Holy Island Race

A new kind of challenge!

On Saturday Grant Underwood and Neal Underwood, undertook a new kind of challenge; to race 11k round Holy Island, just of the coast of the Island of Arran, and it was great fun.

This is what needs to be paddled round

Both paddlers completed the course in 1 hour, 28 minutes and 37 seconds, it was definitely challenging, dealing with strong currents, big waves, strong winds, rain and at times bright sun. Both paddlers thoroughly enjoyed not just the race, but the whole weekend on what is a stunning island.

The start

The race starts adjacent to the pier at Lamlash, an anti-clockwise circumnavigation of Holy Island is required, then back and cross the finish line at Lamlash. The course provided a series of challenges, both from weather and water, starting off in wind driven rain following the tide out to the island made for some interesting paddling, as you round the southern tip of the island, and you are exposed to the wider Fourth of Clyde (Atlantic Ocean) the waves grow in stature and boat control becomes key.

Around the back of the Island the rain gave way to bright sunshine, a welcome relief but sun dancing off the water has its own challenges and the currents in the water are hard work as you realise the tide is now working against you, the sight of the rescue boat is welcome as it marks the turn back in land, but it takes a lot of concentration to get there, this is a challenge for the mind as well as the body.

Round the north of the Island and then power back to the Pier, if you have any power left! This probably seems to be the longest stretch as you can see the church tower tantalisingly showing you the way, but never actually seeming to get any closer as you weave between the larger craft moored in the bay.

The Church tower from the pier

Getting back is a great feeling of achievement and a good work out. On bank facilities offer changing rooms and showers, as well as a very nice coffee shop/bakery in the harbour area.

Look who is on the post!

Many Thanks to Arran Kayak Club and Otter’s Tail for organising and hosting the event, it really was great fun, well organised and The Sharks will be back next year, hopefully with a bigger team?

As well as the joy of the race Aran is a great place to go, it is amazingly green, it rains a lot, but also has sunny times during the day, the scenery is stunning and there is so much to do, walking, cycling, kayaking, swimming, hills to climb sites to see. So who is interested in joining us next year?

And anybody any idea what this is?

Published 18th July 2023