In November of 2018, Patrick and I drew up the plans for our 2019 Big Challenge.
We would swim, prone-board and cycle our way along our planned route, and would need 3 clear days to do this.
A couple of days before Rhona, Stumpy, and I headed off to Uist, I spoke to Patrick. He had some bad news. He had been boiling a pan of water, whilst camping on Tiree, when the pan and handle separated, and the contents were emptied down his bare leg and foot. The burns were severe, but he still wanted to do the challenge. He would now be doing the wet bits in a kayak, in order to keep his injuries dry to help them heal.
Patrick’s sister, Shane, had also come along to join us on the challenge.
With everything set, all we needed was 2-3 days of relatively calm weather. The Weather Gods were not going to play ball.
Out of 14 days, we only had 1 day without any wind, and a handful in which the wind, (both wet and dry), was around 20-30mph. (None of these days were consecutive.) The rest of the time the wind topped 40mph. This put an end to our plans for this year, but we hope to try it again in either 2020 or 2021.
Although the main challenge didn’t happen, Rhona and I, along with some new friends, did have lots of fun swimming in sheltered sea lochs and biking in incredibly challenging conditions.
13th September 2019
Although the Big Challenge was now off, Rho and I still had a great time.
We met up with Chris who is an amazing outdoorswoman and had excellent local knowledge about tides, locations, etc. She took us on some fantastic swims – one near Creagorry on Benbecula, another by the Eriskay causeway, and another at Loch Aineort in South Uist. The water was so clear, (something we’re not used to in Clunie Loch). At Aineort we even had an inquisitive seal follow us as we swam and looked down at the starfish and sea anemones below us. Read more…
11th September 2019
It was great to get off the main road and explore some of the more remote areas of the islands. The extreme weather, (winds varying between 20 and 50mph), just made it more exciting, (and occasionally wobbly)!
We’ve had our tandem for over 20 years but hadn’t used it much lately, so the Hebs was the perfect place to blow the cobwebs away!
On several occasions, the headwind was so strong that we had to take on a “heads down, bums up, pedal bloomin’ hard” attitude just to get downhill. Read more…
19th August 2019
Travelling light. OK, maybe not so “light”.
I was off for 3 days of light training with Patrick for our upcoming challenge next month.
Ok, so the training wasn’t so “light” either.
Day 1 had us out on the tandem bike for a short, but extremely hilly route. This was followed by a short, but very lumpy prone-board session off the coast of Oban. This was Patrick’s 1st time at proning. I thought to myself “I wonder how he will get on with this”, as he shot off ahead of me and was rarely seen after that! Read more…
1st August 2019
Another great day out with Piotr, (Outdoor Explore), and his clients at Tayport today. Paddling in and out of the harbour, going from glassy flat to pretty lumpy conditions. I love this bouncy sea proning!! Thanks Piotr!!
30th July 2019
Today was my toughest day yet, proning on Loch Tummel. My goal was 14km, and I did just a little bit more, but it was not easy. By 8km I was starting to feel my shoulders really hurt. I got through the next 6 and a bit km, by taking a 10 second break after each full k. Tough, but DONE! Read more…
2nd July 2019
I’ve not been at Loch Tummel since last year, so it was great to get back there today. The forecast was for lumpy water, and it did not disappoint!
With my limited SUP skills, this may have been a tough paddle, but on the prone, with waves smashing into my face, it was purely AWESOME!! Read more…