Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Minches, Bailley. Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger.
Two weeks into a marathon 600 nautical miles kayak odyssey around some of Scotland’s most beguiling and fearsome coastline, Mike Smith and friend Ross Boardman, have good reason to listen to the rhyming mantra of the nightly shipping forecast. And to pray to the sea-gods.
Paddles blazing the pair will have to brave the aptly named Cape Wrath and the perilous waters of the Pentland Firth before heading home down the east coast to Findhorn Bay.
Their epic kayaking adventure is to raise funds for the Moray Steiner school and let’s be clear this is an adventure that rates ten plus on a scale of one to ten for being out of the comfort zone. As fundraisers go this is no tombola or even London Marathon. The duo left Findhorn Bay on August 26 for a trip through loch, river and sea that is expected to last approximately six weeks. From Findhorn Bay they entered the 60 mile Caledonian Canal before heading up the west coast and around the islands of Mull and Skye, past golden beaches and through basking sharks.
All equipment is stowed in their kayaks and each night they will be camping under the stars though the paddlers gratefully accepted a warm bed and a hearty meal from The Erraid community.
Mike’s three children, Ben, 12, Zoe, 9, and Kascia, 7, are pupils at the school. Wife Joanna remains on dry land coordinating the fund raising effort and if ever a fundraisng effort deserved support this one does.
Updates on Ross and Mike’s progress will be posted online and donations to their appeal can be made by contacting Johanna Quinney at the Moray Steiner School on 01309 676300.
A few of us here offer our own nightly mantra … turn right at Cape Wrath, don’t drink the water at Dounreay and coast safely to the finish!