As the half way point in time approaches I’m nearing one third of the distance from Southampton, around Britain via the Caledonian Canal across the Highlands of Scotland, and back to Southampton.
Given what’s promising to be the worst summer for a hundred years or more, I’m not dissatisfied with progress, but the delays due to strong winds have been very frustrating and I’ve often been sailing in unpleasantly wet and cold weather.
It’s been a tough physical and mental challenge and doing this circumnavigation solo has added to the difficulty, However, Greg has been immensely helpful with helping to organise some of the logistics from a distance, managing the website and as someone I can call at any time to discuss weather, the passage plan or safe haven options. I’ve no doubt my progress would have been a lot slower and less enjoyable without his help.
Given the chances of completing the 1800 nautical mile route in the time I have available before ending my 100 day sabbatical in the second week of September, I’ve considered crossing Scotland via the Forth Clyde Canal (further south than the Caledonian Canal) as a fall back option. But this would miss out some of the potential highlights of this expedition which include; the Highlands of Scotland and sailing south through the Inner Hebrides.
So I’ve decided to press on and to get as far as I can. And if I don’t complete the entire route then I’ll return to finish it at a later date. I’ve also been reminding myself of some of the reasons why I have chosen to make this voyage in a sailing canoe. These include not only the challenge itself but also the opportunity to explore the very varied and often stunningly beautiful British coastline in a way that’s often not possible in a yacht and sometimes not possible by sailing dinghy. The closeness to the physical experience, the ability to land on a wide variety of beaches and to get up close to headlands, cliffs and to some isolated and little visited parts of our coast are some of the attractions.
So, next I head on past the delights of the Northumbrian coast before reaching Scotland. And I’ll continue to try to communicate the excitement and enjoyment of travelling by sailing canoe as best I can.