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"you’ve really fired our enthusiasm!"

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Gill Barnsley, co-organiser of the Mid West Sea Kayak Symposium, died peacefully at Lorn and Islands hospital, Oban on 5th May 2017. She will be sorely missed by Colin, friends, family and colleagues.

A gathering to celebrate Gill’s life will be held on Thursday 25 May at 1pm in the Argyllshire Gathering Halls, Oban. All are welcome; Colin hopes that as many of Gill’s friends, colleagues, neighbours and fellow paddlers as possible will come to the gathering.

Colin requests that bright, casual/outdoor clothing be worn. Family flowers only. A retiral collection/donations will be taken for the Macmillan Suite at Lorn & Islands Hospital, Oban.


Next Symposium

The Mid West Sea Kayak Symposium is taking a wee break in 2017 - giving everyone a chance to practise their ceilidh dancing before the next Symposium! We hope to see you back at the Symposium in 2018.

In the meantime, happy paddling and we look forward to seeing you at Kari-Tek to help you find your perfect kayaking gear.

Ann & Stuart
01292 571019

Our coaches

These were our coaches in  previous years - check back later to see our 2016 coach line-up!

Colin McWilliamsColin McWilliams

Colin is our Lead Coach at the Symposium and has put together the 3-day programme of practical, skills foccused sessions. In 2005 he moved to Oban with Gill to be close to the sea and set up Oban Sea Kayak Guides. He likes paddling on salty water because no two trips or journeys are ever the same.

Visit Colin McWilliams' website>

Gill BarnsleyGill Barnsley

Gill, we're delighted to announce, was the first ever female to achieve UKCC  Level 3 Sea Coach and is the Symposium's co-organiser with Colin. Gill has been paddling for what she describes as "ages" on rivers and the sea, and loves "mucking about in boats" and coaching. Gill's aims include learning how to cartwheel and how to paddle under an iceberg (though not necessarily at the same time).

Les KirkpatrickLes Kirkpatrick

Based in south west of Scotland, Les has been paddling kayaks for over 30 years on all sorts of water on the continent and during two trips to the east coast of Greenland. Les loves the west coast of Scotland and, as a level 4 sea coach, he enjoys teaching enthusiastic beginners.Les' forward paddling technique sessions which use a paddle machine and video cameras proved to be a great success at last year's symposium.

Pat MurrayPat Murray

Pat has been paddling for more than 35 years and is a BCU Level 4 Coach in three disciplines (including sea thankfully!). When not paddling he can occasionally be found at work on the North East Coast running the Adventure Sunderland Outdoor Education Centre and Sunderland Marina.

Visit Adventure Sunderland Outdoor Education Centre website>

Adam RichardsAdam Richards

Growing up by the beach in his native Cornwall, Adam has been making outdoorsy mischief since the age of 8. Adam now works at Kilbowie Outdoor Centre in Oban and uses his knowledge of coaching several outdoor disclipines to enhance his coaching toolbox.

Dave BleazardDave Bleazard

Inspired as a youngster by Jacques Cousteau's adventure films, Dave has a degree in marine biology, has dived since he was 15 years old and is still happiest rock pooling or looking for marine life. He currently spends a lot of his spare time kayaking and is a level 3 river kayak coach. He is the current chairman of Oban Canoe Club and in whatever time is left runs Outside Edge in Oban.

Tony HammockTony Hammock

After fifteen years of amateur coaching, Tony went professional in 2002 and now runs Seafreedom Kayak based near Oban and is now a Level 5 Coach. Vertically challenged, alarmingly enthusiastic and notorious for truly awful jokes, he gets his kicks from enabling people to enjoy the wild environment that he loves.

Visit Tony Hammock’s website>

Leonie WoolfLeonie Woolf

Leonie is a UKCC Level 2 Coach based near Oban. Most of Leonie's time is spent on the sea, although she can occasionally be spotted in an open canoe. She loves being on the water - whether its helping people enjoy the sea or finding fun on the Falls of Lora, she'll probably be smiling! Leonie also owns Art & Sea - a little company offering custom graphics for paddlers.

Keith DavisKeith Davis

Keith has been coaching a variety of paddlesports for sixteen years including river kayaking, open canoeing and of course sea kayaking. He runs Paddlepower and Adventure an outdoor company specialising in coaching and guiding in all forms of paddlesport, rock climbing and summer and winter hillwalking. Keith is a level 4 coach in inland kayak, open canoe and 5* trained in sea kayak. He enjoys sharing his passion for the outdoors and especially sea kayaking with others. When Keith’s not working, you'll still find him out and about on the sea, rivers and lochs.


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01292 571 019Advance booking required

Postal bookings: download entry form here>