Saturday, 30 August 2014

Challenge 8: Kayaking down the Great Glen

For someone who has a deathly fear of water, I sure have spent a lot of time in and around it this year. Facing this fear head on (over and over) might be considered bravery or stupidity. You decide.

Loch Oich is about three hours from Edinburgh so it was a 5am start for me on Friday morning in order to get there in time for the challenge. We were on the road for 6am and I had a breakfast of champions (Red Bull and Squares crisps) to set me up for the task ahead.

The first highlight of my day was that we found the end of the rainbow! The photograph doesn't really do it justice but honestly, I've never been that close to the end of the rainbow before and it's been something I've been obsessed with since I watched this film. Which nobody else ever remembers by the way.

The second highlight of the day was that I managed to perfectly colour co-ordinate my outfit with the safety gear I was supplied with, the water shoes my friend lent me and also my kayak. Never let it be said that there is ever an excuse for not looking fabulous. Certainly partaking in adventure activities on miserable days in Scotland is not an excuse that I will ever accept. I probably should have got my hair blown out for the occasion to top it all off. Sadly, there wasn't a Most Stylish prize. Shame really.

The weather didn't look particularly appealing for a jaunt down the middle of a river so it could be said that I was a little on edge. There was talk of lightening which put me in a thoroughly bad mood. However, all the nasty rumours came to nothing and actually apart from five minutes at the end of the kayaking journey, the weather held up pretty nicely.

There were a few other teams involved in the challenge so in total there were about twenty kayakers lining up to start the journey. I was one of the last ones to get in. Confession: I may have been actively avoiding it. My decision to wait until last was a poor one as I had to watch two of the others capsize their boat and fall into the water. This did not exactly fill me with the confidence I required to step into the evil contraption. Never one to listen to the sensible voices in my head however, I got into the kayak and screamed loudly, eyes clenched shut as the evil witch  event helper pushed me out onto the Loch.

Actually, I quickly discovered that as usual, most of my dramatics were for nothing. The Loch was very still and once I figured out my balance, it was actually plain sailing. The views around us were incredible as we made our way down surrounded by forests and mountains on both sides.

As an aside: I did think about explaining exactly how cinematic the experience was by using the metaphor of an adventurous scene from a movie. I was thinking of something Lord of the Rings-esque. However, I made the fatal error of googling 'paddling movie scenes' to try to find a link and, erm, let's just say that it didn't return many PG options.

The actual competition part of the challenge was a time trial which we completed at the end of the 7k kayak. Unfortunately for my team, I don't really have a competitive bone in my body and I was also highly distracted thinking of rainbows, movie scenes and best dressed prizes. Also there were some ducks that I had to take care to avoid. In short, my time trial didn't go very well. In fact I finished a full minute behind my friends so it's evident that I'm not really cut out for life as a competitive kayaker. However, I'm not too bothered about this pathetic display because it's the taking part that counts. That's what my Mum tells me anyway.


  1. Looks like a gorgeous place! I've only ever been in a kayak once and it was in primary school! I'd love to have another go.

    1. Yes, it's a great place. It's not too far from Ben Nevis which is the mountain I climbed in challenge 7!
      The kayaking was fun, despite the fact I was a little scared beforehand. I'd definitely recommend it if you get the opportunity to do it again. :)

  2. That was awesome. I'm pretty sure that kind of water adventure is really great. I remembered the time when I had my Kayak in the Philippines last year and it was funtastic.