North Sea kayaker talks about his epic adventure

One of the adventurers who kayaked across the North Sea from Shetland to Norway this summer has published a podcast about the voyage.Patrick Winterton and Olly Hicks set off from Skerries on 17th July in a two-man kayak, bound for Bergen. It was their second attempt at making the crossing after bad weather and poor sea conditions forced them to abandon an attempt in 2011.

Patrick Winterton (left) and Olly Hicks celebrate their successful crossing.
Patrick Winterton (left) and Olly Hicks celebrate their successful crossing.

But this time around the pair managed to reach Norway in around 62 hours. Not that it was easy going.

In the podcast, Mr Winterton, from Oban, tells interviewer Simon Willis: “We knew if we went over there was a 95 per cent chance of our going swimming. And we also knew we weren’t going over unless the seas were pretty rough – and big seas tend to spread your kit.

“And I think for the first time I appreciated how hard it is to keep hold of all your kit, and if we miss one thing then it can all go wrong. There was a big concern about that.”

But despite encountering force six overnight winds and steep breaking waves the pair became the first to cross the North Sea by kayak.

After the successful crossing Mr Winterton told The Shetland Times: “the North Sea’s notorious for nasty steep waves and on the second day we were being hit by broken waves certainly every ten minutes or so.”

The seasickness that afflicted him was another serious hind­rance, though given the conditions it was not exactly a surprise.

“Grey sea, grey sky, visibility at 400 metres, no horizon: I knew I was going to get it at some stage,” he said. “So I was actually quite glad I got through to the first night before it happened. From the first evening I think I had one Jaffa cake in the next 48 hours.

“Actually the food isn’t a problem because you have enough reserves, but the liquid is. My main concern was [avoiding] getting to a state of dehydration where you just can’t work. And that actually focuses your mind more than the waves.

“Once we got within 30 miles of Norway, the weather improved. And once you can see a horizon the seasickness vanishes altogether. So I actually felt fantastic on day three.”

In the podcast Mr Winterton also talks about his interest in the Shetland Bus operation and speaks of the challenge of keeping water out of the vessel. To listen click here.



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