An Angus boating enthusiast is getting ready for a summer fundraising trip on Scotland’s spectacular waterways.
And Kirriemuir 73-year-old George Rae says he couldn’t be more keen to spend a month in The Dog House.
That’s the name of the Fairline Fury 26-foot motor cruiser the retired Angus Council safety assessor will set off from Arbroath marina on in July on the journey for cancer research.
He will travel down Scotland’s east coast, across the country and then along the length of the Caledonian Canal to reach Inverness after more than a fortnight on the water.
Then he’ll turn round and do it all again on the way back to Angus.
It’s a journey which will take him to many famous places.
Love of boats
George says it will fulfil a dream he’s harboured since he was a young lad.
“I spent three years in the Merchant Navy as a cadet officer when I left school,” he said.
“I was learning to be a marine engineer, but didn’t stick it.
“And I’ve always wanted a boat but had never been able to afford one.
“I bought this in 2016 before I retired, got this berth at Arbroath and I love every minute of being down here doing things on it.
“My wife, Wilma was okay with me getting a boat – but she said it couldn’t be one with ‘strings’ – so this one has two Land Rover Defender engines.
“I’m currently doing various modifications to it for the trip so there’s plenty work to keep me going.”
George has spent hours planning the route through Scotland’s canals system.
He’ll have helping hands on deck since his grandsons are due to join him at different points on the journey.
“I’ve been out to the Bell Rock a couple of times and up the Tay, so I’m learning all the time about handling the boat in different conditions.
Robert Stevenson’s lighthouse 11 miles off the coast from Arbroath will be an early sight for George at the start of the voyage.
He will then head down the east coast past the Isle of May, Bass Rock and under the Forth rail and road bridges before putting into Port Edgar at the end of the first day.
The Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel and the 16 locks of the Forth and Clyde Canal are all on the early itinerary.
And George will emerge on the west coast to head along the coast of Ayrshire towards The Isle of Bute, then northwards up Loch Fyne.
“By day 10 we will enter the Crinan canal which cuts through the Mull of Kintyre.
“Halfway along this canal is a place called Cairnbann, which is noted for being the birthplace of Dalriada with many stone circles and burial cairns so I’m fascinated to see that,” he said.
Oban and Fort William will be further ports of call before George tackles the 60 miles, 29 locks and 10 bridges of the Caledonian Canal.
“At the summit of the canal we will be 106 feet above sea level before dropping down in locks to Fort Augustus to enter Loch Ness and head to Inverness to complete the outward leg of the voyage.”
“So the full round trip will take around 30 days to complete and involve around 500 nautical miles.
“I’m planning to video interesting points along the way and upload them every night, or do it live, so I’ve also got a bit to learn about social media,” said George.
“It’s all for cancer research, to be split equally between breast and prostate cancer.
“There’s no family that hasn’t been affected by cancer.”