Blind adventurer takes up the challenge of the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail

At around 6am on Thursday the 12th of May, three adventurers set off to paddle the full 150km of the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail which spans the coastline of Argyll and Bute.

The team were made up of Ian Cormack from Glasgow, who runs SUP Ecosse, Allistair Swinsco from Carlisle who runs Northwest Paddleboards, and registered blind paddler Dean Dunbar from Blairgowrie.

Dean Dunbar is a Blind adventurer and inspirational public speaker. Two years after being registered blind at the age of 29, Dean did a charity tandem skydive which changed his life. Since then he has notched up over 80 activities around the world, ranging from adventure racing to zorbing and set almost 20 world firsts in activities ranging from open-water swimming to stand up paddle-boarding.

Group of three complete the trail in four days

Group of three complete the trail in four days

The Argyll Sea Kayak Trail is a group of easily accessible launch sites at key points along a route which links Helensburgh in the south-east with Oban in the north-west. The route has been accomplished in its entirety by a number of paddlers to date, however the group accomplished a double first, in completing the trail on SUPs, (Stand Up Paddle-boards) and Dean Dunbar being the first registered blind paddler to complete the trail.

Unlike traditional surfing where the rider is sitting until a wave comes, stand up paddle boarders maintain an upright stance on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. Growth of the sport has been documented in a 2013 report which identified it as the outdoor sporting activity with the most first-time participants of any in the United States.

The team are all highly experienced paddlers and the group of three started the trail from Ganavan (Oban) on the 12th of May, and arrived in Helensburgh on the afternoon of Sunday the 15th of May.

The challenge was originally thrown down by Oban SUPer(Stand up Paddle Boarder), Cathy Winterton.  She was planning to be part of the team, but unfortunately due to family commitments has had to pull out.

Dean Dunbar said “I was first told about this route last year, and since then I’ve been waiting to get started. I’d like to thank Argyll and Bute Council who have been of great support during the planning of this trip”.  More information on can be found at the following links and

Standing in front of the final sign

Standing in front of the final sign

About the author: Lee Allen Top Contributor

I started travelling around the Scottish Islands around 15 years ago. I have travelled to over 70 Scottish Islands and I aim to visit as many of these beautiful Islands as possible.


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