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The Great Outdoors: Paddleboarding growing to become one of UK’s biggest watersports

© SYSTEMPaddleboarding is growing in popularity across the UK.
Paddleboarding is growing in popularity across the UK.

After a long day stuck inside at the office and school, there is nothing our young family loves to do more than to get on a paddleboard.

All of the cares of a stressful day simply drift away as we enjoy an hour on the water.

Stand-up paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing water sports in the UK.

Using a large and stable board – rather like a long surfboard – and a single paddle, you can experience the beauty of Scotland from the water.

It can take several outings to get used to the wobble. My advice is to begin on your knees and stay there until you feel confident!

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your core strength improves.

We used to travel more than an hour to Loch Lomond to paddle but last year, due to lockdown restrictions still in place, we had to find somewhere closer to home.

One summer’s day, we were close to breaking point. The needs of our daughters, aged six and eight – involving home-school help, copious snack breaks and yet another tennis ball hit over the fence – clashed with those of a toddler and our own work schedules.

Patience was wearing thin when my husband said that a friend had enjoyed swimming in White Loch, in East Renfrewshire – a small lochan and local reservoir between Newton Mearns and Stewarton.

The promise of a break on the water was enough for us to leap into action.

We fed the kids an early dinner while we gathered the paddleboards, pumps, wetsuits, buoyancy aids and food, and bundled into the car.

On arrival, I was worried that White Loch might be too choppy for a family outing – East Renfrewshire is full of wind farms, and White Loch sits just below one.

My fears were not realised, however – the lochan is sheltered by hills and provided a great place for the girls to burn off some energy practising their paddleboarding skills, and to breathe in the fresh air after being cooped up inside at home.

It didn’t matter that we were paddling under grey skies – we were free.

The car park at White Loch was conveniently close, so we left the picnic and spare clothes in the car. The kids were thrilled that the entrance into the loch was soft and muddy, with fringes of reeds – a welcome change from the rocky shores of Loch Lomond.

We paddled around the loch and then headed for the middle where the games began. We got rid of notions of speed or distance a long time ago – the aim of every wee paddleboarding adventure is fun!

The girls took turns running along the boards without falling off, while we tried to make sure that the toddler, who was desperate to take a dip, stayed firmly put.

We finished our wee adventure as we always do, with warming hot chocolate and snacks. White Loch was a superb find and we now visit several times a month.

It’s a great location for an adventure, right on our doorstep.