Words and photos by Dan Milner
My fifth year gym teacher always told us to “dig deep” when the going gets hard. “Put your head down and grit your teeth,” he’d declare from a pair of shorts that were clearly too tight for him. Right now I’m digging pretty deep, but if the effectiveness of his advice is measured in forward momentum I’m obviously not digging deep enough.
The gym teacher (or Mr Weight as he preferred to be called) was talking about the obligatory cross-country run, inanely lapping a sports field through vertical sheets of rain. It all seemed daft to me, but then I had no idea how Mr Weight’s survival tip would come to be so useful now. Without it, me, my sea kayak and the inflatable dinghy with my bike strapped to its blue, bulbous form behind me would be blown right back to where I started.
“Just three mates, some boats, some bikes & a couple of nights under the stars”
I’m paddling back across Loch Morar on the west coast of Scotland. A fierce north westerly wind is slinging rain into my face and driving it up my nostrils as I battle to hold my position in the middle of the loch. Forward momentum has become a pipe dream.