50 years of adventure and life-changing experiences in beautiful isolation, 1969 – 2019

Ridgway Adventure · Bespoke
Special Boat Service Association Kayak Expeditions 2013 and 2016

The concept

We were approached in 2012 by a prominent Scottish member of the Special Boat Service Association to help create a wilderness sea kayaking expedition for Association members and civilian sponsors that could be packaged and auctioned at the Association charity dinner in London.

The aim was for Association members and their sponsors to share in this expedition experience, using military variant tandem sea kayaks that the Association members had trained in during their service careers and together, cover a substantial section of the beautiful and remote north-west coast of Scotland.

The funds raised in the auction process would help the Association with its support for current and former service personnel and their families at a time of unprecedented overseas conflict.

The plan

Over a 12-month period Rebecca and Mark worked in close collaboration with the lead Association member to put together a plan that would meet his initial concept. Ridgway Adventure would provide the kayaking and local knowledge, a fully catered base at the Adventure School for the first two days, leadership on the water and paddling and wild camping kit in addition to the military variant kayaks, sourced directly by the Association.

The first full day was established as a skills day on the sheltered sea loch, with Association members and sponsors building the kayaks together on the shore in front of the Adventure School. Then, with Mark and our staff team they looked at fundamental paddling skills, capsize and rescues and undertook a cliff top abseil into waiting boats below. The team stopped at Ardmore, which has been the starting point for many ground breaking expeditions over the years, to see John Ridgway‘s 1966 Atlantic Rowing boat and to talk with Rebecca‘s father.

The expedition began on the following day, with two kayaking pods working their way out from the Adventure School onto the open Atlantic coast. The team negotiated the fast tidal streams and dramatic exposed cliff scenery of Handa Island, on towards the Drumbeg coast and finishing at Kylesku on the third day, with two nights of tented wild camping and sea fishing.

From Kylesku the Association had arranged a comfortable and memorable final evening at a country house hotel close to Inverness.

“We had two highly successful expeds and I was absolutely delighted with the outcome. You and your team put so much into making it work for us from the outstanding food to the tame seal clearly planted at Oldany Island! The planning could not have been better and Mark led both groups with precisely the right touch.” ACR

“Thank you to you and your first class team for an excellent week ashore
and afloat. The atmosphere, approach and attention to detail was perfect
for our group (and selfishly for me too!!!). It was great meeting you
Rebecca having watched your adventure round Cape Horn and heard many
tales over the years.”