Marathon fundraising paddle to all the RNLI’s lifeboat stations in Scotland

editorial image

A solo kayaker aims to raise thousands of pounds for the RNLI by paddling 2015 miles round all the charity’s Scottish lifeboat stations.

Nick Ray, 51, will leave on May 1st and take between three and four months to kayak to the RNLI’s 47 lifeboat stations – including the Western Isles’ three RNLI stations at Barra, Leverburgh and Stornway.

Nick, who has been living on a yacht in the marina on the Isle of Kerrera, just off Oban, will start at Kippford on the Solway Firth and travel clockwise before finishing in Eyemouth close to the border.

His trip is inspired by the account by Brian Wilson of his solo sea kayak journey around Scotland in the 1980s.

Nick said: “Ever since then I have wanted to emulate his adventure and I have held onto the dream of kayaking around Scotland too. The idea for this particular trip came to fruition when I reach Nicholas Leach’s excellent book ‘The Lifeboat Service in Scotland: Station by Station’.

“It suddenly occurred to me that it would be an amazing challenge to visit each of the 47 active RNLI lifeboat stations detailed in his book in one continuous sea kayak journey and, in doing so, fulfil my ambition of a circumnavigation of the Scottish coastline.’

Nick’s varied career includes a spell as an instructor at Outward Bound Wales in Aberdovey. Many of his colleagues were on the lifeboat crew and Nick helped with the launching and retrieving of the then Atlantic lifeboat.

Nick, a kayaker since 1986, will be camping during his journey and he hopes to raise up to £5,000 for the RNLI.

He expanded: “I won’t be putting in huge distances a day – I don’t want to put myself under time pressures which would run the risk of me making marginal decisions.

“I am fascinated by the connection coastal communities have with the sea and I want to understand more about the volunteer service, its ethos and what motivates the volunteers to join the lifeboat.

“It is demanding, they are on call 24/7, 365 days a year, and it can be challenging with difficult rescues,” Nick continued, adding: “There is also the possibility of physical danger, the emotion during a rescue, and yet they always demonstrate such professionalism.”

Nick will undertake his mammoth adventure – which he’s called ‘2015 in 2015’ – in an Explorer sea kayak, donated by Sea-Kayaking-Scotland.

And you can follow Nick’s progress by reading his online blog: here, track his kayak at: website, and to donate to Nick’s worthy challenge:|visit}