What happens when three seasoned adventurers from the West of Ireland get together a for paddle? A night crossing of the Irish sea no less!
On June 11th 2016 I completed a 1100km expedition around Vancouver Island with team mate Joe Leach. We made an attempt to break the current speed record of 12 days 23 hrs and 45 min, But after starting very well and averaging over 80kms a day, the weather did not offer the assistance needed to take the record.
I am just home from a fantastic two weeks kayaking in the south of England with Sea Kayaking Cornwall. I was there as part of an Erasmus Plus work experience program with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competencies in the delivery of coaching, leading and guiding in sea kayaking among Irish kayakers. The program was put together by Landon Carver, SKC and Irish industry professionals. A group consisting of 12 kayakers from Ireland with various backgrounds and levels of experience were selected for the program and I was privileged to be offered a place.
Achill Island fast..again!
After circumnavigating Achill Island in 2014 with Tim Healy I was really keen to go back and have a go at a solo mission. I have been watching the weather all summer and it looked like it was't going to happen this year. Luckily we finally got decent high pressure over Ireland for the last few days of September. I had one free day in the diary and I knew it was my absolute last chance to have a crack for 2015.
A brief window in the weather and a clear day in my diary gave me the perfect opportunity to make for Eagle Island on the Westerly side of County Mayo. One of Ireland's most exposed and battered islands, this rocky out crop is situated only a mile from shore, but bears the brunt of the biggest Atlantic swell and ferocious storms.
The first high pressure system of the season settled over Ireland during the last week and as most people were recovering from St. Patricks day celebrations or a late night watching the Aurora Borealis, myself and Helen Fairbairn were gearing up for a trip to one of Irelands most exposed headlands.Taking full advantage of the wind and swell conditions we headed out West to the Mullet Peninsula.
During a recent Level 3 Sea Kayak Instructor training course I got the opportunity to visit Valentia Marine Radio Rescue Station. For sea goers Valentia is well known, as it is one of only three coast guard communication stations in Ireland and it is a referenced location used during weather forecasts for the south and west coast of Ireland. For those unfamiliar, it is a small island off Co.Kerry on the south,west coast of Ireland.
The visit was a very informative experience and a great opportunity to learn first hand about the work the staff do and how we can interact with the coast guard as sea kayakers. Below is some useful advice they had for us.
The challenge- Complete a speed circumnavigation of Irelands biggest Island - Achill.
This is a challenge I have wanted to take on for a while. Its got it all when it comes to performance sea kayaking. Strong tidal streams, long exposed sections and a demanding distance for even the fittest paddler.
Kayak instructor, athlete, business owner and outdoor enthusiast from the west coast of Ireland.
Paddle & Pedal Blog HERE