Winding our way down through a wooded trail, engulfed by a myriad of luscious plant life, comparisons of New Zealand thousands of miles away are instantly conjured up but here I was bouncing merrily away in a land rover in southern Cornwall. I kept being told that the best was still to reveal itself and as we came to our short journey end, that kodak moment sat before my gazing eyes. The sound of traffic had been replaced by the trees whistling in the breeze and our watery playground shimmered in reflective glory amongst the afternoon rays.
Safe on land, the most difficult task is taking on board the safety briefing, as the distraction of the landscape is so inspiring on the eye. Everything sounded so straightforward as I was assured that no one capsizes on a river, which was a confident start considering my balancing skills are not my strongest trait. If you are looking for elegance then kayaking is certainly not the obvious choice but once seated all your inhibitions just seem to flow away with the tide.
My only experience of kayaking previously had involved a cold wintry day on a lake during my college years, hardly the most inspiring memory but one which needed updating. Fast forward fifteen years and this was what kayaking should be all about, gently launching off a private creek with the only ripples in the water created by my erratic paddling. I was in entirely safe hands as my tour guides, Hetty and Tom, have that natural skill of simply putting you at ease. Whether it’s a story of wildlife encounters or pointing out the tree where Kylie planted her pert derriere for a music video shoot, everything is done at such a tranquil pace that you barely feel like you are moving and that epitomises what this whole trip is about.
Funnily enough, this is actually our back-up plan as the original schedule to head out along the coast from Trevaunance Cove at St Agnes had been scuppered by heavy surf. Disappointment soon turned to delight though as instead of the rugged cliffs and fresh sea air of the raw north Atlantic north coast, I was transported to the calm and tree-lined pleasant waters of Frenchman’s Creek and the Helford River on the south coast and just a short drive away. The perfect alternative and one which Hetty and Tom display just as much enthusiasm for promoting and for very good reason.
As any adventure seeker will tell you, there is often the moral dilemma of sharing your experience with the world or keeping that secret place to all to yourself. Well I am privileged to be writing this and sharing the wonders of Koru Kayaking with each and every reader out there.
Although it is easy to wax lyrical about the obvious passion both Hetty and Tom achieve from their tour guiding; the biggest testament I can bestow on my guides is their openness to share a piece of their world with anyone and everyone regardless of the ability. From beginners like myself, families, couples, groups or even the more mature clientele, everyone is truly equal as any egos are left on the shore. There must be something in the water, as last year a proposal even followed soon after a trip and it’s easy to see why.
The beautiful thing about kayaking is that no two adventures are ever the same as although the sights may be familiar, the experience certainly isn’t and that’s what keeps you coming back for more. I am still in search of that elusive kingfisher perched on the river banks so that alone is enough to entice me back into the water. If you seeking escapism away from the maddening crowds and an experience which gives you a whole new perspective of Cornwall, Koru Kayaking with leave you with a grin as wide as the river mouth you are paddling.