Updated: Dec 31, 2022
After hiring and test driving every mode of paddling device known, and mainly navigating them into every reed bed and overgrowth on the lakes, we finally took the plunge (not literally - Yet!) and purchased our own Kayaks!
It's taken us some time to figure out what would work best for us, we did our research and we used our time in the lakes to hire different styles of canoe and yaks! As much as we love the Canadian canoes (and I haven't given up on that idea yet), for now it just wasn't going to work for us in terms of transporting and storing them. I drive a convertible mini cooper for gods sake! It limited our options and it looked like we were going to have to continue the frustration of limited hire times and the restrictive opening hours. You just can't adventure enough in an allocated hour!
Then Sam came across an Instagram post for an online site called Kayaks Direct, we checked them out, and suddenly it seemed we might just have a cunning plan! With only one car that could transport them we decided the sit on top Yak might be for us. Sam preferred the freedom of movement of a sit on top, and I wanted the option to take it to sea as well as lake and river. They looked manageable to manoeuvre on top of cars, easy to store and bright enough to be seen in water. They ticked all the boxes. We were excited. We waited for payday. We placed our order!
From us debating colours to the day of delivery, Kayaks Direct kept in touch and kept us updated on our order, they arrived swiftly and the helpful driver helped Sam 'park them' in her hallway. There they sat in waiting until the following weekend when I drove over for the big unboxing!! We had a lot of unboxing to do. A full day was spent unpacking Roof Bars and J Bars, trolley wheels and straps, and then the Yaks themselves! It was exhausting work fitting the full roof system with just one dinky allen key between us. Sam's since bought tools, she's very proud of them, she wanted them mentioned.
It had taken us a lot longer to assemble everything than we had anticipated, the roof rack and j bar system we had purchased from Halfords was tricky. The Yaks however, were ready to go the moment we un-bagged them. Each Kayak came with a seat, a double ended paddle, two storage hatches and an adjustable fishing pole stand and 4 extra inbuilt rod holders. The perfect little setup to get you on the water and go!
Deadlifting a Yak (20kg - Loading capacity 110kg) above your head when you are only 5ft 4 was a Laurel and Hardy moment, but with a little gentle encouragement (don't you drop that on my car Susan!!) We managed it. It was time to try them out.
So by the time we had reached the local waters, it was late around 6pm, we were tired, but we were quickly away! We paddled out on choppy water. A quick look back and we caught the most perfect sun set, we grinned at each other, we were very happy. Further out on the reservoir and the waters were more sheltered from the wind. All was calm. We passed by a Heron on her nest, and she watched us in return, cautiously passing by so not to move her on. The woodland coastline at Combs Reservoir was full of birdsong and we watched the swallows and swifts flying around us feasting on the insects that danced just above the calm and murky water. Apart from the friendly wild swimmer braving the cold, we had it all to ourselves. It will definitely be a memorable first paddle.
A couple of weeks later (and some tightening of the roof rack with Sam's man tools) and they were hoisted up again and hurtling down the M6 on our way to the Keswick Mountain Festival. We had a small window of good weather forecast for the day we arrived, so tents set up, and the two of us, along with our good mate Matt, were back on the water. It was like being on the North Atlantic! I could hear Sam's nervous yells behind, and Matts whoops for joy ahead. We stuck with it, fighting against wind and waves finding refuge on St Herbert's island.
On the other side of the Island all was calm with views of Catbells we felt like we were stranded on a deserted island. The sun was shining and the water was calm, we drank rubbish coffee and sat our damp backsides in the hammocks. It was perfect.
This is what we had day dreamed about for so long. The freedom of our own kayaks and all the time in the world, just to waste time on the water.
There is nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. - The Wind In The Willows
Our plan is to get on the water as much as possible over the Summer. The Lake District is always our go to place to head to, but I am excited to get these out on the sea as well. As a kid we had various small boats of different shapes and sizes, sea fishing was a love of mine and my goal is to get out fishing again from my little yak! Sam is still nervous on open water but is willing to give it a go, maybe not as excited as me on this idea.
Our time in the Lake District has been for the past couple of Years time in the Mountains and relaxing on the waters, its what we daydream about all winter. Our Yaks are going to be an essential piece of kit for our adventures and we cant wait to share our journey with you.
We are not sponsored or affiliated in any way and we purchased our Kayaks from Kayaks Direct, they were great to deal with and were just as excited as us to see us get out on the water, check them out on Instagram @kayaksdirect and say hello from us.
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