Dougal Glashier Kayaks Around Britain in Record Time

Dougal Glashier has completed a 3,120km kayak around mainland Britain in 40 days. He set off from Suffolk on June 2 and arrived back there on July 11. He has broken both the current record and the 50-day estimate he set for himself.

In 2012, previous record holder Joe Leach completed the circumnavigation in 67 days. Glashier cut a staggering 27 days off Leach’s time, averaging 78km a day.

After leaving Suffolk he paddled down the east coast and continued clockwise around Britain. After 13 days, he crossed the Bristol Channel to Wales. One day later, he kayaked the Irish Sea to Ireland. It took him one week to paddle up the east coast of Ireland.

From Ireland to Scotland

From Ballystrudder, Glashier left Ireland and crossed to Islay, Scotland. He then followed the coastline around the top of Scotland and back down the east coast of Britain.

For the last few weeks, he has pushed to meet his new 40-day deadline. Initially, he saw the trip as one challenge at a time — the Bristol Channel, the Irish Sea, etc. Once back on the east coast, he saw it as “one long haul…overtaken by finish line fever.”

The biggest challenge for Glashier has been managing his Type 1 diabetes, which he was diagnosed with in 2019. He spent a lot of time planning his meals but still had some tricky moments, especially at the beginning. His body went into shock because of the extreme exercise and the change in routine.


His biggest concern was avoiding lapsing into shock while at sea. Luckily, he managed to avoid this. On a few mornings, he woke up with extremely low blood sugar.

Glashier faced storms, fog, heat waves, strong currents, shipping traffic, swells, and the struggle of both strong winds and no wind at all. He suffered Scotland’s infamous midges as he set up camp at night.

He particularly enjoyed the puffins and oystercatchers, but the most exciting day came in Scotland’s Moray Firth when a minke whale surfaced nearby.

A number of friends joined him for small sections along the way. Followers, friends, and members of the kayaking community gave him hot showers, beds, and meals. The rest of the time, Glashier camped.

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.