The Project

In July two years ago, I set off to kayak from Shetland to Cornwall over the course of a year. The idea was to travel slowly and close to the water: in touch with both the natural world and the histories of communities on Atlantic coastlines. I spent as much time in coastal archives as in the boat, gathering coastal stories and learning what Britain and Ireland look like from the centres of oceanic geographies. The result is a book published by Harper Collins in July 2019.


The purpose of this website is to provide resources to complement the text. The book contains 40 photographs and 12 maps, but many more audiovisual records of the journey were created while undertaking it. This site therefore includes galleries of photos taken on each stage of the journey (matching up to the chapters of the book and including some of the detailed maps frpm the book itself), while there are also links to media coverage, such as an appearance on BBC Breakfast TV before the journey started.

I kept a blog while travelling, and links to those posts can be found in each photo gallery (none of the material in the blogs, except a few photos, is reproduced in the book). The other tabs above will take you to resources ranging from an extensive bibliography to information about how to get into sea kayaking.

These resources are intended to help readers of the book sustain their immersion in the Atlantic waters of Britain and Ireland, getting as immediate a sense as possible of what it’s like to do several things: kayak through rough weather…

Uist (26)

…spend night after night exposed to the elements on beaches or coastal mountains…

Morvern (35)

…and wake up to find yourself embedded in the sea’s rich life…


Comments on The Frayed Atlantic Edge so far:

‘Gange is such an attentive, generous writer. From his close and vivid observations of the natural world, to his championing of artists, writers and activists, this book feels like a timely reappraisal of how we think about the Atlantic coast, its communities and their languages, its history and its future. It is a perspective-shifting work.’ James Macdonald Lockhart, author of Raptor: A Journey through Birds (2016)

‘The book that has been wanting to be written for decades: the ragged fringe of Britain as a laboratory for the human spirit, challenging, beautiful, a place where sea and land are deeply interpenetrated: and here is the man to do it – physically resourceful, articulate, clear-eyed, informed, attentive to the realities, and crucially at home in all the elements.  A book reliant in the end on one key fact: edges are revelatory.’ Adam Nicolson, author of The Seabird’s Cry winner of the Wainwright Prize 2018

‘Some books are about the sea.  David Gange’s book is in the sea.  He climbs through it, navigating fascinating stories that pop up like distant islands coming suddenly into view.  Whales become living history, otters ribbons of water, geology and literature and especially poetry are drawn together by the intimate witness Gange bears to the ocean’s edge.  This beautifully written and grippingly researched book shows us that our shores are the beginning, not the ending, of things.’ Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan: or, the Whale winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize, 2009.

‘Energetic, entertaining and erudite…sometimes boisterous, sometimes lyrical but always engaging.’ Donald Murray, author of The Dark Stuff: Stories from the Peatlands (2018)