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08 June, 2022
Written by Adam Underwood,
I’ve worked with The Larder for a little over a year now and every day I’ve witnessed the real impact that food poverty has on my community. I’ve always enjoyed paddle boarding, it gets you out into the wilderness, to experience the fresh air, beautiful scenery and exercise, and it was there, out on a loch that I had the idea to use my passions for good.
I proposed to my team that I paddle board 10 lochs, end to end, totalling 150km in just 6 days with the aim to raise money and spread awareness for The Larder’s food insecurity project Catalyst Kitchen.
After several months of training, a TV appearance on @Steph’s Packed Lunch and a lot of social media work, I was off on my challenge, writing this 4 days in and it’s been a real mixed bag.
Day 1, It was 18 degrees, stunning weather, paddling 13.6km across Loch Lubniag, straight onto 18km of Loch Venacher, totalling 30km. It was a great start to the challenge, with amazing scenery to take in and blissful silence apart from my paddle hitting the water.
With the success of day 1, I was in positive spirits straight back out on the water nice and early for day 2, although this day was a little windier, the weather was starting to look more like Scotland. I set out into Loch Earn which immediately proved a little more testing as the wind was creating a vicious choppy battle for my last 5km. With my energy-sapping, I channelled my inner Viking and successfully clocked up another 25km before heading onto Loch Lubhair. Loch Lubhair, rather than having a breeze, was a breeze so I paddled the loch twice to make sure I added on another 14km to the total!
Yesterday, day 3, if anyone looked out the window yesterday and saw the rain, I’m sure you can imagine how that day went. It was an early start, leaving at 5am to head into the wilds of Perthshire to tackle Loch Tay, the biggest Loch in the challenge, measuring 46km end to end. Sadly, the Scottish weather had an idea of its own. For the first time, I felt incredibly small and vulnerable on a massive expanse of water with an inflatable stand up paddleboard. Wind plays a big factor here and the higher the wind speed the higher the risk to you, even with the right equipment. So I had to make the decision on ground of safety to head back after only being able to complete 10km, leaving 36km left to complete that day.
Once I was back to shore, I had a little time to get myself over the disappointment and the feeling that I had left people down or not lived up to my end of the bargain (I can only describe the feeling being close to losing an important sporting match or having to withdraw from something after months of preparation).
After some refreshments and some time to feel sorry for myself, I picked up the phone and spoke to Anytime Fitness in Bathgate who offered the use of their exercise bike for me to complete the remaining 36km which took 1hr and 47mins to complete!
With 3 days to go, we have Loch Leven, Loch Earn, Loch Cluie, Loch Frechie and finally Loch Rannoch to complete 150KM challenge [weather dependent of course].
This week has been a mixture of enjoyable and tough. It’s been mentally challenging to keep going at times and few blisters starting to appear on my hands, but to be able to sacrifice some time doing something that I enjoy doing for the right reasons is its own reward. The biggest thing is knowing the impact of the money I have raised so far is amazing motivation to allow Catalyst Kitchen to help more people in our community. It means the world to me to be able to do something positive that will help those struggling with food insecurity and to highlight the current crisis effecting those in our community. It has given me a great sense of personal achievement and accomplishment and hopefully it will go to helping those in need access good quality, nutritious food.