The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

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Simon Willis
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The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by Simon Willis »

The Canoe Boys is coming to BBC TV on 17th April 2016.

As most people will know, the original book by Sir Alastair Dunnett is a kayaking classic, about a 1934 voyage up the west coast of Scotland. The BBC programme is a celebration of that original journey and features Brian Wilson, the author of Blazing Paddles and Dances with Waves. Brian is paired with a newcomer to kayaking, former professional footballer Michael Stewart, and together they retrace much of the original Canoe Boys route.

For their journey, two replicas of ‘Lochaber’ style sea canoes were researched and built by apprentices at the Scottish Maritime Museum. The BBC has just given us a confirmed transmission slot of Sunday 17th April 1900-2000, BBC2 Scotland. Outwith Scotland, it can be seen on the BBC2 Scotland channel of Freesat or Sky and on the BBC iPlayer from 18th April for 30 days.

Although I shot much of the programme, and I think may have been credited as a Producer, I haven't seen the final cut. But it was a lot of fun to make and that's usually a good sign.
S
ImageIMG_4504 by Sunart Media, on Flickr

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by PlymouthDamo »

This looks good - I'll definitely be catching it on iPlayer. Hopefully you paddled under the Bridge Over the Atlantic etc by Oban - the only area I've paddled up there.

(Pedant alert...)

Why are these boats being called 'canoes?' Is it a historical thing? Normally if your feet are in front of you and you've got a double-bladed paddle, you're in a kayak.

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by Simon Willis »

Atlantic Bridge... (the photo is cropped because there's a second cameraman on top of the bridge shooting down while I was in a rib running parallel).

ImageIMG_4476 by Sunart Media, on Flickr

As for the "Canoe" point... well, the simplest answer would be that the book was called The Canoe Boys, not The Kayak Boys.

You're right about the historical thing. Nowadays we pretty much define a canoe as being paddled by a single bladed paddle, but to the best of my knowledge there was no such distinction back then. The Lochaber built on the legacy of the Rob Roy canoe, were called 'sea canoes' and were constructed long before Ken Taylor brought his kayak back from Greenland in 1959. I'm sure others can give a more complete definition and history.

Glad to hear you'll watch. Please spread the word.

S

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by ian johnston »

Looking forward to seeing this Simon - I thought it had all gone quiet!



Best wishes

Ian

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by CM2 »

From dictionary.com
Canoe
any of various slender, open boats, tapering to a point at both ends, propelled by paddles or sometimes sails and traditionally formed of light framework covered with bark, skins, or canvas, or formed from a dug-out or burned-out log or logs, and now usually made of aluminum, fiberglass, etc.
Kayak
an Eskimo canoe with a skin cover on a light framework, made watertight by flexible closure around the waist of the occupant and propelled with a double-bladed paddle. [or] a small boat resembling this, made commercially of a variety of materials and used in sports.:
So a kayak is a type of canoe. As there is no term to specifically refer to a boat you kneel in and use a single bladed paddle that is also a "canoe" so it does get confusing.

Note that the British "Canoe" Union covers all "paddlesports" (including paddleboards which don't really fit in to the definition of canoe.

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by Simon Willis »

There's a short promo video on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/adventureshow/ ... 8/?fref=nf

The BBC's programme page is here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b078ch0r

Incidentally, they paddled from Bowling on the River Clyde with the intention of reaching the Western Isles but only got as far as Skye.

So a reminder - the programme is on Sunday on BBC-2 Scotland, a channel you can find outwith Scotland on Freesat and Sky. From Monday it should be on the iPlayer for 30 days.
S

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by PhilAyr »

Congratulations to Simon on what was an interesting programme with some fabulous paddling footage of my favourite area on the west coast of Scotland. However I felt a bit uncomfortable watching Michael destroy his paddle. Luckily there was a safety boat.

Phil

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by Simon Willis »

Thanks Phil. I co-produced and shot the programme up to and including the journey but then I handed it over. I hadn't seen the final edit and I was pleased.

The programme is now on the iPlayer:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... canoe-boys

S

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by ian johnston »

Great stuff Simon - a really interesting watch. The Lochabers were a bit shorter in the flesh than I'd envisaged from the photos in the book, but do look to be good boats. It must be a bit of a re-learning experience with no hip or thigh contact and I thought Michael did pretty damn well.

Glad to see the seasickness episode left in the edit - a good documentary moment :o)

All the best

Ian

PS - where was the drone-cam you teased us with mention of?!

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by Yellerbelly »

Very small bottles of whisky. Did the budget not stretch to something larger once they'd hired a footballer?

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by Simon Willis »

Yeah the drone... I really wanted that but I didn't hold the purse strings.

What makes you think we didn't have larger bottles of whisky? Just 'cos I only shot the small ones... ;-)

S

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by PlymouthDamo »

Excellent programme. I thought Michael Stewart was a good choice for the novice paddler to be recreating the trip - I picked up on various clues as to how trying the trip was (and not just the sea-sickness and paddle-busting incidents) but he obviously has a get-on-with-it attitude. I knew nothing about the original trip, and I really liked the fact that they seemed to be working class lads from Glasgow deciding to head off into the unknown.

I shall now officially stop complaining about the few millimetres of water that makes it's way into my compartments.

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by Chris Bolton »

Very good - nice job, Simon.

The boats seemed to go better than I expected from the description in the book. The paddles looked like genuine antiques, not replicas, except maybe the feather had been reduced from the traditional 90º?

The milk bottle bailers were a bit modern - and not very effective (the usual thing is to leave the lid on and cut the whole bottom of the bottle off)

Simon, if I may ask (and you may wish to keep the secret!), was it a real continuous journey, shot in the order it was presented?

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Image
That's a fine programme, which just adds to my long-held admiration for those two young Scots. The photo is of the Lochaber Junior that I found in pieces on a Devon farm. Story from five years ago here:
http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... oe#p580194
Nick.

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by applejack »

Watched it on iPlayer last night. Very entertaining and inspiring. Not sure why Michael Stewart appeared to deliberately break his paddle by continually striking it against the hull in a hissy fit? No wonder he was regularly sent off as a footballer!

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by tpage »

Excellent Viewing Simon.

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by swagstaff »

Great viewing Simon. Thanks.
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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by carpyken »

I'm probably being thick but I'm struggling to find this on BBC Iplayer?

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by nickcrowhurst »


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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by carpyken »

Thanks Nick :-)

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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by Mark R »

Just watched some of this. The boats look *awful* to paddle in rough water.
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Re: The Canoe Boys - on BBC TV 17th April 2016

Post by Aled »

Excellent, thoroughly enjoyed it!

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