Monday, December 17, 2007

* Corporate Christmas Paddles *

As predicted, (and at this time of year luck was certainly a contributary factor :)) Peel proved the ideal venue for today's corporate christmas paddle, a new and very different idea for organisations. One which has seen an increase in popularity this year. Meeting up at Fenella Beach at 10am, and a fair nip to the air, I saw more than one questioning face... Donning cosy warm fleeces and waterproof tops combined, and other comfortable fitted kit with clear instruction and explanations of how to stay dry & warm and manoeuvre the kayaks, the group embarked on an excursion down the Sandstone coastline, with Peel Castle's distinct outline providing an ideal backdrop for photos.
Peel Sandstone (a rock coloured red by the presence of iron oxide prevalent in this area) is actually a mixture of mudstone, sandstone and conclomerate deposits, eroded from the ancient Caledonian Mountains about an etimated 400 million years ago. The rocks give evidence that this area was then hot and semi-arid, with distinguishable series of sand dunes, ripples from previous rivers and layers of lake mudstone and deposited sandstone with nodular calcrete, telling a story of a hot climate with seasonal rainfall and floods, in this Devonian period. Certain elements of this climate seem to have changed as the continental plate carrying our delightful island, headed away from the Equator :)
So the feeling of contentment as you paddle along the coast can be further enriched, as it provides an insight into how the the whole Island was formed, in the earlier Ordovician period; it too as layers of sediment eroded, deposited and hardened over time in layers of siltstone, sandstone and mudstone.

The guess that initial instruction would be more beneficial to this group than being subjected to geological ravings paid off and ensured very relaxed paddle, keeping close to shore and past the Stack. Flasks of hot drinks, mince pies and even a random chocolate orange appeared at the half way break at Cains Strand. Then time to head back round into Peel bay, with time to chat and enjoy the scenery, and the icing on the cake; finishing with a circumnavigation of St Patrick's Isle!
Built in the 14th Century on the 'Isle', Peel Castle was the dwelling of Monks, and within its walls are the historic Round Tower and St German's Cathedral, (built in the 12th and 13th century respectively.) Peel Sandstone was well used both for its decorative value and its ease of working, being a 'freestone' and can be "cut and worked in any direction without fracturing". The grey slate outer walls were built a century after the Castle was constructed.
Had we headed South from Peel, we would have kayaked past excellent examples of how continental collision causing metamorphism to the sedimentary rocks (subjecting them to immense pressure and heat), causing the tilted and folded formations, now with intermittant caves and gullies, and the home of grey seals and marine birds, as well as our summer visitors, nesting Puffins, Eider Ducks, Guillimots and Razorbills, to name but a few.

These paddles and more will soon feature on the website, (a complete overhaul of the whole site is near completion.) We have updated the content to clearly display what we offer, reflect who we are and most importantly what we can do.

Todays pictures - predominantly taken by Sam Murphy on this paddle - and the very positive feedback from the whole group during and after the trip, reinforce one of 'quotes' we have adopted as part of our philosopy;

"There is no such thing as bad weather, just people dressed inadequately for the conditions..."

Selection of venue, top quality gear and most importantly, experienced and motivated staff guarantee a Safe, Fun, Learning environment.
I am immensely proud of our staffing team and their dedication, and in response to customer feedback, the 'about us' page now has staff profiles;

which appear when you click on the photo's. These are the primary staff, but not all of the folk who assist us with sessions. The last Introduction to Sea Kayaking of 2007 was completed on Sunday, with people wishing to join the Adventure Club and others asking about buying their own kayaks and kit. As always we recommend Kelvins Tackle (fishing and kayaking supplies) in Michael St, Peel (moving to larger premises in January, still in Michael St) where the friendly staff will be pleased to help and advise you. Beginners packages including sit upon fishing kayaks are always available.

The aim of a coach is to provide the student with the necesary personal skills to safely enjoy the sport at whatever level they aspire to, give instruction and guidance when required, and the freedom to be "the master of their own ship." Some paddlers may never take formal instruction, others desire the reassurance and tuition from a experienced coach while they master the basics of the sport. Others want to turn up at the beach, be provided with the best quality kayaks and gear available, enjoy the social, technical expertise, and a progressive learning program within a current modern framework, with the added bonus of no kit to sort and wash at the end of the session!
We cater for all abilities, including absolute beginners. The key theme all of our students arrive with is that they want an Unforgettable Adventurous Experience.

To conclude this epic entry, the expeditions page has also been updated, with details of this years expeditions, and the next Youth Expedition to Norway in 2009....

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