I’ve been looking at the Dixon-Price Publishing catalogue after receiving a nice email from the brains behind the outfit, Kendall Hanson. I think there are two books that probably deserve particular attention – and which I would certainly like to read myself.
The first is A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe, the first groundbreaking book by the father of modern kayaking and canoe camping, John MacGregor.
MacGregor sails and paddles alone in a double-ended canoe on the lakes and rivers of Germany, France, and Switzerland along streams, over waterfalls, past whirlpools, and into the history of the paddling sports. This paperback edition also features an introduction by kayaking historian Brian Kologe.
The second volume is perhaps less ground-breaking, but for some reason I can’t get enough of old-fashioned little books that explain how to build simple little boats and I know I’m not alone. Boat Building and Boating by Daniel Beard tells us how to build a range of boats from a small canoe to a houseboat, and was written by a man motivated by a strong sense that recreational boating was too expensive for most people and wanted to offer a way around the problem. I’ve got quite a lot of sympathy with that view myself…