Scotland: Ocean Nation - Cal Major
dryrobe® ambassador Cal Major has been on some truly epic adventures on her SUP - from raising awareness of plastic pollution by paddling across the Maldives, to setting a world record by paddling from Land's End to John O’Groats!
Her latest challenge looks set to be the biggest yet. Cal talks about her upcoming paddleboard adventure and how you can get involved.
This summer, I’ll be getting back on my SUP, and paddle boarding around one of the most stunning, dramatic and wild places I’ve ever been - Scotland. I’ve wanted to paddle around the whole Scottish coast for many years - hooked after my expedition around the Isle of Skye in 2016, and after paddling part of Scotland’s coastline on my journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2018.
Scottish seas are renowned for being wild and unforgiving; the coastline rugged and exposed. But there's a side to the ocean around Scotland that is lesser known - the incredible ecosystems just below the surface.
2021 is Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters, and in November, Glasgow hosts the UN climate talks - COP26. There’s never been a more pressing time to explore our human connection to the water, and how that drives us to care for and protect it. During this expedition, I’ll be exploring the vital importance of the ocean in the climate and biodiversity crises - diving and snorkelling amongst the incredible underwater ecosystems, understanding the threats they face and meeting the people trying to protect them.
I’ll be linking in with the Our Seas campaign calling on protection of the inshore sea bed - the fragile area around the coast that is so important for creating a healthy and thriving ocean, and looking at how and why we need to properly protect our ocean.
Ocean biodiversity - that is the variety of all the interconnected life within the seas - is absolutely fundamental for creating a healthy ocean, which in turn produces half the oxygen we breathe and supports everything from worms to whales, providing food, medicine and solace to millions around the world. Plants such as seagrass and kelp capture and store more carbon than terrestrial forests, and are vital in the race against climate change. Protecting nature is absolutely fundamental to creating an inhabitable planet and yet these ocean ecosystems are being destroyed and disregarded.
Out of sight, out of mind - what we don’t know about, we can't feel a connection to, and we can’t possibly be expected to love and protect. All of our lives are inextricably linked to the ocean, and yet we have become disconnected from our planet’s big blue life force. During the expedition, I’ll be exploring our human connection to the ocean, and raising vital funds for Seaful, the charity I’ve just set up to help reconnect more people to our ocean - for the mental health benefits, and to nurture more stewards of our environment.
This time, I’ll be joined by my partner, James Appleton, who will be on a kayak and will be filming the expedition for a documentary series about these important topics.
We’ll be paddling anywhere between 30 and 100km a day depending on the wind and tides. This is not a project I’ve taken on lightly; I’ve been training hard all winter, and have a lot of expertise and experience paddling on the ocean in a wide range of conditions. Safety is of course of paramount importance, and we’ll be taking all the necessary kit and avoiding unnecessary risks, whilst also pushing hard to get around the coast before the end of summer. Still, we are approaching this with deep respect for the power of the ocean, especially around Scotland where strong tides, wind and weather can render a stand up paddle boarder powerless.
I’ve learnt a lot over the years about respecting the ocean, and also my own body - both its strengths and limitations. Fuelling myself properly will be absolutely paramount, and I’ll be sharing how I go about that as we go.
I hope you’ll join me along the way! You can follow the journey on social media:
I’ll be sharing regular blogs and you can follow my journey via an online map and tracker!
I plan on setting off from 18th May from the River Clyde in Glasgow - the site of COP26 in November. This will be a demonstration of how we are all connected to the ocean via rivers which run through land like arteries and veins, connecting us all to our big blue life force.
If you’d like to get in touch please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information, visit calmajor.com/scotland-ocean-nation
To donate to Seaful, please go to: www.seaful.org.uk