During the earlier stages of the expedition this is a question my (ever concerned) mum asked me (on a number of occasions). I usually answered with a multisyllabled and far from convincing 'yeah-er-s' that had all the undertones of a 'kind of'. That has now changed - this is great! There are downs, there are tricky times, and nervy days, but there are so many experiences crammed into every day. As I become more accustomed to sometimes being slightly outside my comfort zone, I enjoy the tougher times more.
I've just met Nick Ray who is kayaking around the RNLI stations in Scotland. We are both in Stonehaven, by coincidence at the same time, letting the quite sizeable swell drop off a little before continuing south. We went on the water for a few moments for Scottish TV, and then had some time to compare experiences. I was pleased - although a little bit surprised - to hear that he has loved every day of his trip. Later we chatted and Nick revealed the nature of his enjoyment, and this too included plenty of moments of trepidation and some of real fear. It sounds like Nick has come to terms with and appreciate his adventure. I hope that I'm reaching a similar perspective.
Too many great things have happened lately to cram them into a short blog post. Sailing into Pennan - the harbour used in the film 'Local Hero' - was a special experience as I am sure that film is part responsible for the pull Scotland has upon me. The headland before Pennan was littered with Gannets and a full squadron escorted me around that corner at low level. Earlier in the day I'd snagged a bin bag and nearly filled my drysuit with seawater in a low blood-sugar moment of stupidity (OK, that wasn't great, but taking the rough with the smooth is how it goes...).
I've been enjoying the coastline around the Moray Firth and lower. I had a few hours enveloped in fog rounding Frazerburgh. The sailing past Peterhead was fun - plenty of fast flowing bits of water but opportunities for tactical sailing to make good progress against the tide. The following day sailing past Aberdeen was exhilerating and technically challenging, with a good sized swell and variable wind - very definitely a day of wind *surfing*. I fell in a few times and with more swell and lighter wind forecast, stopped early in the day at Stonehaven, where I awarded myself an additional rest day.
The people I've met at every stage along this expedition have been wonderful. People are nice, and doing something like this you appreciate the fundamental niceness of people. Singling people out to thank would naturally exclude others, which I don't want to do. Having said that I can't not mention the Sea Gorrilaz windsurfing club at Newburgh. They have an active group of kids windsurfing and acheive it seems to me a huge amount with very limited resources. Well done guys you are an inspiration.
I'll stop there and throw some pictures in. You get the picture. This is pretty good. I'm still guarding against sloppiness and the east coast is no pushover, but enjoying every day.