Looking Beyond The Water: Benefits Of Knowing The Environment

Looking Beyond The Water: Benefits Of Knowing The Environment

Looking Beyond The Water: Benefits Of Knowing The Environment was the title of a presentation I gave at the 2019 Welsh Canoe Symposium. I recorded my presentation and have edited into the video all the slides I showed for your benefit. I always like to share my presentations with my blog readers. You can view the video presentation in the embedded video below. You can also still get all the additional information mentioned in the presentation here: paulkirtley.co.uk/WCS2019.

In this presentation I share practical examples of how a greater knowledge of the land through which you are canoeing can increase not only your understanding of the environment but also provide tangible benefits to your safety, wellbeing and enjoyment of the trip. Even if you are not a paddler, I would encourage you to watch the presentation as there is much useful tree and plant information in this talk which will apply to a much wider audience of outdoorspeople too…

I’d love to know what your main take-aways from this presentation are. Let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

The Welsh Canoe Symposium (WCS) is organised by my good friend and colleague Ray Goodwin. Hence the mention of him towards the beginning of the presentation. His timing for when he walked into the presentation was perfect. It really wasn’t staged!

The WCS happens every three years, with the symposium then rotating to the English Canoe Symposium the following year, then the Scottish Canoe Symposium the next, before it returns to Wales again.

You can also watch the above video here on YouTube if you would prefer.

Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog…

Switching Out Of An Expedition Mindset: Two Days Of Paddling At The English Canoe Symposium

PK Podcast 020: James Raffan – Explorer, Scholar and Author

PK Podcast 46: Kevin Callan, The Nicest Man On The Meanest Journey

Canoeing The River Spey With Kevin Callan, Ray Goodwin and Justine Curgenven – part 1

Global Bushcraft Symposium 2019 Keynote Presentation

12 thoughts on “Looking Beyond The Water: Benefits Of Knowing The Environment

  1. Another fantastic presentation….knowledge passion and practical application, what more would you want ?

  2. leaves of three, leave it be should be taught to all

  3. Main take away for me was my botany needs improving. I’m ok with mints but the “umbrels” concern me, I don’t know enough to know the difference. I do know enough to know that I don’t know enough to eat them safely!

    1. That’s a good start Russell. Learning what you don’t know is part of the process. Discerning that a plant is in the carrot family, Apiaceae, is usually not difficult. Discerning between them can be difficult. And therein lies the rub. Some are great edibles while some are horribly toxic. My general advice to beginner botanist-forager-bushcrafters is to leave them alone for the time being, while building your identification muscles. There are literally – and figuratively – much lower hanging fruit in other plant families.

  4. Really enjoyed the talk Paul very well put together ,informative ,professional and light hearted

    1. Hi again Barry. Thanks for your comments on this. I’m glad you liked it and I appreciate your feedback.

      Warm regards,


  5. Hello,Paul.Great useful information as always.I tend to brush up on plant,fruit id,every now and then,especially the basic fruits etc that can be used.As we know nature is there to help us,but we must not take anything for granted in the woods.Good prep work,master the basics then go from there.
    Keep up the great work my friend.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your comments. I agree, a good grounding in the basics is a key foundation. Then, keep building (and refreshing).

      I’m glad you appreciate my work. Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

      Warm regards,


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