What would you think if I said that you could be standing in the suburbs of a European capital city, hop on a Stand Up Paddleboard and in half an hour be in the wilderness surrounded by ancient ruins and wildlife on an island all to yourself? I’d probably ask, “Where in the name of all that’s holy is this promised land?” and it would turn out I’ve been looking at it my whole life.
Dalkey Island, 500 metres from the mainland and a million miles away. Home to a goat sanctuary, one hundred million rabbits, a hoard of lazy seals and more seagulls than is usually advisable. We’ve been checking it out all summer, seeing if it would work for our plans and every time we go back it’s been better.
We’ve adopted a pretty simple strategy with this landmass. Pump up 12 Stand Up Paddleboards, get our RIB out of its mooring, buy a load of food and a heap of firewood and fetch eight tents from our little lock up. Then we paddle over, set up camp, light a fire, fire up the BBQ, crack open a few cans and start singing some dodgy tunes.
At the risk of getting a bit fancy with my talk there is something necessary about sitting around a campfire, telling stories and singing songs… it’s something that’s been lost from a lot of our lives and we should try to reclaim it. Something that’s also missing is the simple adventure of setting out under your own steam and on your own terms and claiming a place for yourself.
Suffice to say it’s more than an alternative to a night out and it’s more than something that will make you sound a bit more interesting on Monday morning. It’s spending a little time in the glow of the firelight that the big cities have glaringly outshone.