Hamish Around Ireland

In July and August of 2014 Hamish Wilkinson will be paddling the coast of Ireland in ‘Selkie’, his Skin-on-Frame Greenland Kayak.

Hamish measuring up some ribs for the kayak

His date of departure was June 28th from Portrush Harbour. Hamish aims to be the youngest kayaker to compete the trip, at 19 years of age, and the first to do so in a traditional style Greenland kayak with a Greenland style paddle. His trip is a personal challenge, a vote of confidence in traditional design and craft, and a sight seeing tour of a beautiful island – over 1200 miles. He will paddle the entirety of the coast and hopes to meet and paddle with local sea kayakers along the way. This is not a speed driven expedition – it is a tour of discovery.

Selkie has been built in the Valkyrie Craft workshop by Hamish and his father John using a combination of traditional techniques aided by modern tools. The methods and design has been developed by John and Hamish from a range of sources including Christopher Cunningham: Building the Greenland Kayak, Robert Morris: Building skin on frame boats and Traditional Boats of Ireland, Edited by Cristoir MacCarthaigh. John and Hamish build a range of wooden canoes and have applied their accumulated knowledge of other build systems to the Selkies construction.

The full frame of the kayak before the skin is applied

In essence Selkie is a style Greenland Kayak built along traditional Greenland designs with a higher than normal volume to make it an expedition boat. She has a wooden frame held together with waxed sinuous thread, wooden dowels and mortise-and-tenon joints. Other than some brass and bronze fixings to hold on her ballistic nylon ‘skin’, and marine varnish to make the skin watertight, she no metal screws or fastening, modern glues or adhesives. Each thwart, beam, rib, chine and keel is held and fixed with knotted sinew or dowel.

Hamish passing carrick-a-rede rope bridge

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And the full blog at: http://www.valkyriecraft.com/hamishroundireland.htm

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