Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards

Last week saw me visiting The Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh to be involved with presenting the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. It was amazing to meet so many dedicated young people who have achieved this accolade. Prince Edward enjoyed a shortened version of the Atlantic Row story.

Illustrated Talk. Sat 18th May, Corrie Hall, Isle of Arran

A night with Calum

My first illustrated talk about the row will be happening on Saturday 18th May in Corrie village hall on the Isle of Arran.

The evening forms part of the “2013 Isle of Arran mountain Festival” and promises to be a great night. Theres even a free chilli-con-carne!

You can buy your tickets online at the Adventure Company web-site or pay at the door.

I hope to see you all there.

Calum

 

Most definately the best moment of the row.

Harris P1 Music Festival

Harris and his class of P1, P2 & P3 of Brodick Primary school wrote a song about my row. And if this weren’t enough they decided to recite this song at a inter-schools singing competition. (which they won)!

I’ve spent a long time training for the row, both physically and emotionally but this rendition was way above anything i had prepared for. It was amazing!

Many thanks go to all the children who worked very hard making up the song and my sincere  thanks go to Harris’s teacher, Edwina Milesi who has been an avid supporter of the row from the start.

Thanks.

£20,027.91 Cheque presentation made to the Ayrshire Hospice

I spent a most humbling morning at The Ayrshire Hospice today, presenting a cheque from my Atlantic row expedition.

Cheque Presentation

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” (T.S.Lawrence)

 

 

£15,000 Reached! Yee Haa

After 1 year of training, 35 days of rowing and a load of effort fund-raising, yesterday i met my target of raising £15,000 for the Ayrshire Hospice. My sister Natasha organized a fund-raising event with her kids, parents and staff from Summerlee Nursery in Largs and their effort managed to raise a whooping £1000, which took my collective total over the £15,000 mark.

This journey has been both physical and mental and I have genuinely been amazed by the support i have received along the way. Thanks.

I am in the process of arranging a cheque presentation to the Ayrshire Hospice. More details to follow.

A BIG thanks to Brodick Primary School

Brodick School Kids

What an amazing surprise i received when i touched down back on dry land in Brodick. Out of the fog I could hear singing as the ferry approached the pier and then as the fog  cleared i was presented with a sight i will never forget. All the school children of Brodick primary school had walked along to the pier with their brightly colored banners, flags and signs welcoming me home. They had even written a song, which they were singing in unison, (or close to it!). It was completely unexpected and incredible humbling.

A very special thanks to everyone who made it such a special return.

IMG_6084

A huge thank you to RNLI Isle of Arran (Lamlash).

RNLI Car WashA very big thank you to Dawn, Geoff and all the crew and supporters who gave up their time to help in the fund raising car wash in Feb. They managed to raise a whopping £1000 for the Ayrshire Hospice by washing cars on at the station and i am incredibly grateful to each and every volunteer who gave up their Sunday for this excellent effort.

Arrival

After 35 days 12 hours & 41 seconds we arrived in Port St Charles, Barbados to a welcome I will never forget. We tied up alongside at 0415hrs and the welcome party comprised family and friends, girlfriends and wife’s. it was a strange surreal feeling being whisked along on the buzz of excitement and adrenaline as we docked, been thrown out of our self imposed cocoon of the boat and our team of 8 into a whirlwind of hugs and kisses and a thousand, “how was its?”

There were a few stumbles and a lot of swaying as the ground beneath us remained strangely stable. A sensation we haven’t encountered for over a month.

It wasn’t long before a bottle of Banks Beer was thrust not our hands and to top it all off the welcome party had organised a chef to prepare a meal for us all. So at 0500hrs we sat down to steak, potatoes and veg.

An overwhelming feeling of contentment and achievement was felt by all. Awesome!

image

Tell me why I don’t like Mondays…..

Hi All,

It was going too well there for a while and we were finally making some good mileage.

At 0350hrs we were hit with yet another big wave which managed to mangle the steering gear. This connects the auto helm to the rudder and is a collection of stainless steel rods, bolts and welds. The wave broached the boat again and the pressure snapped a weld and rendered the steering gear useless. So myself and Leven are back on manual steering and we now have 3 at the oars.Its not all gloom and doom though, as the furthest distance we have travelled in a day, 107 miles, day 9, was done on manual steering, so fingres crossed we can emulate that.

hand steering 2

Monday today and we hope to be in Barbadoa on Wednesday night.

Calum

Nuggett or Nougat?

Hi all,

We have been enjoying a few rare days of tail winds and high seas and have subsequently seen our daily totals rise to an acceptable 96, 98 and 96 miles.

Unfortunately this is too late for us to make up the deficet and we have to now accept that we won’t be breaking any world records in this crossing. We have a little over 400 miles to go to Barbados and are traveling, on average of 4 miles and hour, meaning we are now looking at a 34 day crossing. On the one hand to say we, as a crew are dissapointed is an understatement. We have put absolutely everything into the crossing and have worked without complaint as a crew for the past month. Its too early to start with the what ifs. We are after all still in the thick of the crossing.

Even with the world record crossing out of our grasps the effort we are put to make the boat move as fast as possible remains at the highest level. This is due to the fact that our loved ones are waiting for us in Barbados as we speak and the thought of them sunning themselves on the beach with a pino-colada in hand is a good motivator. Added to this we are dying to see Leven and Levar dance the Calypso together as a forefit for loosing the quiz. And finally we have the showdown between Levar and Peter in the fish off. The looser will wear Benos used underpants (picture silk, white thong-like y-fronts), into port and nothing else.

For those of you who have followed my blog to date you may notice that at times i’m alphabetically challenged. Thansk for the patience! This, i would like to point out is through no fault of the good english teachers at Ardrossan Academy, Bagpuss included. We have been having quite the debate on-board the boat for the past week about the pronounciation ( i stood no chance there for example), of the ingredients of a Double Decker. We all know this chocolate bar is made with “cadbury milk chocolate with a soft, chewy nougat top and crunchy cereal bottom”. Now up until this week when i read the word nougat i read it as nugget. It was with much hilarity and i mean MUCH hilarity that i overheard a conversation between two of the crew who are more of a southen persuasion. They pronounced it, (between a mouth full of marbles), newgarr! With the  emphasis on the oooo and aaarrr. To the best of my ability I and the rest of the scottish contingent haven’t been able to convince them that it should be nugget and we have agreed to disagree.  I am ready to stand corrected but if you feel you want to bolster the scottish slant then please direct a short email to this address FAO: James Cowan & Peter Fleck. outlining their mistake.

Thanks, Calum

Humorous, so no tears please.

Hi all,

I remember having a conversation with my mum about reincarnation. Her Christian beliefs kept here away from the idea that she would come back as anything, instead she was looking froward to the long sunny days pruning her flowers in the eternal garden. She rolled with the conversation though and on reflection answered the question by saying that given the choice she would come back as a bird. To enjoy the feeling of flying high on the thermals looking down on her flock. Wise words and not at all surprising. She then changed tack and added that instead of a bird she would prefer to come back as a fish. to swim the worlds oceans and maybe on some level reconnecting with her ocean passages she made with her new husband all those years ago. We left it at that.

As i sat at the oars reflecting on this conversation, dark and deep in thought, out of the blue (both figuratively and literally), this little rascal flew out of the water and slapped me square on the chest and i swear i could hear, some where in the distance the theme tun to the Twilight Zone……….

flying fesh

Calum

Asleep at the wheel

As we move into the final week of this expedition its fair to say that we have just experienced our toughest test to date.

For the past three days we have been battleing into a strong beam and head wind making our progress painfully slow and nincreadably hard going. to the point where we were making 0.5 of a mile each hour. This not only has the effect of sapping our already low energy levels it takes its toll mentally and we are digging deeper than ever to stay positive and motivated.

I was never under the illusion that this trip would be easy but the last few days have taken it to a new level. The easy thing to do would be to rest on the sea anchor but this would mean been blown backwards and a loss of hard earned miles. It would almost certainly mean that the world record would be out with our grasp and we are not at that point, quite yet.

Asleep at the wheelGot to sleep. Calum

Welcome on-board to Bilslands

Welcome on-board to Alistair and Alison Bilsland, owners of Arran’s largest retail outlet.

Bilslands is a mini Visitor Attraction, not only featuring a high quality retail experience but also offers a fully licensed Café Bar and Art Gallery, Outdoor Shop, a fifteen hole Mini Golf Course and a ‘Taste of Arran’ shop plus on site parking with disabled access.

http://www.bilslands.co.uk

Day 23 – Rock and Roll.

hi all,

Well, well, well. We have just finished our 23rd day at sea we have just crossed the 1000 miles to go mark. I broke this news to the crew by telling them we now only have the length of Great Britain to row and we are travelling at a snidgen over walking pace. To say that analogy didn’t go down too well is a bit of an understatement and i thought i would be taking a long walk off a very short plank.

The wind blows a steady 15 kts from the east and with every day we get closer to our goal. Our speed is a bit down on world record breaking pace and even the most optimistic amongst us now see the sub 30 day record slipping from our reach. We do however have the world record of minus 32 days in our minds and we are pulling with increased determination and focus.

sunrise day 23

This focus was given another blow a few minutes ago,when out of the blue we took another big wave on the beam, broached and snapped our only remaining daggerboard. The boat now lists and heels with every wave and swell that passes under us. To quite the angle at times!  In the light of day I will inspect the damage and formutate a plan. But for the time being we its rock and roll…..

On a more positive note the sunrise this morning was spectacular and the beard is coming along great guns….

sunrise day 23-2-1

Day 20 – A very quick update.

hi all,

we continue to row relentlessly towards Barbados. We have suffered from low battery power over the last week and we ar5e now rationing electrical usage. Hence the reason for the lack of updates.

The batteries are recharged by the wind vane and the solar pannles and for the last week or so we have had low winds, even lower when apparent, and the cloud cover has been intermitent, meaning we now operate with only a half battery. one is completely deed.

Onward we row. Interestingly the sun now sets 2.5 hours later than it did when we left puerto mogan meaning its light up until 9pm. The sunrise is only a hour later then when we left.

Daily life onboard is full of fun and the banter, heckeling and haggeling is non stop. Especially when we heard the result of the calcutta cup! Our daily ration packs have become priceless commodities and on the trading floor just now Double Deckers are trading for 3 super noddles, 2 strawberry re-hydration drink and a nobbies nuts. Its cut and thrust out here.

I will forward more images when the batteries are powered up.

calum

ps we reached our half way mark on day 16 and by friday we should be under 1000 mile mark.

Being Vivid.

Hi All,

In every journey you reach a point when its easier to contiune to the end than return to the start. We’re nearing that point in this journey and the more time i spend at the oars the more i reflect on my reasons for taking on this adventure.

hand steering

I have just come off my midnight shift and the scene I have left outside is truely awsome. (these moments where promised by my friend Joshand I’m experiencing one of those moments that eludes everyone who spends 100% of their time on terra firma). The seas are all but flat with next to no wind, we rise and fall on a 1 meter swell. The sky is cloudless and the full moon has jsut risen on the eastern horizon. It cats its eternal raze towards us. Polaris is shining bright to our starboard and the mighty Orion is high. The countless stars and galaxies of the milky way is directly overhead.

This scene got me thinking about the reasons for taking on this challenge. For leaving behine the safety of land, of shelter of family. Its a question i get asked alot and in the street or in the bar the usual glib response is one like”because its there”, or “its a good time of year for me” but the true reasons are a little more complex than that.

sunrise on day 16

The reason I’m out on the ocean right now is down to a deep rooted and almost always sub conscious quest for adventure. I believe this quest has been nurtured by a life time of associations.

Over the past few days i have been thinking alot about folks who have, through no fault of their own, eddied out and left the party too soon. Simple scenes remind me of great people who i have had the fortune to spend time with. When i look at the crashing waves and white horses of the big seas around me, i see the blond haired Bob Smith as we effortlessly kayak down the Upper Setti in Nepal, the dolphins which circled the boat and jumped the waves 10 days ago remind me of Pete McNeil, gracefully windsurfing in the Largs channel, (as we did so often after work), in the rising and setting sun i see the red hair of my uncle Diesel Dave Coles canoeing the best rivers in British Columbia. In acrobatic storm petrals I see Alec Jack in yet another BB gymnastic display and the high white cirus clouds sweeping across the blue sky I see Alan Bunyan and his faultless skiing technique as he descends Mt. Blanc for his 40th. And at the same time, all around me from the endless number of stars in the huge sky to the microscopic bio luminescent in the ocean i feel and see mum, encouraging, motivating, egging me on towards my goal. What ever that maybe.

In all the people i know who participate in adventure sports, i know of no one who has a death wish. Conversely all bar none have a wish for life. To experience a heightened feeling of being alive by stretching the comfort zone just that little bit has a powerful draw. The reasons i’m doing what i’m doing is just that. I like the vividness of being.

Calum

Day 14 – Pea & Ham…from a chicken!

Hi All,

The sun has just come up on day 14 of our journey and has warmed our hearts a little.

For those of you who are tracking our progress you may have noticed a drop in the daily mileage. This is down to the fact that the wind has all but disapeared now and we are being forced to push or pull our wee boat through the water with out assistance. Some maybe saying, well get on with it and stop moaning which is fair comment but with a drop in the wind comes a decrease in wave and swell size, which has a direct effect on the speed and direction of the current. The wind died away on tuesday of this week and now, thursday we find ourselves in a body of water with no form or regularity about it. there is no swell and the waves are 1 ft in height. The current is eddying around in every direction. The boat will go from moving at 5kts to 2 kts in a matter of seconds and then back up again.

We have set ourselves a new daily target of 80 statute miles a day. we have met this target every day so far since the conditions deterierated and yesterday nearly made 90. It goes without saying that if this weather and sea state continunes for too long then we move away from the sub 30 day crossing and the new world record. These records are stashed way back in the recces of my mind just now and i’m thinking only of getting through the peas soup.

GOPR0651on the bright side the sunrise was brilliant this morning, i talked with vicky and the boys on the sat phone and i’ve just opened my ration pack for the day and found freeze dried pea and ham soup. My favourite!

calum

Day 11 – Out of the frying pan into the fridge…..

Hi All,

After celebrating day 10 and all its marvels, day 11 started with a bang. at 10 past 12 at night we were screaming along at just under 6 kts when we took a rather big wave from behind. I was tucked up in my bunk so didn’t get to see it but the guys on deck say it was 7 meters. ( and is getting bigger every time the stories told). The boat surfed down the wave but broached at the bottom and went over on its side with a great crash.

Our dagger board snapped and sank to the bottom of the ocean. The dagger board is an 8 ft piece of carbon which protrudes from the hull of the boat giving us stability and reduces leeway. Although not essential to the boat it became very noticable not having one. we carry a spare dagger board onboard so myself and leven got to work fitting it. One problem was the top of the dagger board was still in situe and wasn’t for moving. After a hour of gentle persuasion it still wouldn’t badge. The enters Pete the farmer stage left. Let give it a wallopp. So in true farmner style he hit the hell out the top of the remaining dagger baord and hay presto it gave way and sank tobe reunited with its othe half.

we lost a little time with the whole episode.

Our 11th day has been slow slow slow and we are really having to learn to take the bad with the good. There seems tobe a counter current and eddies all through the waters we now row and one minute we are stonking along at 5kts then down to 2. There wont be any speed or distance records today I’m afraid. What I would like everyone to do back home is be mindfull of our predicament and spend a minute doing a wee dance or sing a wee song for wind to come in our direction. And Marna, next time you talk with your dolphoins any chance you can send them to 20 49′N 029 33′ W we can do with a tow and a cheering up.

Thanks calum

Calum

Day 10 – A Belter!

Hi All,

Today is day 10 at sea and to date I havnt experienced condition quite like this. I have just come off my lunch time shift 11am – 1pm and i now sit sweltering in the aft cabin. Bear in mind our day starts at 1910hrs as this represents the time we cast off from puerto mogan. Now 10 and a half days later we are some 1000 miles in to our vouyage and 1/3 of the way there. Yee Haa!

I left Leven in with my oars a few moments agon and the conditions are absolutely great. the sky is cloudless apart from a few cumulus bubbeling to the north of us, the sea state is 2 to 3 meter swell heading in a westelry direction and the wind is 20 kts form the east. all this works in our favour for the time being and the team currentley on the oars are bombing along at 4.9kts. We are simply flying. and long may this continue.

Loads of folk asked me how i was feeling about the trip, the enormity of the ocean, the distance to be covered etc, nerves and fear simply aren’t emotions I’ve felt on the trip so far. Far from it, instead of being cocooned on a tiny boat in the middle of nowwhere, whilst I’m on the oars, (thats for 12 hours of the day) i am a world wide traveller. I’ve been to far off places like the great wall of china, I’ve sledged from Busalp to Grindelwald, I’ve collected in the hay with dad and iain over at grans field. I’ve been to London, Seattle, Vancouver and Barbados all in the same night. And I convinced myself that after the Death Shift from 3am-5am i would reward myself with a slap up meal comprising pan fried hand dived scallops form Lamlash bay followed by a 8oz sirloin steak served rare, surf and turf style with rosmary roast potatoes drizzled in garlic butter and sugar snap peas all covered with a whiskey cream and peppercorn suace, yes whiskey cream AND pepper corn! And to finish I would have bunoffey pie with ice cream. Wait a minute whats this I’m hearing from the kitchen, the chefs gone home, oh well looks like its Supper Noddle and Tabasco for me!

Day 8 – Making the most of it…

Hi All,

just grabbing a few minutes to update you all with our progress.

Picture the scene, i’m sitting cramped in a the aft cabin, being battered around by high winds, big seas and a rowing boat blasting along at 5.6kts. i can see out the cabin 3 big burley blokes in the zone, rowing in unison focus at shifting the boat as fast as they can.  we are, as they say having a flyer and are making the most of some excellent rowing conditions because we know these conditions wont last forever.

its day 8 for us onboard Avalon and we have entered into a new routine. yesterdy saw us deploy the sea anchor for the first time due to a mechanical fault with the auto helm. simpley put we rely on the auto helm to steer the boat on a pre determined compass course. the conditions overloaded the system and it basically broke. i guess it doesnt like a 6 meter sea, 25kts of wind and a rowing boat traveling at 5 kts. we quicklye deployed the sea anchor and came to a grinding hault. a few of you relised this and emailed about our prediciment. Alls good, we replaced the auto helm quickley and were on the way again within 2 hours. We  have however chosen to steer manually for the time being meaning myself and Leven take turns steering the boat on a similar 2 hours schedule. It means for the first time in a week me and leven are out of rowing duties and stand at the back of the boat with a rope in each hand pulling left for port and right for starboard. it also means that we now face forward and in all my seafaring days looking forward, into the future to see whats over the horizon is whats best about the sea. we no longer look at the sunrise but instead see magnificent sunsets. (dont tell the other crew!).

We have evolved as a crew and the first week has positively flowen by. wind have not always been in our favour and the seas have thrown up some positively frustarting counter currents and eddies which has slowed our progress to a snails pace at time. but we know these challenges are temperary and we will come out the other end better for them. We have learned in the first week that averages are what an atlantic crossing is all about and in the word of the skipper “we will start slow and then slow down”.

Now on day 8, start of week 2, we have great conditions which will last, we have forcasted until Monday. Lets go!

calum x

Day 5 – Benching 100

100 miles plus today, Tuesday has seen us cover over 100 miles for the first time. This is significant as it sets the bench mark for every day to follow. For us to gain the sub 30 day record we must cover 100 plus miles every day. Gulp.

DAY 4 SUNSET

No mean feat as we felt each and every mile of the past 24 hrs. Myself and Leven are pouring over the weather charts to decide where best to put the boat to gain maximum assistance and as you can see from the tracker we are risking heading offshore and west ward.

Day 4 – Cutting Corners

hi all,

im in the cabin just about to go on my next shift but thought i would drop you all a quick line to say a huge thanks for all your mails. Everyone of them mean so so much and i appologize for not being able to reply to each one. I guess you can understand the reasons why.

Day 4 has been a belter and we have opted for a more direct route to Barbados rather than heading south towards the trades. We are effectively cutting out the corner which is a risky strategy but paying dividends for now.

One of the world recods we are trying to beat is the greatest distance covered by a rowing boat in 24 hrs. This stands at 114 miles. keep an eye on the tracker.

Please feel free to forward this email onto anyone who you think maybe interested in this adventure.

bye for now.

Update on the first few days from Calum

Hi folk,

This is the first opportunity I’ve had to type a wee email from the boat as most of the time up till now has been spent rowing, sleeping or counting my blisters!

our departure from Puerto Mogan will stay with me for a very long time. We left to the sound of people cheering and boats tooting their horns and rowing into the night and away from the shore. After a great first day we then encountered some pretty relentless headwinds which is making progress quite slow.

The crew and the boat seem right up for the challenge and its funny how quickely we have formed routine and pattern.

Avalon Bow

typical day

our day starts at 7pm, as this markes the time we left harbour and brings with it a day ticked off the pasage,the world recrod and the sub 30 day crossing. We row for a shift of 2 hours on 2 off nd the boat has 4 rowing positions. I occupy the seat closest to the bow, front. w ehave staggered the shist so we always have some fresh muscle on the oars and i was the first to complete a 2 hour shift, which is handy as this means than my changes happen on the hour, every 2 hours. simple thing for a small brain. In front of me I have, for half the shoft James, a maths teacher from London then Jan, a furniture maker again from |London, both great guys. In the seat in front of them is Pete a student at the royal agricultural college and Livar, a faroees fisherman who has more Viking blood in him than any one I’ve met. And at the front seats are Beno from Abernethy and Tim our austrailian copper. I share a seat and a cabin with the skipper Leven.

This watch change which has just happened will take us up to 7pm Sunday 20th, marking our 3rd full day at sea. As i look up at the instrument pannle and listen to Livar shouting for everyone to row harder i can see our speed increasing to 4.7 kts. The world record average speed was 3.2kts. I have to remind you though that a month is a long time at sea.

All for now, keep following me and sending messages, they really do make quite a difference. All my love, calum

Last day in Puerto Mogan

imageI guess that today will be the last day we spend in Puerto Mogan, Gran
Canaria. The weather gods seem to be smiling in our favour at last and have
now changed to a North Westerly direction. This means that there will be
sufficient wind from the right direction to allow us to leave Terra Firma.
Thank goodness.

Although this is the end of our stay in the wonderful Puerto Mogan it
represents the next stage of this adventure. And in some people’s minds the
actual start of the adventure. Tonight (9pm) we  will get onboard our wee
rowing boat, slip lines and head out into the ocean and West towards the
horizon. This motion (in my mind at least) represents what’s true about
adventure; not sure what’s over the horizon or around the next corner.

A good before shot.

imageBenno, Lyvr, Jan, James, Tim, Leven, Peter & prepare are well prepared for the task ahead. It will be interesting to see what state we are on when we reach our goal. We are now 100% certain that we will leave tomorrow, Thursday.

Sunset over Puerto Mogan

 

imageThe upside of all this waiting is we get to experience a stunning sunset. It now looks like the end of the week before we cast off.  We are just about to head out for a training session. Man Over Board! Lets hope this is the only time we have to carry out this manoeuvre.

Welcome on-board to Coastworks

Coastworks Logo

Welcome on-board to Brian Young & Coastworks. They operate a fleet of workboats, pontoons, spudleg, flattop crane and excavator barges are available for charter to the dredging, marine construction, harbour maintenance and renewable energy industries throughout the UK and Europe.

Welcome on-board to The Isle of Arran Distillers

ARRAN_CMYK Logo 2011Welcome on-board to The Isle of Arran Distillers and The Arran Malt. A dynamic new force in the scotch whisky industry, Isle of Arran Distillers is one of the few remaining independent distilleries in Scotland. Based at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran, one of the most beautiful and famous in Scotland which lies off the West Coast between Ayrshire and Kintyre.

Welcome on-board to Visit Arran

VISIT ARRAN LOGO

Welcome on-board to Visit Arran. The Island offers challenging mountain climbs and wonderful walks, golf courses, wildlife, arts and crafts and local produce. Dramatic seascapes, landscapes and plenty of outdoor pursuits, on Arran you’ll feel that you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Whether you’re holidaying alone, with the family, with friends or just enjoying a short break away from it all as a couple, the minute you get onto the ferry, you’ll feel that you’ve left all your cares and woes behind you.  We are indeed a paradise overseas!

STV News

stv logo

Laura Miller came over to the island last month and filmed me in and out of the boat. STV News broadcast it on the 27th. Fast forward to 7min 12sec for the piece on Arran. Thanks Laura as it certainly boosted the donations to the cause.

Avalon is on the move

Avalon is on the move! It will arrive in Gran Canaria on the 4th of January and be ready for loading, testing and a few practice rows. Then we will be on stand by for the right weather wind conditions to allow us to start our world record breaking bid.

Avalon in Hoist IMG_0461

Fund-raising Ceilidh in West Kilbride

Fundrasing CeilidhA huge thanks to Lucy Russell, Jenny Monoghan, Lesley Richardson and all the great folk from West Kilbride for coming together and making the fund-raising Ceilidh a massive success. Thanks also go to Josh and Mark for their kind words and for Susan and Shona McFadgen for playing the fiddle and squeeze box. Outstanding!

Inversion Test

Its normal practice for boat builders to test their new build in a variety of ways. One important test is the Inversion Test” and today Cris Rossiter put Avalon through her inversion test with his usual and meticulous efficiency.

And she floats………….

Due to the windy weather this weekend on the South coast, our sea trails have been put back a little while. You may think that we should be able to cope with any coastal wind and weather if the boat and crew stand any chance in the ferocious mid Atlantic but the fact is that the strong tides combined with gale force winds make coastal navigation somewhat harder. Bear in mind that we don’t have an engine on this boat or sails, so we power it all by our oars and there is a maximum headwind speed we can row into. Combine strong head winds with a strong tide (10knts) and the rowing boat would be moving backwards regardless of the crew on-board. Patience is indeed a virtue.

New boat is out the wrapper.

Our epic voyage requires an epic boat and this is what one looks like. Avalon is nearing completion and we have scheduled sea trails this coming weekend. She is of carbon construction, she has four 4 rowing positions and space for 4 of us to sleep. Not that we will be getting much of that!

Harris’s Primary One Class

Talked with Harris’s primary one class this afternoon about the expedition and managed to kept them spell bound for all of 3 minutes. Very good fun and they are all very excited about the sharks and killer whales we will see on the trip!!!

32 Days World Record

Today represents the 32 day count down until we leave for Gran Canaria. This is a significant milestone as 32 days is the current world record for crossing the North Atlantic Ocean from East to West. “The Sarha G” (pictured), broke Levens world record in 2011 and its our intention to try and win it back and in doing so we also want to be the first to break the sub-30 day barrier. Be mindful as you go about your daily tasks today that from now until the 6th of January (in 32 days time), is the duration of the current world record. Think about all the things that you will do in those 32 days and then think that as we set out from Gran Canaria we will enter into a different world entirely with a 2 hour shift patter, open ocean, deprived from sleep, from family and from home comforts. Canny wait!

STV News Filming

 

 

Yesterday I spent a great day with Laura Miller from STV News talking about my expedition and filming on and off the water. The weather conditions were perfect and showed Arran in its best light. The piece is being broadcast on STV News some time next week. Keep posted to hear when you can view it.

Weekend Donations at Santa Sparkle Lamlash: £618.00

 

I spent a very successful weekend letting the good folk of Arran know a little bit more about my expedition and managed to raise a staggering £618.00 for the Ayrshire Hospice.

A very big thanks to: Elspeth Jones, Euan Henderson, Brena Stewart, Fiona Bealan, Dave & Carol Furze, Peter Kennon, George Pettigrew, Max & Judi Worthington, Bill Barr, Joan Erskine, Eamonn Buttler, Bay News, Duncan Winning, Jill Greenwood, Abe French,Dave & Liz Ross, Muriel Crockekett, Magie & Fed Sorofield, Lucy Carttledge, Mark Brown, Kathryn cooper, Angela Scott, Nigel & Kathy, Lammin, May Maclellan, Sandra Hall, Anne Lamer, Gillian Bussell,Lorna Johnson,A Campbell, Pauline Ried, Susan & Donald McNicol, Natasha Nelson, M Dick, K Thomeson, R & C Jenks, F Wite, J Williams, B Went, The Totty Family, Cams Campbell, Nona Hamilton, Isla Cannon, Willie Currie, Ester & Paul, Narinder Singh & Isabel Doig.

Welcome on-board to Arran Workboats

Welcome on-board to Kiscadale Engineering the home of Arran Workboats.   Designed and built on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.                      These rugged  HDPE (High Density Poly-Ethylene) work boats are for sale in a range of sizes to suit every need from 4.2 to 6 meters, open or with cabin.

Welcome on-board to Arran on a Plate

A big welcome to Chris & Jan from Arran on a Plate.

Arran on a Plate is situated at the end of the seafront walkway running from the ferry terminal on Shore Road, Brodick. From your table you can enjoy stunning views over Brodick Bay towards Goat Fell, the tallest mountain on the island.

Welcome on-board to Arran Adventure Company

They are coming thick and fast and a Huge welcome to probably the best adventure company in the world.

The ethos behind the company stems from a commitment to delivering outdoor activities in a relaxed, friendly, professional manner. The experience of instructing and coaching at the highest levels, provide an assurance of quality and enjoyment!

Welcome on-board to Armitage Ground Works

Based on the Isle of Arran on the South West coast of Scotland, Armitage Groundworks Ltd. provides a comprehensive range of groundworks and civil engineering services.

Whether it is a small domestic project or a large commercial operation each and every job will be undertaken with the same level of care and attention to detail and finished to the very highest standard.

Welcome on-board to Arran Active

Welcome on-board to Arran Active: Welcome to Arran Active. We are the Isle of Arran’s specialist outdoor shop so, if you are coming over and need some outdoor gear, wait till you get here and come and shop in a relaxed environment. If there is something specific you need when you get here, please call us on 01770 302416 and we can easily reserve it for you. And even if you don’t need anything, come and see us for information on the island’s walks and wildlife.