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Published: 22 Oct 2021

Wild and Well: Forget staycations, plan a 'stayventure'

With a new-found urgency to explore Scotland after spending a decade in Hong Kong, Mark Agnew and Paul Loudon had a ‘stayventure’ kayaking around Mull this summer.

Wild and Well - Mark Avery in Mull

We set off from Oban with a month’s worth of Expedition Foods and a 17 Watt solar panel with V250 battery courtesy of Voltaic Systems, to keep our phones charged for tides and navigation. Our plan was to kayak around the west coast of Mull then cross to the Small Isles and Skye. We were then going to cross to Uist and Lewis, go all the way round and back to Skye.

As we paddled around Mull it took our breath away. We passed soaring cliffs and pristine beaches. When the wind picked up, waves broke over our bows, forcing us to work hard and concentrate until we were in the lee of yet more sea cliffs. When the sun was out, the water turned a clear turquoise like the Caribbean. We did not see another soul. We did see eagles, dolphins, seals and otters.

By the time we were preparing to leave Mull and paddle across to the Small Isles, we had changed our mind. Mull had blown us away so why were we hellbent on leaving it? We decided to kayak all the way around the island and enjoy its scenery, breath-taking sunsets and hidden coves.

Once around Mull, we headed up towards Fort William via Loch Linnhe. We reached the top and we ended our adventure 12 days later.

 Watch a film of Mark and Paul kayaking around Mull

Adventure is what you make of it. You can find adventures anywhere with the right perspective - it can be areas of a city you have never visited before, a day trip to a nearby hike, a walk or a weekend camping.

It does not have to be a month-long kayak trip. It does not even have to be about a new location. It can be a new activity. If you have never run 10km, then it is an adventure to build to it and explore new limits.

It can be liberating not to have a defined goal. It’s tempting to declare a specific route, record, first, speed or victory. But specific goals create binary outcomes - success or failure. If your goal is about enjoying your experience, as was our aim, then you are free to do as you please to meet that end and judge your success on your own terms.

So what are you waiting for? Get outside in Britain. Cycle, hike, run, kayak, sail, walk or whatever you want. If you need a goal to stay motivated, set one. But remember, staying aimless can be every bit as rewarding.

Forget staycations, plan a “stayventure”.

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