Sam, an affable Irishman, is our guide. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone to whom I have taken such an instant liking. I’m handed various bits of bungee attached to other bits of rubber, bemused, and Sam runs around with the enthusiasm and delight of a spaniel. The last thing I need is my retina-searing orange kayak.
Kayaking in the Scottish sea in summer. I’ve officially gone mad. Launching the boat off a shingle beach in the armpit of Kirriemuir, intense trepidation and a bone-deep conviction that I’ll capsize before the day is through comes over me.
Sooty cormorants leap elegantly into the air, feral sheep clatter across the pebbly beaches. I munch cheese sarnies and learn about the perils of trying to relieve the bladder in a one-piece swimming costume and a wetsuit. Trying to get the damn thing back on is like peeling a banana in reverse.
There is something about kayaking that satisfies. The sheer bliss of losing yourself in the act of paddling, the clean cut through the waves and the rush forward puts everything into perspective. It’s repetitive: meditative. The problems simply fade away.
Back at the hotel, there’s a fire in the grate. The bar’s empty, but for numerous bottles of copper-penny whisky. Back home on Monday morning, this will seem like a distant memory. The perspective gained as a speck on the infinite ocean reduces until the perils of the office loom. For now, though, everything is perfect. And like the sea, it feels endless.