Sunday, 29 June 2008

The Jubilee is the last surviving Sgoth Niseach -Ness-type skiff- to have played an active part in the former line-fishing industry of the isles.The Jubilee was built in 1935 by John MacLeod. My pal Alec John, also one of the Guga crew that head to Sula Sgeir each year, now skippers people out in her for day trips & tends her mooring in all weathers.
Her renovation cost in excess of £10,000.
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 13:39:00 | 0 Retorts
Thursday, 26 June 2008
•≈ Goodbye Mike..... you will be deeply missed ≈•

I have lost all the words...
All the words that I thought would be brilliant & lit up...
I could write for miles...but our friend is dead - long live our friend. I can only quote Doug here...

The world is a better place because of people like Mike Thomson and it is poorer with his passing.

I don't think a day will pass where somehow you will pop up in mine or someone elses heart & mind Mike. Ergo, a person only dies when nobody remembers them, & inside each new day, & inside each closing of that day.
- for me, & to phrase it simply -
You are not dead, not by a fucking long shot, you have merely peeled off a tired body.
Go well Mike, & occasionally drop by, & smile at our antics.
I will always miss you, mostly when it catches me by suprise...
Without your presence, one less harbour that meant anything - doesn't. I am also half the person I am on your passing - but twice the man I was for knowing you.
Thankyou for everything.

By the way - she always knew you wern't just ''nipping to the post office'' :o)
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 16:57:00 | 0 Retorts
Thursday, 19 June 2008
The old sentry guard - Chàrlabhaigh

Tursachan Chalanais - the two Mourners at the Stone - the chieftains wife in white, smaller & linked to his arm, both cloaked.

Dùn Chàrlabhaigh

Later in the day, there were 6 NDKs in the carpark, all wearing red Welsh dragon decals...
Thus, I commented to my stomping pal that the Buffalo wearing group clambering over the stanes with a spring in their step were probably the owners of the said sea kayaks.

How do you know that?

Durrr!...They have large shoulders & very skinny legs. :o)

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 21:37:00 | 2 Retorts
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
I'm a little confused as to why Reed habitually cover their items in decals. I've just taken delivery of a new Akullisaq - a greenlandic style of spraydeck which benefits rolling & touring in summer conditions where a Tuiliq would otherwise cook the occupant. After a discussion with Chris in the cutting room we devized a cunning plan to make the Akullisaq fit the keyhole cockpit of one of my kayaks, since the Akullisaq is traditionally cut for ocean cockpits. Reed have never made one like this before. Lets just say its great, well thought out & well tailored. BUT WHY COVER IT LOGOS!
Gah...everytime I get a new peice of Reed, I end up sitting on the floor with a black waterproof dye marker subduing the white advertising. I KNOW WHO BLOODY WELL MADE IT! Why graffiti the thing & ruin a sleek black garment with crass advertisements?? If it didnt have Reed stamped all over it, I'D STILL KNOW WHO BLOODY MADE IT, since i don't have Alzheimers...yet. To my mind, if an item needs advertising it should be through the kayaking communities.
Who made that? Reed did. Oh I'll get one.
l like it!.
How simple is that! I feel ike a floating f*cking billboard for manufacturers. I have tested that I would still know it is a Reed garment because the first day my Acuta arrived I stripped the decals from it. Same with my Lendal Wings. Not once have I wandered outside & shocked myself into confusion about the make & model...Oh I have a Nordkapp!! or is it the Feathercraft!?! Maybe that's my skin on frame qajaq? Help I'm lost!!..

Brrr brrr -brrr brrr: Hello reed Chillcheater..
Ah yes hi, can I have an aquatherm garment without logos please?
Oh we can't really do that...
Eh? can't not put them on? Are you being held at gunpoint by the logo police?
Hold on, so I'm paying YOU to become a floating advert with a Reed rubber stamp on my forehead? Maybe I should advertise Cillit Bang by shouting at seals & pursuing kayak groups in the dark since there is some in the bothy toilet?

Brookes can manage not to turn their tuiliqs into advertising oppurtunities...Unfortunately I can see no chemical way of removing these decals from the aquatherm material without damaging it so subduing them permanently is the best evasion of playing fiddle to advert world. What's more, & very apparent in the photo below, the method of welding these logos to the garment invariably leaves permanent round stamp marks inside a square outline also embedded within the aquatherm fabric which eventually weakens & occasionally fails at those points. So, apart from all that, bloody great kit.

Hand subdued advertising

Hybrid Akullisaq logo subdued

That'll be my Wednesday rant.

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 15:03:00 | 0 Retorts
Friday, 13 June 2008
Peat boards & midnight sun

Kayaking without lights, colours still vivid on the Harris machair, pinnacled by a brief darklight of ultraviolet at 2am & some tide of light returning at 3am - we oar it all the night, weavin' olden' dances - minglin' hands & minglin' glances - 'till the moon has taken flight.
It's just become apparent how swiftly we are creeping away from dark days & pale skin into warming seas & salt on the lips, bare hoofing the sands with postive strides, kayaking & rolling while half the planet sleeps. The flash on my camera is becoming reluctant to fire at 11pm, the street lights, reluctant to soak these quiet parades of stone wall in orange sodium. It's always a pleasing thing when the midnight sun starts tuning up across the Hebrides...
Returning shoreward, boosted by a 4mtr rolling swell, dragged like a compass point to climb this gate again & portage home...I fell over, all be it impromptu, & found myself laid down beside the winter bleached boards, the smell of coconut filling the air, the qajaq spine still tied to my legs...& took this shot...& slept.
78 miles solo...ending in a ditch awash with sleep, light rain tapping the bivi's a tough life :o)
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 23:05:00 | 0 Retorts