Dan Smith is a 39-year-old former Sergeant who served with the Royal Artillery as a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Commander and Physical Training Instructor for more than 10 years.

Now he plans to take on a unique endurance challenge that will push him to his limits and raise money for a charity that's close to his heart as he reveals in an interview with Forces Radio BFBS' Hal Stewart above.

"Any story in which someone has smashed their own limits to pieces, especially for a charitable cause, has inspired me to do something equally challenging."

His wife Caroline and their two children Fearne and Rowan decided Dan needed a challenge which could support The Royal British Legion and test his love for physical endurance.

"I kayak regularly and absolutely love it, so made the decision early on that the challenge would have to involve me kayaking a massive distance. I wanted to do it quickly, too – impossibly quick.

"From this, the original plan was to kayak solo from the top of Scotland to the bottom, which is roughly 450 miles, so it wouldn’t have been a bad effort. However, I discovered it had been done many times before, so I just had to go beyond that."

The family

It was actually his wife Caroline who planted the seed for the end result and the plan which Dan now has. She said.

"I think you should do the whole lot, all the way down."

Dan Smith kayak

That changed Dan's original idea overnight.

What was originally a Paddle of Scotland became a Paddle of Britain. That is 450 miles to 910 miles in total, a lot of kayaking (although technically it is 720 miles of kayaking and 190 miles of walking).

Dan will do this challenge in just 60 days, that is around 15 miles a day through the waterways of Great Britain, not around it.

Paddle of Britain logo

Dan is doing this to remember soldiers who fought in the First World War, to raise awareness of plastic pollution in British waters and to raise funds for The Royal British Legion.

You can support Dan here > www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paddleofbritain

Dan training

"My Paddle of Britain has been inspired by so many different things. People are undoubtedly top of that list.

"The incredible feats and achievements of others who’ve come before is a limitless source of inspiration. From Tony Hawks, the man who literally walked around Ireland with a fridge, to my own great friends in the military who’ve endured and completed exhausting personal challenges of their own.

"Any story in which someone has smashed their own limits to pieces, especially for a charitable cause, has inspired me to do something equally challenging. I’ve always wanted to take on a unique endurance challenge, but I’d never managed to decide what it’d be, or more importantly, why I’d even do it.

"But with this year marking the landmark 100th anniversary of WW1, and being ex-military myself, I’ve finally found a worthy cause to champion that’s got me laser-focused and super-motivated.

"With no surviving veterans left from the ‘war to end all wars’, I feel it’s more important than ever to remember those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom of future generations. My challenge is but a small token of my appreciation for their sacrifice."

Dan will start the Paddle of Britain on August 29, 2018, and is hoping to raise £25,000.

Beautiful Kayaking weather

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