Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Top 5 Places to Paddle in the UK

Have you got your paddling trip book yet? Are you in need of some inspiration? Well, here at Escape Watersports we have our top 5 places to paddle to give you some food for thought.

1) Wales, Gower - Oxwich Bay

Photo credit: Driftwood

If kayak fishing is your thing then it is worth visiting Oxwich Bay in the Gower. Home to the Oxwich European Kayak Fishing Championships, Oxwich, the largest south Gower beach is a superb venue to explore. The shallow sloping beach and big tidal range can make the walk/portage a fair distance, but with the aid of your C-Tug Canoe and Kayak Trolley it is easily defeated. If the beach is busy, the trying the wooded Oxwich head to the west of the bay is worth a look. 

You will find ample mackerel within the season. There will also be Huss nibbling at static rod lines. About two thirds it length and some 200 yards offshore are the remains of a wreck worthy of fishing. The best time to fish is on neap tides, where the water flow is not as strong as on a spring. 

For information on British Sea Fishing, click here

2) Scotland - River Spey

Photo Credit:

The River Spey is a Grade II/III river than can usually be relied on to give reasonable water levels in all seasons. There is nothing highly technical, however, on sections downstream of Grantown-on-Spey there is a good number of entertaining Grade II rapids. With the majority of the length of the river being navigable, this is a superb river for canoe expeditions.

Scotland's Land Reform Act allows for any responsible pedestrian; cycle; horse and non-motorised boat access to the river. There is a public right of navigation on the River Spey. 'Navigation' extends to movement over the water, up, down and across stream. It is also worth knowing that you are sharing the river with other users such as fishermen who are either bank based or fly fishing from the water. 

On your journey down stream, you may happen to pass the Speyside Distillery for a sample of their single malt.  

For more information on access, river information, accommodation and contacts for the River Spey, click here.

3) North Wales - Llyn Peninsula

Photo Credit:  

Wales's Llyn Peninsula is a popular destination for Sea Kayakers. It is perfect from beginner to advanced paddlers, offering a wide variety of experiences for all. 

Pwllheli to Abersoch is a great leg for beginners. With plenty of options available for you to beach and stretch your legs or even a well placed cafe for a tea and Welsh cake. If you're after something a bit more gripping then it is worth checking out the Gwylan Islands and whistling sands of Aberdaron. There are some interesting arches and caves so explore on your paddle round too. During the spring and summer months you will see a wide range of birds including puffins, choughs, peregrines and you may also encounter seals and dolphins. 

It is worth checking the access prior to your trip at the islands as some (like St Tudwals island) are privately owned, so landing is not possible. There are also nature reserves along the coast that need to be considered too. 

There is an abundance of histroy, as Bardsey Island especially is said to be the burial place of thousands of saints and was once considered an important religious pilgrimage. 

For more information on Sea Kayaking the Llyn Peninsula, click here

4) Devon - Upper River Dart

Photo Credit:
There is a wide variety of White-Water on our doorstep, but the River Dart proves to be a popular descent for most. Acclaimed by some as one of the best grade 4 runs in the country, the Upper Dart is cetainly not to be missed. The river tends to be at its best around November to March. If you've got the skills, right conditions and equipment, then get the boat on the roof! 

Starting just below Dartmeet, you will journey down to Newbridge, or continue down to Holne Bridge. Just ensure that you are parking consideratly (weekdays only) as the access situation is sensitive here). 

If your building up to the Upper, then take a look at the middle and the Loop sections of the Dart. There are alot friendler for the beginner to intermediate paddler. For more information on the river Dart, click here.  

5) North Ireland - West Coast

Photo Credit:

Northern Ireland and Eire has many great surf spots to offer, for both board and kayak. The best time to surf Ireland is from September to May, when the Atlantic Ocean provides plenty of powerful cold water swells. The only downside with surfing in Ireland is the temperature during these months. If, you are well prepared with a winter wetsuit, thermal rash guard, booties, wetsuit gloves and hood, then we recommend you make a visit.
Spots to consider are Dongegal Bay on the North-West Coast. It is described as a swell magnet, with surf spots everywhere. There is a wave for everyone, making it a great place to learn to surf. If you're into bigger water, there are spots that hold 20ft+. Make sure you don't leave without checking out Lahinch, Easkey and Portrush (as well as the Guiness). 

For more information regarding Ireland's surf, click here. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Top 5 Stocking Fillers

Mince pies are made, the turkey has been ordered, and there are a few little stocking fillers left to buy. 
Take a look at our top 5 paddling stocking fillers, and grab yourself a couple of easy wins this Christmas.

1) Adventure Lights Guardian Expedition

A multi-directional safety light. Adventure Light's Guardian Expedition Light is incredibly impact resistant, yet lightweight, giving you a non-restrictive aid during the darker hours of the day. 

The Adventure Lights Guardian Expedition Light can be fastened to the user or equipment using a variety of attachments, performing exceptionally well in situations where you need to be seen.

2) RUK Paddle Leash 2m

Perfect for use on open waters. The RUK Paddle Leash 2m is a must have when venturing out at sea, keeping your paddle safe and in reach during emergency situations.

The RUK Paddle Leash is constructed using bungee cord, with an adjustable velcro strap to fit the paddle and a plastic clip for attaching to the boat.

3) Palm HMS Screw Gate Karabiner

Palm HMS Screw Gate Karabiners are an excellent addition to any white water safety and rescue kit. 

Made from Anodised Aluminium, the Palm HMS Screw Gate Karabiner is strong, lightweight, and offers extra security during rescue situations.

4) Smiley Nose Clip

Smiley Nose clips are renowned for being the go-to nose clip on the market, small, comfortable and very effective.

The Smiley nose clip prevents water rushing up your nose, putting a stop to that uncomfortable dripping which can last well after you have the left the water.

Fitted with a lanyard which can be fitted to a helmet strap to prevent it from being lost. 

A must have addition to your kayaking gear.

5) Gul Hydro Aqua Grip Shoes

Gul Hydro Aqua Grip Shoe

A good looking, trainer style, water sports shoe that doesn't cost the world.

The Gul Hydro Aqua Grip works well on slippery surfaces, drains water quickly, and lends itself to a number of water sport disciplines.

For £24.99, you get fantastic quality, a good looking design, and will be safe when walking in and around the water.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

All I Want For Christmas | Lyndon Williams

With Christmas on the way once again, it can be quite difficult to find presents.
What to get who, how much to spend, making sure you get something they will like and use isn't easy.

Being a white water kayaker, I know exactly what I want or need at this time of year. 
It's easy for us at Christmas. Having the chance to get out and feel the cold while putting kit to use, it soon becomes apparent what needs replacing, sorting out, or spending time repairing.

If you have someone on your list that is a keen white water kayaker like me, then here are a few ideas on what to get them that will not break the bank and will be appreciated.

Firstly, it's Winter. It's cold and nothing is worse than dipping into a river without the correct equipment. I'm not talking about buying a full dry suit, but thermal under layers are just as important. There really is a massive range when it comes to warm clothing and often people have certain one piece suits they like. However your really can't go wrong with a base layer top and thermal trousers. Whether they get used on or off the water I can guarantee they won't get thrown to the side.
Peak UK Stretch Fleece Top
Peak UK Stretch Fleece Pants

It's all about Pogies. Pogies are just like gloves that attach to the paddle keeping your hands toasty. I'm a big whimp when it comes to the cold, so my Pogies come everywhere with me. I really like the PalmDescent Mitts as they have an anti-flush seal on the inside, and a tab to pull them on with your teeth. 
Little things make a big difference.

Palm Descent Paddle Mitts

If you notice the person who you're buying for drives around in their car with bit of foam duck taped to their roof racks then this is real simple... roof rack pads. 
I've been there, done that, roof bar pads are the way forward!

100cm Gul Roof Rack Pads

Safety equipment is often a tricky one, but everyone should carry a throw line. If they don't, get them one! This is one of the most important bits of kit they can own in my opinion, and can really save lives. 
As far as I'm concerned you can never have too many Karabiners either. 
Palm do a great Safety Tape. It's 5 meters long, yellow, and has a loop at one end. 
Or, another good option is the Snake Sling, which is red, 4 meters long, and has a loop at both ends.

Palm Lightning 18m Throwline
Palm Snake Sling

If your still struggling then here are a few other options that go down well; 

If you're interested at looking at anything on this list, head over to Escape Watersports who have the easiest website to use, the best prices, and offer fantastic customer service.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Top 5 Staff Christmas Gifts

The staff here at Escape Watersports are getting into the festive spirit. 
So, we thought we would share our top 5 favourite Christmas products for a festive paddle. 


Company owner Gus is a big fan of the C-Tug Canoe and Kayak Trolley.

"Moving boats from the bank to the car is strenuous. The C-Tug Canoe and Kayak Trolley is a great aid to move big and bulky boats. If you have children, it also allows you transport additional equipment (or children) with ease." 


Tom favours the Stand-Up Paddle Board. Red Paddle Co. SUP Board Ride 10.8. 

"There's nothing like an early morning SUP session to start the day. A pre-work or post-work SUP paddle is a great addition to have as part of your day". 


Rhoswen, like all the Escape Watersports staff loves her Kokatat drysuit. 

"My Kokatat Gore-Tex Meridian Drysuit is by far my favourite piece of kit. Essentially, it comes up trumps when I'm paddling through the elements on white water and the sea."


Grant is a fan of the sea and fishing kayak. Featuring in Palm's catalogue Grant certainly pulls his favourite B.A. off. 

"The Palm Kaikoura is fab. Comfortable, with some great features for a day out on the sea. It's in the back of my van ready for when I head to the beach". 


Hannah loves wilderness expeditions and adventures on the river. Hannah wouldn't be without her Palm Safety Tape

"It has it's own pocket in my B.A. rolled and ready for use. It is a handy piece of kit to have and is really versatile. I won't leave the river bank without it". 

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Lake Superior | Jim Hill

"Back in the day" I spent a while in Bayfield, Wisconsin, hanging out with the Trek and Trail crew and getting to know the "Big lake".
It all made quite an impression on me so I pop back every now and then to take in the healing waters.

This trip had a few day outings and a big seven day mission to the farthest islands.

Lake Superior is pretty big. About 350 miles long and 160 miles wide, they say it has around 3 quadrillion gallons of water in it, 40 foot waves have been recorded and it's about 1300 feet deep at its deepest point! Not your usual lake paddling venue!

My big mission started at Meyers beach on the west side of the peninsula, strong winds and waves slamming into the cliffs and sea caves kept the day trippers on the beach, and it gave me a "rowdy" start.
The first campsite on sand was sheltered from the wind and gave me a fantastic view of the electrical storms on the north shore.

Day two was a short hop over to York island, one of my favourites with its sweeping bay and uninterrupted views. Bald eagles swirled overhead every day, surveying me from the clouds.

Day three was a little bouncy, the wind was persistent, and I even had to wear my cag! "Yo! Adrian!" Rocky one was my campsite. The islands have designated campsites that you have to pre-book with the National park service, it worked out at about a tenner per night.

Day four had me heading to Devils island, straight into even more unrelenting wind and waves.
I opted to hike the length of the island rather than battle the waves to check out the cliffs and caves at the northern end.
Turns out the swell and wind direction meant the caves were sheltered!

On the fifth day he paddled to Outer island. A longer day with more persistent wind but options for rest stops at Rocky and Cat.
Outer did what it always does, gives you the good stuff! Stunning views and a real wild feeling.

Day six was a new destination, Michigan island. More wind kept me on my toes but a quick stop off on Stockton at Julian bay gave me a sheltered lunch with sunshine.

The last leg on day seven was true to form, windy, all day, and a headwind too.
16 miles according to the mileage chart back to Bayfield, and civilisation.
Chairs, a bed, cold beverages and people. Culture shock!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Stackpole Trip | Colin Chick

With the weather set to be fair for Sunday, I decided to head for Stackpole quay to target some big fish.

Saturday late afternoon I headed down to the quay to head out and hunt some bait, and I wasn't disappointed. Within a couple of hours I had plenty to keep me going all day, so I headed back to the van and made my way to my overnight stop.

05:00 the alarms rang. I leapt out of bed, smashed down a coffee and bacon butty, and headed off to the quay.
I was soon joined by some of my regular fishing buddies. We set up and were on the water at 06:00.

We first paddled out to a sandbank that produces fish on the ebb tide.

Disaster. The whole sandbank was covered in lobster pots, which meant we had to keep a safe distance to avoid losing any potential fish on the pot mooring lines.
Not ideal, but we made do.

A couple of hours passed. We'd had a steady trickle of dogfish, mostly disappointing but I wasn't worried as it was the second mark that I had originally earmarked as 'THE SPOT' prior to arriving.
This is where the fish are best on the flooding tide.

We paddled to the next sandbank, considerably further out than the first, and arrived bang on low water.
I picked a spot carefully, and dropped anchor in 80ft of water.

An hour later the tide started to run and so the fish started to bite.

A steady stream of Dogfish and Bullhuss (monster Dogfish) came our way. These were hammering the bait, but as a fairly regular supply of fresh mackerel were running through we were picking up fresh live bait on demand.

I stuck a live one down. Then I heard that burring sound I'd been waiting for.
I tightened the clutch and set the hook, then 7- 8 minutes later, after much sweat and grunting, sat in my lap was a stunning but angry male fish.

My target was accomplished, and I was one happie chappie on the drive home.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Top 5 Products for Kayak Fishing

We've compiled a few last minute bits for having a comfortable day at Oxwich this year.

Drinks Holders

In the height of Summer keeping hydrated is vital.

Scotty Drink Holder - 311

This seems like a simple idea, but the Scotty Drinks Holder really can play a big part during your day at Oxwich. If you're using a Scotty Bait Board, then the drinks holder can fit right onto it. Alternatively you can use a Scotty Deck Mount, and position it in the best place on your kayak.

Railblaza have got their own version too, for those using Railblaza mounts.

Waterproof Phone Cases

Extremely useful if you plan to take photos with your phone.

Top of the list for phone cases is the Overboard Phone Case
We have tried and tested it time and time again, but it never disappoints. 

The Overboard Phone Case is available in two sizes which fit most phones, and the photo quality when you use the camera is amazing.

Kayak Seats & Backrests

A decent seat makes a huge difference after a couple of hours on the water.

The upgraded Palm Deluxe Backrest has more padding than ever, and is a great way to upgrade your seat at a lower cost.
Palm Deluxe Backrest

For something with a few additional features, have a look at our range of Skwoosh seats and cushions.
Using a gel base, Skwoosh seats give a super comfortable feeling all day long, and models like the Skwoosh Expedition High Back with Lumbar include places to store a tackle box and other accessories.

Kayak Trolleys

It goes without saying... dragging a kayak half a mile down the beach to the water is a pain.

Kayak trolleys like the Palm Caddy offer a good platform to carry a range of kayaks at a reasonable price.

For larger kayaks carrying a lot of equipment (typical when kayak fishing), we would recommend going straight for the C-Tug trolley.
The C-Tug is indestructible, and can handle just about any terrain and weather conditions.

You can now buy the C-Tug with Sandtrakz wheels. A new design, the Sandtrakz wheel distributes weight using a system similar to caterpillar tracks on tanks and tractors.

Camera Mounts

Because everyone loves a selfie!

It's not long till the Oxwich Kayak Fishing Competition. Be prepared for another amazing weekend!