Have you ever been so inspired by a place you've paddled that memories of the day have stuck with you as if they were moments ago?
I have many times, but never more so than my first paddle in the country of my birth, Scotland. I paddled with a group of locals off of Seacliff Beach which is on the east coast of Scotland where the Firth of Forth meets the North Sea.
We paddled out off the beach and immediately I was mesmerized by the castle atop a craggy cliff to the west of us. I was later to learn that this was Tantallon Castle, after a couple of hours paddling in increasing winds and seas out into the Forth and around the Bass Rock, a former 17th century island prison, we returned to the beach and I immediately went in search of this breathtaking castle.
Tantallon Castle was just a short drive away. It is preserved by Historic Scotland and is a regional tourist attraction. I was in awe the moment I saw it from the water and was just as amazed and in awe when I saw it as I approached the massive wall that made up the front of the 660 year old castle Three hundred feet long x 50 feet high and 12 feet thick of interlaced stones!!!
The history of the castle is quite impressive and its location was ideally placed to defend and protect Edinburgh and other towns and cites in the region, including the place of my birth, from invaders and marauders coming in from the North Sea.
When I started off, again, in the sport of kayaking in 2008, I used a Euro blade and as much as I enjoyed paddling with many of the blades that I tried, I was never 100% comfortable nor felt protected against capsize using a Euro paddle. Once I was introduced to a Greenland style paddle my confidence and comfort level on the water increased immensely. Later on when I, finally, got my roll, with a GP of course, my comfort and confidence level increased once again.
Feeling protected and safe on the water is VERY important to me. Along with the appropriate safety, and comfort, gear I always paddle with a Greenland style paddle as my primary or secondary paddle. Doing so always gives me a sense of comfort and protection.
The Tantallon Paddle is crafted from handpicked boards and laminated together for strength by one of North America's leading paddle makers, just as the bricks and stones were interlaced on Tantallon Castle by the finest stonemasons of the day.
Just like castles, no two Tantallon paddles will be the same. The nature of and consistency of wood means that each paddle will be as individual to the owner as the owner themselves.
Having a quality crafted paddle in your hand in any sea state will, with the proper training, give you the confidence, comfort and protection one needs while paddling just as Tantallon Castle stood as protection for centuries.