Esland Events

Action for Children - Scottish Winter Paddle Board Fundraiser

25th November 2020

Esland’s Adventure North Team are embarking on a Christmas voyage in order to raise money for Action for Children and we desperately need your support!

As Christmas approaches, the team are extremely mindful that throughout the UK there is a large percentage of children that might not be looking forward to the festive season quite as much as others. Some young people will inevitably spend the Christmas period in poverty, feeling unloved, hungry and worst of all lonely- and I’m sure you will all agree with us when we say no child should have to feel this way at such a magical time of year. We want to help however we possibly can and as an adventure team, we couldn’t think of any other way that would be more appropriate than to embark on an extremely tough adventure with the aim of raising money for disadvantaged children across the country.

On the 21st of December myself (Lee Redfern) along with Sam Atter and Ben Henderson, plan to put ourselves through a 4 day ordeal In the icy cold waters of Scotland and cross the entire width of the country from coast to coast using stand up paddle boards. This is no easy feat and requires us to paddle over 70 miles, unsupported, following the caledonian canal through the great glen. That’s the equivalent of a marathon every day on a paddle board.

Now don’t let the word ‘canal’ fool you! Only one third of the journey is man-made waterways and the remainder consists of 4 separate fresh water and sea water lochs, some of which are the largest, deepest and toughest open bodies of water in the United Kingdom- including the famous 23 mile long stretch of Loch Ness! Setting off from the east coast at Corran, we will leave the sea behind at the town of Fort William, paddle past the mighty peak of Ben Nevis heading inland, and then have to navigate our way through a vast series of canals and huge lakes that will eventually lead us to the west coast town of Inverness. This is where we will hopefully arrive on the morning of Christmas Eve and cross the finish line under the Kessock bridge, provided we don’t get eaten by Nessie first that is…

‘Unsupported’ means that we will not be receiving help at any point along the journey, and we must cross the entire width of the country completely self-sufficiently, using only ourselves and our touring paddle boards that have been kindly supplied by Esland. We will be carrying extremely heavy loads on the boards that will include everything we need to survive each day such as tents, sleeping bags, food, cooking equipment, spare clothing and recuse kits. We will spend around 12/14 hours a day on our boards paddling non-stop and then camp out each night before continuing on with the journey day after day until we finish the route, we have scheduled 3 full days but will continue to our destination regardless of how long it takes us.

Now as you can imagine, the Scottish Highlands are extremely cold in winter and the water will feel even colder. We will be pulling on our damp, cold wetsuits each morning and facing extreme weather, freezing temperatures, rough water that could capsize our boards and even the possibility of snow and ice. It’s going to be a difficult challenge, but we are hoping that all of the staff and young people here at Esland will get behind the expedition and support us on the journey. We feel we will be representing Esland as a whole when on the water, and by donating or supporting in whatever way you can you will be demonstrating just how generous and caring we are as a collective, you are all part of our team!

Donations can be made via our just giving page which is linked with the Action for children account so all proceeds will go directly to this amazing charity and hopefully make a difference to children’s lives this Christmas.

On behalf of the whole team, thank you for all of your help and support. You are amazing people.

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