Highlands & Islands

Scottish Atlantic rower's lost boat washes up near family home

Niall Iain MacDonald's boat Image copyright Angus Steele
Image caption The boat was abandoned off the US coast during a rescue last June

A rowing boat abandoned off the US coast by a Scots adventurer has washed up a year later less than 100 miles (161km) from his home in Scotland.

Niall Iain Macdonald was making his third attempt in four years to cross the North Atlantic from New York to Stornoway in Lewis when he was rescued.

He got into difficulty in stormy seas more than 700 miles off the US coast.

The boat was washed up on a beach at Askernish in South Uist, the ancestral home of Mr MacDonald's late mother.

Mr MacDonald, a Gaelic broadcaster, was rescued in June last year after his boat was swamped by high seas during his NY2SY adventure.

He said: "I was very surprised to receive the news yesterday that my boat had been found, and even more surprised that she had come ashore on the beach at Askernish.

"Not only is it less than 100 miles from where I live in Stornoway, I also have very strong family connections with Askernish as that is where my granny was from and my late mum was brought up close by in Daliburgh."

Image copyright Angus Steele
Image caption The boat was found on Thursday

Mr MacDonald added: "I have very mixed emotions as I am happy that this final loose thread in the NY2SY story has been resolved but obviously very sad to see her in such bad condition.

"She was a great ocean rowing boat and so many people in the Stornoway community helped me get her ready for my NY2SY challenge so it's not nice to see her like this."

Mr MacDonald was planning to travel to South Uist later on Friday to make arrangements to take the boat back to Stornoway.

He said: "She almost made it home."

Image copyright Niall Iain Macdonald
Image caption Mr Macdonald lives less than 100 miles from where his boat was found

In March this year, another Scottish adventurer's rowing boat was found in Norway six months after it was abandoned off Land's End during an attempted Transatlantic crossing.

Duncan Hutchison, from Lochinver, spent three years constructing the wooden craft before attempting to row it from New York to his home in the west Highlands.

He was rescued in September last year after rowing more than half of his 3,000-mile (4,828 km) adventure.

The boat was found in Sømna, a municipality north of Trondheim.

Image copyright Duncan Hutchison
Image caption Duncan Hutchison's boat was found six months after he was forced to abandon it

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