Dan & Karen Trotter - Kayaking Explorers

In 1990, disillusioned by city life, and yearning for expedition travel, Dan and Karen Trotter decided to trade in their increasingly secure lifestyle for one of adventure. They sold their Edinburgh home, gave up their promising careers, and set off on their first major sea kayak expedition - a circumnavigation of Tasmania. To mark this tranition, and to affirm their commitment to a life of paddling together, they got married - in two white kayaks under the historic Forth Railway bridge on the waters of the Firth of Forth.

Karen and Dan make radio programmes for the BBC, exhibit and sell paintings and photographs and also make HI8 video documentaries about their own, and other peoples expeditions and adventures. Their articles and reports have been published internationally and a book about their kayaking adventures is planned for 97. They also design and custom build kayaks, kayak sail's and expedition equipment. Their new double sea kayak, the Faroe, designed with expert kayak builder Chris Newell was used on the 'Faroe Voyage' expedition in 1995 and circumnavigated Britain with blind paddler Steve MacDonalds 'Around Britain Canoe Challenge' in 1996. (A full story about Steve's remarkable trip is on it's way).

Dan and Karen have also lectured far and wide over the past two years, including keynote lectures at the Sea Kayaking Symposia in Anglesey, Ireland, Jersey and Shetland. Dan and Karen are currently undertaking an extensive series of lectures and recently addressed the pretigous Royal Geographic Society in London.

The Widerness Kayak Lectures

"We aim to make our presentation both entertaining and informative, with a good atmosphere and a rich visual content. we illustrate our lectures with exciting photographs and maps, linked with a humourous yet educational commetary which we deliver as a duo. Our story is one of adventure in its purest sense, travelling far from roads and people in small human powered craft. Our approach is broadly environmental and our aim is to paint as wide a picture as possible of the wilderness areas we visit, with references to geography, flora and fauna, indigenous peoples, exploration and exploitation of natural resources and important current conservation issues. The use of authentic sound recordings and local music add atmosphere to our presentations."

The Expeditions

1. The circumnavigation of Tasmania, Australia's Cape Horn. A highly dangerous and committing journey - the first time it has been completed by a woman - ajourney where we almost lost our lives.
2. Cape York the tip of Australia. A journey through the remote northern section of the Coral Coast and the Great Barrier Reef, the worlds treasure trove of marine biology. Three months among crocodiles, sharks and snakes in this enchanting but deadly 'Garden of Eden'.
3. Atlantic Quest. From the Solway Firth to Cape Wrath going 'west of everything', around the Atlantic edge of the Western Isles, including a double crossing to St Kilda, Brittains most remote Island. A documentary about the expedition was serialised an 'The Afternoon Shift' BBC radio 4.
4. North to Alaska. From Seattle to Sitka, a two month, 1100 mile ocean odyssey through the fabled Inside Passage. Whales, bears, salmon, totem poles, friendly native people and real life pioneers.
5. Fiordland. Four and a half months of isolation in the dramatic coastal fiords of southern New Zealand. 4000 ft cliffs, pristine rainforest, a unique eco-system of jungle plants and flightless birds - and the relentless power of the Southern Ocean.
6. Faroe Voyage. An ambitious attempt to kayak from mainland Britain to the far-flung Faroe islands in the middle of the north Atlantic. From John-o Groats across the notorious Pentland Firth, through the Orkneys, then a difficult hop to Shetland before setting out on the longest and most dangerous sea crossing the pair have ever attempted. A dramatic incident at sea, then a two month journey round the precipitous shores of the Faroe's archipelago - some of the worlds most spectacular, and most vertical coastline. The expedition was serialised in the four part BBC Radio Scotland documentary of the same name in 1995, repeated in 1996.

Kayaks and Equipment

The Torridon, a classic single seat design by Chris Newell. A fast but stable, roomy but nimble expedition kayak which became the first choice for Scottish outdoor centre fleets in the 70's and 80's. Used for the first continous descent of the Missouri and Misisippi Rivers (Nicholas Francis, longest solo river trip by canoe - Guiness Book of Records). Used in 1977 on the second stage of the Trotters 'Faroe Voyage' in 1995.

The Kestrel. A no-nonsense general purpose kayak equally at home on river or surf. Can be fitted with bulkheads and hatches for expedition use.

The Faroe. A new standard in double sea kayak design. Built originally for the open-ocean section of the 'Faroe Voyage' expedition 1995, the crossing from mainland Scotland to the Faroe Islands, the 'Faroe' is an extremely fast and seaworthy design. Available as a day-cruiser, coastal tourer or even a sleep-aboard paddling/sailing kayak, this spacious kayak is at home in calm or rough water wherever you want to take it.

Contacts and Services

Dan & Karen Trotter. 3 Pierhead Buildings, North Queensferry, Fife, KY11 1LA, Scotland. Tel 01383 412535

"We will be happy to discuss your requirments for day, weekend or expedition kayaks and specialised equipment, including kayak sailing rigs."

Lectures and Audio-visual presentations can be booked for schools, colleges, cultural evenings, corporate events, trade fairs. We undertake photographic, Hi8 video and professional audio recording commisions. A photo library service is available, please contact us for further details.