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Journey of the Solo Expedition Paddler

So here we were first few miles into our trip around Ireland. We already established that we were heading anti-clockwise, all in the team came to terms with that and the miles started to tick. Our team is formed by three women, an university lecturer, a nurse and a teacher. Similar in age but different in kayaking ability. Zoe and I have been kayaking longer than Lindsey. And so over the first few day Lindsey became our solo expedition paddler. The was helped by the fact that she is the only one of the team, who hasn’t ordered drysuit in mantis colour. That makes her to stand out, and unifies Zoe and myself in our roles.

From the beginning we knew that Lindsey will have to build the stamina and strength to be able to paddle for long hours and at reasonable speed. What we also discovered was that some help with forward stroke was needed. Luckily Lindsey took two coaches with her on the trip, and we were only happy to help.

To be honest, the first few days Lindsey’s journey must have been quite lonely, but she powered through rain or shine. Eventually we could change our roles from coaches to being simply staff.

At some point it almost seemed that we have acquired more members of support crew, we were looking forward to setting up a film crew recruiting a rib, but these were very short lived.

To help the Solo Expedition paddler we called in extra support, which delivered bacon butty and tea to the beach at Portavogee (thank you Barry and Craig).

To help Lindsey further after paddling sessions in camp followed with the coaches summarising the days’ achievements, and discuss strategies for the following day.

The strength of the solo expedition paddler grew day by day, and after powering into the headwind between three Stena ferries across Belfast loch, she has become a full time member of the team. The arrival to Whitehead was heroic, and we were rewarded by the stay in an old Coastguard shed for all.

Together we paddled past the Gobbins and admired the modernisation of the old cliff path. The solo paddler was rewarded for her effort by going outside the Muck Island and bird watching.

This is it, the team is now complete and together again.

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