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  • Phil Keetley

Looking back on the 2017 season

It has been a very varied year this year. Despite all of the chat about the horrendous weather and lack of a summer, I do not feel that it has been that bad really. I managed 78 days on the water on expedition (not including coaching days), spotting something like 35 otters, two dolphins, one minke whale, countless seals, and, some of the best sea bird life I have ever seen on Muckle Fluga, Shetland. The weather never settled and provided a protracted period of good weather, but it was reasonably dry, and the midges were not to bad!

Shetland birding

We managed to make it to some new locations, Shetland being the most magnificent. I have never seen such sea cliffs, wild seascapes and dramatic coastlines. I have already written about Shetland, but it was certainly a highlight, and a venue that I intend to lead trips to ever other year. We also ventured out to Lanzerote this year. Not somewhere I have ever really thought of before, but, tempted by the sea temperatures of 23 degrees C in October - we tried it: and loved it. The terrain is varied, the sea conditions really interesting, the kit fantastic, oh - and did I say the sea was warm!! We intend to spend two weeks there next Autumn: a week of day trips and a coaching week with a 3* assessment at the end.

Tide in the Bluemill Sound - Shetland Islands

We managed to increase our provision of specialist outdoors first aid courses as well this year, running a number of Rescue Emergency Care Level 2 courses, as well as our first three day Level 3 Sea Kayak Course (with enhanced skills). This proved a huge success and really allowed the clients to cement the skills in a sea kayaking context.

Retrieving casualties from the water

We have also been running our Level 4 Advanced courses, aimed at outdoor instructors, coaches, and guides.

It has been a great year for Sea Kayak Argyll & Bute, varied, challenging and rewarding - exactly as it should be. I look forward to 2018 and relish the trips, journeys, camp life, coaching challenges and banter to come. I hope to see you in the New Year.

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