where is the horizon - placing the subject or the horizon in the middle is not good. Also think if you have left 'active space' for the subject to look out the frame.
As a part of my wife Kerry's birthday celebrations today we had lunch at the Michelin 2 star restaurant L'ATELIER de Joel Robuchon, situated in West Street, London, UK.
There are only a few reasons why we choose L' Atelier, its two Michelin stars, we had seen it on a BBC Masterchef and Kerry liked the name! It was a special day for Kerry, her very first Michelin star food experience and her 30th birthday.