The Coaches

The team at the Festival is pleased to welcome back coaches from previous festivals and introduce new faces. We believe our paddlers have access to some of the best sea kayak coaches in the UK.

Laura Bennitt

Laura Bennit

Laura began sea kayaking after seeing a photo of white sandy beaches somewhere that looked a lot warmer than it is. She became properly hooked, bought some thermals, and is now Head of Paddlesports at Edinburgh’s Port Edgar Watersports, where she works with paddlers of all disciplines and ages, as well as mentoring young coaches. She combines this role with freelance sea kayak coaching and guiding across Scotland, as well as volunteering with various clubs and acting as Lothians Regional Officer for the SCA. At the end of 2016 she added motherhood to the list of challenges, and endeavours to support new mums wanting to continue their outdoor activities. Laura holds the BC/UKCC Level 3 Sea Kayak coaching qualification, and the Advanced Sea Kayak Leader. www.peregrinationsoutdoors.co.uk

Carol Lang

Carol Lang

Carol Lang

Carol returns to the festival having taken a break for motherhood. Working in Scotland as a sea kayak guide and coach she loves exploring its coastal waters by kayak.  Her motivation and passion for sea kayaking are infectious, as are her sense of humour and gentle manner  As a coach she loves inspiring others to learn skills at their own pace, and to build the confidence and knowledge to venture out, safely, into the ocean environment that she so much enjoys being a part of.  As well as guiding and coaching Carol runs a small environmentally friendly clothing company www.gael8.co.uk.

Kate Duffus

Kate Duffus

Kate Duffus

Kate is really excited to be coaching at the 2018 women’s festival, having missed the last one. Kate is a BCU Level 5 sea coach, only one of five women worldwide to have achieved this award. She is based on Skye, where she works full time as a self-employed paddlesports coach. She enjoys the huge variety that coaching sea kayaking entails; one day she could be introducing someone to our sport for the first time and another day she’s training or assessing advanced sea kayak leaders. It doesn’t matter what level, Kate loves to help people develop their skills and get as much enjoyment out of paddling as she does. She’s looking forward to the fun and friendship of another Bute festival. See you there.

Lizzy Benwell

Lizzie Benwell

Lizzy Benwell

Lizzy started paddling over twelve years ago, leading school group expeditions down the Ardeche gorge, in the south of France. Since then she has done lots of white water and sea paddling in chillier climates… Scotland! She holds her UKCC Level 3 sea and inland coach with 5*Leader award in both disciplines. In summer, she spends most of her time sea kayak guiding on the west coast of Scotland, exploring the inner hebrides and playing in the tide. In winter she lives in the French alpine resort of Courchevel, teaching skiing.

Zoe Newsam

Zoe Newsam

Zoe Newsam

Zoe grew up in the North East of England, but a varied career and time spent travelling around the UK eventually helped her realise that ‘home’ was where her heart lay: in the Scottish Highlands. She runs Zoe Newsam Coaching & Guiding, is an Associate Instructor for Glenmore Lodge and a Senior Sea Kayak Guide for Wilderness Scotland, as well as working freelance for a variety of other organisations around the UK. In 2015 she kayaked, walked and cycled ‘Right Round Scotland’, raising £2000 for Scottish Mountain Rescue in the process.
Zoe holds the British Canoeing UKCC Level 3 Sea Kayak Coach award and Advanced Water Endorsement (Sea), along with British Canoeing Advanced Sea Kayak Leader and Mountain Leader (Summer). She is also a WEMSI Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician.

Catriona Nicol

Catriona Nicol

Catriona has been paddling since 2006 and was introduced to the activity because of her parents. They thought it would be a good activity to do together, then after the first year they thought, actually, the kids would enjoy this too! Shetland is Catriona’s playground, a fantastic coastline with many caves and nooks to explore. She works with her family business of Sea kayak Shetland, which puts them on the water Monday to Saturday through the summer but the playing never stops! Catriona loves helping people gain confidence and new skills but most of all, have fun on the water. Her particular favourite skills to coach and work on are, wet skills, rescue, balance and rough/tough landings. She holds the 5 star leader award and is an Advanced Water Endorsed coach.

Sarah McIllroy

Sarah McIllroy

Sarah McIllroy

Sarah is a chocolate loving Level 2 coach with a very old 4* WW, 4* OC trained and 4* sea leader. As she is from the East coast most of her coaching is done on Lochore or out on the Forth, which is her local paddling haunt. She also loves getting further afield up the West coast and out to the islands, and has had some lovely trips out to Kefalonia, California, the Everglades and round the Florida Keys. When she’s not out paddling, then there is every chance Sarah is either checking out her next trip or in an icecream shop! http://sarahs-soggy-scenarios.blogspot.co.uk/

Alice McInnes

Alice McInnes

Alice started sea kayaking in 2009, and immediately loved spending time in the marine environment. Her home patch is Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth, and the east coast but she has kayaked around the islands and coastlines of Argyll, Ayrshire, Skye, Arisaig, Shetland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isles of Scilly. She’s a BC 4 star Sea Leader (5 star trained) and a Level 2 coach. Alice loves finding interesting ways to balance, play and get back in her kayak. She’s a founder of the Women’s Scottish Sea Kayak Festival and runs seakayakalice.co.uk

Cathy Mayne

Cathy Mayne

I’ve been paddling for about 10 years, as an alternative to mountaineering. I have paddled extensively on the west coast of Scotland, being based near Fort William. I profited from excellent coaching at the WSSKF in 2014 and 2016 on Bute which has helped me to make significant improvements to my technique and confidence, giving me the skills to be able to assist at the 2018 event.

 

Zoe Robinson

Zoe Robinson

Zoe has migrated into the world of sea kayaking from a love of the outdoors and backpacking, realising that sea kayaking allows longer expeditions and more wine to be carried. She has paddled and expedition-ed extensively throughout the UK including a month around the ‘Roof of Britain’, around Nordkap, the most northern point of mainland Europe, and has many more expedition dreams waiting to be fulfilled. Zoe has a day job as a University lecturer in Geography and Sustainability, with a particular interest in sustainability education. Zoe’s passion for education extends into sea kayaking and introducing paddlers to the wonders of the salty world. She’s 5* and MWE Sea.