Author Archives: Alice

Update on Women’s Scottish Sea Kayak Festival 2020

I am writing this post, because after much thought and consideration, I have taken the decision to take a break from organising the Women’s Scottish Sea Kayak Festival for 2020. It’s a decision taken by myself with the agreement and support of the other organisers, Laura Bennitt, Cathie MacDonald and Roddy McDowell. 
Life brings change and many of you reading this will know that I have had a fair few challenges to face recently and it’s clear to me that making changes is what is needed. Not just for me, but all four of us have other things that require our focus, time and energy.

The Women’s Sea Kayak Festival started on the Isle of Bute in 2012 and after three successful years on Bute, 2012 – 2014, a sister festival emerged and was held in Devon in 2015. Since then the festival has alternated between Bute and Devon, the last one being in 2019 in South Devon in August 2019.

After hearing many wonderful voices of support for the festival in Devon in Aug 2019, I know many paddlers will be disappointed as many summers plans incorporate a trip to Bute!! On the positive side… I know that the festival has and continues to make a big impact on the profile and network of female sea kayak coaches, and that it has helped to change the lives of many women in no small way, and to create a much bigger and wider community of female paddlers across the UK and beyond.

Taking a break does not mean of course that we might not run another festival at some point in the future! Good things are meant to evolve!!.

Wishing you many happy paddling adventures in 2020.

What makes a good sea kayak festival?

What makes people want to come along to a island and play in the sea with 50 other kayakers? There are many different elements which shape an event such as the Women’s Sea Kayak Festival, some obvious and tangible, some less so. Here are a few suggestions…

The weather? Not much we can do about that. Check the forecast for Bute. Changeable I think best describes it
The location? The Isle of Bute is the ‘jewel of the Clyde’. Being an island, it offers coastlines for all weathers which is very useful with a maritime climate.
The people? That is down to us all. We are kindered spirits sharing a passion for spending time on the sea. Keen to learn, be challenged, meet new people and have fun.
The Coaches?
We are in a lucky position to ask some of the best coaches in the country to  come to the Festival. Read on to find out more about our coaches

Please tell us what you think makes a good Festival.

Festival after dinner entertainment: Sea kayakers quiz and Sorcha Cantwell – marine litter and plastics in the future.

We’re pleased to confirm the speaker for Saturday evening at the Women’s Sea Kayak Festival.

Sorcha Cantwell is the founder of the Scottish Coastal Clean-up Project, an ongoing project to rid our coastline of marine litter and bring about change in how we view and use plastics for the future.

Sorcha says “being based in Largs, I’ve always loved the sea and it’s inhabitants. Having been in or on the sea since I was a small child I’ve seen the progressive worsening of plastic pollution on our shores.

Last year I had simply seen and had enough. I started on a journey around the Scottish coastline documenting my beach cleans, raising awareness and encouraging others to do the same.

On this journey I have cried, laughed, spoken to members of Scottish Parliament, addressed conferences both here and abroad. And I’m still at it.

On Friday evening we will have a kayaking-themed quiz, with photos and fun questions for all.