Mottershead Diaries Paddlers Paradise

Summer on the West Coast of Ireland is a beautiful time of the year. The long evenings, small groomed swells and warmer weather mean we can spend more time outside doing the things we love.

For me it is also my busiest time of the year, as a kayak guide running my own business things tend to hit fever pitch around mid August and I find myself in a blur of bookings, tours and meeting lots of new customers who come to see the amazing scenery and off the beaten track beauty of County Sligo. Our lakes and coastal estuaries are the perfect places to explore in sea kayaks and its easy to spend hours surrounded by nature. No houses, or man made noise. Just tweeting birds and the breeze through the forest, the drips off your paddle and the longing to look around the next corner. It really is a paddlers paradise.

This season the weather has been tough, but we have definitely had spells of great weather dotted around. Ireland is not known for its sunshine so we take anything we can get! During one of these spells my girlfriend and I took our new puppy Fia for her first camping trip.

We loaded all our gear into our sea kayaks and then fia was loaded in to sit on my lap as we paddled across Lough Gill to our island camp site. The evening light was amazing out there and we had a BBQ whilst Fia played in the grass. Next summer I will be offering kayak camping trips to the same island, so we used the special evening light to get a couple of promotional photos for the website.

A few weeks ago I spotted a little swell on the charts, it was headed for my favourite slab of rock and good winds were forecast for the swell’ arrival. I managed to reschedule my tours and hopped in the van for another camping trip. This time I brought a good mate with and we arrived to perfect little peelers winding down the rock shelf, not a soul in sight. We set up our tents right in front of the wave and surfed till the sun set, sharing the lineup with a curious seal. The next day dawned hot and sunny. Peeling back the tent door I saw stacked lines marching towards our wave and again we gorged ourselves on playful waves till it was time to leave.

Summer is not known for its surf here but it’s moments like these that make the chase worthwhile, and bring out a strong contrast to riding waves here in the depths of winter. To sit around a crackling campfire, after a day of sunny waves is one of the great joys of life and there really is no better place to experience that than the west coast of Ireland.

Its nearly autumn now and the days are starting to get a little shorter, and colder. As I write this there is a hurricane spinning deep in the Atlantic which will bring groomed swell with it this weekend. Plotting, planning, ducking and diving will soon be the norm, making time for more adventurous excursions into the wilds of the west. I am fortunate to call this place home.

Click Here if you fancy learning more about how you could join Barry on one of his tours on the West Coast