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Nairn paddler starts splashing business Paddle Bliss at Geddes Trout Fishery


By Donald Wilson


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Paddle Bliss Nairn: Leeanne Mackay, Stand up (Sup) Paddle Board Instructor, out on the water. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Paddle Bliss Nairn: Leeanne Mackay, Stand up (Sup) Paddle Board Instructor, out on the water. Picture: James Mackenzie.

A TRIP to New Zealand has provided a Nairn woman with the inspiration to start up a business teaching people paddle boarding in a local beauty spot at Geddes Fishery.

Leeanne Mackay (37) tried stand-up paddleboarding for the first time in 2018 when on holiday.

She fell in love with the sport and bought her own board on her return to Nairn and taught herself to ride.

"It was such a support to me through the pandemic getting out onto the water, feeling the fresh air, dipping into the water and learning new skills and meeting new people I just want to promote it so they too can enjoy the physical and mental well being it brings.

Leanne, who lives in Nairn supported a friend to get out on the water.

Paddle Bliss Nairn: Leeanne Mackay, Stand up (Sup) Paddle Board Instructor, out on the water. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Paddle Bliss Nairn: Leeanne Mackay, Stand up (Sup) Paddle Board Instructor, out on the water. Picture: James Mackenzie.

"She loved it so much she went out and bought herself and her daughter their own boards and we regularly go out together.

"She planted the seed that I should become a Standing Up Paddleboard (SUP) instructor so I went for it."

Leanne, who has a background in social services and healthcare promoting independence is now an SVQ Assessor supporting individuals improve their qualification portfolios.

Paddle Bliss Nairn: Leeanne Mackay, Stand up (Sup) Paddle Board Instructor, on shore. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Paddle Bliss Nairn: Leeanne Mackay, Stand up (Sup) Paddle Board Instructor, on shore. Picture: James Mackenzie.

"I booked myself onto the SUP safety and rescue and instructor course and also updated my first aid certificate.

"My course was due to take place in November but was cancelled due to weather and so I completed in March this year

"Weather is one of the main considerations before heading out on the water, wind direction and speed can affect safety when paddling, also sun/heat/cold, deep/shallow waters, other water users and many more factors.

"I want to support people to understand the safety factors before heading out on to the water, I want to teach them effective techniques to ensure their safety and that they have a positive experience out there.

"And with the Nairn beaches we have a fantastic resource on our doorstep to enjoy but people must be very aware of tides and currents.

"My lessons are based out at Geddes Trout Fishery which is a very safe place to learn the techniques of paddleboarding.

"It's a peaceful and beautiful area with a lovely little waterfall where I teach so during the lessons. Learners will hear the water and the birds and see wildlife out there too. We are in a spot which doesn't interfere with the activities of anglers fishing for trout. "

"SUP makes me feel so free, alive and at peace with myself, I just want to share it with others. Learning new skills is so great in boosting confidence too.

I have a number of boards, different ranges and sizes to meet the needs of learners.

"I also rent equipment out so if someone wants to go away for the day or a few days to explore different areas of Scotland then I can accommodate that too."
Paddle Bliss can be contacted by Email paddleblissnairn@gmail.com. Phone 07738616046.

READ MORE: Cycle path plan to connect Nairn, Cawdor and Tornagrain communities


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