Meet Gnoodle, Gnu-Gnu’s little sister. For the grand-children but just big enough for little old me. The wood is mainly cedar; detailing is from pallet wood and an old mahogany table, gunwhales are ash from an old barn roof. The Greenland paddle is pallet wood.
Down-river to the sea, the sun was setting over these Devon hills. A couple of miles, then I turned to face the moon, full and high. Up-river now, guided by a silvery light, to the weir at the tidal limit. An occasional hooting owl, a rustling in the reeds, but otherwise a beautiful stillness, the water mirror-calm. Two hours on and I was back at the slipway. Not another soul from start to finish.
A misty moisty morning on the river today.
Along about 200m of shore only accessible from the water, this was my haul. Destined to be mixed with concrete for footings for a garden wall.
Mrs Potter finds her normal blade tiring after a while, so I made this one for her. The thinking is that the centre of effort is closer to the fulcrum at the lower hand, so the load on the upper hand and arm is less. It’s also light. I didn’t expect it to be particularly powerful or dynamic. Mrs Potter finds her normal blade tiring after a while, so I made this one for her. The thinking is that the centre of effort is closer to the fulcrum at the lower hand, so the load on the upper hand and arm is less. It’s also light. I didn’t expect it to be particularly powerful or dynamic.
But it is!
I use it when Mrs P has better things to do and I paddle on my own. For now, it’s my go-to blade. An unexpected bonus, when I set off in the shallows early on a flood tide, is its use as a pole. The pointy tip engages with the firm river bed under the mud far more effectively than a broad blade, and releases easily from the mud’s gooey grip.
Maybe the Zulus were onto something.
The upside: we can leave home and, ten minutes later, be paddling off down the river. The downside (or is it?): the river is tidal. Miss the tide and it’s mud, not water. Spring tides are biggest and best, and here in the West Country they peak early morning / early evening. Today we used a 5m tide to pick otherwise inaccessible blueberries. Afterwards we landed on the derelict sluice by the weir and spooned steaming hot porridge from our flasks, laced with honey.
From the river the spot looked good for a night under the stars, but on arrival a thick sludge of weed and mud precluded a bivi ashore. Plenty of dry wood on the beach to heat up the dahl. A cold beer, a naan, then snug down in the bilges to spy for Perseids.