A kayaker sets out to explore the Scottish coast on a year-long adventure
A man has embarked on a year-long kayaking adventure around the Scottish coast.
Nick Ray, 59, will live off his kayak independently for the next 365 days, camping wherever he gets as he explores the country’s coastline, until his 60th birthday next year.
Mr Ray said ‘adventure is a celebration’ and added that he was ‘celebrating the fact that I am alive’.
“It could easily be so different,” he said.
He set out on his journey from Tobermory Bay on the sea kayak Rwendo on Sunday, but it was a journey he thought he would never take after attempting to take his own life.
“In May 2019, I determined that I would not reach this age by attempting suicide,” he said, but added that after “a number of hospital admissions and deep, dark struggles with my depression, I’m happy in a place where I’m safe to say – I’m healthy again.”
“Turning 60 is a significant occasion for me because it’s when I transition from middle age to old age. I consider this one of life’s important rites of passage and am now grateful to be able to enjoy it,” he said.
“Over the past few years, there have been countless times when I have wished otherwise.”
He said he couldn’t think of “a more appropriate way to celebrate my life, to enter my old age with meaning, and to acknowledge all who, and what, is important to me.”
Born in Zimbabwe, Scotland became his adopted nation and on his birthday on Sunday he reached Langamull on the first leg of his journey.
Plotting the trip on his Life Afloat website, he said the nature of the adventure was not to set goals or timelines, and the only plan was to return safely to Tobermory a year after his departure.
“Where I paddle will be up to me and the weather. I don’t aim to achieve high mileage, make notable crossings on the high seas, or reach specific places,” he said.
“I have dreams and aspirations, places I’d like to kayak, islands to explore, wildlife I’d like to meet and people I’d like to meet.
“These dreams will fuel my desire to explore and travel at nature’s pace, enjoying every moment of the Scottish coast.”
And there’s plenty of coastline to enjoy, with Scotland’s 11,714 miles of scenery stretching from the Isles of Orkney and the Pentland Firth to the Clyde Estuary, the Outer Hebrides, and more.