I will depart from Eyemouth in the south east corner of Scotland and eventually, under eight months later, arrive at my end point, Kippford in the south west corner of Scotland.
The calculated distance is 6242 km or 3901 miles.
I will visit every one of the remaining 192 R.N.L.I. Lifeboat stations I have yet to reach around England, The Channel Islands, Wales, Ireland and the Isle of Man.
I shall be kayaking clockwise around the British and Irish coastlines.
I am kayaking solo and my progress will be determined by the weather, sea states, tides and my judgement about whether to put to sea or not. On average, I cover anything between 38 km and 52 km a day. I have paddled much further and there have been many times when progress has been painfully limited. I do not set myself a predetermined daily distance to cover because this may lead to errors in judgement.
There is the potential to undertake a couple of really impressive and challenging open sea crossings. The first from the English mainland to the Channel Islands (and back). The second from Pembrokeshire to Rosslare (and back). Both of these crossings are in excess of 100 km! Only if the weather conditions are favourable will I attempt these crossings. If not, I will make the crossings by ferry. There is no shame in doing this.
Basically I kayak southwards down the east coast of England to the Thames Estuary. Here I paddle up the Thames to the three London lifeboats. Out of the Thames Estuary I head along the English south coast. At Poole I have to decide whether to take the ferry to the Channel Islands or continue to Swanage in the hope that I can make a kayak crossing from there.
I visit the four Channel Island lifeboats by kayaking between the islands. Again I decide whether to make the kayak crossing or use the ferry for my return to the English mainland. I continue around the English south west coast, including a foray out to the Scilly Isles, as far as Portishead near Bristol. From here I cross the Bristol Channel to Wales.
I kayak the Welsh coastline as far as St David’s or Pembroke Dock. Here I will cross the St George’s Channel to Ireland, either by kayaking or on the ferry. Then quite simply it’s a clockwise circumnavigation of Ireland with a crossing to the Isle of Man after the Portaferry lifeboat station. Once around the Isle of Man and back to Ireland, I complete my Ireland circumnavigation back at Rosslare. Again, I’m faced with a crossing of the Irish Sea back to Wales which I will either kayak or take the ferry.
Once back in Wales, I’ll be heading northwards up the west coast. I will be now kayaking familiar coastline and it’ll feel like I’m closing in on the end of the journey. Silloth on the Cumbrian coast of the Solway Firth is the last of the lifeboat stations I have yet to visit. From here it’s the simple matter of crossing the Solway Firth back to Scotland and the life boat station in Kippford where I started my 2015 journey.
I have no doubt this route is achievable. It’s a matter of facing each day as a simple day kayaking on the sea. There will be tidal challenges - many of them. The weather the will undoubtedly test me too. Overall, it’ll be the continuous length of time travelling in my kayak which will be my sternest test, this and being away from home. If I manage to complete this venture in under eight months, I’ll be pleased.
The list of lifeboat stations in the order I plan to visit them can be seen - here.
I’m open to receiving advice about the route as I have outlined it. However there are specifics where my knowledge is lacking and I’ll be grateful for your experience if you’re willing to share it.
The Thames Estuary and the London Thames
The English South Coast from Kent to Cornwall
The Channel Islands
The whole of Ireland
Overnighting - camping - on the crowded English coastline (I’m used to the liberal right to roam laws we have in Scotland)
Generally any other information you may think will be useful for me to have.