Sea Kayak guide and storyteller, Carol Lang shares her passion for tall tales – stories from the sea and recommends 6 of her favourite books full of nautical adventure.
I love stories in any shape or form and I find it hard to pass by a good bookshop without going in for a peek. Inevitably I will exit said shop with yet another book, and so begins the process of stockpiling good stories for Autumn and Winter, when as a full-time sea kayak guide I have to relent a little to the weather outside – at least until the snows come and I can exchange my sea kayak for ski
For all the stories in the world, there is nothing that encapsulates me more than those about the sea, and there is nothing that casts them as firmly in my memory as when shared round a fire. I can’t help but smile when I remember childhood stories about mischievous brownies, selkies, pirates and Vikings, all shared round the fire on stormy nights when the power was out and the walls danced in the flickering light of candles and flames from the fire.
Myths, legends, tall tales, folklore, shanties, they have always captured my imagination. I still smile lots as I acknowledge how, as a kid, I never appreciated just how much these would intertwine with what I do and just how much more they would connect me to an environment that I love. That is except for concerns about possible encounters with those mischievous brownies and mystical sea creatures…
Now that autumn is here I can reflect on what has been another great sea kayaking season, although it isn’t with sadness that I find it coming to an end. After quite a few years of guiding I have come to accept it as part of a natural cycle, the same way as the tides ebb and flow, and the seasons change.
For now, I close the door, light the fire and lock the stormy weather outside for a while. I allow anticipation to take over as I put the kettle on and sit down and try to make the tough decision as to which book to pick up first. From a warm and cosy room, I drift through these paper windows and spend time revisiting the space between my reflections and stories from familiar shores and those that belong to others.