Wildlife From The Water: Looking Nature In The Eye
When people talk of the canoe allowing you to get close to nature, you'd be forgiven for thinking of extended trips deep into the heart of the Canadian wilderness.
It's true that the ability to paddle a canoe gains you access to wild country difficult or impossible to access on foot. It's also true that extended, remote trips bring you to a much more intimate understanding of the landscape in which you are travelling.
But paddling a canoe also allows you to get closer to nature on a local scale. Wilderness or not.
I was reminded of this last week while running our Expedition Canoeing Skills Course
on and around Windermere in the Lake District National Park.
Windermere is the largest lake in England and its setting is beautiful. It's not wilderness though.
That said, there were plenty of opportunities to get close to wildlife, particularly birds. And we got much closer to them than we would if we weren't in canoes - except perhaps the very tame family of mallards who were very regular visitors to our camp!
Below is a selection of shots, all taken from my canoe during the course of the week.
Canada Goose stronghold on rocky outcrop, Windermere. Photo: Paul Kirtley
The friendly family of camp Mallards did occasionally head onto the water. Photo: Paul Kirtley.
Cormorant on a high perch. Windermere. Photo: Paul Kirtley.
Goosander, Windermere. Photo: Paul Kirtley.
Greylag geese on the upper River Leven. Photo: Paul Kirtley.
Herring Gull with its lunch. Windermere, Cumbria. Photo: Paul Kirtley.
Looking nature in the eye... Mute Swan. Windermere. Photo: Paul Kirtley.
If you'd like to see more of what we got up to during the week, please check out one of the public
photo galleries below:
Expedition Canoeing Skills Course 2013 photo gallery (on Facebook)
Expedition Canoeing Skills Course 2013 photo gallery (on Google+)
And if you've had a great wildlife viewing experience or close encounter from a canoe, why not let us - and other readers - know about by posting a comment below?...
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Paul Kirtley is owner and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog
as well as for various publications including Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine.