These are a series of winter talks in Llangollen open to anyone and are really a casual gathering for people to tell their stories of their adventures. Given my background we have an preponderance of paddling talks and would welcome talks form people on other adventures: walks, climbs, bike rides, caves explored, etc. Occasionally paddlers visit the UK with a great lecture and I seem to get roped in to organise their tour and they will be fitted in to our schedule as an extra Bonus event. To pay their fees we charge £5 a head for all shows and save the money for the big name shows.
January 20th 2018.
Olaf Obsomner “Tajikistan.”
Olaf will be here to show his film about the recently completed expedition in Tajikistan.
Olaf is a professional film maker and he pays his paddlers to come on his expeditions which sounds great for the paddlers till you realise that this also means he can tell them to wait till he has set up his shot and got his cameras into place. This means his films are not the average bunch of go-pro footage edited together.
In the mix for February: The Badger (from One Planet Adventure) talking about biking somewhere – he won’t say where, Pete Catterall on paddling on a river or the sea in Peru or Greenland but he might talk about his success at the 2017 Sickline Race in Austria! My nephew may do a talk about “Ambling through Africa” his several month trip from Ethiopia to Capetown including walking across Rwanda, impersonating an Arsenal youth team player and kayaking on the Nile.
MARCH 2018 talk.
This all up to you – we want your talks about your adventures. We want 4-6 short lectures about your own experiences. We would love people to do talks about local walks, local caves, local climbs, 1st runs down the Dee, local stuff. It doesn’t have to be big and bold – small and interesting is fine by us!
Justine Curvengen “Sea kayaking the world.”
December 13th 2017.
One of the foremost women sea kayak paddlers. I saw her show a few years ago at the Kendal Film Festival – a stunning show. She makes a great effort whilst on her trips to get the film and photos that make her after the trip show. This show was just as good and include many of her other adventures Justine lives in the USA these days and so this was a rare opportunity to see her show.
John Willacy “Kayaking around Britain Twice.”
November 15th 2017.
I thought “Solo paddling round the UK” that won’t be much of a lecture I mean; who is going to take the pictures etc.? How wrong can you be; what a brilliant lecture that was. John spoke of the challenge, both mental and physical and his reasons for doing it with honesty and humour. If you missed it and hear of his doing another talk make sure you see it – if you saw it – you’ll go again I know!
Wick Walker “Chasing Mike!”
October 7th 2017.
Wick over in the UK researching a book about river gorge expeditions and is looking through the archive of Mike Jones and his Blue Nile and Everest expeditions. So he will give a talk in Llangollen whilst visiting me. Wick was a US Slalom team paddler in the early 1970s competing at the Llangollen International, he then started expedition paddling in Mexico and Bhutan before leading the 1st expedition to the Tsangpo in Tibet.
Olly Sanders. “Expeditioning around the world – Mountains and the Sea”
April 8th. 2017
From climbing Mount Kenya attempting to climb Changabang, paddling trips off the Greenland Coast – Olly has done much more than most people realise.
Leo Hoare “Fresh fish and icebergs – Kayaking in Greenland”
March 1st 2017
Leo Hoare from Getafix tells his tales of climbs and kayak trips – some more foolhardy than others.
Callum Strong. Kayaking in Afghanistan – The Panjir River.
Feb 1st 2017
The trip to show the real Afghanistan and a great river.
Ray Goodwin climbs and paddles.
December 7th. 2017.
Ray reminisced about his climbing – Mt Kenya and other mountains and canoeing trips inc. his favourite the Bloodvein in Canada.
Erik Boomer and Sarah McNair-Landry
American professional white water paddler Erik Boomer, and Canadian polar adventurer Sarah McNair-Landry have recently completed a gruelling 65-day expedition across Baffin Island, covering over a 1000km by kayak, ski and foot.
Avoiding crevasses to cross the largest Icecap on Baffin Island, Boomer, Sarah and two friends descended into the Weasel River valley. Here, Boomer did a first descent of the class 5 glacier fed river surrounded by some of the world’s tallest cliffs. This was only the first week on a two-month expedition.
At the ocean the team picked up their traditional Inuit style kayaks that they hand built themselves, and followed old traditional Inuit routes across Baffin. Tidal rapids, portages, snowstorms and polar bears were a few of the many challenges along the way.
Boomer and Sarah will talk about this expedition, and their past adventures that have led them here.
You have missed the book promo tour but you can still buy Doug Ammons’s Books from your local kayak store or if they have none left directly from his web site. See below for more about his books.
A bit about Doug’s books
“White Water Philosophy” by Doug Ammons.
As Doug says in his introduction “This book was not planned but arrived in an unpredictable way as a result of my long time interest in flowing water and kayaking”. As a result there is no real theme to the book but is a collection of Doug’s musings to himself or kayak-magazine readers that he has written and is stronger for this; it gives you a wider insight to the man behind the keyboard. Though at the time of writing this promotion I have not read all the book, savouring it a bit at a time, what I have read is “up to standard”: Doug’s incredibly high standard at that. The book includes “Why I kayak”, “Ode to the North Fork”, “Niagara Falls and Crazy”, “Soloing and taboos”, “Voice of the River”. It has no pictures as it is a book of thinking.
Here’s a revue I wrote of this book when it came out a couple of years ago.
Doug’s book arrived through the post the other day; delivered to me at work. We broke for breakfast/lunch and went down to the cafe for a traditional British fry-up. I tore into the book. I knew I shouldn’t but I couldn’t stop myself; I wanted to find out what stories Doug had included. Trying to read the introduction and the chapter listings between mouthfuls was a bad idea – baked-bean sauce now stains the pages!
For many the name Doug Ammons will be unknown this side of the Atlantic and even over States-side he is not well known. Doug hails from Montana where he learnt to paddle and then used to drive crazy drives to the North Fork of the Payette in Idaho. There he met Rob Lesser and through Rob developed what can only be described as an unhealthy fixation with the Stikine, leading to Doug’s biggest “head game” paddle: his solo descent of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine. He is from the generation when “freestyle” was in its infancy, the term “Park and Play” had not been coined and the hottest move when playing was a “Polish Ender”. Doug won pretty well everything for a couple of those early years but exploring and river running was where he wanted to be.
The book is divided into three. In the first section – entitled “Horizon Lines” – the tales tell of learning, discovery and the joys of youthful naivety and enthusiasm. In this section is the eponymous “The Laugh of the Water Nymph”, a summer afternoon reverie half way through a relaxed river trip.
The second section, called “Other Truths”, is Doug’s musing on the state of the kayaking world. His satirical attack on the destruction of the soul of extreme sports by their commercialisation in “The Attack Of the Killer Radical Extremes” pulls no punches and is as subtle as a sledge hammer. The companion piece “The Tahiti Room” is the answer and through the introduction to the reader of the sport of underwater climbing in rivers tells how enjoyment of a sport can become a pursuit of dreams and then a dangerous single-minded fanaticism.
The final section of the book “Beyond Class V” details some of Doug’s major trips: trips to the Stikine and Aqua Azul and others but as you would expect these are not just accounts of how the trip went, with a list of the logistics and a few descriptions of the bigger rapids. Doug goes further and reveals to the reader his emotions, the ebb and flow of the trip giving you more than just a flavour of the exploit.
Sandwiched in the middle are 32 superb pages of colour photos from around the globe: British Columbia and the Stikine, Nepal and the Thule Beri, Mexico, Bolivia, and more
Doug has written the best book on white water – period. This is not a collection of tales of derring-do or reportage of epics had; it is Doug’s attempt to answer that question “why”. It is the nearest I am going to get a written reason why I paddle/have paddled hard white water. Even if it does not answer your questioning why you paddle white water it will give you a whole load of new questions to ask yourself on those lonely drives back from a weekend of river running. You know the drive: your mate is asleep, the radio is broadcasting only phone ins, the tape deck has a chewed tape in it / the CD player jumps / the ipod is out of battery or you just want quiet. Reflecting on Doug’s book will get you home awake!