Pinkston 2023 - Another great season!

6th November 2023

Pinkston 2023 - Another great season!

2023 Pinkston Season – Blog by Donald Cook, Pinkston Scout Active Support Manager


Once again, Pinkston has wrapped up another great season, offering lots of young people in Clyde and the west of Scotland the opportunity to experience the joys of paddle sports right in the heart of Glasgow. With a focus on safety and learning new skills, we've had a memorable year. In this blog, we'll take you through the highlights of our season at Pinkston and share the valuable lessons we've learned along the way.

Investing in Safety and Equipment:

Before the season started, Clyde Region purchased brand new Buoyancy aids to replace our aging stock which had mostly been donated or inherited throughout the years. The new buoyancy aids meant everyone attending Pinkston would be kept safe whilst on the water and we had the right size for each attendee. The addition of the Clyde scout logos on the buoyancy aids not only allows for easy identification but also made for some awesome pictures when the young people were on the water.

In addition to the buoyancy aids, we expanded our fleet by purchasing four TG master kayaks from Glenmore Lodge. These modern, well-fitting boats not only provided a better experience for our Scouts but also made it easier to handle unexpected situations and emergencies on the water.

Putting Young People First:

The heart of our success at Pinkston has always been the young people we serve. Regardless of the weather or any other challenges we face, our top priority is ensuring that our young participants enjoy their time on the water. This season, we faced some particularly challenging weather conditions. Anyone remember the Scotland game at Hampden nearly being abandoned? We were paddling that night, my own troop were on the first session, and we called off the session 5 minutes early to let the young people head for the showers to heat up and then dry off. Our instructors then used this time to discuss the changing weather before the next group. With lightning forecast and heading our direction and torrential rain coming down, we decided the safest thing to do was to cancel the 2nd session. As disappointing as this was for the parents and young people, who had already turned up, we explained that safety had to be our number one priority. We liaised with the group over the summer and rearranged a special session, just for them, so they didn’t miss out. The young people had a far better experience than if we had tried to go ahead with their original session.

Acknowledging Our Instructors:

Our dedicated team of volunteer instructors from across the region and beyond deserve a huge shoutout. Without their unwavering commitment, Pinkston's activities would not be possible. Our SASU at Pinkston are always focused on keeping our young people safe, whilst making sure they have a great time and learn new skills.

Reflecting on our Season at Pinkston:

When I was asked for my summary of my year, I was catching up with some of the team. From those discussions I thought about how as a manager we must look at our activity in a 360 fashion, continually updating and reviewing risk assessments. For instance, when we take our young people away to larger events how often do we discuss with the leaders during planning that a child may have a learning/health/physical ability and that this may need a separate assessment from the provider?
Our booking system allows us to make sure we have names and notes for medical issues, which is then used to have an insight into any possible issue that may occur or support we can provide. As with any system it is not infallible, but it does allow our instructors to have advance knowledge so we are better prepared. We are not “experts” in all fields, however advice may be sought to facilitate the young person’s participation in the session and get the best experience possible.

Safety doesn't mean we have to be boring and restrict our session. There are always alternate programs and having dynamic risk assessments allows us to provide the best engagement to every young person. If an activity can't be done safely and correctly, it's better not to do it at all. Our general Risk Assessment for Pinkston is reviewed each year and although we are thorough, I would always advise anyone with any activity concern to stop and speak to an instructor.

Thinking to the future:

The past season at Pinkston has been filled with challenges and triumphs, and we're incredibly proud of the progress we've made. With explorers now participating in developmental programs with the SCA and others gaining SCA personal awards, we're excited about the opportunities that lie ahead to benefit our young people. As we look forward to the coming year, we remain committed to delivering more fun paddling experiences and continuing our training development for the team.

Our end-of-year social evening at Braehead was a fantastic opportunity for our team to come together and reflect on the season. These moments of celebration are essential for a group of dedicated volunteers who often work late into the night on a Tuesday during the season. We can't wait to see what the future holds for Pinkston and the young people we're privileged to support.



Phone: 0141 248 6022

Address: 21 Elmbank Street, Glasgow, G2 4PB