Galloway waters offer challenge for solo charity kayaker

Dr. Martin Lee, kayaking around the coastline for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dr. Martin Lee, kayaking around the coastline for Rheumatoid Arthritis

YOU may have noticed a solo kayaker paddling past the Galloway shoreline over the last week and wondered why on Earth anyone would take on these waters in this chilly spring.

Well, it was all for a good cause as consultant rheumatologist Dr Martin Lee makes his way clockwise around the British Isles - completing the equivalent of a marathon a day - to raise £100,000 for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. His running total so far stands at just under £19,000.

Dr. Martin Lee, kayaking around the coastline for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dr. Martin Lee, kayaking around the coastline for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The 2,600-mile challenge for this 32-year old doctor, based in Bath, has been just that as he’s had to face particularly cold weather whilst sleeping on beaches and out at sea.

Having begun his journey at Greenwich in London on 1st April, he aims to go full-circle in 100 days but was met with a delay on Monday when his scheduled paddle from Port Mary near Dundrennan to the Isle of Whithorn was put off due to the adverse weather.

He said: “Scotland’s waters are quite alien to me. I spent a lot of my life in the waters of southern England but the further north I get, the less familiar it all is.

“My biggest challenge so far has been head winds and cold temperatures, and simple exhaustion. The weather can play tricks on you and it can be quite tricky negotiating through fog, and I can go hours a day without speaking to anyone. When the wind and rain is in your face, it can get very disheartening.

“But I have been in contact with the Coastguard at various locations and it’s been a bit hairy going past certain shipping channels - some of those boats are really big. When the sun comes out, it’s a different story and I look forward to the wind helping me along.

“I see people with rheumatoid arthritis all the time, especially young people and I saw how my aunt developed it in her 20s before I went off to medical school and trained to be a rheumatologist after seeing how it affected her.”

Martin was back on the seas on Tuesday, making it to Port Logan and then aimed to reach Ballantrae and on to Campbelltown before the week was up.

You can track him via a GPS he has on his kayak through his website - www.martinkayaking.co.uk. You can also sponsor him here.