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An Fhèis Mhòr 2014 - 24-26 October

Paddlesport Festival

An Fhèis Mhòr 2014 - 24-26 October
24/10/2014 to 26/10/2014

Scotland’s Festival of Paddlesport 2014

 We are proud to be part of the celebrations for Homecoming Scotland 2014

Homecoming Scotland

The SCA’s annual Paddle show is back, bigger and better than ever! For 2014 it is expanding in to An Fhèis Mhòr, the Festival of Paddlesport. There’s no need to book – ENTRY IS FREE. 

The Festival will run from 24th-26th October at the Dewars Centre, Glover Street, Perth PH2 0TH, and at the adjacent Perth Leisure Pool.

For the first time, the Festival will feature a pool. As well as demos from top paddlers, there will be a chance to get involved yourself – BRING SWMSUITS!

For full information on speakers and exhibitors see the pages below. General timetable will be as follows:

Friday 24th: 

2.30-8.00 pm Informal drop-in screenings of short films. Café will be open for refreshments
6pm-9pm: Canoe polo opening matches

Please note the retail hall is not open on Friday.

Saturday 25th:

10am-6pm: Retail hall open, including indoor kayak competition
10am-5pm: Talks and workshops
10am-6pm: Pool sessions including Come and Try for beginners and experienced paddlers, in a range of common and less-common craft
8pm-midnight: SCA ceilidh. Tickets £8 available here

Sunday 26th:

10am-4pm: Retail hall open, including indoor kayak competition
10am-4pm: Talks and workshops
10am-5pm: Pool sessions including an open entry slalom-based obstacle course, Greenland rolling demos, and Come and Try sessions for beginners and experienced paddlers.

To keep up-to-date with all that's going on, don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

An Fhèis Mhòr 2014 Talks and Workshops

The 2014 An Fhèis Mhòr Festival of Paddlesport promises an exciting line-up of talks and workshops. The list is growing all the time, so make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for the most up-to-date news. And of course, feel free to make suggestions!

Talks (T) and workshops (W) will take place upstairs at the Dewars Centre.

Kayak fishing workshops will also be running throughout the weekend in the main hall.

Saturday 25th

Gannochy Suite

10.30-11.30: A Photo Tour of Sea kayak paddle sailing Adventures from the Small Isles to the Solway – Douglas Wilcox (T)
11.45-12.45: Aquatic First Aid – Saving your mate’s life: the basics – Cory Jones (W)
13.00-14.00: Simple tips to improve your filming – Simon Wyndham (T/W)
14.15-15.15: Big Dreams, Big Seas: Two attempts to make the first crossing from Shetland to Norway - Patrick Winterton (T)
15.30-16.45: Sea Kayaking the World – Justine Curgenven (T)
17.30-18.00: Tay Descent Prizegiving
20.00-00.00: SCA Ceilidh

Hay Room

10.30-11.30: Guide to the Glasgow-Edinburgh Canoe Trail – Donald Macpherson (T)
11.40-12.40: How to get started in Paddlesports – Dave Rossetter (W)
12.50-13.50: Prying, Crying, and just about Surviving: Solo Canoe expedition across Scotland – Mick Hunter (T)
14.00-15.00: Adventures with Packrafts – Chris Scott (T/W)
15.15-16.15: Tales of Paddling Adventures - Richard Harpham (T)
16.30.17-30: Sea Safety: Calling for Help – Anne Young & Alice Beetlestone (W)

Sunday 26th

Gannochy Suite

10.10-11.10: First Aid: Dealing with Bangs to the Head – Cory Jones (W)
11.25-12.25: Adventures with Packrafts – Chris Scott (T/W)
12.35-13.50: Beyond the guidebook: Planning a first descent – Callum Strong (T/W)
14.00-15.15: 101 Days Kayaking along the Aleutian Islands and Alaskan Peninsula – Justine Curgenven (T)
15.30-16.00: Identifying Waterbirds – Ben Darvill (W)

Hay Room

10.15-11.15: Sea Safety: Calling for Help – Anne Young & Alice Beetlestone (W)
11.25-12.25: Paddling with Children – Dave Rossetter (W)
12.35-13.35: Adventure Planning Workshop – Richard Harpham (W)
13.45-14.45: Coracles and Curraghs – Dave Purvis (T/W)
15.00-16.00: Prying, Crying, and just about Surviving: Solo Canoe expedition across Scotland – Mick Hunter (T)

Speakers Biographies

Justine Curgenven
Justine is an adventure filmmaker, perhaps best known for creating the award winning  “This is the Sea” series of inspirational kayaking DVDs. She is a passionate expedition kayaker, named as one of the top 20 living British explorers by the Sunday Telegraph. She has an obsession for kayaking around islands including the south island of New Zealand, Tasmania, Ireland, “Isla Grande” in Patagonia and the Queen Charlotte islands. This Summer she paddled 2500km along the Aleutian islands and Alaskan peninsula. Once a member of the England surf kayaking team, she loves playing in her local tide races in North Wales. 

Ben Darvill
Ben Darvill of the British Trust for Ornithology is a keen all-round naturalist and ‘outdoor’ person, enjoying everything from rock climbing to mountain-biking, kayaking to photography. Whatever he’s doing, encounters with wildlife add to it. He’d love to share some of his enthusiasm and hopefully help improve your identification skills!

Richard Harpham
Richard has completed over 7,600 miles of human powered adventure by bike, sea kayak and canoe - and His adventures include sea kayaking Vancouver to Alaska, biking and kayaking London to Marrakech and canoeing the Yukon. He has completed many iconic sea kayaking trips in Scotland and Britain and runs with his wife, Ashley. He writes regularly for magazines and has featured on BBC1 on several occasions.
Richard also co-founded the award winning CIC to inspire young people and communities and was the manager of the Ghana Ski Team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.

Mick Hunter
Mick’s professional life began as a Royal Marine Commando, however his passion for the outdoors has taken him on just as many adventures. He has worked as lecturer and manager at various outdoor centres, culminating in 2013 in a year on Glenmore Lodge’s Instructor Development Scheme. There Mick developed his skills on mountain and water, and he now leads challenging expeditions and introduces people from all walks of life to the outdoor world he loves.

Cory Jones
Cory Jones has worked in the outdoor industry for over 25 years. He first ran first aid training courses in 2001 and provides SQA accredited outdoor first aid training. Cory runs Outdoor First Aid Limited, a Highlands based training consultancy. First Aid training is focused on developing hands on skills with a minimum of technical equipment – an ability to improvise is key.

Donald Macpherson
After years of hard work, Donald Macpherson of Explore Highland has established another long-distance canal trail for all to enjoy – this time between Scotland’s two largest cities and via the Falkirk Wheel.

Dave Purvis 
Dave Purvis is currently Honorary Chairman of the Coracle Society. The Coracle Society was established in 1990 to promote the knowledge and research into the history of coracles, currachs and allied craft using the simple skin-on-frame technology which has been in use over many thousands of years, and still can be seen working  in many parts of the world today.

Dave Rossetter
Dave has paddled and led trips in some amazing countries and places around the world primarily in canoe and white water kayak. He loves boating in all its forms and is delighted to represent some of the country’s top manufacturers. Dave continues to work with the BCU on developing the range of safety, personal performance, leadership and coaching awards.  He set up and ran  one of the first specialist canoe and kayak schools in the UK before coming to Glenmore Lodge, where he is Head of Paddlesport.

Chris Scott
Chris Scott writes adventure travel guidebooks and has a special interest in the Sahara where he occasionally leads tours. For the past few summers he’s relocated to the far northwest of Scotland. Paddling with inflatable kayaks and packrafts is just a hobby.

Callum Strong
Callum is a 21 year old whitewater and expedition kayaker from Highland Perthshire, currently studying Geology and Physical Geography at The University of Edinburgh. He has been lucky enough to have kayaked all over Europe and on expedition style trips to Siberia, Ethiopia and India where he has completed numerous first descents. Achievements that he is proud of include winning both the Moriston Race and the British Universities Creek Race in 2014 – two of the hardest, most extreme races in the UK; serving for over 3 consecutive years on the committee of Edinburgh University Canoe Club as equipment officer, president and coaching and safety officer and once getting a pub quiz question about football right in January 2011.

Douglas Wilcox
Douglas Wilcox has sailed the Scottish west coast since 1959, windsurfed since 1977 and sea kayaked since 2002. His inspiration is the mid 19th century pioneers who paddled and sailed their "canoes" from the Clyde out to the Hebrides. He has been involved in testing prototypes for P&H, Flat Earth kayak sails, Kari-tek, Lendal (original) and VE paddles. His photographs touring articles and gear tests have appeared in various paddling magazines (especially Ocean Paddler) and his blog. He is currently completing a sea kayaking guidebook for Pesda Press, covering Ardnamurchan to the Solway.

Andy Winter & Nicolas Valentin
Andy and Nicolas will be running kayak fishing workshops throughout the weekend in the main hall.
Andy Winter is from north east England, he owns and maintains the web-site Kayak Fishing UK and has over 11 years’ experience in the sport as well as kayak surfing and paddling. He’s always willing to promote the sport and willing to answer any questions you may have so don’t be shy. 
Nicolas Valentin is native to bonny Scotland and is a professional photographer, very good shore angler as well as experienced kayak angler and has dedicated his time this weekend to helping Andy promote the sport of kayak fishing.

Patrick Winterton
Patrick Winterton talks about the first successful kayak crossing from Scotland to Norway. Patrick, together with Ollie Hicks, made the crossing last summer in a Kirton double with relentless Force 5-6 winds, constantly crumbling waves and nausea inducing mist – a far cry from the comfortable conditions they wanted but the ultimate test for mind , body and the DIY safety systems. 
The presentation will include footage and anecdotes from other trips, including their first aborted attempt to get across the North Sea.

Simon Wyndham
Simon is a professional cameraman, video editor, and award-winning video producer, who took up kayaking in spite of being unable to swim and found himself hooked. He’ll share his knowledge and insight to help you make your paddling videos stand out.

Anne Young & Alice Beetlestone
Anne is a full-time Senior Coastal Operation Officers with HM Coastguard based in Dornoch and is involved with managing and training Coastguard Rescue Officers. When not involved with co-ordinating rescues or training Anne is a keen sea-kayaker and a BCU Level 3 (sea) coach. She has paddled in Norway, France, Croatia and Scotland and looks forward to exploring other areas of the world.
Alice is based in Aberdyfi on the west coast of Wales, and has been working in the Teaching and Outdoor Education industry for the past 14 years. In April this year she moved from The Outward Bound Trust, where she had been working as a Senior Instructor, to work for the RNLI's Coastal Safety team, having been a volunteer crew/helm on Aberdyfi's Atlantic class lifeboat since 2008 . Alice has been kayaking since she was 16, and began Sea Kayaking whilst living on Anglesey during her Outdoor Education PGCE year at Bangor.







2014 Prize Draw

The An Fhèis Mhòr 2014 Prize draw will include the following prizes - keep an eye on our Facebook and  Twitter feeds for more 


An Fhèis Mhòr 2014 Exhibitors

The following exhibitors have already confirmed they will be attending, keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter pages for more news.






Film Screenings

Film screenings

Friday 2.30pm-8pm Gannochy Suite

Come and watch some of the most exciting paddling films out there! Each film lasts approximately 5-20 minutes, so just pop in for a few or stay for a while – it’s all free.

The films will also be playing on screens around the venue over the weekend.

Full programme will be displayed at the screening, but includes selections from Justine Curgenven, Gordon Brown & Simon Willis, and Reel Water Productions, covering sea kayaking, canoeing and whitewater paddling. Plus get a sneak preview of what the Tay Descent entails!

DVDs of some of these films will be on sale in the main hall. Thanks to and for their contributions.

An Fhèis Mhòr Pool Sessions

Sponsored by

Many thanks to Perth Canoe Club for their assistance in putting these events together.

Perth Leisure Pool’s 25m training pool will be the setting for a wide range of paddling activities, some to watch and some to join in with. See below for the full timetable.

Come and Try sessions:

These will operate on the basis of 15-minute slots, with 8 people on the water in each slot. These sessions are free and open to everyone, and there will be coaches on hand for those who have never paddled before or would like some assistance. You will need to sign up on the day, so arrive in plenty of time. We will have a range of boats available, including general-purpose kayaks, a coracle, a SUP, a surfski, and a packraft.

Paddles-up slalom challenge

A chance to race against the clock (or your mates’ times) on our paddles-up slalom challenge – a blend of slalom gates, freestyle and polo skills. Only basic experience needed – it’s all about the fun, so just turn up, join the queue, and test your skills!

Greenland rolling

Kayaks were used for centuries by the Inuit to hunt in the cold northern waters of Greenland. The ability to roll in any condition was essential. Today Greenland rolling is enjoying a new lease of life as a paddling art form and test of prowess, and its practice can be very beneficial for all types of kayak rolling. Lesley will be demonstrating foundation skills and some of the Greenland rolls, with commentary provided by Rhiannon George. Lesley is a coach and Greenland enthusiast based in Orkney –

 Canoe polo

Canoe polo is an exhilarating team sport, which is growing in popularity across the UK. Come and cheer the players on in this fast-paced, 4-a-side mini tournament.

Friday 24th:

6pm-9pm: Canoe polo matches

Saturday 25th:

10.30am-12.30pm: Come and Try sessions
1pm-2pm: Freestyle demo (tbc)
2pm-3pm: Greenland rolling practice session
3.30pm-5.30pm: Canoe polo matches

Sunday 26th:

10.30am-11.30am: Greenland rolling with Lesley Mackay
12pm-2pm: Slalom obstacle course
2.30pm-4.30pm: Come and Try sessions

Check out our Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates and timings.

Thanks also to Roughwater Gear, Fyne Boat Kits, Backcountry Boating and the Coracle Society for boat loans.