Spirit Dancer

The Spirit Dancer at Cullivoe, last week - Photo: Spirit of Adventure website

CANADIAN canoe Spirit Dancer has come out of hibernation for the summer.

The 42ft long canoe, owned by professional guide Chris Cooper, had overwintered in the isles after its visit from mainland Scotland in August last year.

Mr Cooper, from eastern Canada, said he originally had the canoe built for a mammoth journey.


“I had her built eight years ago now to paddle from Vancouver to Alaska, which took three months. That was the main reason we wanted to build one of this size, to take enough equipment to last about four to six weeks, food-wise, because we were going unsupported.”

Since her maiden voyage, Spirit Dancer has been used for many a voyage along the British Colombian coastline, before being transported to the United Kingdom for Chris and his wife Barbara’s circumnavigation of the British Isles.

They have spent the last month paddling around Shetland, visits including Collafirth, Vidlin, Skerries, Cullivoe, Burravoe and Baltasound.


Spirit Dancer will round off its last season in Britain this year with a paddle from Bridge End to Bigton on Friday. After that it will head up to Unst for Sunday, where it will be at UnstFest goers keen to paddle.

At the end of July the canoe will be sent off, along with Chris and Barbara, to Central America for a brand new type of paddling for them.

“Last September, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. Some folks down in Costa Rica asked me if I might be interested in bringing the canoe to Costa Rica if they set up the program for it, and I said I’d be just honoured.”

Iwan MacBride