Tuesday, 30 October 2012

From Spey to Thames

Although the sky was overcast, early morning in Speyside was lit by the golden radiance of rich, autumnal colours emanating from the departing leaves of summer 2012. Although only a gentle breeze, the large, rounded leaves of the once lush, riverside alders danced liked heavy, leathery feathers, downwards towards the surface of the now chilly waters of the River Spey.

Today, however, I am looking only at Lady Spey from above and at a distance as the train I am travelling on gathers speed on its route south to London. As we move towards Dalwhinnie, crossing the rail-bridge just upstream of Newtonmore, this is the last glimpse of my river I will have until my return to Speyside late tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.
Having in 2010 previously worked on the Spey with a small group of boys from St Paul’s School, situated on the banks of the River Thames by Hammersmith Bridge, I have been invited by the school’s Headmaster to talk to boys, parents and staff about the majestic Spey.
This evening I am to meet with parents of boys and the boys themselves, likely to take part in a wonderful, unforgettable Canoe Journey on the historic River Spey in the summer of2013. Tonight we will concentrate mainly upon matters relating to practical aspects of a Spey Journey extending over several days ~ dates; section of this beautiful river to be paddled; my provision of all specialist canoe/safety equipment; what the boys need to bring; transport arrangements ~ to Speyside and along the river; even whether en route we ‘stay close to nature' and camp or perhaps stay overnight in some of the well-appointed Speyside guest-house/hotel accommodations.
Tomorrow morning I am to address boys and masters at the school’s morning assembly. Here I will very willingly talking about the history, culture, working practices and the people of the Spey. Hopefully, the St Paul’s link with the wonderful Spey, with the boys taking part in this unique adventure will become an annual event on the St Paul’s calendar.
I would confess to today feeling quite excited about my journey south to the UK Capital and to be by the mighty Thames. Hopefully the boys from Thames Valley will be excited and inspired by their magical Journey north to Strathspey, and will in years to come, reflect fondly on their Spey Experience.

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