The Scotsman 29 May 2023

Somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, Cal MacAninch started to hallucinate. The Trigger Point actor was in the midst of rowing the 3,000 miles between La Gomera in the Canary Islands and Antigua. It was a gruelling, not to say discombobulating, 39-day endeavour. For six weeks, he and the rest of the five-man team from Portobello’s Eastern Amateur Coastal Rowing Club were on a regime of two hours rowing and two hours sleeping.

No wonder MacAninch was seeing things. “We were in sleep deprivation very quickly,” he says, four months after completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and raising more than £30,000 for two charities: the Junction, a young people’s well-being centre in Leith, and Body & Soul, dedicated to people who have experienced childhood trauma.

“In the night time I saw people on the boat with us,” he says. “There was a woman dressed like in the Highland clearances, looking east. And there was a guy dressed in North African garb who was staring at me. We had music for a while until the speakers broke because of the salt, and there were three people bobbing away to the music. [READ MORE]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).