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Day 32: Stranraer to Ailsa Craig to Kildonan

Ailsa Craig LighthouseAfter a really good nights sleep (and full breakfast) in the bed and breakfast I packed up the kayak and trolleyed it down to the sea front. I then had to walk it out about 500 metres as the tide was right out. I set out at around 08:00; following the coast as I wanted to avoid the ferries which operate out of Stranraer. I had to wait for several as one fo the ferry terminals was on my route. On leaving the sea loch I headed out towards Ailsa Craig in very good conditions. It took me around five and a half hours to reach the island, pausing only to allow two trawlers to pass in front of me. On arrival I was met be several inquisitive seals. I was planning to spend the night on the island but the RSPB warden insisted that this was not possible and that I would have to leave. He didn’t seem to care in the slightest that I might be knackered and hungry after paddling 35Km. In hindsight I should have probably just refused to leave but the guy was giving me the creeps so I set a course for the Pladda Island which lies just off  Arran. By this time the wind had picked up and was now against the tide. The sea was like a washing machine with white horses breaking regularly over the boat. After about an hour and a half paddling I noticed a large wake and a tall black object coming towards me at great speed. As it got closer I became aware that it was a submarine and coming straight for me. I began to freak out as it got closer and closer. I paddled like crazy trying to get out the way but it was coming to quickly.  I was just about ready to face imminent death when it passed about 100 metres to the left of me. What followed was the most violent wake that I have ever experienced, although I was just glad to still be alive. I continued on past Pladda island before beaching at Kildonan. I got some tea and had a few pints to settle the nerves at the Kildonan hotel before returning to the beach to sleep after an eventful day.

Jonathan Tolhurst

About Jonathan Tolhurst

Based in London, my interests include photography, kayaking, paddle boarding, electric unicycling, teepees, robotics, programming, databases, informatics and pharmacy.

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Jonathan Tolhurst