One of the more common cautionary observations made about my trip is the enormity of the distance I will be covering - two thousand and fifteen miles. Indeed, if I were to head north west from Oban out into the Atlantic, the same distance away I would reach Saint Lunaire-Griquet on the Canadian Island of Newfoundland. Viewing the trip in this context I realise with a start what kind of distance I am undertaking. The thought of kayaking this summer the equivalent distance of an Atlantic crossing is indeed pretty daunting.
How do you eat an Elephant? Well, one bite at a time of course.
The oldies are the goldies but the wisdom is sound. I can only travel the distance I am able to each day and each day's mileage will contribute to my eventual goal. I aim to cover daily distances that are well within my means and which will allow me time to explore the coastline I am traversing. I have never been one for putting my head down and eating away the miles to get from A to B. I generally amble along a little faster than walking pace - roughly 3.5 miles an hour. Given that I am normally on the water for seven to eight hours a day this equates to anything between twenty four and twenty eight miles a day. Taking the top estimate, this means that it will take me seventy two days to complete my journey.
There are days when I will have to up my game and paddle considerably harder to cover further distances. There are some open water crossings that require me to put my head down and keep going. There are also a few coastal stretches that are quite far. However, there are no days where I will be travelling further than thirty four miles.
Undoubtedly the weather and other factors will conspire to keep me off the water for quite a few days. I also plan to take frequent rest days where I can explore the landscape and communities around and about. All these will add up and this is why I have chosen to estimate the time to complete my journey as four months. I am comfortable with this and in fact I'm looking forward to taking my time exploring the Scottish coastline, meeting new people and spending some time chatting with the crew of the Lifeboats that I will be visiting.
When viewed like this, as an ambling journey from place to place, travelling at the pace of nature, the two thousand and fifteen miles ahead of me do not seem daunting at all.
This would be a different prospect though if I were kayaking to Newfoundland.