Ten moments in no particular order what so ever.
1) Taking about 15 minutes to run the first km on Arran after no sleep the night before and 20 or so hours being unable to eat or drink due to seasickness.
2) Getting a voicemail from our skipper at 14:15 on Thursday: ‘Hi James, it’s Alex, give us a call back – it’s not all good news.’ He’d taken a tumble off the pier at Oban resulting in a broken shoulder and a broken arm. We decided on Friday morning that Alex was in no fit state to go for a sail; our team would officially be retiring from the competition but could follow the fleet around the course. We’d be a man down for the weekend – a bold move by the remaining sailors and a seriously impressive effort from them.
3) Dancing down the scree on Ben More with Dr McAlinden while a crimson sunset exploded on the horizon.
4) Having breakfast with the crew of Dionysus in the posh restaurant in Troon Marina at 9am on Monday giving off an aroma of cow shit, puke, dehydrated breath and 68 hours of sweat.
5) Our Polish sailor Lucas spoke impeccable English, but had little experience with Scottish idioms. A frantic instruction of ‘Lucas, gie it laldy on the jib! NOW!’ resulted in no more than a bemused stare.
6) Rainbow puke over starboard coming around the Mull of Kintyre – a tasty mix of chicken stew, whole tangfastics and protein shake.
7) The miserable, grinding 10k of road at the end of the Mull run around midnight – we’ve still got another two f**king days to go?!
8) Leaving Oban harbour in last place but, thanks to Graeme ‘One Tack’ Bisset, overtaking more than 20 boats in the first hour.
9) Stepping ashore at Jura on sea legs to find the island swaying dramatically.
10) Lounging on the back of the boat by Arran at 1am on Monday, listening to the gentle lap of the waves, looking across the water at the twinkling lights of Lamlash and serenely content at the end of the last leg.
SIPR is an amazing event; many thanks to all the marshals and organisers for making it possible. A massive thanks to the heroes of Dionysus (Niall, Graeme, Lucas and Alex in absentia) for a brilliant weekend and well done to all the other Westies taking part – looking forward to hearing about it!