In November 2020, Acorn’s Keith Longney and long-standing friend Peter Hart set a new official Guinness World Record for kayaking a two man kayak the length of Loch Ness, setting a new record time of 3:19:42, beating the previous record by 9 minutes and 11 seconds.
“Peter and I have done various trips together over the years. We did Land’s End to John O’ Groats a few years ago as a quadrathlon. The aim was to cycle the usual route, but we added in kayaking the longest lakes in England, Scotland and Wales, swimming the last mile of each, and then also running up the highest mountains.”
“We cycled from Land’s End and then kayaked the length of Bala Lake, and swam the last mile. We then cycled to Snowdon and ran up it. Then we cycled to the Lakes, kayaked the length of Windermere and swam the last mile and then ran up Scafell Pike. We did the same in Loch Lomond and on Ben Nevis before finally cycling the 180 miles to John O’ Groats. This took six-and-a-half days in total.”
Prior to the Loch Ness challenge, Keith and Peter had looked at different records on various different lakes around the country and before finally settling on Loch Ness. “We’d been planning to do it for about a year and we were looking for a window in the weather and when one emerged we just drove up the next day.”
For this challenge they chose to use a K2, which is a racing sea kayak. Although not considered particularly fast, its a kayak of fairly high volume so there would be less likelihood of getting lots of water coming into it.
The most important thing was to choose a day when there was very little wind and, as a result, they didn’t have to empty the kayak out at all.
“Very often on Loch Ness, even though you might have a wind in one direction according to the weather forecast, the mountains around funnel the wind through, so despite it being calm you can still get a bit of a headwind. In a human propelled vehicle you don’t need much to slow you down.”
“We were actually off target for the record for the first four or five kilometres until we caught up.”
Typically for a record attempt you are required to have people at designated places to confirm you have been there. However, with advancements in data and GPS, they were able to send Guinness through data gathered on Keith’s watch which had his stroke efficiency, stroke length, average speed and heart rate.
“Next I am trying to convince Peter to do a ‘Frog Fred’ where you cycle the Fred Whitton route and then kayak all the lakes in the Lake District. I’ve actually paddled all the lakes before, travelling in between by car, so now it’s just a case of connecting it all up by bike as well.”