My Holiday
By Andrew Nicoll (age 13)

I awoke that morning with an exhilarating buzz fizzing through me. This was to be my first day canoeing down the river Spey. It seemed so much easier to hop out of bed that morning than to crawl out of bed as I had the morning before. From then on, for the next four days, I would be a free man living in the wild with nature at my beck and call.

Callum and I powered downstream to our eventual goal, the North Sea. The sensation of travelling down the clear, fast flowing water was immense. The clean untouched air smelt of pure freedom and with the fresh summery breeze hitting my face with a touch of vitality, it injected me with an unfound energy I had not experienced anywhere before. Being in the heart of nature I felt at one with it. With heron, buzzards and even Osprey flying within feet of the canoes. The deer were running free on the woodland off the riverbank along with other grazing animals. They were at one with each other and with the sun blazing and the ducklings lurking for cover under the reeds on the riverbank it was a moment I shall never forget.

Andrew and Jack


At the confluence of the River Spey and the River Avon two sets of rapids met in a turmoil of white frothy water. The rapids became yet more challenging after this which was a clear sign the sea was drawing ever closer. The speed was intense and with the sun shining off the water it gave a great effect of a reflection in the water. I could see the shadow of trees in the water and as the canoe glided through these shadows they became slightly disjointed but soon returned to their original shape. It was as though the whole landscape was a picture painted by a talented artist. After that I unfortunately soon returned to reality whilst attempting to paddle up a rapid. In an instant the canoe was broadside and tipping. I took a big gasp of air and went under. I popped back up instantaneously and caught a glimpse of my dad and the canoe drifting further and further downstream. This had been what I had been fantasizing about the whole holiday. Although this fantasy did not involve me in the water with him.

We watched villages pass by so often and it was very clear the sea was near. The villages smelt of fish and had narrow one way streets as the main roads. These villages sounded so peaceful without the rush of the traffic in the larger towns I am used to. Everybody was so laid back and that is an attitude I admire in people.

The days passed by so quickly and before I knew it the sea was in sight. It was a matter of metres away. I remember tasting the water so I could identify the point the water turned salty. We skipped over waves with great success. It was a beautiful feeling. A seal only feet from the bow of the boat was greeting us to the ocean with a range of tricks in the water. As Callum and I paddled into shore and hit the pebbly beach I had mixed emotions. First of all I was delighted to have completed this brilliant excursion but then I felt upset that this brilliant experience of a lifetime was now over. I reflected upon the week just passed and realized it was the best week of my life! I recalled sitting round the campfires, having our packed lunches and spending countless enjoyable occasions with family and friends.

As I arrived home I felt deeply homesick. My home did not feel as though it was home anymore. I felt at home in the wild. I felt spoilt for choice at my house with food ready to snack on and a TV. I also found I always appreciate walks now and just being outside is the making of a great day for me. My house only began to feel at home again as I sat round the kitchen table with my whole family and spoke about the great adventure we had experienced.