Waelcyrge is the Gaelic spelling of the word Valkyrie. And the Valkyries, are apparently winged figures of Anglo-Saxon mythology. They come swiftly over the battlefield after the dust has settled, and choose at random, the lucky souls that are destined to Valhalla (Heaven). And loosely linked to this, the Vikings may have brought to Britain when they invaded, the practice of planting Yew trees in their graveyards, as a means of linking the bodies below with Valhalla above. Yew trees still grow in English graveyards to this day. The first Viking king of Britain was King Canute, who was famously placed on the beach by his supporters, in the belief that the sea would hold itself back in his presence. It didn’t. He got his feet wet.
And why am I telling you this somewhat shaky history?
Well because Waelcyrge is the name of my boat.
She was made by a master craftsman, who lived in England at the time, and who made her from a Yew tree in an English graveyard, that had to come down. He cut it down, planked it, and made it into this:
Beautiful isn’t she!
Heavenly you might say. I came upon her by chance (although I was driving at the time, not flying) I was driving down the street just around the corner from work (not the battlefield), when I saw her in a shop window. I actually drove past several times, but the tug became too strong and one day I pulled over and knocked on the window. The rest is history.
(Oh yes, and King Canute: I am directly descended from him, according to the family tree that my grandfather painstakingly drew)
So that is how she was named.
Once I had her home, I had the joy of making a loading system that would allow me to move her around on my own. Then came seat cushions, a line tray, a camera pouch, a set of two anchors, and covers for the paddles. She needed a rod holder too. It has been a wonderful journey so far.
And of course she fishes well. She glides quietly into tight spots, or out onto open water. Although I still use my float tube often, there is something decadent about being able to go out with flasks of coffee, extra camera gear, an extra pullover, just in case, and maybe a fishing pal thrown in for good measure.
And she photographs well too: