I'm off to paddle across Scotland. That's right. I'm trading in the art of snacking on S,mores to stomaching haggis for a couple of weeks. Instead of swatting black flies I'll be running from midges; and since I plan on wearing a Kilt - it's not going to be pleasant.
Canoeing Scotland is a dream trip of mine. The main reason is that my father was Irish, and I am the last Irish male Callan - so there was little talk about my mother's Scottish heritage in our household while growing up. A couple of years ago I happened to take one of my Scottish cousins canoeing in Algonquin while she was visiting Canada and I came to realize that I have a lot of Scottish blood in me. I actually understood her strong dialect, had similar birthmarks and had acquired the same type of drinking habits. I also discovered that that my mother's family name - Laing - has writers associated with the name. What a surprise! My father was a professional boxer - something I'm quite proud of but in no way am I linked with that characteristic.
So I'm off to discover my Scottish routes. Tagging along with me will be my wife and six year old daughter - who is scared silly of paddling across Loch Ness but is tinkled pink that there are real live castles to explore (she's already packed her Princess dress collection).
The most exciting thing about the adventure is that I havn't a clue what I'm doing and where I am going. It's an odd feeling for someone who spends the majority of his time informing other paddlers where the best places are to paddle. I going on the information I've gathered by friends Ray Goodwin (renowned paddling coach in Scotland) and Justin Curgenven ( from Cackle TV), also from web sites like Song of the Paddle and through an amazing local outfitter Kushi Adventures.
Poor Ellie the dog is staying home with the house sitter but we will be sure to bring her back a scarf made of the Laing tartan and a drop of single malt to add to her water bowl.