Kayaker eyes Scotland-to-Iceland adventure

Chris Duff, a local contractor and lifetime traveler of oceans in small boats, is attempting to row single-handedly in an open, custom-built row boat called the “Northern Reach” from Scotland to Iceland, with 500 miles of wild and potentially treacherous ocean travel in his way.


Meet Duff and see his modified rowboat before he departs for the upcoming expedition, during an open house from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, at Hartnagel Building Supply, 3111 Highway 101 in Port Angeles.


Commemorative “Northern Reach” T-shirts will be available for purchase. Proceeds and donations will support his expedition.


The “Northern Reach” is a modified 19-foot classic open-water rowing boat. The boat was chosen for its speed, minimum weight, dryness in rough water and adaptability for modifications. A sleeping cabin has been built forward of the rowing compartment and constructed so as to make the boat self-righting as well as offering a high degree of watertight integrity to the hull.


The forward cabin is fully padded so as to minimize injury in the likely event of a rollover in rough seas. An aft cabin has been built for gear storage and additional watertight integrity. There are six watertight compartments in the rowing section of the boat.


Few small boat ventures have been attempted in the northern latitudes of the world. And fewer still which are self-propelled and solo. From a small fishing village on the northeast tip of mainland Scotland, to the Orkney Islands, the Shetlands, the Faroe Islands with a final crossing to Iceland, the Viking Stepping Stone Route offers rich Celtic and pre-Celtic history, and cold clear waters abounding in sea mammals, massive populations of sea birds and remote island communities.


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