I am 22 and I live in Newbiggin-By-The-Sea, Northumberland. I love the water, and in particular the sea. I have been out on the sea since I can remember; from my local sailing club I learned to enjoy the sea and to harbor a healthy respect for it.
BCU UKCC 5* Sea Kayak, 4* Canoe and Kayak, 4* training Surf, Level 2 coach kayak and canoe. By this summer I hope to be updated on the coaching front with the new Level 2 and have moderate water Endorsement Sea and Canoe.
In 2012 myself, my brother Stuart Leslie and Friend Lee Wilson decided to start our expedition portfolio with a big trip. It was a challenge to find something that had not been done already and was within budget.
To Kayak around our country, mainland Great Britain, but to be the first to do so anti clockwise, against superstition and prevailing winds oddly took our fancy. We set out from our home town on 26th May 2012 and arrived back 96 days later. I reckon there are a few more trips in me yet but nothing to disclose just now.
I started paddling at 16 when my dinghy sailing club enrolled me on a Kayaking course with the eventual goal of becoming a coach. The course took place in many crafts, in any weather, every weekend without fail but I loved it.
Thanks to my involvement with coach Tom Thomas at Wansbeck Paddlesports Club I now have a healthy list of qualifications and a host of experiences to take me forward.
Between 2007 and 2010 I gained invaluable experience whilst working as first mate on James Cook, a 70ft sail training vessel. I had the opportunity to lead teams of up to 16 people from all walks of life on sailing adventures to all sorts of exciting locations.
During my work I took part in 3 Tall Ships events and got to visit great countries including Russia, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland and Finland. These trips exposed me to the planning and attitude required to stay safe whilst journeying on the sea.
This brilliant job came to a swift end when I was diagnosed with epilepsy after an episode at the end of 2010, thankfully the condition is now under full control and I have embarked on a new career path. In my spare time I love to do anything in the outdoors, cycling, walking, sailing, climbing (despite my lack of skill), I also have a passion for food, cooking and real ale.
Sea kayaking tops it all, for me if I had to choose a favorite activity it wins hands down every time.
The sea represents something bigger than we are used to; it is the road to anywhere, seemingly never ending, dynamic and changeable beyond our control. It can mean freedom, adventure or fear therefore a journey on the sea is the greatest journey there can be.
What little wisdom I would share
I think the most essential things about kayak expeditions is getting the right kit, the right skills and the right company.
I have been lucky so far in that I have had the support of Lendal, Sea Kayaking UK, other organisations and people that have made it possible for me to learn in safety and complete life changing expeditions.