Saturday, 21 February 2015
On "irresponsibility, setting a bad example and endangering the lives of others" - and on choice.......
In recent posts on our blogs, Douglas and I have mentioned that we sometimes enjoy a small dram of malt whisky with luncheon during our sea kayaking trips (but never with second breakfasts!). We also sometimes enjoy a pint of frothing "sports recovery drink" - for which read beer- with our evening meals.
We have both received comments on our posts (here and here) from "Responsible Seakayaker" who is clearly very unhappy about this. He or she - the contributor has chosen to remain anonymous - placed identical comments:
"I am a responsible sea kayaker and I strongly object to your repeated glorification of the consumption of alcohol on your sea kayaking trips. Have you no insight into the bad example you are setting to impressionable sea kayakers whose lives are endangered by your irresponsibility? You should be ashamed of yourself."
"RSK" is of course entitled to his or her opinion, and for that reason I've chosen not to delete the comment. I do however feel that some context might be helpful.
We both live healthy and active lifestyles. The measures we sometimes imbibe at our luncheon stops are tiny. There is no risk of our getting anywhere near the revised Scottish BAC limit for driving. Should conditions on the water be at all difficult we choose not to take any alcohol. During the evening and when safely off the water for the day, we may choose to enjoy a more liberal dram, or a beer, but not to excess. We may very well choose to have a hot chocolate drink or a cup of tea instead......
Malt whisky is in a very literal sense the distilled form of its place and the elements which combine to produce the spirit; in moderation we choose to consider it one of life's small pleasures.
Each and every sea kayaker I've met has been capable of making their own choices and decisions - the very antithesis of "impressionable". Some of the folk I paddle and walk the mountains with enjoy a small dram, others choose not to. To imply that sea kayakers are so impressionable that lives will be placed in danger by our "irresponsibility" is, I believe, stretching credibility and perhaps mildy disrespectful.
But, for the avoidance of doubt:
"Alcohol can impair your judgement, affect your coordination, make you more liable to exposure and if you are male, make you impotent. Excessive consumption and misuse of alcohol damages health and ruins lives."
We all have choices and the choices we make shape us and determine the paths our lives take. "RSK" will very probably choose to disagree with much of this post - and that's fine. He or she has that choice and many other choices too.
These pages will continue to portray, to celebrate and hopefully even to glorify the Scottish outdoors and the wonderful locations and experiences we are fortunate to share as part of a healthy lifestyle. This may very well include the mention of an occasional dram......
And I'm not the tiniest bit ashamed of that.
Slàinte mhath! (good health!) :o)
Spring evening at a camp on the Kilbrannan Sound - "irresponsible, a bad example and a danger to the lives of others" ?