Jasper Winn is the author of Paddle; A long way around Ireland.
Jasper is a writer, photographer and broadcaster with a particular interest in traditional horsemanship world wide, rural cultures and 'slow adventures.'
Jasper has lived with transhumant Berbers in North Africa, ridden on cattle drives in Australia, Argentina, Chile and Spain, and worked with horsemen and cowboys in Central Asia and across the Americas. He was story consultant on the IMAX big-screen film Ride Around the World, and has generated radio and television documentaries on subjects as diverse as Moroccan acrobats, early Irish transport and Romany music.
For his latest venture he swapped the saddle for a paddle and set off to sea-kayak the full circumference of Ireland's coastline. The resulting was a book, Paddle; A long way around Ireland.
Paddle; A long way around Ireland, recounts the highs and lows of his three and a half month solo sea-kayak trip around the 1,000 mile coastline of Ireland, the world's twentieth largest island. He paddles amongst 'herds' of breaching basking sharks and with less benign sharks, too. Shares a watery world with dolphins, whales, seals and seabirds. Battles through high winds and massive Atlantic rollers when caught miles off-shore. Is stranded for days on deserted islands. His voyage gives him an insight into Ireland's maritime heritage, into connections between the skin boats of the Inuit that inspired his modern kayak and the currachs of the Irish west coast and into the intuitive aspects of sea-lore.
Though born in England, Jasper was brought up in Ireland on the south-west coast and his circumnavigation was a chance to see his adopted homeland at a time of breakneck change, as the boom years of the Celtic Tiger imploded. He met with fishermen, farmers, musicians, artists, tourists and migrant workers, all coming to terms with a country on the cliff edge of its 'economic miracle,' and with the associated cultural challenges and changes. To his insider's knowledge of Ireland's history, wildlife and culture he brings an 'outsider's' eye.
The voyage took place through the worst summer weather on record and - as much as he paddled - Jasper sang and talked his way around Ireland, and his experiences on-shore as well as at sea make for a story that goes beyond paddling endurance. Indeed it's often comic ineptitude that shadows his trip rather than an adventurer's ability. But is that positive, wry attitude to life what's needed to complete the thousand mile circumnavigation?
Dervla Murphy: I really enjoyed Paddle – a genuine adventure story with nothing gimmicky and dangers understated...neat little parcels of unexpected information and, best of all, the laconic descriptions of the power and the glory of the sea.’
Wanderlust: ...deft lyrical descriptions...an engaging, humorous writer
Irish Times: It's probably the slowest Irish circumnavigation on record, but it its telling it's the most thrilling.
Nick Crane; A fantastic voyage. Mad, inspiring, funny...