Kayak Journey Coast


Kayak Journey

Neil Oliver catches up with Patrick Winterton, who carried out a 750-mile kayak trip unaided and all alone from Glasgow to the Outer Hebrides.


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The rugged and remote coast of the Outer Hebrides.

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A coast of islands, skerries,

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and lochans.

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Nowhere else in the British Isles can match this wonderland of stacks, secret inlets

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and windswept shell-sand beaches.

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The Vikings called them Havbrodoy - islands on the edge of the sea.

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And the edge is exactly what it feels like.

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Over to the east are the Inner Hebrides,

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and mainland Scotland itself. But over to the west,

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theres nothing but 2,000 miles of Atlantic Ocean.

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On my travels, I've met loads of people who are captivated by the coast,

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but few have the courage to get this close -

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two feet above the water.

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Paddy Winterton completed a 750-mile kayak trip, unaided and all alone,

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from Glasgow to the Outer Hebrides,

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with a brief stop-off at St Kilda, and on to the tip of Shetland -

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Muckle Flugga, the UK's most northerly point.

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Paddy captured this remarkable voyage of endurance with his own camera.

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I've just been round Lewis.

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And all I can say is...I'm shaking. That was quite staggering.

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Even the big crossings don't compare to going around headlands like this.

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There's current coming both ways... Big swell coming from the Atlantic.

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But it's good, that's what it's all about.

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I caught up with him

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in the more tranquil waters of Stornoway Harbour.

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When you're approaching an island in one of these, it strikes me that you're seeing it

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in the same way that the first arrivals on the islands,

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10,000 years ago, would have seen them.

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Well, there were certainly times when I thought I could appreciate what the Vikings...the problems they had.

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And especially in something this small,

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you've only got a vantage height of 2½ feet,

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so it's very difficult to pick your landing spot.

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But it's also quite exciting because you are trying to assess

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is there anywhere to stay, is there any food, is there any water?

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Exactly the same sort of things they went through.

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I'd been going for 8 hours 52 minutes before I saw land,

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and I was only 250 metres away from it.

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In fact, I heard it a long time before I saw it.

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So, um...quite dramatic.

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What goes through your mind when you're alone, in the middle of the ocean?

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To be honest, if there's a lot going on, if there's a lot of wind and waves,

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you're busy thinking about that.

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Hopefully theres lots of wildlife which keeps you going.

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You have to be disciplined, you have to feed and drink,

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so theres quite a lot of thinking that needs to be done to get there.

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The pleasure isn't in the crossing.

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The pleasure is in arriving in these fantastic places

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that very, very few people have been to.

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You can land on beaches that haven't been trodden for years and years, and make them your own.

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You feel a bit like a laird - for a night.

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What is the biggest problem, or the biggest danger that you run across?

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You've got whales, container ships, waves,

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but the biggest thing of all is probably the wind,

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an unexpected change in the strength of the wind.

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Once you're up to Force 8, you have no option but to go with it.

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And if it's going to America, YOU'RE going to America till it dies down.

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But any day of the week, I'd rather be in one of these

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than in a small fishing boat, which you also meet 40 miles out to sea.

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So you feel safer in that than you would in SY26?

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Any day of the week, certainly, yeah.

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Patrick Winterton carried out a 750-mile kayak trip unaided and all alone from Glasgow to the Outer Hebrides, with a brief stop at St Kilda and onto Muckle Flugga in the Shetlands, the UK's most northerly point. Neil Oliver catches up with Patrick, who tells him about this magnificent journey, the perils he faced and also the pleasure of living on islands and beaches that have not been set foot on in years.


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