Q. What will happen if the canoeing can’t start due to bad weather?
A. We have only ever had to do this once (1996), we take the weather conditions very seriously and are advised professionally by the Mallaig lifeboat crew. If they say it is too dangerous to go ahead, we take their advice. The other sections will still go ahead as normal and we would transport everyone wishing to continue with the running section round to Glen Etive by road or by boat depending on the conditions.
Q. What would be the ideal boat for me to use?
A. We would recommend a sea going Kayak, the is the safest way to paddle in Loch Etive, it can be very choppy, it is a sea loch and as such, it is possible to have severe conditions!
Q. Do you mean I have to have a sea kayak?
A. No, but we would advise the use of a sea kayak. It really depends on your own ability. You may be a very competent canoeist and the conditions may start off fine and calm for you to use a more unstable racing boat such as a river racer or a K1. But, as we have said, the conditions can change very quickly. In past events, some very experienced canoeists have got into trouble by a poor choice of boat for their ability and were forced to finish this section in one of the rescue boats.
Q. What would be the worst type of canoe for me to use?
A. Again, it depends on your ability, but some people turn up with short slalom type canoes. They are making it difficult for themselves by doing this, these type of canoes are difficult to keep in a straight line and a lot of energy is wasted correcting their stroke to stay on course.
Q. What if I can only get a shorter slalom type boat?
A. All is not lost; you could fit a small skeg on the rear of the canoe. This can be done very easily by cutting out a small piece of old tin can or aluminium in the shape of a rudder and sticking it firmly on to the rear of the canoe with waterproof tape or similar. Make sure you stick it exactly in the middle, this will help greatly with keeping you going in a straight line. Alternatively, tie a short piece of rope (about 4 or 5 feet) to the rear of your canoe and let it drag in the water behind you, (it does work!)
Q. Can you advise me where I can hire a canoe for the event?
A. Hmmm, not such an easy one to answer, some people have had great difficulty in doing this, many centres seem unwilling to hire out for more than one day in our experience. There is nowhere locally in Glencoe that we are aware of to hire out. If you are in the Edinburgh area, you could make inquiries with Port Edgar Sailing Centre, South Queensferry, they have been helpful in the past: (0131 331 3330), they may be again?
Q. How much training do I need to do for the canoe section?
A. As much as you possibly can so you are comfortable with extended periods of time in rough water. It is also very important that you are comfortable with and have sufficiently practiced in the canoe you intend to use on the day. Make sure it has sufficient buoyancy in it to keep it afloat in the event of a capsize. Buoyancy can be as simple as foam or polystyrene wrapped up in poly bags and stuffed hard into the bow and stern. If you have a canoe club near home, book some basic lessons and get their advice. They may even be helpful in allowing you to borrow a club canoe for the event if you are having trouble getting a hold of one.