Sunday, 1 November 2015

Paddles & Polar bread - a review

I've spent a good deal of my life racing through nature; peddling a mountain bike as fast as I can, running trails, flying down mountains on a snowboard or speeding around the country on various fossil fuelled means of transport. I've even raced across a few Scottish lakes in a canoe, though my experience in them remains fairly limited.

Following some positive reviews on Facebook of a book called 'paddles & polar bread' I decided to order a copy and its been a delight to read; awakening a fire within me for a canoe adventure.
The book recalls the story of five men undertaking a canoe trip to Sweden. Told from the viewpoint of Dave it recalls the weeklong journey around the Swedish lake Stora Le. Those hoping for a harrowing tail of triumph over adversity would be disappointed, for this is not the books purpose; nor is it to pass on expert advise on bushcraft or canoe adventuring.

Instead, the book best conveys that bond between friends and an experience shared. The book use the term 'companionable silence', a term that when I read it immediately encapsulated all those moments i've had with great friends and family sat around a campfire at the end of a long day. A moment not always experienced when racing but so often found when involved in that wonderful pastime called 'bushcraft'.

Perhaps it's my ageing body telling me to finally slow down a bit, but seeking out those moment of quiet enjoyment now seem more important than pushing myself to run over a mountain or to cross the country in just a few days. By the end of the book I was mentally packing my bag and searching for canoe trips to undertake.

The thing I loved most about this book were the subtle messages it conveys; that adventure is achievable to all of us, it's not always about enduring hardship, pushing your limits or tackling challenges. That adventures are sometimes about being a little outside your comfort zone doing something different from your normal everyday life. That being equipped with knowledge and not more material possessions gives you the chance to experience what other miss and go where others do not normally tread.

In summary a great read that serves as a reminder that not all challenges in this life are physical and that the greatest times in your life can be found well away from modern life.

Now, where did I put my paddle?

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