Penzance windsurfer set for 48-hour solo trek to Scottish Hebrides
Penzance windsurfer Ian Ross is setting off on an 800-mile trip to the Inner Hebrides in Scotland, via Cardiff and Manchester.
And Ross 36, is braced to make the journey on his own. It’s all for the 2013 Tiree Wave Classic – the most prestigious windsurfing event in the UK, which is now in its 27th year.
The event is held on the remote Hebridian island of Tiree, which takes four hours to get to by ferry off the west coast of Scotland.
Ross, who won the Amateur contest there last year, said, “It's the worst journey ever, I can't think of anything worse - particularly by yourself.”
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“I always feel the same but it's such a laugh when you get there, I love it and just couldn’t miss it,” he said.
The journey would be far enough, but Ross has to stop via Cardiff to change vans – where he picks up a jet -ski to tow the rest of the way.
“Towing a jet-ski means I can only go about 60mph. I'm just going to have to stick some tunes on and get going!” he added.
And after that the sail-maker is making a de-tour off the M6 into Manchester to install a sail into a pub.
It all means that the journey, even if traffic free, is expected to take well over 16 hours, including a four hour ferry from Oban.
That’s nearly three hours longer than British Airways’ longest non-stop flight, from London to Buenos Aires.
“It's nice to make a bit of a drama about it,” says Ian, who is also known by the nickname 'Chucky'.
“It makes it even more of an adventure than it normally is. All in all with the stops and then waiting in Oban until the early hours of Friday morning for my ferry, it’s going to take about 48 hours to get there.
“It's a terrible drive but I can't not go,” says Ian, who is promising his stay-at-home girlfriend a holiday somewhere hot and sunny when he gets back.
“It's definitely worth the trip because it's such a great place, and brilliant for the windsurfing. It’s just a quiet place, even with 40 windsurfers on it, it feels like you’re detached from the world,” said Ian, who runs RB Sails in Hayle.
“It's such a beautiful little quiet island, I imagine it's what Cornwall was like 100 years ago.
“But there are so many activities - you can sit on the beach by yourself or go surfing or windsurfing, it’s fantastic.”
Ross won the Amateur title on Tiree last year, meaning that on the British Wavesailing Assocation UK Wave tour this year he is taking on the professionals.
“It's great to go against those guys but it's pretty intimidating - three or four of them are on the world tour. But it does push you to being a better sailor,” he said.
Ian is not the only sailor from Cornwall used to making the trek north - the reigning ladies champion in Tiree is Debbie Kennedy, from Hayle.
The competition starts this Saturday, October 12.