Sea Kayaking & Touring

The Roof of Britain

by roger-chandler
Monday, February 04, 2019
   Sea Kayaking & Touring
Monday, February 04, 2019
Around the top of Scotland in 25 days, covering 800km, with 7 days off, making an average of 43km per day.
Roger Chandler
by Roger Chandler

Roger is a highly experienced and passionate sea kayaker. He owns Coastal Spirit, on the beautiful island of Anglesey, N Wales.

The Roof of Britain takes in the stunning rugged West and North coast of Scotland, with the remote Cape Wrath and the infamous Pentland Firth. The historical and committing East Coast and The Great Glen complete the loop. Cold mornings, long days, dolphins, strong winds, lively seas, waterfalls, red sky mornings and golden sunsets. Aching bodies, hopeful minds, and hungry hearts.

Johanna and Anders are a couple from Sweden. Both had chosen to be part of the Roof of Britain 2018 and undertook two training events on Anglesey a number of months beforehand. Once back in Sweden they both had goals to work on and put in a significant amount of training in preparation to paddle the 800km around the top of Scotland. To the extent that a 5 meter kayaking ergo machine took center place in their living room!

Roger with
Roger with Johanna and Anders

Due to bad weather in the first two weeks, six days had been lost to storms. Scourie was the last public campsite which allowed a good opportunity for showers, stocking up with food plus resting and fueling bodies, ready for the leap around Cape Wrath. The team felt strong and eager for the next significant section. After two long days on the water they were close to the East Coast, and a bacon and egg roll washed down with a coffee was had at John O’Groats before heading around the stunning and Duncansby Head.

The East Coast mainly snoozed as they paddled on South towards Inverness and the Great Glen. Another day was lost on Loch Ness, which was an easy decision: paddling into a force 5 headwind or rest up for the day! The end of the loop was realistically insight and the weather forecast was looking amazing!

Here are a few statistics from the trip:

Day 14 - this was the shortest day at 18 km, as we moved into position ready for Cape Wrath on the following day.

Day 9 and 15 - were the biggest days at 69km - Applecross to the Summer Isles and our Cape Wrath and Whitten Head day.

4 days - over 60 km

21km per hour or 10.5 knots was reached passing through The Merry Men of May tide race!

Many days we were up at 0500 and on the water for 0700.

7 days off - 6 due to the wind and big swell - 1 due to a technology emergency, trying to get a new mobile phone after breaking mine! 6 days were lost on the West coast, early on which created a drive to put in longer days, when the weather settled.

Total of 18 days on the water making an average of just under 43 km p/day.

This was on Coastal Spirit’s fast track one-month long expedition. The expedition was a great success and mainly due to the hard work and commitment both Johanna and Anders had applied.

Coastal Spirit is a specialist sea kayaking company, that is professional, active and organized. Anglesey based and with courses from introductory to advanced. With expeditions and experiences around Scotland and the bigger outer islands, such as Shetland. Back on Anglesey, an area and playground which Roger clearly loves, a niche aspect of his business is on mentoring, facilitating and supporting individuals towards their chosen goals and aspirations.

This short film provides a brief insight into some of the amazing scenery, wildlife and stunning moments we had.

Filmed by Roger Chandler and edited by Leif Moore of Coyote Film Works.