The Lockdown Q&A – #6: Will Copestake

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As we all continue to live with restrictions on our outdoor activities, we talk to some of the world’s best mountaineers and mountain athletes about what they are doing to stay fit and focused during the Covid crisis. Next up is Will Copestake, kayak guide and Scottish Adventurer of the Year 2015

Where are you, and with whom, during lockdown?
At the moment I am staying in Ullapool, with my partner Jen, my sister and my parents. Jen and I were in Southern Patagonia at the time of the outbreak and had to leave quickly, scattering plans to the wind, and have now been through voluntary self-isolation.

Are you able to get out into the hills/mountains/outdoors, or are you restricted to your home and immediate vicinity?
The sea is literally at the bottom of my garden, and there is a hill behind. The temptation to go out for a kayak/canoe or up a mountain is high. However, we are sticking to the Scottish Canoe Association and BMC advice and refraining from going on the water or into the mountains until it is responsible to do so. In lieu of this, I’ve been getting a lot of time out and about on my bike by exploring easy local trails and enjoying showing my partner around the hidden wonders of Ullapool. Cleaning my fathers woodshed has been an expedition in itself.

Are you training/exercising at home, and if so, how?
My home exercise has been mostly biking and woodworking (if you can call it that). I’m still recovering from a sacroiliac injury so running isn’t my best option at the moment. My partner has been doing a lot of yoga which I’ve occasionally joined in on too and I’ve been back to doing body weight fitness exercises from time to time.

What are you looking forward to most when restrictions are lifted?
Getting out on my kayak and seeing my friends. I cannot express how much I am looking forward to going for a paddle. If I can do that with my friends locally, life would take a definite up turn. I’m also looking forward to a night in a tent; my partner and I have already listed some local and easy to access wild spaces for once things ease up a little.

Name a book and/or film you’d recommend to help keep our readers motivated/entertained during lockdown?
This week I have binge watched more Netflix than I think I have in my life over the top of my computer. I enjoyed ‘Into the Night’ and ‘The Last Kingdom’ and didn’t overly enjoy the random episodes of ‘Real Housewives’ that faded over the telly. It’s actually been a while since reading a book as I’ve been surprisingly busy, but I’ve been dripping through ‘Paying for the Past’ by Geoff Green – a local story of two fugitives who spent a summer and a winter on a remote island where we operate – a somewhat a fitting read in these current times.

How do you anticipate the Covid-19 situation affecting your future plans and activities, and what – if any – changes do you think you’ll need to make?  
Covid-19 has taken a heavy impact on pretty much all aspects of my life. In the last month, I’ve cancelled an expedition to paddle around Cape Horn, closed my kayaking business and thus lost any form of income, and am currently unable to pursue my passions. My biggest focus is on re-opening my company, which will need a lot of new measures in light of Covid-19 – this is pending significant insight from the SCA and BCU bodies. In a personal point of view, it has certainly pulled back a little from expedition ambitions, although I’m hoping to do something in the Hebrides once everything is open to responsibly do so. For now, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy doing annual maintenance on my kayaks and kit for my company

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