When I started, the height of my ambition was to paddle the somewhere, anywhere in Wales (as all Welsh rivers were equally difficult to me). Since then I have paddled in the French Alps , Italian Alps, Slovenia, Austria, the East coast of America and Costa Rica.
I have visited places I would never have had an excuse to visit had I not been a member of the canoe club. I have been frightened in more countries than you could wish to imagine.
The club has given me friendship and I have given my friendship to others even when they didn't ask for it (or want it). I have thrust myself mentally upon others and occasionally physically and enjoyed every minute of it. Spend a week under canvas and every waking moment with BDCC members in a foreign country and you begin to build a bond, you get to know people and they get to know you.
I have nearly died twice but I still keep coming back. Why?
The answer is JOY.
Joy at all the things that make up a canoeing experience:
- the sunlight glinting off the water on a frosty winter morning;
- the iridescent blue flash of a kingfisher;
- the craec in the pub afterwards;
- the danger and the excitement;
- the sense of adventure and the sense of achievement.
All these are part of the experience but mainly for me it is simply the water. There is something fascinating about water whether a crystal clear sparkling river or a thunderous brown heaving mass. WATER FASCINATES me and I hope it always will.
I hope the next 30 years are as good as the past 30, and that I don't lose sight of why I started canoeing. I started canoeing because I found getting back to nature was incredibly rejuvenating. I found canoeing gave me joy and pleasure.
Quite simply, Canoeing made my heart smile.