Dean in paddle board 1st
By Sally Hind, Daily Record – 17th October, 2016.
A SCOT has become the first blind man to complete the UK’s longest stand-up paddle board challenge.
Dean Dunbar, 47, paddled all 57 miles of the Caledonian Canal in less than 15 hours on Saturday.
But the extreme sports enthusiast from Blairgowrie, Perthshire, said wild weather and hallucinations almost stood in the way of his goal. Dean, who has been registered blind for almost 20 years, left Inverness at 3.30am and reached the finish line in Fort William after 14 hours and 47 minutes.
He said: “The first couple of hours were fine until we hit Loch Ness then it started getting really bumpy.
“I was trying to focus on the water but ended up hallucinating several times. I saw lights flashing up in the sky, which was throwing me off.” ”
“It was harder than I thought it was going to be but I’m chuffed to have done it.”
Dean was thrown from his board near FortAugustus by a wave, leaving him struggling to stay warm for the remainder of the route.
He said: It certainly woke me up. After we had been on the loch for an hour and a half I was thinking, ‘What have I done?’:’
Next year, Dean aims to paddle 136 miles non-stop over 35 hours as part of the 11 City Tour.