Dean’s dream paddle
By Johnathon Menzies, Blairgowrie Advertiser – 8th August, 2014.
Blairgowrie adventurer Dean Dunbar has added another record to his ever-growing list.
As reported in last week’s Blairie, the extreme sports enthusiast recently became the first blind person to successfully stand-up paddle-board (SUP) Loch Tay.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Dean tackled a similar test of endurance less than two weeks later when he attempted to SUP Loch Etchachan in the Cairngorms.
At 927m above sea level, Loch Etchachan is the highest in the UK and already holds a special place in Deans’s heart after he became the first person to successfully swim the body of water, a distance of about 900 metres, in 2012.
For his latest adventure, Dean was accompanied by seven team-mates – leading him to claim they were all founder members of the UK’s highest SUP club.
Dean, who was nursing a slight neck injury sustained during his exploits on Loch Tay, explained the location for his most recent adventure, on Saturday, July 26, was kept under wraps, so as not to alert potential rivals.
He added: “A full team of eight left Blairgowrie at 6am and arrived at Loch Etchachan just before noon.
“Six of the team went for a swim, and three of us – me, my wife Rhona and friend Mandy-hadaSUP.
“Although only three of us SUPed, everyone on ‘Team Etchachan’ was pivotal in getting the board and kit up to Loch Etchachan. We can now claim to be founding members of the UK’s highest SUP club.
“The paddle-board itself weighs in at around 40lbs.
“It was towed in a bike trailer for 10 kilometres and carried on our backs for a further five – it was the same on the way home, so it was truly a team effort.
“The ages of the team ranged from 24 to 73, and I’d like to thank Cheryl, Colin, Fraser, Julie, Mandy, Rhona and Wilfee for their help and support.
‘Loch Etchachan is already special to me because of the swim in 2012, but this makes it even more so.”