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Day 1

April 3 2023 – Day 1 - 5.00am - Mull

Challenge(r) 282 - the VW camper with Challenge282 and our charities logos emblazoned on front, side and back - sits primed and ready at the foot of Ben More (Mull) - the first Munro in Euan’s challenge to climb all the Munros by self-propulsion -walk, run, cycle or kayak. If he completes this feat, he will have covered over 2400k and climbed all 282 mountains over 3000ft across Scotland to raise money for the charities - St Mungo’s and the Samaritans. Challenger 282 - Cr282 for short is packed with all the essential and maybe not so essential but desirable supplies for the days ahead. Euan had packed a pared down rucksack and is ready to spring into action on Day1. A planned early start was made even earlier thanks to being wakened by a brisk wind at sea level rocking Cr282 with the kayaks atop. With a 5.00am start and several transitions during the day, there were some deadlines to keep.

“It’s dark but so what there’s nearly a full moon and its dry,” enthused the Cr282 HQ commander while he sat wrapped in a new duvet jacket, warming his hands on a cup of tea. They both gazed out at a large dark outline with the summit covered in mist - Ben More looked all of its 966metres. The HQ commander kept looking and then stayed suitably quiet. Euan had to use his head torch for the first 40 minutes of ascent sometimes following a path, upsetting a mountain hare as he strode on. There was also a back bending wind to withstand as darkness was replaced by mist. The “Munro book” estimated a round trip of 4 hours but a seriously swift ascent/descent resulted in Euan returning in 2 hours and 30 seconds but this is not a race and who is counting! After a snack and some tea, Euan hopped on his bike for the 30k ride to Craignure, the Mull ferry port where his fellow kayakers awaited for the “water” leg of the day.

The transition from bike to kayak necessarily took some time and care but at 11.00am they left to kayak from Craignure to Oban over on the mainland. Two “mariner” mates, a guide and Euan left for what was planned to be a 4hour paddle. This estimate of 4hours was in answer to a query from a curious partner of one of the kayakers who was due to meet him at Oban harbour. The guide did add - “It does depend on wind and tide though.” This additional proviso was to prove important to those of us arranging to meet the kayakers at Oban and obviously far more critical for the paddlers themselves. The tide, kayak drenching waves and a strong wind did severely hamper the crossing and the flotilla eventually found refuge 8miles north of the planned landing at Oban and reached after 7 hours instead of the suggested 4. They had covered 13 miles. Collected at the idyllic sounding Tralee beach, kayaks and grateful paddlers were loaded on to waiting vans after what had been an arduous crossing. They did see some wildlife including 2 sea eagles, also known as white tailed eagles which were reintroduced to Mull in 1985. If in the area, they are easily spotted due to their 8 foot wing span.

After a fish supper, a shower and a modest portion of a select Speyside spirit, Euan with day 1 successfully completed, slept tired but happy.


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