Stoke-on-Trent is not the most obvious place to live and to take up a new activity based entirely on the sea. But, after many years of different sports, sea kayaking is now what I ‘do’, and I’m pretty sure it’s here to stay. Sea kayaking can involve a lot of time moving slowly, through a salty landscape giving plenty of time to think, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about why I sea kayak.
Many years ago after a big operation on my spine I joined a swimming class - it was actually with some pensioners, but it was perfect as I just wanted a gentle swim to get back some mobility. I'd started to get a little stronger and my swimming stroke was improving so it was suggested I join a swimming club as I was not a bad swimmer.
When I was at grammar school in the 1960s, I loved all sport. I was strong, with lots of energy, and as they say, it was a 'no-brainer' that I would be involved in every sport going. In an all girls school, it was so easy to take every opportunity offered. We hardly had any male teachers and certainly not for PE. It's funny but I don't remember any of the PE teachers but I do remember loving being part of a team.
I really didn’t like sport at school, I was terrible at football, shocking at athletics and disinterested in just about every other sport. My sports journey started through Scouts; there I was introduced to a wide range of (to me) more exciting sports like grass skiing (which I hated), orienteering, climbing, hiking and an assortment of water sports. At the time only hiking really ‘stuck’ and for most of my youth you would find me trudging across Dartmoor with a big pack preparing for one long distance walking event or another.