The Aurora, AKA Winona, has been with us for around 7 years and has been the source of many hours of watery fun.
The story of our relationship began over a decade ago when I worked for my local Youth Service. During the summers I’d take a bunch load of hormone raging adolescents to a local reservoir for a variety of outdoor activities, which included canoeing. As the boss, it would’ve been rude of me not to join in on the fun, I even took advantage of the extra lessons that our Outdoor Education team put on for staff, as did Muddy Madam, and soon enough we became addicted to canoeing,
Having made the decision to buy our own canoe, I joined the wonderful website / forum: www.songofthepaddle.co.uk, and after months of deliberation we decided that a We-no-nah Aurora was the canoe for us. Fortunately an outdoor activity centre in Aberdyfi, mid Wales had a year old Aurora for sale at just £600, which was about half the price of a new one. They reckoned that it was used mainly in a sandy environment, though it did have some scratches and small to medium dints.
After buying a roof rack for our first Smurf, we set forth on the 6 hour round trip to bring her home.
The Aurora is 16 feet long and great for day-tripping on lakes, rivers and canals. For the majority of our paddles, Winona has taken us up and down the Leeds - Liverpool canal. We generally start at a point we last paddled to, then set off for an hour, eat lunch, then paddle back. Although it’s the same stretch of canal, we get to see it differently on our return journey.
Even my Dad has taken her out on a local reservoir a couple of times, as you can tell by the photos below, it was blowing a gale but the Aurora behaved itself impeccably, my Dad did an alright job too!
Recently however, the only water to touch her hull is the stuff that falls from the sky, we've been very lazy of late. This will change as I've just taken delivery of a Thule roof rack for Deux Smurf, so soon we’ll be off to discover some new lakes and rivers. What’s more exciting is that I've started to follow 'Overnight Campervan Camping' on Facebook which promotes… well, overnight camping, in camper vans. Basically, places that don’t cost anything or very little to stay overnight and I've found some stunning areas next to lakes and rivers, so in the coming months we'll be out exploring in Winona again, watch this space...