Sport

Paddle Of Britain - A Kayaking Adventure

Army veteran, Dan Smith, will undertake the challenge of his life with just a kayak and 910 miles of UK waterways and land for company.

Seven years after leaving the Army, Royal Artillery veteran Dan Smith is about to undertake the challenge of his life.

Starting at the top of Scotland he will travel via inland waterways to the south coast of England, a total distance of 910 miles.

The journey from Durness to Brighton will take Dan over land as well as on water.

“I’ve always wanted to do a big challenge in my life, but there’s never been time to do it. And now is the time I think.”

To get over the hurdle of terra firma, the Northumberland native has roped in help from friends and engineers to make a specially adapted buggy – allowing him to walk his vessel over land.

Dan Smith's kit for the 910 mile challenge

“We can’t be in water the whole way, there are parts I’m going to have to walk, we had to design a trolley system for the kayak to fit on and that’s been probably one of the biggest challenges.”

With just a kayak for company, space for rations and equipment is exceptionally limited.

There are just two storage areas, one at the front and one at the back.

“There’s a bit of room around my seat as well, so everything’s got to be quite small and compact.”

Dan will be sailing solo for the event so safety is paramount.

Carrying a VHF radio, GPS tracker and mobile phone his every move will be monitored.

To ensure these essential electrical items are fully powered Dan will also carry a solar panel charger.

Fresh water will not be a problem either, on board he will have a charcoal water filter system.

“These will literally filter out the water from the stream, lake or canal I’m paddling”

As well as the physical elements of the task, there will also be mental challenges.

“When I’ve got a headwind, paddling, not going very far, there’s going to be some tough times no doubt about that."

Dan Smith's route, which takes in land as well as water

To pass the time Dan will take a number of audiobooks on his journey.

With resupply points every seven days, and arranging to meet ex-Forces friends on the way, Dan hopes to interact with as many people as possible as he travels south.

The journey begins on Tuesday, August 28 and Dan has set himself a time frame of 60 days to complete the task. If he succeeds he will be the first to do so.

He is hoping to raise £25,000 for the Royal British Legion.

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