Spirit of Adventure: British Isles Photos

The story

Why the British Isles someone asks, well for the past number of decades I have been traveling in the UK and intrigued by it's coastline  I originated from this magnificent land Bradford,Yorkshire  and spent many a summer as a child on the beaches of Sandsend, Whitby, Filey and Scarborough with my family.At age 10 we moved to Canada.

Here in Canada and in particular the Province of British Columbia I have the most amazing time exploring its coastline in two very different types of Canoes, one named 'Loo Txow-ix' a Northern Style replica of the traditional Cedar Canoes and the second Canoe ''Spirit Dancer' a replica and custom built 42ft Montreal Canadian Canoe.

For the past 4 years in 'Spirit Dancer' canoe I have had the chance to meet many many very interesting people along the coastlines of Alaska, British Columbia and Washington State.In particular the Aboriginal communities that they live in.

In 2005 I became more restless and I felt that I needed a more adventurous and challenging journey so therefore the fascination of traveling the UK coastline by Canadian Canoe was born. The stage was set and the work began to create the most complex, challenging logistics that I have ever taken on, three years later here we are, our ' Spirit Dancer' Canoe will be shipped in six weeks by Bellville Rodair a UK  London based shipping company.

Chris G. Cooper

Here are some very exciting images of different sections of the British Isles coastline.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

Overlooking Chesil Beach near Weymouth where a met some great folks of the MCA coastguard about the upcoming journey Chesil Beach is 17 miles long and absolutely spectacular it is located on the southcoast.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

The beach at Weymouth, there are many beaches on this coastline very similar to what you see here,  It will be remarkable to see 'Spirit Dancer' come into this beach in May 2008.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

Along the southcoast another beach appears its golden sands await us. The coastline here is so different than ours, the History of this coastline is steeped rich in culture and landscapes like no others.

There are so many magnificent buildings along the edge of the coast, here we visited an old Castle and Church with a sailboat under full sail preparing for a day out at sea.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

Lighthouse at Start Point on the southcoast is a very spectacular place, here I am standing on the coast trail which is a walking path that travels around the coastline of UK, another reason for me to take the challenge of paddling it's splendid coast.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

Near Start Point, if one was to zoom in on the bottom left hand corner of the image you will find an old village that was partially swept into the sea by winter storms, it is near the village of Torcross. Some buildings are still standing. Notice the colour of the sea.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

Barbara, my wife, stands near a famous rowing Gig built by Ralph Bird who has built 29 rowing Gigs, all hand built and beautifully hand crafted, This is on the west coast of Wales near St. David's in Porthgain.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

Breakwaters surround the coastline of the British Isles which is very comforting when preparing for such a great journey, technology has been extremely helpful in this process and Google Earth provides incredible detail for our research over the past three years here we are in a very small community of Porthgain, the people have been extremely helpful in my plans to visit them by Canoe.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

The west coast of Scotland is truly spectacular and will offer challenges throughout that I have been assured, here at the Lighthouse at Rudha Reidh a late fall storm force 10 whipped the seas into a wall of whitewater, 50 to 60 knot winds are a common occurrence and we will be working very closely with RNLI and MCA for accurate updates for storms approaching the coast.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

The village of Gairloch nestled along the shores of the westcoast is a remarkable spot, here I was interviewed by Two Lochs independent radio station the smallest licenced radio station in UK. There are hundreds of villages like this along the coastline.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

The Isle of Luing and the village of Cullipool awaits our arrival by Canoe hopefully sometime in early October 2008 if weather allows us, it is an island that one will need to get to by a small car ferry just south of Oban. Barbara and I have made some great friends there and have provided lectures about Canada  and the Eastern High Arctic for the two room schoolhouse and the community.

Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris Cooper

At our friends home overlooking the sea in Cullipool, a sunset to remember. What more need I say!

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

Barbara and I have made three trips to Orkney, the people of Orkney have made our stays so very welcome, there is a tremendous history here between Canada and Orkney, the young men that traveled to join the HBC and the Voyageurs, it will be a very special occasion when we finally arrive here at Stromness, we joined remembrance day and the pipe band and later to the Legion!!

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

The day after Barbara and I arrived on Orkney, a hurricane welcomed us with up to 150km winds, all schools and businesses were closed and everyone closed up the hatches, we decided to go for a drive and film and photograph this splendid wild sea, the waves may have reached a height over 30 ft the wind carried the spray hundreds of metres across the land. A humbling experience!

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

The northcoast of Scotland, about 35 years ago my brother Simon and I rode our bicycles across the top of Scotland not knowing at the time that I would plan a canoe journey around its' shores! So very spectacular and somewhat wild I would say.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

A very typical scene here on the northcoast of Scotland, Our journey will include many experienced and skilled paddlers that are familiar with this coast, the Scottish Canoe Association SCA is a proud sponsor of ours, we welcome all to be part of this very special occasion and we invite all mariners to follow us and keep an eye on our safety at all times.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

North of Inverness, near Golspie on the east coast of Scotland we are traveling north to Wick then onto Thurso, this is a very typical scene and it seems in the Fall that the water is more tranquil and friendly, lets hope it will be for the Summer of 2009.

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

The coastline of the British Isles is very unique and lends itself to many possibilities, traveling by canoe one is not far from a village or a road which in its self is remarkably different than our coastline where you may travel days and sometimes weeks before you see anyone, so remoteness we have here in British Columbia, our crews for 2008 are very excited and the Brits even more so!

The Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey, 2008

Near the village  Berwick-upon-Tweed, east coast,Barbara and I over 20 trips have had the opportunity to see a lot of the country by Rail, Car, Ferry, Bicycle, Foot and by Canoe we are looking forward to seeing our canoe when it arrives in UK in early April 2008.

British Isles Canoe Journey 2008/2010

Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys is a registered Non-Profit Society and comes under the rules of the Societies Act registered in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Chris Cooper resident of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows for the past 49 years and originally from Yorkshire, England has been in the Adventure travel business for the past 30 years here in the province of British Columbia.

Spirit Dancer Canoe British Isles Canoe Journey 2008-2010, Spirit Dancer, Chris Cooper

Chris comes with a huge appetite for adventure travel which has allowed him to travel to the most remote and wild places on this planet, with over 5000 journeys he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from the outdoors, his interest and background includes Mountaineering, Back country Skiing, Whitewater Canoeing and long distance marathon ocean Canoe journeys.

Many of these journeys have been documented on television and magazines, newspapers from around the world, recently hosted on Global and CBC television in 2005 of a marathon ski journey from Ellesmere Island to Coburg Island in Canada s High Arctic, also the same year a Canoe journey from Prince Rupert to Rivers Inlet.

Chris for the past 30 years has worked with young people generally teens from ages 13 to 19 and provided expert wilderness experiences that would give them hands on life skills and would provide them with the necessary skills to become great leaders for the future.

Chris has sponsored aboriginal youth for many years and in particular, a Canoe journey on the Fraser River, a rediscovery of Culture and protocol and a journey called Pulling Together for youth on the River.

Spirit Dancer Canoe British Isles Canoe Journey 2008-2010, Spirit Dancer, Chris Cooper

Last year Chris sponsored an aboriginal youth from Gibsons, British Columbia to travel with him from Bella Bella to Rivers Inlet to learn about the Grandfathers Canoe journey and also to develop skills that he would need to know to travel safely on the BC Coast, some of these skills would be responsibilities on navigation, chart reading, tides and currents, weather, camp placements, surf landings and most of all safety.

For the years 2008 / 2009 Chris is organizing his most challenging adventure around the British Isles by Canoe. This canoe is the one he had built in 2004 to paddle the Alaska and BC Coasts a journey of 2000km in length and took 105 days to complete.

The focus of this journey as follows:

To involve youth and adults from Canada and the UK in an amazing Canoe Journey and to have the opportunity to learn about the Culture, History, People, Environment and most of all the Challenge of paddling it's unique coastline.

The exposure and profile of this journey will be immense, the Canoe which has travelled the Alaska and BC Coast will warm the hearts of everyone in the UK, as it has here in Canada. The Canoe: is a 42ft replica of the Canadian 'Montreal Canoe' The chosen canoe for the 'Great Lakes' and an integral part of Canadian History which is coming to the UK.