Last week I realised an ambition that I've had for about twenty years and bought a canoe. I'd spent almost a year deciding which boat to buy and had settled on the NovaCraft Pal. A phone call to the nearest dealer revealed that there were only three new Pals currently available in the UK, a red one with ash gunwales, a green one with ash gunwales and a green one with aluminium gunwales. It had to be alu trim for my boat as it'd be stored outside but I really wanted one in burgundy. I decided to think about it. After much thought I decided to go for the green one with ally gunwales but sod's law, it'd been sold when I phoned back! The shop said the next batch would be coming from Canada next year sometime so I resigned myself to a long wait. Later that day I happened to look in the wanted section of the SOTP (canoe) forum as there was a guy from Glasgow looking for a canoe which caught my eye (I've never looked in the wanted section before although I'm on the forum a lot). One of the replies to his post was from someone with....................you guessed it....... a burgundy Pal with ally gunwales for sale! It was nearly new, it was a big saving on new price and it was in Scotland! It had to be fate! I got in touch with him and ended up buying the boat (which was minted) and a pair of nice Grey Owl ottertail paddles he had.
Last week was spent getting all the bits together that I wanted to fit to the boat. After much thought I decided to fit airbags, I hate the look of them but I intend to paddle this canoe a lot on my own so I want to be confident that I can rescue my self if needs be. The airbags were duly bought and fitted (which involved drilling holes in my nice new canoe to lace them in, very nerve racking!) At the weekend I was off work and the forecast was for cold, clear dry weather with light winds, canoeing weather. Here's the trip I did with my mate Chris.