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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


World Adventure Racing Championships
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

'Crazy-ness' is definately a matter of opinion but not many people would argue that you have to be just a little bit mad to race 500km non-stop by foot, bike & kayak - not to mention a bit of canyoning & swimming AND a 15km portage with kayaks!! All of this with just a few hours sleep grabbed here and there! It sounds balmy but I'm seeing it with my own eyes as I'm up in Scotland filming 49 teams of four, who consider all this to be FUN. It's the World Adventure Racing Championships and I can't imagine how tiring it is. The teams from 20 different countries started on the island of Rum with a warm-up 500 metre swim followed by a hike up and around the stunning Culin of Rum. I climbed the first high peak to film them as they returned to the castle and enjoyed beautiful views of the Culin, and across to Skye & Eigg. I'll definatley come back here to explore more sometime. On Sunday everyone kayaked from Rum to Eigg & then back to mainland Scotland. It was amazing to see almost 100 double kayaks on the water at the startline - from plastic Necky kayaks to sleek kevlar racing boats. A lot of adventure racers come from a running or biking background, and kayaking is often their weakest disipline so open ocean crossings of over 6 miles was always going to be interesting. Some people looked gripped before they took their first paddle stroke, and one poor team collided at the slipway and put a hole in their boat before the starting whistle blew. I was on the water in my leopard-skin Explorer with my minicam mounted on it to get some shots from the thick of the action. I paddled with the teams for a mile or so and filmed the first 2 calamaties - one team must have been capsized by a breaking wave over shallow rocks and was having to swim the boat to shore and empty it. A British team, 'Total Adventure' had 2 sleek racing kayaks rafted together using 2 poles - but a wave broke on them flexing the poles and causing both boats to capsize, putting all 4 paddlers in the water. I heartlessly shoved a camera in their faces as they emptied 1 boat over the other and began the long process of all getting back in the boats. I then had the easy option and got picked up by one of the 'safety boats' and driven to Eigg. I got back in the water a mile or so from Eigg and ahead of the front teams so I could get a few shots of them all as they paddled past. It was hard work keeping up with doubles and I could only stay with the leaders for a few paddle strokes! The plan was for me to film a few teams and then get picked up by the safety boat again, but I ended up having a small adventure of my own! I couldn't speak to the safety boat on the VHF channel he'd told me to use - and on channel 16, I could only reach Stornaway coastguard, so I ended up paddling all the way to the mainland and about another 15 - 20km up the coast into a really strong headwind! I didn't know where I was going so I had to keep up with a team in fibreglass Valley doubles so I didn't get lost!! I had only eaten 2 chocolate biscuits all day, and I had a tiny chocolate bar for on the water so I was very low on fuel after 5 hours of paddling into a ridiculous wind!!! If I had been out for a fun day paddle then I'd have got off the water ages ago!! When I landed by my van, I couldn't get changed because my keys were still on the safety boat! So was my phone so I couldn't call him to find out where he was ( not that I had his phone number!). I hitched a lift 2km to Malaig and the girls in the ferry terminal kindly phoned Pete, the skipper, for me ( and made me a wonderful cup of tea!). Pete said he'd be at least an hour because he had to stay with the back kayaks until they got to the mainland. Unfortunately the back 2 teams had gone 6 miles off course so they had to paddle an extra 6 miles into that headwind and it was actually almost 4 hours before Pete got back. I was starving but had no money! Fortunately I found a race organiser to lend me enough to buy fish and chips. A fisherman sat me in his car out of the wind and brought me tea! By the time I got back to my van, got changed and put the kayak on the roof, and drove 2 hours to where I was staying that night, I was exhausted. Just imagine how the racers felt doing the same paddle but knowing that they've got another 445km to go before they can rest!!?

For me, I guess it just goes to show I should always have food, warm clothes, the phone & car keys in the kayak - even if I think I'm only going for a 30 minute paddle!! It's Wednesday now and I'm still filming the race. I spent most of yesterday in Foyers Canyon filming teams jumping off rock ledges, scrambling over rocks, swimming across sections & ducking under arches. Today I have to kayak 3km to a really boggy portage in Glencoe and get shots of the poor teams struggling to move their kayaks through thick mud. You can follow the race on - there are lots of photos and even an interactive map which shows you where all the teams are every 15 minutes ( they all have satelite trackers ). I'm one of a team of camerapeope filming for Dream Team TV ( ). The programme with be on Channel 4 in the UK in August, and may be on sattelite channels around the world.

Thanks to for the photos.


Blogger derrick said...

YIKES!!! Glad you got to work of that chocolate! LOL!

7:46 pm  
Blogger Simon said...

You seem to have recovered by Friday, when you whized past us n your van, in the oposite direction, heading up Glen Coe.

3:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Justine

Are you going to be filming the Three Peaks Race ( - Dream Team are the production company for this too. If so, maybe see you in Fort William.


5:14 pm  
Blogger Justine Curgenven said...

Yes, I'll be filming on the 3 Peaks Race - I think I'll be on one of the boats all the time!! Looking forward to it!

2:22 pm  

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