Kayaking this weekend

Many years ago from the age of 11 until 20 I did quite a bit of canoeing; often going on canoe camping trips.  We are as a family going to Scotland for a couple of weeks this summer to do  some walking and kayaking.  To make it easy to transport I have invested in two inflatable kayaks, one a Z-Pro Tango and a Sevylor Yukon. Both are doubles and the Z-Pro can be paddled as a single as well.  The Yukon has lots of storage space, so I hoping to do overnight camping with them along the many lochs that there are in Scotland and perhaps use them to bag a few remote Munro’s .  Over the weekend I took a trip with my two sons and my eldest son’s girlfriend on the River Ancholme, which is only 5 minutes drive from home.  As it was raining stair-rods in the morning we ended up doing a shorter trip.  The River Ancholme is managed by the Environment Agency and has some good launching spots, several portage areas, which have picnic areas with benches, so it makes a good day trip.

I am surprised how good the inflatables are compared to rigids, which we have used for several years.

River Ancholme

William trying out canoe paddle style

James and Vic taking a rest

Portage area


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19 Responses to Kayaking this weekend

  1. chris says:

    interested to read about your inflatables,i have had my top of the range Sevylor for 3yrs and i do not like it.Like you we bought it to use in Scottish loch paddling and it has a number of problems[1] the weight is a dead weight and makes it awkward and heavy to carry more so than a rigid canadian[2]using the pump supplied it requires quite a lot of strength across the chest to inflate it,i feel exhausted after it[3].you do get quite wet and even though we uysed wetsuits you can get pretty uncomfortable sat low down.[4].i got a tiny pinprick leak in mine and have never found the source of it so i carry the pump with me all the time.
    I wish you luck with yours but i am not sold on there use for any serious activity and hope to replace it with a lightweight canadian…
    i did get rid of a collapsible Bergans Ally which was brilliant but have been unable to replace it with the same.
    Good luck on your trip chris

    • Hi Chris, thanks for dropping by. It is difficult to know yet what issues there will be long term.
      My observations so far is that with the backpack, it is not too bad to carry. Portages so far have been fine, if there are two people carrying the kayak. I have had no problem inflating the kayaks, especially the Z-Pro with a Double Action Push Pull pump and they are small enough to carry in the kayak. I hope that our trips on the Lochs will be OK but time will tell.
      Thanks for the heads up on potential issues

  2. -maria- says:

    I also did some kayaking with my husband (then boyfriend) before we got our kids. I guess it would be really nice to go canoeing with the children when they are a bit older. Really looking forward to your trip report after that family holiday in Scotland!

    • Hi Maria , in my experience kids love kayaking. I did when I was younger, so I think it is never too young to start them on this sport.
      Will post up some stuff hopefully during my holiday, depends on internet connection. Crossing my fingers that the weather will be better than of late in Scotland – pretty bad at present 😦

  3. Hi, I am interested in doing a kayaking expedition but I have no idea where to start. I used to love kayaking but I haven’t done any for about 3 to 4 years now. I am now 20.

    Obviously I will need a kayak, but is it possible to do an expedition, say on the river Wye?

    Do you have to pay any authorities for the privilege, and yeah I don’t know anything about it. If you have a guide I would appreciate a link.

    Many thanks, Alec.

  4. Phil says:

    Thanks for this Mark… sounds like a good trip.
    Just wondering whether you had any views on which of the two you preferred…. am looking to purchase an inflatable (for river, a little light white water and coastal paddling) and have narrowed it down to either the ZPro Tango, the Sevylor Hudosn or the Sevylor Yukon… would welcome any comments (perhaps especially regarding build/robustness etc.)
    Wishing you many more safe trips.

    • Phil, The Z-Pro Tango is more streamline and can be paddled either single or double. It is quicker to set up and inflate and the valves are easy to use that the Yukon. The Yukon is more a tourer and has a 70 litre storage compartment at the back and waterproof map case at the front. It also has a paddle guard which protects the fabric from wear when paddling. Both kayaks seem pretty robust so far and have good build quality.
      I have posted up another trip tonight.

  5. Thanks Steve for dropping by. The Ancholme is managed by British Waterways and I understand you need a permit/license I got this from the British Canoe Union http://www.bcu.org.uk/ This will also cover many other rivers and canals in England and Wales. In Scotland, there is free access.

    I have not kayaked from Brigg down to the Humber. Near to the mouth (the end point of the Humber) there is a big sluice which could be dangerous. Although the Ancholme is a fairly slow moving river, it is easier going down stream than up stream. Hope you have a good trip.

  6. Hi Steve thanks for dropping by. The Ancholme is managed by British Waterways. You can get a license from the British Canoe Union, this covers lots of other rivers and canals in England and Wales. In Scotland access is free. see http://www.bcu.org.uk/ . I have not kayaked from Brigg, I get in at Bishopbridge at the start of the river. It is always easier paddling down stream than up stream.
    I hope you have a good trip.

  7. Francis Moran says:

    Just bought a new zpro tango but I’m struggling with the H3 valves. The attachments on the stirrup pump are fine for the boston valve in the floor, but do I need a special attachmment to lock the pump in place on the H3’s? Tried my mate’s and had the same problem. Am I missing something obvious as all the websites say it’s easy to inflate?


    • I use a Gelert pump which has a selection of nozzles. One of the pointed ones is used to inflate the H3’s. Click on the link and there should be a photo of the pump. I hope this helps.

  8. Rich Hughes says:

    Hi mark

    At the point of buying an inflatable and trying to decide between the z pro 200 and the Yukon, now that you’ve had both for a while how do you think they compare, given the choice now which would you choose?

    Like the idea of solo paddling when we’re on a lake but also want to take the boys downriver to camp out so might need 2 seats and space to carry kit, am I comparing apples with oranges?

    • Hi Rich. The Yukon has definitely more storage space and has a zip in storage bag, so you can store a fair amount gear in it. The Z-Pro has less storage space, but you can convert the kayak to solo use. I have not tried the Yukon in this mode as I bought mainly as a two man canoe with the possibility of canoe camping at some stage with my wife now she is recovering from a nasty accident. You may be able to use the Yukon for solo use but I think it is a little heavy for it. Difficult one, but the Z-Pro can do both but has less space. I hope this helps.

  9. Al says:

    Hi Mark,

    It seems I’m not the only person struggling to decide between the Zpro 200 and the Yukon. You weigh up the pro’s and con’s quite evenly between the two. Whilst I am swaying towards the Yukon due to its storage capabilties and my intentions of canoe camping with my girlfriend or anyone else capable of spending hours within close proximity of me, I also want to be able fly solo occasionally!
    If only there were a happy medium!!

    If you had to choose one, which would it be?

    Glad to have found your blog – very useful and inspiring.


    • Hi Al thanks for dropping by. Are you going to spend more time solo or do you feel you will get more out of canoe camping ? If it is the latter then get the Yukon. Thanks for your kind words.


  10. antony says:

    do you know any good place to get in the river ancolme in canou

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