Monday 5th January 2009 ...

Happy New Year and Feliz Ano, all. I've just returned from a splendid holiday to Portugal, which turns out to be a truly beautiful paddling destination with paddling that bears more than a passing similarity to the UK's great rivers! Our thanks to the local paddlers who made us feel so welcome.

Before I departed, I sat down at the keyboard for several days straight (very sad, I know) and restructured the whole riverguide part of the site. I did the dog work of sticking about 10000 individual files into proper folders, something that I should have done a whole decade ago when the site was first set up. My original poor site structure meant that eventually the site simply got too big for me to manage!

What the work I've done means for you, is that getting the riverguides - the heart of the site - up to date, current and intregrated with the Community Pages will be much easier and hopefully you'll start to see progress in this area continuing faster and faster as the new regional editors get their areas sorted. It was an incredibly dull job, but it needed to be done.

Right: The Rio Paiva in Portugal.

Sunday 21st December 2008 ...

Merry blah blah blahs to all users of the site.

Just an update on where we are with things... all manner of changes are taking place behind the scenes to try and get the site up to date and functioning like a 'real' website. The backlogs for NE and NW England are cleared (many thanks to Jim Pullen) and I've nearly finishing bringing the SW England section up to date. Linked to this work is the tedium of sorting the thousands of files into regional directories so that regional editors can work on them, and setting up regional forums with individual river threads (yawn) to allow easy river updating. England is being done first, but we'll eventually get Wales and Scotland sorted. The Community Pages have also been updated and rebuilt, with work from Rob Tuley and Mark Gawler among others.

The idea is that eventually you'll see a much less creaky and much more integrated site ... but please be patient, we do the work in fits and starts in spare moments and frankly, when the chance arises we'd rather be paddling.

See you all in 2009.

Right: The Aire Wave working, photo from Nick Horwood

Monday 24th November 2008 ...

It's that time of year again, when we try to flog our dodgy wares to you, the site user. The 2008 UKRGB T-Shirt is the same design as last year, simply because I thought that last years' design (by Simon Westgarth, as always) was great. We're also flogging beanies (=woolly hats).

The profits from our annual T-shirt sale usually cover about half of the website server costs each year. To rephrase that, they recoup about half of my annual loss. So I'm very grateful to all who buy the t-shirts.

Please BUY HERE and there is more info HERE. Please note that you're only got until the 28th November to get your orders in.

Many thanks to Simon and Gene17 for setting this all up.

Saturday 8th November 2008 ...

Andy Jackson was one of the pivotal characters of our sport. He crammed an incredible amount into his life; from exploring Scottish ditches, to kicking off 'World Tour' paddling trips, to working towards legal access to Scottish rivers, to making an awful lot of people laugh and smile.

His sudden death in 2004 at the age of 33 shocked and saddened British paddlers.

Andy's friend Ron Cameron has now written a biography of Andy, collating Andy's writings, some amazing photos and the memories of Andy's (numerous) friends and family. I've been totally gripped by my copy. It's an absolutely brilliant read and a fitting tribute to an amazing guy. Enjoy a sample of the book here.

You really do want to buy a copy of this book! Get one for yourself, then buy copies for all your friends for Christmas ...

The royalties from this book are to be divided equally between the Andy Jackson Fund for Access and the IcFEM (providing education, healthcare, agriculture and social support in Kenya). Incidentally, I get a small commission for book sales through these links, and will be making a donation to the above funds for each copy sold here.

Sunday 7th September 2008 ...

Hi all ... just an update on the state of play behind the scenes at UKRGB. Ive run out of excuses not to sit down and do some proper work on the site. My book is finished and in the shops, this years big paddlingtrips are out of the way and I have finally run out of work avoidance tactics.

I'm currently setting up a system for voluntary regional editors to help with the work through the truly immense backlog of river guide updates. Hopefully, you should start seeing some progress made in the coming months. When that (major) task is done, then we'll take a step back and look at the bigger picture; namely, how to modernise the 'back end' of the site somewhat ... but the content comes first!

Best wishes, Mark R.

Right: Paddling in India last Easter. One of my numerous lame excuses for not making progress on the website.


Saturday 5th January 2008...

A very Happy New Year to all visitors and members.

I am happy to admit that although I've kept editing the Community, I have done very little work towards editing the river guides on this site during 2007. Sorry about this! The reason was that I was busy researching, photographing and writing a book. This took up all of my spare time, to put it mildly. The majority of the work on that project is now out of the way. I am now looking at ways to work through the backlog, and maybe even make the site a bit slicker. Watch this space!

Right: My wife paddling the Etive on January 2nd ...