Category Archives: Bill Mason

First Trip and First Days of Spring on the River

Last weekend saw us make it on the first river trip of the year, finally after a very cold and rather drawn out winter this year. It was fantastic to finally get out on the water, and with the river Wye in quite a bit of flow after yet more rain the river itself felt as eager to move down stream as we were! A highlight was taking our new red Old Town Discovery 158 out for a maiden trip, and I have to say she is a lovely boat – there’s something classic about the red colour – perhaps it’s from the Bill Mason days (see below), and whilst our green one blends in visually with the surroundings, the red one seems equally at home out in the wilds. There was really no sign of spring yet, despite it being the very end of March – just some wild garlic in the woods with it’s rich pungent aroma as you walk through breaking the leaves and releasing the scent, and a few daffodils of course in the churchyards and gardens. But otherwise it felt like we were there at the very start of spring – the first day was much like winter, cold wind and grey clouds, no greeness in the trees at all. But when the sun came out after the nights camp on an island in the river, and all the birds in the valley burst into song it seemed like suddenly spring had gotten underway. Buzzards soared in breeding pairs above our campsite, the river flowed past, and overall it was a pretty special trip – here’s to many more this year! View the trip in video below:


Some still photos of the trip:

En Route through the Wye Valley, "Old Red" on the roof rack...

En Route through the Wye Valley, "Old Red" on the roof rack...

Kerne Bridge - the sun was shining finally

Kerne Bridge - the sun was shining finally

"Old Red" - our new Old Town Discovery 158 canoe in classic red. This was her maiden voyage. Fantastic craft.

"Old Red" - our new Old Town Discovery 158 canoe in classic red. This was her maiden voyage. Fantastic craft.

 

This should do for a campsite for the night - an island in the river

This should do for a campsite for the night - an island in the river

 

 

Evening sky draws in...

Evening sky draws in...

Kelly Tea on the go...

Kelly Tea on the go...

Only just into Spring, we still needed the fire for warmth. We cooked some strips of rump steak on sticks, and some potatoes in the embers.

Only just into Spring, we still needed the fire for warmth. We cooked some strips of rump steak on sticks, and some potatoes in the embers.

What a morning - the view from the swag on what seemed to be the first day of spring.

What a morning - the view from the swag on what seemed to be the first day of spring.

Bright morning sunshine.

Bright morning sunshine.

2 Australian swags, and one red Old Town Canoe

2 Australian swags, and one red Old Town Canoe

The green swag from TheAussieShop.co.uk

The green swag from TheAussieShop.co.uk

End of the trip - loaded up to go back home.

End of the trip - loaded up to go back home.

Canoe Videos by Bill Mason, Waterwalker…

Waterwalker

A classic canoe documentary from the early 1980′s, still made available from the Canadian National Film Board:

“This feature-length documentary follows naturalist Bill Mason on his journey by canoe into the Ontario wilderness. The filmmaker and artist begins on Lake Superior, then explores winding and sometimes tortuous river waters to the meadowlands of the river’s source. Along the way, Mason paints scenes that capture his attention and muses about his love of the canoe, his artwork and his own sense of the land. Mason also uses the film as a commentary on the link between God and nature and the vast array of beautiful canvases God created for him to paint. Features breathtaking visuals and exciting whitewater footage, with a musical score by Bruce Cockburn.”



Song Of The Paddle

Also available is Mason’s 1978 film “Song of The Paddle”:

“Join outdoorsman Bill Mason in this short documentary as he and his family go canoe camping in the wilderness. Gain an appreciation for the art of canoeing while watching a small group experience the sheer joy and beauty of Nature. Along the way, the Masons experience countless adventures and some breathtaking scenery, including Indian rock carvings at Lake Superior.”

The Voyageurs

Another fantastic canoeing film available there is the documentary “The Voyageurs” from 1964, covering a subject featured heavily in Ray Mears’s recent series about Canada, “Northern Wilderness”:

“This short film tells the tale of the men who drove big freighter canoes into the wilderness in the days when the fur trade was Canada’s biggest business. The film recreates scenes of the early 19th century with a soundtrack by an all-male chorus.