If you like walking, running, cycling, flying or any other mode of transport, travelling by canoe will give you another way to view and enjoy another aspect of the countryside that you can't easily see in other ways. If you are quiet and blend in with your environment, you can see animals and birds that normally avoid humans especially at dawn and dusk. You can either observe things that interest you, sketch or take photographs, track animals or experiment with using natural materials.
Archaeology - Rivers and lakes have been used right from the dawn of civilisation as a means of travel, sources of food and places to live on or by. Lots of evidence of harnessing water power can be seen on old leats and mills on river sides. Evidence of ancient habitation can be seen on Crannogs and more recent castles are often near.
Astronomy - When you are on the water, you are often away from the light and dust pollution found near towns and cities, so you will get a much better view of the starts, if there is a clear sky. If you are in the far north of Scotland, Scandinavia, or Canada, you may be lucky to see the northen lights- Aurora Borealis. It is good fun to try to navigate by the stars, and to learn the names of the constellations.
Animals - Beavers, pine martens, moose, deer, red squirrels can often be seen in the more remote/wilderness areas.
Birds - Water birds have their homes on rivers, lakes and the adjoining banks and wetlands. Identifying the many types of ducks, geese, birds of prey and small birds is a popular hobby and there is nearly always someone who can help you out.
Fish - You will find trout, calmon, char, barbel and other 'game' fish in fast flowing water and see them in pools where they rest. In lakes, pike, trout, perch, bream, and minnows can often be seen in the shallows sunning themselves.
Flowers - If you are near the river bank or water's edge, you can admire the many different flowers that grow there as you pass and, if you want, you can stop and land and view more closely.
Fungi - You may be surprised by the variety of fungi that you will find and see from July onwards in the forest. Be very careful; some are deadly poisonous, most are not edible and only a very few are actually good to eat. Make sure you have an expert with you. Here are some pictures: Fungi on the shores of Stora Le, Sweden
Geology - The landforms that produce the lakes and rivers result largely from the underlying geology and rock types. In the mountains, rivers cut down through gorges where lots of different rocks (limestones, slates, granites, sandstones, etc.,) can be viewed. Eack rock type influences how the river runs. Lower down, rivers run in and out of lakes where sediment is deposited and occasionally waterfalls occur at outcrops of roch untiul the river meets the sea.
Insects - Dragonflies and butterflies often drift across the water on the wind, and can be seen in sheltered areas along with small flies and bees. At night moths fly and in the day time they can be found camourflaged.
Trees - The types of trees you will see change as rivers descend from the mountains to the sea. Small scrub trees like birch and willow grow in the mountains and wetlands, and alders and water loving trees line the margins. In places like Scotland, Sweden and Canada, ancient 'Boreal' pine forest seems to grow out of the rock.
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