Country Corner

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I recall one summer’s day when my pal Robin and I were passing through Haddington on the Tyne in our old open canoe.

We were ambushed by a load of swimming kids who begged a loan of our treasured craft so that they could have a go. They had great fun but we both thought it was a bit much when one of the lads said: “ Onywiy, whit ur youse twa daen adventure sports fur? Youse ur twa auld guys!”

I am reminded of the story because I turned 60 the other day. However, as you can see from this recent photo, the Canadian Canoe is still my transport of choice.

This scene is on the Tweed somewhere between Peebles and Innerleithen .

There can be few better ways of seeing the countryside and its wildlife, and certainly no better way for finding camping spots miles away from habitation.

In fact, open canoeing is enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity these days and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Some folk like to test themselves against white water or time, but for me it is all about sedate progress with all senses on the alert for riverside wildlife.

Regular stops for a brew or a nose around are the order of the day . There is also the chance to chew the fat with fishers, gamekeepers, ramblers and farmers.

The laughs can be good –like the time amigo Bert and I were coming ashore at Port Seton and asked a picnicking couple “Excuse me, is this France?” As for Pick, my wee working terrier, she is so confident in the canoe she rarely has all four legs on board, usually at least two are hanging over the side . Maybe she thinks rabbits like swimming?

Anyway, 60 or not, this old guy is not going to be giving up “adventure sports” anytime soon”