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Ladies, Kayaking and Whisky. Need We Say More?

Author: Helen Wilson

May 24, 2014

This post originally appeared on Helen Wilson's blog at

In May, Mark and I made our way to the Ladies Paddle Symposium, which is based out of Bala in North Wales. This was our first year at the event, and it was an absolute blast. One of the things that makes this event unique is that it provides instruction in so many disciplines. Classes were categorized into skill levels, and the disciplines to pick from were white water kayak, open canoe, sea kayak, White Water Safety Rescue (WWSR), freestyle and raft. Mark and I instructed beginning sea kayaking on Saturday and intermediate sea kayaking on Sunday. On Saturday evening I ran Yoga for Paddlers, which was so popular that we ran out of space. It was a great event and wonderful to meet so many enthusiastic ladies.

After leaving the event we headed to Llangollen, also in North Wales. Llangollen is a charming little town with a canal that runs through it. Part of the canal system contains the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which caries the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee at an astonishing height of 126 feet. Of course, we paddled it, because how often do kayakers really get to paddle over a river?

After that adventure, we headed north to Islay, Scotland. Islay has been on our wish list of places to go for a while, and it was wonderful to spend a couple of days there, soaking up the peaceful island and a few of the distilleries. It was lots of fun to explore by land and then paddle along the coast for a distillery tour kayaker-style. After leaving Islay we headed to Oban. Oban is another wonderful place in Scotland, and one that we’ve visited a few times. It was great to be back and to catch up with some of the locals. It was also fun to paddle around Kerrera with a stop for lunch at the Gylen Castle, which was built in 1582.

Helen Wilson

Helen Wilson is a sea kayaker out of Arcata, California. She enjoys open ocean paddling in her skin-on-frame qajaq and can be found playing off the northern California coastline and in the lagoons several times a week. She’s never far from water and enjoys being underwater as much as being on the surface. She specializes in traditional paddling skills using traditional equipment. She competed in the Greenland National Kayaking Championship in 2008 (Qaqortoq, Greenland) and again in 2010 (Nuuk, Greenland), receiving five medals in four disciplines. In July 2014, Helen and her husband, Mark Tozer, will be returning to south Greenland to host their second commercial expedition.

Helen performs rolling demonstrations, presentations and instructs at events worldwide. She has written skills articles for several publications including Sea Kayaker magazine, The Masik and Ocean Paddler magazine. In May 1010, she released an instructional DVD, Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson. In September 2013, Helen and Mark released a second DVD, Yoga for Outdoor People. Both DVDs are available worldwide. She also serves as a board advisor for Qajaq USA.

Besides from being a kayaker, Helen’s other passion is yoga. She is a registered yoga teacher (RYT), and Greenland or Bust often includes Yoga for Padders as part of their programs.Contact Helen at [email protected]