On the 29th of January I wrote about Al Mennie, a pro surfer, who had plans to paddle across the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Islay. Needless to say that this was quite a challenge. First of all Al needed good weather for his crossing but he also had to face dangerous currents around Rathlin island and he had to face the ice cold sea temperatures. Al set off from the Giant's Causeway in the dark at 6.30am on Tuesday to begin his 30 mile paddling challenge. Al said: "When I got to the rocks I lay down for five minutes and said to myself 'right, you are not getting out of the water until you get to Islay'," he said. "But it was really tough, tougher than I expected. It was very demotivating at times.
"The final stretch of three miles was the toughest. I could see the cliffs but the current wouldn't let me get to them. Then when I finally broke through, the current sucked me westerly and almost sent me past the end of the island. It was like hitting a brick wall. Hours four to seven all blended together and I covered very little distance as the currents and tides tried to stop me. My speed dropped to 1.6mph on average at times due to the currents coming at me from different directions," he said. "I was passed by a Danish tanker, several commercial trawlers and an oil rig." Al Mennie did all this to raise money for the Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke organisation. I hope he raised a lot of money!