Nick Ray will explore Scotland’s coastline in a year-long adventure (Jane Barlow/PA)
PA Archive/PA Images - Jane Barlow
A man has embarked on a year-long adventure kayaking around the coast of Scotland.
Nick Ray, 59, will live from his kayak self-sufficiently for the next 365 days, camping wherever he reaches, as he explores the nation’s coastline, until his 60th birthday next year.
Mr Ray said the “adventure is about celebration”, and added he was “celebrating the fact I am alive”.
“It could easily be so different,” he said.
On Sunday he embarked on his journey from Tobermory Bay on board sea kayak Rwendo, but it was a trip he once thought he would never be on after making an attempt on his own life.
“In May 2019 I determined I would not reach this age by attempting to complete my suicide,” he said, but added that after “a number of hospital admissions, and deep, dark struggles with my depression, I’m happily in a place where I am confident in saying – I’m healthy again”.
“Becoming 60 is a significant occasion for me because it’s the moment I pass from my middle age into my older age. I view this as one of life’s important rites of passage and one I’m now thankful to get to enjoy,” he said.
“Over recent years there’ve been innumerable moments when I wished otherwise.”
He said he could not think of “a more appropriate way to celebrate my life, to enter my older age with meaning and to acknowledge all who, and what, are important to me”.
Born in Zimbabwe, Scotland became his adopted nation and on Sunday, his birthday, he reached Langamull on the first leg of his journey.
Charting the journey on his Life Afloat website, he said the nature of the adventure was not to set goals, or timetables, and the only plan was to return safely to Tobermory a year after departing.
“Where I paddle will be up to me and the weather. I don’t have goals of achieving a high mileage, making notable open-sea crossings, or specifically reaching defined locations,” he said.
“I have dreams and aspirations, places I’d love to kayak to, islands to explore, wildlife I’d love to encounter and people I’d enjoy meeting.
“These dreams will fuel my desire to explore and to journey at the pace of nature, enjoying every moment of Scotland’s coastline.”
And there is a lot of coastline for him to enjoy, with Scotland’s 11,714 miles of landscapes ranging from the islands of Orkney and the Pentland Firth to the Clyde estuary, the Outer Hebrides, and more.