North-east villagers last night welcomed a kayaker on a 600-mile trip around the Scottish coast as he stopped off for a well-earned rest.
Jack Gatacre is kayaking the route to raise money for The Fishermen’s Mission – a cause close to his heart as his girlfriend’s father has recently retired after 50 years of fishing.
Having seen and heard stories of the harsh conditions in which fisherman work first-hand, Mr Gatacre set out to raise £10,000 for the charity.
Collieston villagers and SNP MP for Gordon, Richard Thomson, held a socially distanced gathering to welcome him to shore.
Mr Thomson said: “He has been on the water in challenging conditions – the recent heat, Scottish winds and some rainy days – but this of course pales in comparison to the sacrifice fishermen and their families make to put food on our tables.
“Jack’s fundraising efforts are incredible and I commend him on supporting the work of the Mission.”
The tour route started at Pittenweem in Fife, passing Edinburgh on the way up the Firth of Forth.
The couple passed Arran, Jura and Mull before following the Caledonian Canal and returning to the sea at Inverness.
Mr Gatacre said: “I’ve given myself two weeks to get from Pittenweem and back around Scotland – missing out the very north on the advice of my girlfriend’s father.
“The challenge was something I always wanted to do so I’m raising money for The Fishermen’s Mission in honour of him retiring this year. Starting and finishing where he has fished also seemed special.
“I’ve done between 40 and 50 miles each day and have been treated to some wonderful scenery – it has been stunning so far.
“I’ve faced some really strong wind changes and the weather can change at the drop of a hat but, other than occasional loneliness it’s really enjoyable.
“It’s totally different to fishing as I don’t sleep on the kayak, can get up when I like, do the amount I like and have control over that. Fishermen don’t get that luxury.”
So far, he has raised more than £7,000 and to make donations people can visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jack-gatacre1