Aboyne man's epic challenge to raise money for MND

In a year in which many of us have faced difficult challenges, one man in a small boat has taken on an epic challenge of his own raising funds for MND research.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 12:00 am
Stuart Marshall kayaked around the Scottish coast to raise money for MND.
Stuart Marshall kayaked around the Scottish coast to raise money for MND.

Experienced kayak enthusiast Stuart Marshall set off on the River Dee near his home in Aboyne on May 10 on the first leg of a clockwise 1800 km solo sea journey around the entire coast of the Scottish mainland.

Wednesday saw Stuart travel from the Moray coast south to Aberdeen Boat Club on the final leg of his journey.

Stuart’s gripping Facebook blog has captivated friends and supporters with the narrative of his journey.

It details how he has managed many hazards and risks including large ships, sandbanks in estuaries, surf accessing beaches, strong tides, storms in late May, strong winds and heavy seas. He has been accompanied by gannets, razorbills, puffins, gulls, eagles, seals and occasionally sea kayaking companions.

He has rested and planned for the following day mostly in selfcontained wild campsites but benefited from hot coffee and phone charging from kind locals or from the occasional hot meal and warm bed at inns.

He has endured blisters, a sore back, bang knees, weathered hands, broken tent poles, faulty rudder mechanisms, leaky hatch covers and the loss of travel mugs to the surf gods.

He has been inspired by the beautiful beaches and dramatic cliffs at many points around the coast. In the process, he has inspired many with his efforts and raised awareness and funds for MND research.

Stuart said: “Life works in unpredictable ways. From here in my floating seat, I’ve been able to reflect that it is a beautiful world but it's more difficult for some. MND is a terminal condition that is little understood, significantly reduces people's quality of life and is unrelenting.

"My arduous experience in undertaking this long distance paddle is nothing in comparison to the MND diagnosis one of my neighbours received in early in 2021. Research into MND condition management and ultimately a cure needs funding urgently. Thanks to all of you who have enjoyed my adventures and given so generously. ”