IT is a challenging activity that requires strength and determination even when being pursued as a hobby.

But Jordan Wylie is taking paddleboarding to the next level by bidding to become the first person to circumnavigate mainland Britain on his paddleboard.

The 37-year-old is edging his way along the west coast of Scotland, having been at sea for 125 days, paddling almost 1350 miles as he spent the weekend skirting around the Rubha Mor peninsula, north of Ullapool, Ross & Cromarty.

But storms and high winds have slowed the ex-soldier’s progress.

From his support boat at the weekend, he said: “The past 10 days have been consistently the toughest of the whole paddle.

“The weather is so changeable in Scotland and it is suddenly much colder.

“All I can do is paddle when the winds are in my favour and rest in my boat in between.

“It is slow progress but I am still hoping to be at John o’ Groats by Christmas, before paddling back south on the east coast of the country.”

To set a Guinness World Record of a round-Britain stand-up paddleboard (SUP), Mr Wylie, from Hampshire, must return to his start point in Wallasea in less than 365 days.

No-one has been successful in the arduous attempt before.

If he reaches John o’ Groats, the most northerly point of mainland Britain, he will also set a record as the first person to SUP from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in open water.

In addition, he has calculated that by the time he reaches Edinburgh, he will have set a new record for the world’s longest journey by SUP, which is currently 1641 miles.

But the main goal of the astonishing challenge is to raise £100,000 for the charity, Frontline Children.

Mr Wylie said: “When conditions are tough and I am both physically and mentally fatigued, or I am missing my 11-year-old daughter, Evie, I think of the main reason for this paddle, which is to build a new school for children on the Horn of Africa.

“The fund-raising mission – we have raised £21,500 so far – is what keeps me focused and motivated.

“In fact, my support team have worked out that I have raised an amazing £10.42 for every kilometre I have paddled.”

Before the world record attempt, Mr Wylie, who will be known to many as a star of the hit TV show Hunted, had paddled a stand-up board for only a few hours.

Over the last four months, he has journeyed the south coast of England, north past the west coast of Wales and along the eastern shore of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

On day 103, he arrived on the Scottish west coast at Campbeltown after paddling 48 miles in one go from Belfast.

He has spent up to 17 hours each day on the surf-like board that is just 24ft long and 28 inches wide.

He paddles standing up or kneeling down.

He said: “When you are paddle boarding you are in one position for many hours at a time, sometimes you are only paddling on one side because of the wind and tide.

“It is demanding and I often get sore muscles and bad cramps.

"I also suffer with the cold now I am in Scotland, especially my hands and feet.

“I have had to start wearing a dry suit for warmth instead of a wetsuit.”

A support boat piloted by skipper and friend Max Rivers travels with the adventurer. 

They also have a Scottish photographer and film-maker Alfie Marsh on board to record the journey.
The team have very limited access to land because of Covid restrictions.

Mr Wylie said: “I have rarely set foot on dry land because many marinas are closed and we do not want to break the government rules.

“We have been living off Army ration packs and I am missing fresh food.

"I think this has affected me physically.

“I confess it is getting harder and harder and just now I describe this stage of the journey as beautifully brutal.

“The Scottish scenery is some of the more beautiful yet and the wildlife is wonderful but the conditions are brutal every day.

“However, each paddle, even if it is very short, takes me closer to my goal. I will just keep on chipping away at the miles.”

In October 2019, Mr Wylie became the first person in history to row, solo and unsupported across the dangerous strait of water, the Bab el Mandeb Straits, between the Horn of Africa and Yemen. 

The former Intelligence Operator, who spent 10 years with the Royal Hussars, including tours of Northern Ireland and Iraq, is known as one of the stars of Hunted, where contestants are tracked down by a team of agents, including former members of the military.

“It’s not easy, it’s probably the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but the world’s in a bit of a mess right now and hopefully I can inspire a bit of hope for the future for a good cause,” he said.

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