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  • awesome swim at 05 20 from Ardlui and finished at Dog Bay at around 16 00 The day started with calm conditions but this quickly changed at around 09 00 From then on the wind got much stronger and the waves much bigger I paddled with them for their full swim and on several occasions found myself being blown backwards At one point as I stopped to throw some beef jerky into my mouth I was blown backwards over 200m in less than 10 seconds Here are some statistics from the swim Distance 36 658 metres 22 8 miles 3000 metres more than planned due to wind and swell against us and shore hugging 10 hrs 23mins and 17 456 arm stroke cycles What can I say but absolutely awesome day Eddie and Jenni And not to forget Derek Rhona David Alexander and Fergus who followed very closely in the 2 safety boats and Peter who swam the last third with Jenni and Eddie Sunday 9th A great couple of hours on the loch again with Rhona Peter and 2 new friends Ricky and Becca We paddled over an hour into some choppy water and then had the wind to help us on the way back Another fab day on Loch Lomond SUPporting 2 awesome swimmers before the winds picked up 26th July 2015 Loch Tay Loch Tay you beauty I ve just had one of the best inland SUPs ever After paddling for 20 minutes with a slight 10mph tailwind I met Matt from Surf In Scotland on his windsurf I told him that I wanted to get some downwind training in and he said I was getting it I told him I wanted something a bit bigger and sure enough 20 minutes later Loch Tay gave me it I played around with it for 20 30 minutes catching some waves I had planned to and a few I hadn t It was an absolute blast It took me 45 minutes to get to the playground and then 2 hours to get back I must have looked like I was struggling as a wee motor boat came over and asked if I needed a lift No thanks I m having a ball What a fab day and all I can say is Loch Tay you beauty 19th July 2015 Loch Lomond A cracking paddle with the great folk at the Scottish SUP Touring Club today The weather was mostly good but we did get a short sharp wind and rain blast just to stop us getting to comfortable 10th July 2015 SUP it and See 2 Board Scilly is now online and can be seen HERE This is our second SUP it and See short film and is about our recent Scilly Isles to Sennen SUP trip You can read about the trip HERE 24th June 2015 Celtic Crossing Scilly Isles to Cornwall In the guide book it said that the kayak route from the Scilly Isles to Sennen Cove is 42km This is measured from a rock on the edge of the Scilly Isles to somewhere near Sennen However the Celtic Crossing is actually 50km from the heart of the Scillies to Sennen and it was the 50km we wanted to do This had been my big challenge for this year and it lived up to my expectations and much much more I ve done 99 of my SUPing on inland waters so the sea is something different Not being able to see the waves is a challenge on it s own without having to do it for 50km We had a team of 5 4 highly experienced SUPers Carl and Jason Sawyer Ian Phillips and Mark Richardson and me Not only did I become the first registered blind person to do this paddle but Carl and I became the first people to do the crossing on inflatable SUPs It is thought that around 20 people have already done this SUP the first in 2007 but all on solid boards I guess nobody wants to hear their board go pop half way across The guys spotted puffins dolphins and seals well that s what they told the Blind Man A full write up will follow on the main site shortly but to wet your appetite here are a couple of pics from the paddle Deano heading out from the Scilly Isles at 05 10 photo courtesy of Carl Sawyer Cornwall can just be seen in the distance with 2 tankers crossing in front of us photo courtesy of Carl Sawyer 20th June 2015 Lake Windermere The Windermere Summer Solstice Lake Race is an exciting event held on England s longest lake at the heart of the beautiful Lake District National Park And today I got to come along and play Along with my guide for the day Jamie Harman from Red Paddle I had a go at the 10 5 mile Long Course As I was using this as training for my big SUP 4 days later I was going to be a completitor not a competitor To be honest even if I hadn t been in training I wouldn t have gone much faster I normally paddle at a steady speed of 4 miles an hour So working on that 10 5 miles should take me 2 37 30 Our actual time was 2 34 32 so pretty much on target With wind rain and occasional fog the race had everything you d expect for a British Summer event I met some great people there and hope to meet them again soon A huge thanks go to Jamie for being a fantastic and very patient guide I only hope he didn t get too cold waiting around for me The rules stated that all paddlers had to wear a buoyancy aid I have a couple of old ones but they tend to get in the way when paddling So a big thanks to Palm Equipment Europe who gave me a great new PFD for SUPing 14th June 2015 Loch Tay double As part of my trainng for the Big One hopefully to take place between 22 26 June I SUPed a double Loch Tay today Kenmore to Kilin and back to Kenmore I thought it was going to be around 50km but unfortunately my Satmap told me that it was just 45 8km Not to worry the Big One should only be around 42km so around the same distance I have played on in Loch Tay for over 5 years and have never seen it so flat all the way Normally if it is calm at Kenmore it is lumpy just around the corner but not today Not a ripple and not a breath of wind To add to the glory of the day the sun came out after 3 hours on the water and rarely went away Saying that there was still snow on some of the hills and the water was still freezing I started my SUP in bare feet but after just 1 hour the socks went on As I can t really see where I am going I sort of zig zagged my way up the loch trying to follow the north shore taking regular fuel breaks At one point I could just make out the hill behind Kilin and guesstimated the shore to be around 1 mile away I stopped for a fuel break and then started paddling again Within 1 minute I hit the shore at the Kilin end I must have had my break about 50m from the end of the loch Doh My Satmap told me that I was on the water for 7 hours and 20 minutes and was moving for 7 hours and 4 minutes of that A great day Anyone up for a quadruple 10 10 heading out from Knemore A lovely June day spot the snow on the hills photo courtesy of Gordon Brain 17 25 returning to Kenmore 10th June 2015 Clunie I had a cracking wee paddle last night on Clunie It was a tad windy but the sun was shining This morning I was back on Clunie and it was glorious I did a wee 8 miler in blazing sunshine and dead flat water It would seem that Summer is finally here Saying that my toes did go numb after the first 6 miles due to the water temperature still being ridiculously clod for June Hopefully the weather will stay good for my planned double Loch Tay this Sunday A distance of approximately 48km all in preparation for our big paddle in just over a weeks time weather dependant 30th May 2015 Kerrera west coast of Scotland The trouble with having adventurous friends is that they tend to have adventurous ideas Last year Rhona and I met up with our friends Patrick and Cathy Winterton for a wee paddle see blog entry 17th November 2014 Loch Ba Whilst sitting in the pub afterwards Cathy told me that she had hoped to SUP around Kerrera a wee island off the coast of Oban The total paddle would be around 20km but unfortunately she hadn t found the time to do it I told her if she fancied doing it in 2015 I d love to join her Well we did it today It was in pretty crap conditions with an extremely strong head wind for the first 3 hours which at one point had us paddling on the same spot for 5 minutes Then as we went around the south of the island the head wind became a mighty side wind The trip was extremely tough and unfortunately we didn t get any pictures from where things were worst The whole paddle took just under 6 hours and you can read al about it H ERE Here are some great pics that Patrick took as he Rhona and Faraid Cathy and Patrick s daughter biked and hiked their way around the island trying to keep an eye on us 23rd May 2015 Loch Tay Today I paddled for just over 4 hours and managed to knock out a little over 30km I started off with shorts and bare feet but 15 minutes into the paddle I had to put on my neoprene socks Considering we are over half way through May Loch Tay was still pretty chilly Mind you when I noticed the snow on the hills surrounding the loch I realised why It was a great wee paddle I paddled into a headwind for 2 hours and 20 minutes and then paddled the same distance back with a tailwind and did that bit in 1 hour 40 minutes However I m still not happy with my speed in the water It can t be my board as I have a fab Red Paddle Race 12 and it can t be my clothing as I m now fully wrapped up in my wonderful Palm kit So it only leaves one thing It s soooooo obvious I m paddling in the wrong type of water Doh As part of my training for my big challenge this year I will be doing a double Loch Tay on Sunday 14th June That is a total of just under 50km My target is to do it in around 8 hours So if you fancy joining me please get in touch 18th May 2015 near Barcelona Spain Today I met up with my crazy Spanish friend Oscar He runs a SUP school SUPADDICT ESCOLA CATALANA DE PADDLE SURF north of Barcelona and the pair of us went out for a wee paddle on the waves Fortunately for me Oscar had a Red Paddle Fat Boy board which I borrowed and was ideal for me in the lumpy conditions We had a great time on the water and I was knocked off my board loads of times but how lovely to land in the warm Med Thanks Oscar 7th 12th May 2015 Devon As I have a couple of BIG sea SUP challenges planned for this year I decided that I should get down to Devon and meet up with my very good friend and SUP mentor Carl Sawyer for some sea training The first day we paddled out from Budleigh Salterton into a very angry sea I managed to stand on the board twice but only for a few seconds each time Much too lumpy for my limited skills 2 days later we went over to Exeter and did a 17km paddle from Exeter to the Turf Locks and back It was a glorious day and a great workout paddle Then a couple of days before I was due to fly back home we went for a paddle in the sea at Exmouth The sun shone the wind blew and the waves came from multiple directions This was a tough paddle but I thoroughly enjoyed it I started off with a 20 minute paddle with Carl s wife Maria before Carl took over from Maria and we headed out to sea for an hour or so It seems that I did better with the waves behind me I did come a cropper a couple of times whilst trying to ride waves coming from one direction but getting wiped out by waves coming from another All great fun and good training And thanks for the photos Carl 2nd May 2015 Clunie A few weeks ago I mentioned that my old cag was due for replacing The very kind people at Palm Equipment Europe not only gave me a new Palm Mistral cag but supplied me with length trousers shorts and several tops So now when I am on the water I will be fully Palm ed up Thanks Palm Today I had a wee paddle on Clunie and I was extremely grateful for the new kit The water at the other end of the loch was all messed up with waves crashing in from several different directions At one point I thought I was fighting against a current that was pulling me backwards As I can t see the shore and can only just see the water either side of my board I had no fixed landmarks to mark my position I could see large Lilly leaves speeding past me from bow to stern but I couldn t actually see the water move I paddled like a demon for 3 or 4 minutes sprinting as hard as I could It was only after these few minutes that I realised I was just about to collide with the shore I think I must have been riding on a wave hence not seeing the water below me move It was either that or the Clunie monster was at it again I was on the water for 3 hours and during that time I had hail rain sunshine and a constant strong wind As there was no snow I m guessing we must be into Scottish Summertime now Thanks to my new Palm Mistral cag Kaituna Capri trousers and Itunda rash vest I was kept cosy and was able to loosen the neck and cuffs of my cag before overheating 29th April 2015 I have just signed up to the Windermere Canoe Kayak Annual Summer Solstice race I will be doing the 10 5 mile race on the Saturday 20th June along with my guide for the day Jamie Harman from Red Paddle Be gentle with me Jamie Maybe see you there 18th 25th April 2015 Puerto Petro Mallorca After a few weeks of chilly paddling in Scotland we headed off to Mallorca for a bit of sun and SUP The temperature was definitely higher but so was the wind I was able to rent a Red Paddle Fat Boy SUP 10 ft x 34in SUP from a local shop which to start off with seemed a bit bulky However as the week went on and the wind picked up I was glad of this wide platform when the water started to pick up to a steady 1 metre swell As I have mostly only done loch lake paddling I m still trying to find my feet on the sea The board may not have been fast but it stopped me from falling in well apart from once when the leash also came off and I had to swim 20 metres in the big swell with a heavy paddle to get back to my board It was great to be on the water with the sun on my back 1st April 2015 Clunie Loch I ve just been out for a cracking wee paddle Clunie is only a wee loch 900m at it s widest point so doesn t tend to get too lumpy However today was a different story When we arrived it was raining extremely windy and the loch was very bumpy A combination of the wind and the waves made each crossing tougher than the last It normally takes me around 7 minutes to cross from one side of the loch to the other But today whilst paddling into the waves one of my crossings took almost 20 minutes It got so tough that I even considered kneeling down just to get through it but then I remembered what a wise man once said to me For wise man see Jason Sawyer Well wiser than me anyway This sport is called stand up paddle boarding not kneel down paddle boarding With these words booming in my head I stayed standing and eventually made it across It was only once I finished the paddle and took my cag off that I realised how hard I had been working Steam rose from my very wet rash t shirt and I was absolutely soaking with sweat My Nookie kayak cag is great for touring but unfortunately it doesn t breathe So after a hard couple of hours paddling like today it is wetter on the inside than it is on the outside If any company out there would like to sponsor the Blind Man with a tough breathable cag please get in touch 29th March 2015 Clunie Loch After last Sunday s battering in the sea off the coast of Exmouth I was very happy to be back in the familiar waters of Clunie Loch In a 2 hour session only my 4th this year I managed to knock out 13km It s not massive but considering the BIG gap between my paddling last year and this it s not a bad start 22nd March 2015 Exmouth As I have several sea based SUP challenges coming up this year I decided to get some sea training in whilst on a trip to Devon The extremely patient Carl Sawyer was my guide for this 2 hour very wet session and I think the main thing that was proven by the end of the paddle was that I need to get a lot more sea work done So if anyone out there lives between St Andrews and Arbroath on the east coast of Scotland and fancies taking the blind man out for a SUP please get in touch 14th March 2015 Clunie Loch At last Clunie Loch has thawed Today I managed to get my first paddle in for 2015 Not only was it my first paddle this year but it was my first paddle on my new Red Paddle Race board It s a cracking board and sliced through the ice free water Although the loch had thawed it was still bloomin cold with a water temperature of around 5 degrees Celsius and an air temperature only a degree or so warmer Now that we have 2 boards the Red Paddle and the Coreban Rhona and I can get out on the water together We had a couple of races and I discovered that I either need to work harder on my speed or I need to get a slower wife 2015 is shaping up to be a very busy SUP year for me with several challenges coming up over the next 4 months I will let you know as they are confirmed but can tell you that the first one looks like it will be a 20km sea paddle off the west coast of Scotland at the end of May This will be a great warm up for a much bigger paddle at the end of June There is also talk of an even bigger paddle in August As they say watch this space 20th February 2015 En route to Fort William I had been invited to talk about my recent SUP adventures at the Fort William Mountain Festival on the 20th of February We left Blair the previous afternoon and parked up in a lay by for the night The plan was to SUP the next morning before arriving in Fort William Unfortunately Mother Nature had other ideas and as you can see SUPing wasn t an option 8th February 2015 Clunie Loch I got a new board Red Paddle 12 6 Race just over a week ago and I have been waiting to get out on it The last few days have seen some glorious weather so we grabbed the board and headed off to Loch Clunie in the sunshine Unfortunately it is STILL frozen Maybe next week 25th January 2015 Clunie Loch Wetsuit long johns check Neoprene socks check Board and paddle check I m ready for a paddle on Loch Clunie Unfortunately when I got there Clunie wasn t ready for me It is still under several inches of ice With a busy SUP year ahead I had hoped to get my first training session in and try to catch up with Carl and Jason who have been paddling right through the winter in the West Country But it looks like I ll have to wait a bit longer As well as several exciting SUP adventures planned for 2015 I will be talking at the Paddle Night event at the Fort William Mountain Festival on the 20th of February Hopefully I ll get a few paddles in before then 7th December 2014 Balmedie Aberdeenshire Rho Stumpy and I went on a wee mission to find the sun and according to the Met Office website which has proven to be right every time so far the only sunshine in Scotland was going to be on the Aberdeenshire coast So with that we packed up the X Bus on Saturday and headed north Sunday morning we awoke to the moon still shining brightly in a very clear sky An hour later the sun was up and we were on the beach at Cruden Bay As there are some dodgy rips there we decided to head south to the beach at Belmeadie After a wee recce we got the board pumped up and Rho and I took turns at riding in the freezing North Sea I m definitely a flat water SUPer but will need to change that for the SUP challenges I have planned for 2015 Stumpy keeping an eye on Deano Deano looking a tad unsteady 21st November 2014 River Tay Broughty Ferry Dundee Today I was invited to help promote the Dundee Mountain Film Festival and a film I will be introducing in Broughty Ferry Dundee The plan was for me to majestically SUP up and down the River Tay whilst the STV news crew took some footage for this evening s 6 o clock news When Rhona and I arrived at the river the weather was pretty rough Along with the rain and wind the tide was still rushing in and the river was full of debris After a short interview I then made my way out onto the river No magisterial paddling here I just gritted my teeth tried to avoid the flotsam and jetsam and prepared myself to fall in Hoorah I stayed on my board and all went well A cracking afternoon You can read all about it at http dundee stv tv articles 300532 deano dunbar blind adventurer paddles boards tay river fromstreampost 184990 All photos below courtesy of Allan Brown Dundee Mountain Film Festival 17th November 2014 Loch Ba Today Rhona and I met up with Patrick Cathy and Faraid Winterton for a wee paddle on Loch Ba near Bridge of Orchy It was the strangest loch I ve ever paddled in One second we d be in very deep water and then we d be in just a few inches The first time this happened I was thrown from board into just 6 inches of water At one point the water on the right of my SUP was deeper than the length of my paddle but when I put my paddle in the other side I nearly broke it as it was just a couple of inches deep Apart from the strange loch a wonderful day was had by all 9th November 2014 Clunie Loch This morning I went out for a wee paddle on Clunie Loch once the frost had melted and the fog had lifted My usual clobber for SUPing is a pair of neoprene shorts a rash t shirt and bare feet However with an air temperature of 7 degrees I swapped my shorts for a pair of neoprene trousers and added a dry cag on the top half I was very glad of my trousers as when I was launching the SUP I was up to my man bits in water of around degrees After a couple of kilometres the cag came off but thin neoprene socks had to go on as I could no longer feel my feet Due to the recent rainfall and air temperature the loch had changed significantly from just a week ago My usual marker of Picalilly had vanished adding an extra 40 metres to my usual 870m trip across the loch All in all I was on the water for just over an hour and managed around 8km Picalilly is so named because when swimming across the loch you have not done a full length until you pick a lilly and touch it 2nd November 2014 Loch a Choire Ben Vrackie What a glorious November day to SUP on Loch a Choire beside Ben Vrackie Colin Campbell Nick Morecroft Rhona Stumpy and I took a wee stroll up to the loch As I find steep down hills pretty tough visually I decided I d have a paddle whilst the others walked on to the summit of Ben Vrackie Whilst the sun was out it was very pleasant but as soon as the sun dipped behind a nearby hill the temperature dropped dramatically Loch a Choire may not be a big loch but we can now say it has definitely been SUPed Thanks to Nick for the photos looking down from Ben Vrackie 8th October 2014 Loch Tay A cracking day out on Loch Tay Rhona Stumpy our great friend Nick Morecroft and me This was Nick s first go at SUP and as you can see the gods looked kindly on us giving us super flat water I m sure even with a few bumps Nick wouldn t have had any problems Nick s first SUP Stumpy Rhona photo courtesy of Nick Morecroft Stumpy Deano photo courtesy of Nick Morecroft 8th October 2014 SUPM I recently wrote my first article for a published magazine Stand Up Paddle Mag The story covers my SUP adventures from the beginning to just before the Cali Canal trip To read it and check out teh SUPM website CLICK HERE 2nd 4th October 2014 Caledonian Canal Fort William to Inverness Just had the most amazing time over the last 3 days SUPing the Caledonian Canal with an awesome bunch of guys Carl Sawyer and Jason Sawyer were my guides on the water and Dave Butt and Dave Robson supported us from the shore driving the van and filming during the tough 96km trip With winds of up to 40 knots 74kmph the water was wild and so was the company Energy sustained by that well known fitness fuel Walkers shortbread This makes me the first registered blind guy to do this trip Thanks guys absolutely awesome CLICK HERE to read the full article 13th 21st September 2014 Arran In between our training swims for the Lamlash Splash we managed to get some great SUPs in on the beautiful Isle of Arran Sometimes on our own and sometimes with company On one day I acted as safety SUPer for local swimmer Andrea who was also in training for the Splash and on another day I was joined by the local seals At one point I looked over my shoulder to see 3 heads bobbing along behind me in my wake Deano paddling back from Holy Isle Safety SUPing for local swimmer Andrea Deano s got company Stumpy waiting for her go Stumpy and Deano at Lamlash Rhona and Stumpy at Lamlash 10th September 2014 The wonderful folk at Walkers Shortbread will be supplying our team with Walkers snack packs to sustain us through our upcoming Great Glen SUP next month Thank you Walkers Shortbread 7th September 2014 Clunie The order of the day was an easy short paddle After completing the 1 2 mile swim across the Firth of the Forth yesterday with Eddie the socks Riach guiding me and Rho doing her first big open water swimming event an easy SUP sounded like a good idea On arrival at Clunie Loch the wind was blowing an absolute hoolie so short also sounded good However after 2 5 hours on the water I was happy to have paddled just over 17km Not particularly easy or short but I was chuffed with it 4th September 2014 4 weeks today we will be taking on our big challenge for 2014 We aim to SUP the full 100km length of the Caledonian Canal in 3 days starting on the 2nd of October The direction of travel is in the hands of the Gods Yesterday I got out and did another 26km on Clunie I m glad to say that this was very little wind and I managed to complete the paddle in 4 hours dead including 3 fuel stops sandwiches chocolate and juice However the best fuel stop is the one when it is all over and I get to drink the Scottish amber nectar Irn Bru Who knew you could get energy from gurrderrs 31st August 2014 Clunie It s been 3 weeks since my last SUP life getting in the way so I found todays paddle pretty tough I was on Clunie Loch for just over 4 hours and managed to knock out just over 26km The first few ks felt like I was paddling in treacle and then half way through a cross wind came out to play All in all a tough paddle with blisters to prove it but hopefully this will teach me not to leave it so long between paddles Naughty boy 12th August 2014 Finally I have got around to writing up the Loch Etchachan trip Checkout the SUP UK s Highest SUP Club page Also there has been a couple of articles in the local newspaper for the Loch Tay and Loch Etchachan trips You can read them on the media page 10th August 2014 Clunie In preparation for our October SUP challenge Carl recently upgraded from his 10ft 6in long and 33in wide Fanatic board to a 14ft by 27in Red Paddle Elite inflatable board Along with his new Snell Brothers paddle he had certainly upped his game On the 10th of July I became the first of our wee group Carl his brother Jason and me to do a 20km paddle So imagine my shock when Carl told me last Friday that he had just paddled 40km The challenge was on Today I decided I was going to match his 40 and try to raise him by 10 The weather was atrocious with wind heavy rain and the odd storm on Clunie Loch I m told that the storm was the last hoorah of Hurricane Big Bertha As if that wasn t enough 2 muppets in a speed boat tried to knock me off my board The first time they passed within 2 foot of my SUP but then an hour later they came back for another go This time they came from behind and were an inch or maybe two from my board Just to add to their fun they then turned sharply in front of me catching the nose of my board Bloody idiots After all of that weather dickheads etc on my wee 12ft 6in by 30in board that I bought from Oceansource net I was on the water for around 10 hours and knocked out 60km I ve no intention of attempting to top that this year 3rd August 2014 Clunie Just had an amazing paddle on Clunie Due to a cricked neck I ve done no SUPing for the past 2 weeks apart from the wee paddle on Etchachan So today I decided to go out and do 16km on Clunie I was just coming to the end of my 16km when a mighty storm came in The wind was blowing a hooley the rain was horizontal the shore vanished in the rain and cloud and the biggest waves I ve seen on Clunie came out to play In the past I would have normally dropped to my knees to battle through these waves but after my recent Tay trips I decided to stay standing What a blast It was all over in 5 minutes but was absolutely wonderful So invigorating that I did a further 4km all in just over 3 hours Hard work but worth it 26th July 2014 Loch Etchachan Today we became the founding members of the UK s Highest SUP Club after a gruelling 30km round bike and hike to become the first people to SUP the UK s highest loch lake Loch Etchachan A full report will follow in the next week or so 25th July 2014 The Loch Tay report is now online You can read it HERE 20th July 2014 Loch Tay Today after almost 5 hours on the water I am very proud to say that according to all of my research I have just become the first registered blind person to SUP the full length of Loch Tay The official length of Loch Tay is 23 42km but that is in a straight line down the middle of the loch I can assure you I did not paddle down the middle Not only did I do the first blind paddle but I did it without a guide For ALL of my previous BIG adventures e g sea kayaking in the Hebs swimming the Corryvreckan aquaseiling the UK s highest waterfall canyoning down Sa Fosca etc etc I have had at least one guide But not on Loch Tay I said goodbye to Rhona at Kilin and then passed her on a beach about 4km from the end at Kenmore With cross winds and a few close calls it was a tough but amazing trip A full write up with video will hopefully go online at the weekend when I will be taking on my next SUP challenge 13th July 2014 Loch Tay After completing my first 20km on the 10th by circling Clunie Loch 8 times I had planned to do another 20km this time with only one turn 10km up and 10km down Loch Tay But as Robert Burns wrote the best laid schemes o mice an men With an 8mph head wind and waves of 1 2 feet my 20km plans looked unlikely Just getting out of the Kenmore bay was tough enough having to kneel down as the water was too lumpy

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  • able to come along and watch the swim Patrick gave me the contact details of a local RIB owner Tony Gill I contacted him to see if he would be interested in coming along and much to my delight he was very keen It turned out that Tony has been involved in many of the Corryvreckan swims acting as a support boat so knew exactly what we were planning I found out later that Tony was also the man behind a video I had repeatedly watched on YouTube called Corryvreckan Challenge Deano following Andy s throw bag The swim was set for Sunday the 7th of August and everyone involved met up just outside Ardfern on the 6th The weather that day had started off very nice but by tea time the clouds had come in and there was a spot of rain Patrick Cathy and headed out for a wee paddle while Rhona and Stumpy put our tent up Sorry Rho I hadn t gone out for a paddle just to get out of putting the tent up Patrick had suggested that to make the whole trip more fun as well as swimming the Corryvreckan Gulf we should paddle the 5km out to it and then after the swim we should paddle the 5km back again As I had not done any sea kayaking since 2009 a refresher was called for Around 08 30 on the 7th Patrick and I jumped into a two man kayak and Cathy climbed into her single Paddy s Paddlers would follow on behind us Rhona along with our 2 friends Derek and Linda and Stumpy made their way down to meet Tony with his RIB Moon Raker The paddle would take us around 45 minutes to an hour Moon Raker would do it in around 10 minutes As the swim was based around slack tide this meant we would be paddling towards the Gulf hitting the fast moving tide head on This made for an interesting paddle Fortunately Patrick could read the water very well and he was able to take us through the better parts of it When we were about 2km from the whirlpool Patrick said that he could see it As we were just a few feet above the water level this meant that the whirlpool must have been pretty big Deano coming up for air After the tough paddle we made our way to Jura and I was dropped off I had to clamber up a sloping cliff for about 10 metres but then found a nice wee gap to settle down into I waited there for 10 minutes whilst Patrick and Cathy secured their kayaks around the corner and made their way over to me Whilst waiting there I heard the RIB and then Paddy s Paddlers arrive I also listened to some seals swimming around Obviously wondering what was going on A few minutes after Cathy and Patrick arrived with me Tony shouted from the RIB that

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  • of swimming the English Channel has come to an unhappy end It would seem that I am a cold water wimp The pool training was right on target knocking out 15 miles a week in a reasonable time However as soon as I stepped out into the open water things started to unravel Being located up here in Bonnie Scotland the temperature of the lochs rarely rose above 13 degrees Celsius and that was only for 3 months of the year So with this in mind I spent most of June 2012 training in Jersey and then in Devon Unfortunately I just couldn t push through the shivering stage On one of my last training sessions in Devon one of my support team suggested taking my body core temperature I think he thought that the shivering I was suffering from was mostly psychological However after a short 15 minute swim my body core temperature had dropped a massive 3 3 degrees Celsius to 33 4 degrees C which is considered to be mildly hypothermic We had tried many different ways to combat the cold well as many different ways as you can when only wearing trunks ear plugs and a swimming cap but none did the job So it is with sadness that I have decided to give the Channel swim dream up Over the 19 months I have met some amazing people and learnt a lot about swimming When I first started my training in December 2010 I was unable to swim front crawl I now have so I have been told a very good stroke and pace So I intend to keep up a lower level of training and still hope to take on some smaller open water swims I reckon so long as they are either no longer than 2 miles or likely to take no longer than 1 hour I should still be able to achieve them I also still want to have another go at my Location X swim this Summer I would like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way There are too many to give them all a mention but I would like to mention a few Colleen Blair my coach and member of my support team Colleen is a truly awesome person Not only did she teach me how to swim front crawl but she was also a huge inspiration to me Colleen is one of the most understated athletes I have ever met Not only has she swam the English Channel she is one of a handful of people to have swum the mighty North Channel and Loch Tay And in 2011 she became the first person to swim the Pentland Firth It has been a real pleasure to have worked with her and I suggest that you all keep an eye out for her name as I know she has many more swimming records to come What a star Carl Sawyer member of my support team Carl

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Swimming_English_Channel/xsid/74 (2016-02-10)
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  • Barnie He was one of the first people to swim across the Forth swimming from Granton to Burntisland a distance of 7 miles My plan was to swim it from South Queensferry to North Queensferry a much more reasonable distance of just over a mile In 2011 I found out about the organised swim run by Scottish Swimming It was too late to enter that year so I planned to do the swim in 2012 As it happened when the date for 2012 was made public I had already booked myself in for the Oban Sea Kayak Race Then in 2013 when the date was released for that year Rhona had already booked herself in for the Craggy Island triathlon in Oban So having failed to get in on these 2 years I contacted the organisers at the beginning of 2014 and was given a probable date To avoid any double booking we aimed to keep our diaries free for 1 week either side until the date was confirmed Rhona took up open water swimming in 2013 and only really learnt to swim in 2012 Before this she would panic if asked to swim a full length of a swimming pool 2 years on she decided to push herself that little bit further and put her name down for the Forth Swim too Where s Eddie the Socks If you have read any of my swimming events on this website you ll know that I need a guide to keep me straight For the Forth Swim my good friend and guide Eddie the socks Riach came on board With his trusty bright yellow socks I should have no problem following him On the morning of the 6th of September 2014 everybody met at the Albert Hotel in North Queensferry for the pre swim briefing As well as the usual topics covered there was a very in depth safety meeting In these waters safety was a major part of the event and taken very seriously We were told that due to the time of the swim there should be very little tide However even with no current there was still potential for danger at the foot of each of the legs of the bridge For this reason most of the safety kayaks would form a line between the swimmers and the bridge If a swimmer was to cross this line they would be grabbed by a kayaker and brought back over to the safe side Along with this Eddie and I were given our very own safety kayaker Ron whose job would be to follow us and make sure we kept out of harms way To help make Ron s job easier Eddie was given a lime green swimming hat Everyone else had red hats so the green hat would make Eddie easy to spot Go After the briefing we got changed loaded up onto two mini buses and were then driven over to South Queensferry where we would start the

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Swimming_Forth_River_2014/xsid/101 (2016-02-10)
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  • but because I feel the Lamlash Splash is one of Scotland s swimming best kept secrets With only around 40 swimmers allowed to participate each year I thought maybe I should keep my mouth shut or maybe that should read keep my typing fingers in a boxing glove and keep this great secret to those in the know As you can see the show off in me won the tug of war so here I go The Lamlash Splash is a 1 3 mile wetsuit sea swim from Holy Isle to Lamlash on Arran As I had recently gone over to the dark side swapping my swimming shorts for a full neoprene wetsuit it looked perfect for me Eddie and Deano before the swim dry socks The Lamlash Splash has in previous years been an extremely rough swim to complete and should not be taken on lightly or without some sea swimming training I have friends who swam in 2011 and they came back with all sorts of horror stories about the weather and water conditions Waves bigger than houses and winds that could fell a mighty Oak OK so that might be a bit of an exaggeration but for the millionth time Last year 2012 the conditions were better but still a little bumpy Just 6 days before this years swim the ferry service from the mainland had been cancelled due to rough sea conditions What was 2013 going to be like Everyone aboard teh Skylark As with my Monster Swim Eddie the Socks Riach formerly known as Eddie the Fish had agreed to be my guide The swim was due to start at 11am so we Rhona Eddie Stumpy and I arrived around 9 30 to check things out The masochist in me hoped that some of the waves from the previous weekend may have lingered but it was not to be The water was super flat and in fact the organisers said that it was probably the flattest the sea had ever been in the 12 year history of the Splash Darn you Mother Nature However Mummy N was not totally on the swimmer s side Instead of winds and waves we would have jellyfish to watch out for A lot had been spotted over the previous days and this was pointed out in our safety briefing No turning back now After the briefing the swimmers piled into the 3 boats waiting to ferry us across to the starting point on the Holy Isle The mood in our boat was excellent People were nervous but in good humour Talk about the jellyfish was rife and the odd mention about the water being just 12 degrees was also mentioned Our boat was made up of experienced swimmers and complete novices Some were looking to do a great time others were just hoping to complete the swim A mixture of competitors and completitors Holy Isle On arrival at Holy Isle we clambered out of the boats and converged on

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  • be an excellent idea and on arriving at Blackwaterfoot the sea was perfect We spent around an hour taking turns either swimming or safety SUPing for each other On the Monday we met up with Ann Eric and Mike and had a great wee swim around the boats in Lamlash bay Eric very kindly took up the role of my sighted guide and was able to guide me around the boats as well as avoid the odd jellyfish that were lingering in the area On the Wednesday we repeated this and this was us all set for Saturdays swim On the Thursday we met up with another islander Andrea She had recently taken up open water swimming and this was to be only her third time out in deep water I acted as safety SUPer for her as she swam from Kings Cross towards Holy Isle She was a bit nervous about the deep black water but more nervous about possibly being stung by the numerous jellyfish in the area She wasn t sure how she would react if stung She didn t have to wait long to find out Half way out to Holy Isle she came across her first jelly but was able to swim past it Unfortunately a few yards further on she wasn t so lucky She got stung across her neck and face When this happened she climbed up onto the SUP to calm herself down I had been stung on my hand and foot earlier that week and was able to reassure Andrea that it just felt like a nasty nettle sting Sure enough after a minute or so out of the water her stings started to calm down and she was keen to get back into the water She came across a few more jellies and climbed on to the board once more but again once past them she was back in the water As she said later she was glad that she had been stung on this training swim as opposed to on the Splash as if she had climbed out then she would have been disqualified I found out later that she had a worse reaction to the stings than I did but it didn t put her off the Splash Nice one Andrea When I swam the Lamlash Splash in 2013 the water had been very flat The flattest in the events history I had said that I preferred a few bumps and this year my wish was granted By the time we were taken over to the Holy Isle for the start of the swim I was soaked through from the bouncing up and down on the waves in the inflatable power boat that took us there On arrival Eddie and I met up with our safety kayaker The great news was that it was Gary the same kayaker we had in 2013 He s a top bloke and knew exactly what to do with us He did a

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Swimming_Lamlash_Splash_2014/xsid/102 (2016-02-10)
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  • telling me that entry was now open The Lamlash Splash is one of the best open water swimming events around It is small and extremely friendly with a maximum number of 40 swimmers doing the 1 3 mile 2 1km sea swim from Holy Isle to Lamlash on Arran I had swam it in 2013 and 2014 with the help of my swimming guide Eddie the socks Riach Being strong of mind and even stronger of will when the email arrived I instantly crumbled and entered Pre swim briefing courtesy of Andrew Milton Due to heavy training sessions on my SUP I wasn t able to get my first training session done until July where I did my first mile of the year My last mile long swim had been in a pool back in December of 2014 The water was a tad chilly but apart from that the swim was pretty comfortable I knew that I wasn t going to break any records but I hoped that I wouldn t embarrass myself either By the time we arrived in Arran 1 week before the swim I had managed to do 3 training swims 2 of 1 7km and 1 of 2 5km Catching the ferry to Holy Isle Spot Eddie the socks by the ferry courtesy of Andrew Milton Rhona and I also managed to get 3 training sessions with some of the local swimmers over the week before the Splash These were great and got us used to both the water temperature and the jellyfish I was stung on my feet around 10 times but was pleasantly surprised to find that they weren t much worse than a nettle sting On the day of the Splash I bumped in Roy Armstrong my arch nemesis I had swam with

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  • that I didn t think I would get another chance this year as Rhona was very busy with work and the water temperature would be starting to drop again He told me that he d be keen to help me in 2 weeks time as he had some time off work 2 weeks would also give my injuries some time to heal So on the 20th of September Patrick and I headed off to Location X We mountain biked in for 7km and stashed the bikes in the same location as last time I then pointed out the route we took whilst Patrick matched it against the map The route I was describing from memory would certainly get us to Location X but would be 6km hiking without a path and then finish with a near 500m vertical climb On closer examination Patrick was able to find a much better route which meant getting back on our bikes again and heading 3km back on the route we had just come We would then turn left and bike for another 4km before stashing the bikes there At that point we would have a much clearer footpath in to Location X and back out which would save us time and effort over the whole trip Due to my sight problems I am fairly slow by foot but can push things a bit faster on my bike This means the bike takes a real hammering hitting rocks tree stumps etc but buying a new front wheel every now and then is better than what could happen to my feet and ankles Patrick cycled just ahead of me over some very technical ground Well technical for a blind guy The path was narrow strewn with rocks and very steep in places There were also many run offs which cut right across the path and could not be avoided These are used to help direct the rain water running off the hills and prevent the path from being washed away Patrick had to continually give me instructions on how to bike through them e g keep right steep out or middle and shallow or the worst ones enter left cross to right steep out quick left Try working that out in a fraction of a second But he did a sterling job After 4km of this technical stuff it was time to stash the bikes and start walking The walk was only for 4km but it was mostly uphill The weather hadn t been too bad A bit of sunshine followed by a few drops of rain However when we started to gain some height the wind really started up Over the last few hundred metres the rain joined in By the time we hit the shores of Location X the wind and rain were almost storm force There were fast moving waves being blown by the wind and things didn t look good for a several hundred metre swim In fact they looked extremely

    Original URL path: http://www.extremedreams.co.uk/index.php/Extremedreams/Swimming_Location_X_2011/xsid/83 (2016-02-10)
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