Pinkston paddlesports

Surviving Lockdown 2021 - Fiona

We are celebrating how our community is using the 5 ways to well-being to get through lockdown (connect - be active - take notice - give - keep learning)

To share your story please drop us a message!

Next up is Fiona, regular swimmer at Pinkston.  Here is her story:


"When Lockdown 1.0 hit I realised that I’d never gone so long without swimming. I’ve always been a keen pool swimmer and a fair weather outdoor dipper. Every year I’d made a resolution to do more regular outdoor swimming but busyness meant weekends slipped by without me getting near a loch or the sea. When things are removed, you realise how important they are to you, so as soon as Pinkston opened in the spring, I became a regular with my pal Fiona Hollow, and it’s been a lifesaver for the Fionas!

During the pandemic my job has changed dramatically - instead of chasing round the country performing and speaking, I’ve found myself working from a desk/recording studio in my bedroom. I’m thankful to have regular work and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of adapting to a new situation, but life has definitely shrunk. Normally I’m pretty spontaneous, but I’ve found a new love of routine. Every morning at 7 I meet a couple of friends online to pray - often I have to drag myself out of bed, but after a coffee and some space to be thankful and connect, I’m ready for the day. I’m also part of a couple of creative WhatsApp groups - a weekly art challenge and a monthly writing group - those have forced me to be creative for me rather than for work. Fun stuff has been important too - my flatmate and I have instituted #TartyTuesday - basically we make a pie or a tart for dinner on a Tuesday - it’s silly, but it’s also quite competitive and eating together breaks up the monotony.

During the year I’ve thought a lot about the Stockdale Paradox. Stockdale was a US soldier who was held captive in the Vietnam War. In later life he was asked about why some prisoners survived and others didn’t, and he talked about needing to have a balance of optimism and reality. Too optimistic and you’d lose hope. Too pessimistic and you’d have no hope. For me, connection with others and God, and learning new things has been really helpful in keeping that balance.

We need to be brutally honest about the reality of what we’re in the middle of, but also retain hope that it will not always be like this. One day, I’ll be able to swim in lochs and seas again, but hopefully I’ll be back at Pinkston even sooner."


To hear more from Fiona and Fiona Hollow make sure you take a listen to their podcast "Hollow and Substantial"

By Pinkston


User Group Meeting - Wed 24th Feb

Ahead of next weeks user meeting we are keen to get an overview of opinion in our community.

Tickets are still available for the online meeting on Wednesday the 24th at 6.30pm 

If you would like to provide us with some feedback to help structure this meeting (even if you are planning on joining us) please click here 

By Pinkston


Surviving Lockdown 2021 - Andy

We are celebrating how our community is using the 5 ways to well-being to get through lockdown (connect - be active - take notice - give - keep learning)

To share your story please drop us a message!

Next up is Andy, regular paddler with Glasgow Kayak Club and coach and business owner of Kayak Caledonia

Here is Andy's story:

"So as I live in Glasgow and as I am locked down here I thought I would do something on Glasgow paddling in Glasgow, and how lucky we are.

There are 3 x great Glasgow venues that I use, there are more but these are the ones I use. The Clyde, the Forth & Clyde Canal and the Kelvin.

So first of all the Canal, it is a fantastic resource for all types of paddlers, running through the North and West of the City. These days it is very Paddle friendly with lots of pontoons making access really easy. I use the canal to work on my basic strokes and skills In the summer I also practise rolling every time I am on the canal. The great thing about the canal is it suits all types of craft from SUP to Open boats and everything in between and all levels of skill.

The Canal is also great just to go for a paddle you can head into town, and when Covid allows stop for a coffee at Spears Wharf. You can head west to where the canal forks, with the choice of heading towards Clydebank or Bishopbriggs. Both sections of the canal are really interesting with lots to see and lots going on. Great for your fitness or just to chill and enjoy the scenery as you go past. There is lots of wildlife to be seen, on recent trips I have been lucky enough to encounter, Roe deer, Kingfishers, Cormorrants, Herons and lots of other birds.

Now the Clyde, what a great venue right in the middle of the city, where you can Sea kayak or white water kayak or like the canal can take virtually any craft you like on it.

I am a member of Glasgow Kayak club and we have 4 x sea boats stored at the transport museum. This allows us really convenient and easy access on to the river at Govan. Once on the water you have miles of gentle flowing river, you can head into town and right up to Glasgow Green or head West and all the way to America (Covid allowing). With options to head up the Cart into Paisley town centre of the Gryffe up to Bridge of Weir.

I also use my white water boat on the Clyde and often go to a grade 2 feature at Cambuslang where you can again practise all your basic skills on moving water. Like the Canal lots of Wildlife to be seen and recently I have regularly seen Sammy the seal down at the Tall Ship.

Last but not the least the River Kelvin. Not paddled by many people because it has a reputation for not being very clean. I have been very unfortunate on 2 occasions to get unwell as a result of swimming and getting stuck in a stopper and drinking copious amounts of the river. This has not stopped my enjoying this great river though. It can be paddled from the very North of the City all the way to the Clyde. It is grade 2, 3 and 4 depending on what section you decide to paddle, and I would contend there is a grade 5 at the right of the bottom drop when it is high. It can be run from about 0.8 to above 4.0 on the Sepa gauge, once it gets above 3 it is a serious river with huge volume and needs to be taken very seriously.

There are some great play spots on the river with 2 x great surfing waves behind Kelvingrove Art Galleries and another great wave under Kelvin bridge.

I regularly put on under Kelvin bridge and do circuits around the main pillar holding up the bridge. This is a great spot for practising your skills and technique. The river also has some great boofing spots, with easy access to do laps and hone your boofing skills ( a work in progress for me) .

Like the Clyde and the Canal lots of wildlife to be seen, with Deer, Kingfishers, Salmon, Corrmorants, Heron and lots of other birds.

So if you are locked down in Glasgow there is no excuse for not getting on the water with these 3 x gems on your door step.

If you are not sure about where to get on or get off or would like more info on any of this please get in touch.

Happy Paddling."

By Pinkston


Surviving Lockdown 2021 - Jamie

We are celebrating how our community is using the 5 ways to well-being to get through lockdown (connect - be active - take notice - give - keep learning)

To share your story please drop us a message!

Here is Jamie's story:

"None of the lockdowns have been particularly enjoyable but I tried to make the most of the situation.

During the first lockdown I was fortunate enough to get out on my road bike, I don't think my legs enjoyed it as much. It turned out to be good training in the end as I managed a 380km weekend from Glasgow to port appin and back in August.

It was around this same time I began my work at Pinkston, working as a watersports instructor with some great friends left summer 2020 being surprisingly good fun.

Lockdown 2.0 was a challenging one, I set myself a goal to run every evening for the 21 days. It was great to have something to keep myself motivated and even better when the lockdown finished and I'd achieved my goal!

Our current lockdown hasn't been easy, alongside work at Pinkston I'm also a coach at clydesdale rowing club, between the rare water sessions we have over winter I've been running workout sessions via zoom for some of the athletes. I may not be an athlete anymore but it's great to be a part of something.

Hopefully I dont need to update this with a story of lockdown 4...."

By Pinkston


Surviving Lockdown 2021 - Kirsty

We are celebrating how our community is using the 5 ways to well-being to get through lockdown (connect - be active - take notice - give - keep learning)

To share your story please drop us a message!

Next in this series comes from Kirsty. Always finding a way to keep her triathlon training up we are impressed by this latest effort

Here is her story: 

"As a psychology lecturer, I understand the importance of getting out in the fresh air and staying active at all times, but especially during stressful times such as lockdown. I am so lucky that I can still get out to run and cycle and get that all important time to clear my head in the fresh air. Teaching from home means that I am at my desk most of the day, so getting out to escape for a while is really important to me. Unfortunately though I am a triathlete, so lockdown means that I am a swimmer out of water. Pinkston was a saviour to me during the summer and Autumn of last year, as it meant that I could open water swim safely to my hearts content and not have to worry about always taking a buddy with me or the water quality of where I was swimming (which is always a slight concern when you are swimming in water that is not regularly tested). It is such a lovely laid back place that I was actually sad when the water got too cold there and I had to return to the pool.

At this time of year, open water swimming is just not an option for me. I am a woose - as much as I love the open water, you are never going to catch me breaking ice in order to get in for a swim. Even the thought of that makes me cold. But I miss swimming, and with the pools being shut I had to find a way to keep 'swimming' without any water. I had seen a few videos of people using swim chords, but standing up to use them and not going through the full arm movement of the stroke. I tried this, but was not feeling the love at all. So I decided to try doing it on my swiss ball - and the result is in the video.

OK, so it is not like being in the water - I have even considered asking my hubby to spray me with a super soaker to make it feel more authentic. But I can go through the full swim motion, and even get the hips moving a bit so that I feel like I am swimming in my natural stroke rhythm just minus the leg kick. I can even do 'sessions' similar to those I do in the water by counting my strokes - I know roughly how many I would usually take in the water so I can break the swim down in to sets like I would normally in training. It is not perfect - I have learned the hard way not to use my hips too much as you end up underneath the ball instead of on top of it - and I miss the water. But I have learned to try and focus on what I can do just now rather than what I can't. And hey, hopefully it wont be too long before I am back swimming at Pinkston until my hearts content. Until then I will be on my ball strapped to my living room door, counting my strokes, and thinking 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming.'"

By Pinkston


Surviving Lockdown 2021 - Rowan

We are celebrating how our community is using the 5 ways to well-being to get through lockdown (connect - be active - take notice - give - keep learning)

To share your story please drop us a message. We would love to hear from you!

Next up is Rowan, also an Adventure Sports student at Glasgow Kelvin College and a member of the Pinkston freelance team.
Here is her story:

"During this lockdown I celebrated my 20th birthday with a beautiful winter walk in my local park (Pollock Park) with my family and dogs. Since then I have been going to Pollok Park every day with the aim on doing 15,000 steps a day. By now I can walk the whole park with my eyes closed but it’s still a part of my day I look forward to! I’m so grateful for my local outdoor spaces which allow me to get out and enjoy nature. For me going out a walk allows me time away from my computer and phone screen as I’m currently an Adventure Sport student stuck in online classes instead of exciting practical sessions. I’ve also been fortunate enough to get out paddling on the canal, flat water paddling is better than no paddling. Getting outdoors helps me to keep a positive mindset and stay active which is very important to me.
I joined the pinkston freelance team last summer and what a summer it was. Working at Pinkston allowed my to develop my skill level and love for paddling all while meeting some amazing people. Between summer and the second lockdown I spent pretty much every day at the centre either working, at college or the park and play sessions. In this lock down I’m really missing getting out kayaking everyday and working with all you lovely people but hopefully soon enough things will be back to normal and we can all have a play on the water again! See ya then!"

By Pinkston


Surviving Lockdown 2021 - Robbie

We are celebrating how our community is using the 5 ways to well-being to get through lockdown (connect - be active - take notice - give - keep learning)

To share your story please drop us a message. We would love to hear from you!

Next to share their story is Robbie, familiar face at Pinkston as an Adventure Sports student at Glasgow Kelvin College and as a freelance coach. Here is his story:

"I definitely feel as though this lockdown has been much harder than the previous 2020 lockdown. Learning online through a computer screen all day and with the weather being so terrible at the minute, I can struggle to find motivation to be active and be outside. I find just going for one walk a day even if it’s a short one for me has helped me massively to mentally. Playing football with my flatmates is a way I can mix it up from the usual daily stroll.
I’m not the type of person who enjoys spending lots of time indoors, so as you can imagine lockdown is very hard for me. I’m an Adventure Sports student currently, and a huge part of the course should of been the trips away and the practical elements which haven’t been happening anywhere near as much as we had hoped.
I am very fortunate that this year I have moved out with my two best friends, and without that I think this lockdown would have been a lot harder at home.
I can’t wait to be back in a kayak and to see you all back at Pinkston again for more in 2021!"

By Pinkston


Surviving Lockdown 2021 - Hannah

We are celebrating how our community is using the 5 ways to well-being to get through lockdown (connect - be active - take notice - give - keep learning)

To share your story please drop us a message. We would love to hear from you!

Next up is our General Manager Hannah: 
"Lockdown 2021 came as a surprise to me. Shows my level of naivety perhaps, but adjusting to how this year started wasn't easy. Throughout 2020 my life was pretty much ruled by finding a way for Pinkston to get through and survive, and I was quickly caught up in the buzz that grew around that. I loved the way the community pulled together and grew through such a difficult year. I was (and will be again) so very excited by what 2021 was going to (and will... eventually!) bring. Despite being such an awful time worldwide it feels like it is time for the benefits of everything we do in the outdoors to really show their true colours.

So the start of 2021 threw me a bit. And like so many I've had to settle into a routine of part furlough and supporting the home learning of my 11 and 13 year old boys. There have been many tears, but also those positive moments that are getting us through. We have spent more time together than we have been able to since they were babies. We live in Perthshire so have plenty of amazing space to play in, including some decent hills and rivers - although we haven't made it out on the water yet this year. Getting outside has offered us the escape and the sanity we all need. It has also offered us more time than we would normally have to bond as a family in an environment we all love. A "mountaineering" trip on a local hill, and even a dabble at ski touring from the front door have been mixed in with plenty of walks with the dog, playing on a rope swing in the woods, and sledging on the golf course.

I can't wait to get back to work properly and see Pinkston come back to life. In the meantime though despite - or perhaps because of - the stresses of home learning and trying to find sense for my family in a world where it seems there is none, there will be a lot of memories to treasure"

By Pinkston


Surviving Lockdown 2021 - Fraser and Katie

We are celebrating how our community is using the 5 ways to well-being to get through lockdown (connect - be active - take notice - give - keep learning)

Next up is Fraser, longstanding member of the Pinkston staff team, and his girlfriend Katie, also a Pinkston instructor. They have been busy exploring close to home.
Here is their story: 
  "Lockdown has been particularly hard for both of us, I have been shielding ever since lockdown started last March and have not been able to do my job, go boating or visit a cinema, restaurant, pub, shop or other family members even when restrictions where loosened.
For Katie, she had spent the last 2 summers abroad working in Italy. When lockdown happened her planned trip to go rafting in Bulgaria was cancelled and as much as spending time in sunny Scotland is delightful, she was ‘buzzing’ to get away to another new country. So it’s clear to see it’s affected us both in a huge way. Both mentally and physically!
Our escapism has came in the wonderful parks of Glasgow and our lovely but sometimes energy draining dog Buzz. Buzz is a 1 year old beagle and beagles needs a lot of exercise to tire them out, so we came with the idea to visit as many parks in Glasgow as we can staying within the restrictions so that could get buzz out and not only give him the exercise he needs but also allow us to improve our own mental well-being
One of the parks we have used a lot is Springburn park, which is a 10 minutes walk from my house and not too far away from Pinkston, has been ideal for buzz but also for helping us get outdoors as both me and Katie are not great at sitting around the house. The fresh air, even if only for a short while makes a huge difference and it has also helped not just us but my family members I live with who have struggled during lockdown, talk about how they are feeling. It’s amazing what a simple walk can do.
So hopefully we can get back to things we love the most soon as possible, but at the same time, you might just find your next adventure is on your doorstep!"
If you would like to share your story - please drop us a message! grin

By Pinkston


Pinkston Lockdown Update and Meeting Invites

From the team at Pinkston we want to pass on our best wishes to all of our community as we sit out the latest lockdown. With all of the team on part or full furlough life is very different for us - as we are sure it is for you.


We, like you, continue to watch the news with hope that we will be able to return to activity sooner rather than later. At this time we have no better idea than anyone of when that will be. As such we are planning ahead so that we are ready when the time comes. This is including activity plans and planning for activities funded by youthlink for local community groups. We have also been successful in attracting some adapt and thrive funding, which will be used for site improvements, including lockers and changing shelters to improve the experience for outdoor changing.

As has been touched on previously there have been some changes to the board in the past year, and we are in the process of finalising an updated business plan. As a consequence the time feels right to hold a long overdue user group meeting.

For those interested in attending the user group meeting you can sign up here

We are also in the process of revisiting the possibility of changing the configuration of the long course.

If being part of the course configuration meeting is of interest to you then please sign up to this event

Hopefully see you there
And if not, then on the water soon!
Stay safe
From all the team at Pinkston

By Pinkston


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