Some Final Thoughts




Table of Contents:  Chapter One  Reaching Illorsuit;  Chapter Two  Daily Life in the Village  —  Subsistence and such;  Chapter Three  Daily Life in the Village  —  Social Life;  Chapter Four  Ikerasak Village and Uummannaq Town;  Chapter Five  Building the Kayaks;  Chapter Six  Variations in Kayak Design;  Chapter Seven  Skinning the Kayaks;  Chapter Eight  The Hunting Equipment; Chapter Nine  The Hunting Trip to Umiamako;  Chapter Ten  The Kayak Race in the Village Bay;  Chapter Eleven  The Rolling Competition;  Chapter Twelve  Re-encounters with the Kayak;  Some Final Thoughts  

Some Final Thoughts  

Ken Taylor / Cameron

November 21, 2015, with some additions on January 10, 2016

It’s been a great satisfaction for me to finally get this report out on the internet. An unexpected result, and a tremendous pleasure, has been that Kattanguaq, of Ikerasak, who was with me in Illorsuit in 1959 (and who I mention so constantly in the report) and Paninnguaq, Emanuele Korneliussen’s granddaughter, have both contacted me by email after seeing some piece of the report online. We’ve stayed in touch and Paninnguaq, in fact, has been able to help me check out one or two facts for the report. What an amazing bonus! I had honestly never expected to hear from either of them.  That someone, related in some way or other to the people and events of 1959, might contact me some day was of course always a possibility. But you two particular people, Kattanguaq and Paninnguaq, amazing!

As I said at the beginning, it was the enthusiastic encouragement of members of QajaqUSA that got me going on converting my “good old” slide show into a “blog” on the internet.  I’m especially grateful for all kinds of encouragement, support and assistance to Richard Nonas, Vernon Doucette, Harvey Golden, Greg Stamer and Eric Eaton.

Duncan Winning having arranged for the kayak made for me in 1959 to end up in the care of the Kelvingrove Art Galleries and Museum (in my home town, Glasgow) was perfect. His and Bill Samson’s and Sue Ellcome’s visit to the Museum’s warehouse to see the kayak, in 2012, and Bill and Sue sending me their photos, with permission to use them in my report, made it even more so. I am tremendously grateful to all three of them.

In 2004, Duncan and Gordon Brown, a well known Scottish sea kayaking coach and author, travelled to Greenland and kayaked from Uummannaq to Illorsuit.  They used two “Expedition” kayaks donated by Island Kayaks of Skye.  As Duncan says in his report, “This was particularly appropriate as they were the latest design to be based on Ken Taylor’s kayak.”  At Illorsuit, Duncan and Gordon met two of Emanuele’s sons and one grandson.

Duncan submitted a report, “Inuit Origins of Modern Recreational Sea Kayaks,” to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust which had financed the trip.  A revised version of this report was later published in the December 2008 issue of Sea Kayaker.

Duncan’s email address is:

QajaqUSA which I have mentioned so many times, can be found at

Qaannat Kattuffiat, the Greenland Kayak Association of which QajaqUSA is the American chapter, can be found on facebook, and at Qaannat Kattuffiat, P.O. Box 1171, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland.

I also want to give my thanks and appreciation to my old friend Mr Campbell Semple, who first suggested that we take up sea kayaking and with whom I spent those wonderful summer vacations kayaking much of the west coast of Scotland.

And, of course, none of it would have happened if the late Professor Harald I. Drever, after Campbell and I met him at Kinlochbervie on the northwest coast of Scotland on the last of our many kayaking trips, if he had not invited me and arranged for me to go to Illorsuit in 1959.

As I’ve said, that summer in Illorsuit was the most wonderful experience of my life.  To return to it in my memories while putting together this report has been very special.  So, once again, I want to thank the people of Illorsuit for welcoming me into their village life and for giving me such an unforgettable experience.  I so admired and still admire the extraordinary skills, the fortitude, the patience, the forbearance and good humor of those wonderful people who, with so much friendliness, put up with my intrusion into their life in Illorsuit of 1959.

And now  …  what I’ve been saving ’til last:

First, a photo looking at the Uummannatsiaq mountain from above Uummannaq town as of  September 28th:

1 aaa to Ikerasak cd

and, finally, here is my favorite photo of them all, the same view as of October 19th, a few days before I left:

1 aaaa to Ikerasak later cd

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