July 6, 2021
Author:
Nicola Douglas

Great Scottish Odyssey: Isles of Skye & Raasay, July 2021

Click HERE to download a full article on this row published in The Wave magazine

Our five day Great Scottish Odyssey expedition gave our crew the chance to explore the stunning islands of Western Scotland from the sea. This trip mixed a strong row with opportunities to explore the Isles of Skye and Raasay in a unique manner. If you want to see wild Scotland, this is the way to do it!

Crew: Safeena Allison, Craig Chaulk, Roger Grimshaw, Adam Ravenscroft, Ed Rogers, Graham Stuart, Kirsty Stuart Jepsen, Toke Stuart Jepsen, Honorine van den Broeck d'Obrenan, Harper VanSteenhouse


The Evening Before ...

As the crew arrived in Mallaig, eagerly anticipating their five day Scottish adventure, Roxy sat, waiting in the marina of this picturesque fishing village.

The venue for their pre-departure briefing was the Chlachain Inn where Charlie gave them more details about what to expect from their week ahead, rowing around the beautiful, rugged Isle of Skye.

Day 1

Charlie briefed the crew and set expectations for life on board Rannoch’s 12 person ocean rowing boat, Roxy. It wasn't long until they took to the oars, working in a shift system, swapping places and dodging the rain showers for the next few hours. The last shift of the day took the brunt of the changeable weather and got drenched!

After anchoring up in Duisdealmor Harbour in the late afternoon, the crew enjoyed a well deserved drink at the Duisdale Hotel and bedded down for the night – 4 sleeping on the boat, 8 on land in the Rannoch Adventure yurt.

Crew briefing in Mallaig
One of the drier moments of day 1's row
Drinks and smiles at the Duisdale Hotel

Day 2

It was an early start for the crew today. They woke to a spectacular vision of Western Isles scenery and set off for an 8 hour row northwards up Kyle Rhea towards the Kyle of Lochalsh, under the Skye Bridge and then on to the Isle of Raasay. Blue skies, seals and porpoises followed them on their journey.

Once at their destination, the crew enjoyed a fantastic tour of the Raasay Distillery and sampled the local whisky and gin. The evening ended with food courtesy of the Raasay House Hotel with the stunning Isle of Skye in the background.

The morning vista from Roxy
The morning vista from the yurt
The Raasay Distillery visit
The evening view from the Isle of Raasay looking towards the Isle of Skye

Days 3 and 4

The crew awoke to bacon butties provided by the Rannoch Team with a backdrop of Skye behind them. After two days of rowing to ease them into the routine, they then departed for their big 36 hour row around the top of Skye around to Eigol. Rowing in shifts of 3 hours on, 3 hours off for 36 hours, they experienced night rowing for the first time and loved it. They were treated to visits from a sea eagle, lots of puffins, seals, porpoises, dolphins and three mink whales.

This was a real taste of ocean rowing and despite sore hands and limbs, their spirits were high and they loved the adventure and experience.

Bacon butties before departure

Day 5

After staying overnight in Eigol where the crew enjoyed a well earned rest, it was time to head back to Mallaig. If the crew thought they were going to have a leisurely row, they were mistaken. Craig and Honorine set the pace to see what the crew and Roxy were made of. What was planned as a five hour journey turned into a three hour row with everyone showing their true colours pushing Roxy to 6.1 knots! They overtook a yacht and beat the shore support team to their destination, with huge smiles on everyone's faces.

This boat is incredible. With a great crew and team supporting it and with memories we will treasure for life, I didn't want it to end. This truly is an experience and adventure that I highly recommend!

Craig Chaulk

Amazing and helpful crew, great itinerary, beautiful scenery, delightful rowers. Altogether a superb experience!

Graham Stuart

Hats off to Charlie and the entire Rannoch team! Years of experience and expertise in rowing oceans, utter professionalism, warmth of welcome, sheer friendliness and bags of infectious enthusiasm - and the technically innovative design of Roxy combine to produce a superlative rowing adventure that is simply in a class of its own.
Ocean rowing is made accessible !

Dr Roger Grimshaw

This expedition was supported by a full Rannoch Team: Charlie Pitcher, Mark Brownjohn, Rupert Fenby, Chris Starr and Freddie Pitcher

The following article appeared in Issue 8 of The Wave Magazine, published 2 September 2021.

Click HERE to download the PDF.

Click HERE to download the full PDF of this article.