It’s cold and wet: why is this man paddle boarding the Tay?
By Joe Birchenall, STV – 21st November, 2014.
Most people probably wouldn’t enjoy taking a dip in the Tay while it’s just eight degrees and raining.
But Deano Dunbar isn’t most people and neither the rain nor the cold could stop him taking on the challenge earlier today.
Deano is an adrenaline junkie with a difference: he’s registered blind.
The adventurous Blairgowrie man has a progressive condition called Rod and Cone Dystrophy, but just like the rain and the cold, he hasn’t allowed this to slow him down.
Paddle boarding, cliff jumping, skiing, mountain biking, zorbing – you name it and he’s probably done it.
In fact, over the past 16 years he’s managed to break more than 12 different records, participating in over 70 hair-raising adventures.
But why was he on the Tay this afternoon?
Deano recently made a film called Man in a Hurry, which will be screened on November 29 as part of the Dundee Mountain Film Festival.
The movie features Deano attempting a 1,200 metre swim through the world’s third largest whirlpool in the Corryvreckan Gulf between Jura and Scarba.
For obvious reasons, this is a very remarkable feat.
“Deano is an inspiration,” said Alfie Ingram, chairman of the festival committee.
“He encapsulates the ‘can do’ attitude of those who, despite personal difficulties, successfully undertake remarkable challenges in the great outdoors.
“This year’s festival will highlight many other remarkable individual achievements through presentation of a memorable programme of films and personal appearances.”
‘It’s just a passion’
We caught up with Deano once he had made it safely back to terra firma.
“There were a few times when I thought I might be going swimming as well as paddle boarding out there,” he said.
“It was much choppier than I thought it would be and there was quite a lot of wood and things like that in the water too.”
But we were also keen to find out why he does what he does, and Deano was more than happy to spill the beans.
“It’s just a passion, the first thing I did was a tandem sky dive for charity and since then I’ve just needed my next fix,” he said.
“That was my first hit of adrenaline – my first fix, and it’s what has been driving me since.
“You dive in the water, or whichever stunt it might be, and you forget about everything else. You’re buzzing, it’s fantastic and it’s all you’re thinking about at the time.
“That’s purely what it is: I’m an addict.”
Deano was recruited by organisers to help launch the film festival, which is now in its 32nd year and is running from November 27 – 29.
STV Dundee’s resident action man, Chris Harvey, went along to catch up with the daredevil this afternoon – see the result on the STV News at 6pm tonight.
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