Day 3 – Paddle across Scotland Winter 2020


Day 3 – Portage, It seems fitting to try and explain the difficulties and admin we had to go through off the water as well as on throughout the journey and a good chunk of this expedition was spent moving our boards and equipment around Lock gates on the canals. Called a ‘portage’ it just so happens that this day was the most demanding for the difficulties we faced off the water. 

Imagine it. It’s raining, freezing cold and for the last 2 hours you’ve been using your arms and putting pressure through your legs to allow yourself to paddle efficiently down a choppy Loch, your fingers are cold, you can barley feel your feet and your body is aching everywhere but all of a sudden, your faced with a 700m long series of Lock gates. What do you do? Jump off and walk around right? Well on a touring SUP board loaded down with gear, that’s not quite as easy as it sounds. 

Individually we were each carrying around 60lbs of gear that included everything we needed to live from our boards. Combined, that’s over 180lbs of gear that we had to unload from the boards, haul up a slippery bank, carry 700m, return for the boards, carry another 700m, reload the boards and then lower carefully back into the water down another slippery bank. I cannot explain how absolutely exhausting that is to do and on this particular day, we had to do it 5 times along with 15 miles of strenuous paddling. 

Portaging became an absolute nightmare for us, it would use up valuable time, daylight that we couldn’t really afford to lose and it was breaking us as well as taking its toll on our boards. Sam had badly cracked his toe and toenail and pulling the boards out through reeds, thorns and onto old pontoons was a puncture waiting to happen, not to mention the massive strain we put on the fins every time the heavily loaded rear accidentally touched the ground. Luckily Hatha have made a super strong board here and it stood up to the abuse we had to put them through on a frequent basis.

Once through all of the portages and the stretches of Loch Ceann and Loch Oich we finally made it to Fort Augustus, where the canal opened up into the daunting expanse of Loch Ness. Tomorrow’s challenge.


Is it worth getting up early for a paddle?

Back in March 2019, we were having a few good days of weather, cold in the mornings but heating up nicely through the day. We made the decision to go for an early paddle and watch the sun rise. This all sounds good until you start to look at the sunrise times and what time you need to meet up, what time to get on the water ready for the sun to rise.


We met at 0510 am, so a 04.30 am wake up. Now I really do love my bed and it doesn’t take much for me to make little excuses up in my head why I shouldn’t get up. I was meeting a friend so this helped motivate me, I can’t let Pete down, he knows where I live. The van was loaded up the night before but I didn’t anticipate scraping ice off the windows.

We arrived at the Barbican Plymouth, just a little way up towards the sound. It was still dark but you could see the light starting to show on the horizon. The water was like glass, not a ripple to be seen or anyone else for that matter. We paddled out and headed right towards the Tinside Lido and towards Millbay docks. The sun didn’t disappoint, it rose magnificently glowing a deep red staining the water with a red glow.

The cold fingers, the tired eyes, the early rise was all worth it! Until the next time my friend……


Carrying your board is now easier than you think!

New for 2019 is our patented Cario System! Featured on all of our premium thermo fusion technology constructed boards. It allows the board to be carried via the shoulder rather than by one hand on the centre handle. The centre handle will still be there, this is simply another option. There are either two or four reinforced marine graded D-rings attached to the board (depends which board). This system allows the board weight to be easily distributed over the shoulder rather than the wrist, making carrying the board easier and can be carried for longer! Freeing your hands to carry your paddle, bag or what ever else you may be taking to the water! It is fully adjustable, super strong and features a neoprene non-slip material to keep the pad firmly in position. The Cario System….. making life that bit easier!



The inaugural SWSUP Drake’s Island Challenge SUP fun race will take place on Sunday 1st July at 10am. The challenge will follow the Chestnut Appeal Drake’s Island Swim and any profits generated from the event will be donated to the charity.

The challenge will take the form of a fun race from our Royal William Yard location at Firestone Bay to Drake’s Island and back. It’s the perfect introduction to SUP racing for all abilities and levels of experience with a distance of 2km.

The day will have a lot of other great SUP activities on offer, including: SUP Yoga taster sessions; SUP tug o’war; ‘have a go’ sessions on SWSUP’s XL SUP and the opportunity to demo the full range of Hatha SUP boards.

Registration is £25 which includes use of one of our SUPs.

We also encourage participants to raise sponsorship to help the Chestnut Appeal provide support for Prostate Cancer patients and their families across Devon and Cornwall.

For more information, please contact SWSUP on 07898 984497 or email 

  • At Royal William Yard, Plymouth. Google Maps
  • Bring: Clothes to wear on the water, water-shoes, towel, sun cream
  • Included: SUP board, paddle and leash.