Esther, Julie and I were sitting having dinner in a restaurant post Bute symposium 2014 excited from all the great time we had during the weekend and then slightly disappointed, that it wouldn’t be happening this year. I don’t know who’s idea it was, but already travelling down the M6 we started to make plans.
What followed were many Skype conversations, Julie and Paul live in Devon, Esther and I in different places in London. The roles soon established themselves, Julie and Paul were to take care about the site bit, Esther dealt with the admin, and I was in charge of the coaching.
We decided to invite the best women coaches we could find in the country to come and coach the women paddlers. Our aim was to provide supportive environment within the women only environment, and for people of different paddling skills being able to paddle together, enjoy each other company, have fun without feeling that they may be holding someone back. However segregation was not our aim, and so for those participants, who wanted to come with their partner, as they may need someone for company on long drive, we created the man creche.
There were many exciting moments during the whole process. The first paddler booked, the confirmation on the marquee and food, the box of printed t-shirts, the booking being full. And then it all started. We checked in the first arrived person, the first coach.
The condition and weather held for us and even if Monday was more on the wet and windy side, everyone had wonderful paddling days, lots of laughter, lost of new skills. We had talks, and shared food. And yes, sometimes it took four to five women to put a boat on a roof rack, but still it was all done in very good company.
And yes, when I think back about it, and read the good feedback and the constructive one, I feel good. Of course there’s room for improvement, but I am very proud of Esther, Julie and myself for pulling this off. We had enormous support from Paul, who has done millions of jobs, and Michal who cooked many delicious dinners for the Skype evenings, and Toby for t-shirts and many others.