Duncan Winning RIP

Sadly I couldn't attend the funeral of Duncan Winning OBE yesterday as I'm not in Scotland.

Those attending were asked to take a photograph and write a few words about what it meant to them.

I'm pleased to say Gordon Brown of Skyak Adventures took my contribution which consisted of the photo alongside, a USB stick with video and podcasts of Duncan, and a copy of my book to which he wrote the foreword.

I'd been told family members had been listening to his podcasts so I felt adding the video would be of interest.  I also wrote a few words which I'll reproduce here:

The photograph shows Duncan doing what, in my experience, he enjoyed second best to kayaking - talking about kayaking.

I found him a kind and generous man in both spirit and deed.  He drove boxes (lots of boxes) of our first Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown DVD to the SCA show in Perth on the day of the launch.  The DVD manufacturer, based outside Glasgow, had only just finished making them the day before the show so without Duncan we wouldn't have had any to sell.

He was also kind and generous with his knowledge.  Duncan and I recorded two podcasts in 2007 for my website SeaKayakPodcasts.com and did a television and radio interview for The Adventure Show about The Canoe Boys, a story that interested me greatly.  You'll find the TV feature from 2009 on the enclosed memory stick along with a second feature I edited from 'leftovers' and subsequently used in presentations.


He wrote the foreword to my book about The Scottish Sea Kayak Trail.  When I was contacted by Paul Murton to speak about kayaking for a Grand Tour of Scotland television programme, I politely declined and volunteered Duncan.  "I'm just the monkey", I told Paul, "Duncan's the organ grinder".

Years later we persuaded the BBC to make a full one-hour television programme about The Canoe Boys.  I then had to persuade the Scottish Maritime Museum to allow its apprentices to construct two replicas of an old 'Lochaber' design canoe which we'd pay for.  

It did not surprise me to learn the original canoe had found its way to the museum via Duncan.  

However, I was pleased to discover the team at the museum knew all about me well in advance and that I could be trusted.  

They had checked me out by calling Duncan. I'm delighted to say he vouched for me.  At least, I think he did...

Duncan has a huge legacy.  Most of us leave only fond memories among friends and loved ones.  By contrast Duncan's skill is in the hull and deck shape of almost every modern kayak.  

Decades from now teenagers will 'discover' sea kayaking.  They'll pick a crystal clear day and under a perfect blue sky will paddle out to an island off Scotland's west coast to camp.  There the conversation will turn to the generations who came before.  

One of them will ask, "Did you know we have some Scottish bloke to thank for these kayaks?  What was he called again... oh yeah.  He was called Duncan Winning".  

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