In September 2017 I set myself the challenge to kayak the route of the Scottish Islands Peaks Yacht Race and ascend the mountains too. I undertook this challenge as a fundraising event for the RNLI Tobermory Lifeboat.
I was successful in reaching the three islands of Mull, Jura and Arran, ascending the mountains; Ben More, the Paps and Goat Fell and completing the route in just over a week. However, because of the weather, I decided not to traverse the Mull of Kintyre and instead portaged from West Loch Tarbert to Loch Fyne through the village of Tarbert.
I undertook the kayaking solo and was joined by my good friend Charlie for the ascent’s of Ben More on Mull and Goat Fell on Arran. I ascended the Pap’s of Jura on my own.
In terms of distance, this was by no means the most challenging adventure I have undertaken. However, the weather conditions made for some tricky kayaking and even more tricky decision making. I was not afforded the luxury of an open ended time limit, so I felt under pressure to make the most of any opportunity to kayak that I could. It was interesting to me how I vacillated on the shore, looking seawards and skywards for inspiration, searching for the right decision to put to sea or not. Courage in trusting my ability played a key part in this process too, when I when I made decisions to leave the safety of the shore in marginal conditions. Invariably, despite feeling fearful in the open seas in lumpy conditions, I coped well and made successful crossings in good time and with sound navigation. This was a solo sea kayaking journey, more than any other, which provided me with greater insights about my kayaking ability.
I could so easily have given in to the demands of the weather and called the undertaking off. I stuck with it though and it was with a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when I arrived in Troon to be met by crew from the Troon R.N.L.I. Lifeboat. In the words of Mark Twain, “I’m glad I did it. Partly because it was worth it but chiefly, because I’ll never have to do it again.”
I raised just over £2000 for the Tobermory R.N.L.I. Lifeboat which enabled them to purchase a state of the art resuscitation mannequin.
I’m extremely grateful for the generous support I received from the following businesses:
Sea Kayaking Scotland for the support in purchasing my NDK Explorer sea kayak for my 2015 journey which has stood the test of time and served me well on this adventure.
YB Tracking assisted me with the purchase of my Yellowbrick Tracker and provided me with free credits.
Reed Chillcheater provided me with an excellent spray-deck for this journey.
Art and Sea provided me with the graphics for my 2015 journey and these have stood the test of time.
Celtic Paddles provided me with paddles for my 2015 journey and these have stood the test of time.