I started kayaking in my 60s and I love it. I used to sit on the beach and long to be out on the water. There is nothing like 'messing about in boats' as Ratty told Mole in the Wind in the Willows! Kayaking allows me to mess about in boats. I love being out on the water and looking back at the land – you get a different perspective and see things that you would never notice otherwise.
It is always a good idea to have an introductory lesson before starting to kayak. You then learn how to get in and out of the kayak and how to hold the paddle – none of this is difficult and I was really pleased that I could move myself through the water immediately! After a few years of dabbling on summer holidays I decided to take some more lessons to enable me to get a British Canoeing Union certificate and felt proud when I could go backwards as well as forwards, turn, stop and paddle in and out of a row of buoys. I also learnt about capsizing and was so much more confident after I practised this a few times in shallow water. The Siton-Top kayaks suit me perfectly, without the closed cockpit, I find them much easier to get in and out of.
I am now confident and excited to go afloat alone, for peace of mind I only hire from teaching schools where I know someone has an eye on me, but I still have the freedom to explore. I challenge myself to paddle from one headland to another or around an island. I paddle in and out of coves and around rock outlets. If there is a rocky coastline it’s fun to potter past the rocks watching the wildlife hiding at the shore line, or the fish passing below you under the water. I can while away time relaxing on my own adventure!
I do love being out on the water by myself but I also enjoy going further afield on paddle cruises where you have an instructor with you who knows the exciting places to visit. You can head from one side of a bay, across open water to a beach on the other side. You can swim, relax, snorkel, sunbathe – have a breather and then enjoy paddling back. These guided trips are great fun and it's good to feel part of a team setting out on an expedition!
I thoroughly recommend kayaking - I’m doing it at 70 and wish I started at 7! So yes kayaking really is for all ages. Not only is it great fun…but there is no equipment to set up:- put on a buoyancy aid, grab a paddle and push your boat out!