The team of four consists of Adam Knight, Lee Waters and myself, Jeff Allen.
Apart from being an incredible adventure and achievement should we succeed, the team also hopes to raise money and awareness for several charities as we paddle our kayaks unsupported in a clockwise direction around Great Britain.
Jeff Allen first started kayaking as a young cub scout, when he was about 7 or 8 years old, then later on in the sea cadets and then as a young soldier in the British Army, In fact it was whilst serving in Cyprus, with the United Nations that he would see his first real sea kayak, three brand new, shiny Valley Nordkap’s waiting on the beach, all ready to go on Expedition.
Adam came across Expedition Paddler while researching, and was inspired. After several emails with John and Jeff, he eventually headed down to Cornwall to pick Jeff’s brains on a trip, and it was from there we found a shared ambition and desire, so we hatched the plan for the 421 Challenge in 2023.
Lee is a former Royal Marines Commando with a background of white water and Kayak marathon racing. A passionate wildlife enthusiast, Lee is a strong advocate of the leave no trace policy and provides informative and fun alternative culinary experiences from a Sea Kayak and shooting wildlife with a camera.
The charities that we have chosen to represent and support:
Heading south west from the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club the journey will first see us heading towards that place which was so feared by the Romans and aptly named Bolerium or the ‘Seat of Storms’. Lands End can be a challenge to get around, on even a relatively calm day, where the complex tides first hit Britains South West Peninsula, the tides here are complex and change direction rotationally around the clock, creating many conflicting currents and areas of rough water.
This area also feels the full might of the Ocean as heavy ground swells can radiate outwards from the North Atlantic. Once rounding Lands End we shalll follow the north Cornwall coast, very quickly coming upon the firsat of the two Capes, Cape Cornwall, paddling as far East as Hartland Point we shall then cross to Lundy and commit to the first of several long open crossings, paddling northwards ,crossing first the Bristol Channel to Pembrokeshire in South Wales and then westwards across the Celtic Sea to Rosslare in the Republic of Ireland.
Once we reach the shores of Ireland, we shall follow the coast of Ireland northwards, sampling the Guinness along the way no doubt, as far as Lough Foyle, before back tracking on ourselves to the small harbour of Ballintoy (The Iron Islands from the Game of Thrones) and then commit to another crossing of the infamous North Channel, the section of water that separates Ireland from Scotland. Crossing to the island of Islay and then on into the Hebridean Sea and the many islands of Scotland.
Once amongst the Inner and Outer Hebrides, we shall island hop to the northern aspect of the Outer Hebrides, passing the Small Isles, Mull, Skye across to the The Shiants (home to the Blue Men of the Minch), South and North Uist, Harris and Lewis, until we cross over eastwards, from the Butt of Lewis back to the mainland of Scotland, rounding Cape Wrath at 59 degrees North.
The Pentland Firth and the roof of Scotland now lies before us, one of the remotest areas of Great Britain and these rugged shores are swept by some of the fiercest tides in the world, the fiercest and most dangerous race here is known locally as the ‘Merry men of Mey’ and can reach speeds of up to 30 kilometers an hour and when coupled with strong winds can create seas which mariners have come to fear the world over.
As we approach the Island of Stroma we shall have to decide whether to head north through the ‘Swilkie’ or south through the Inner Sound before rounding Duncansby Head and proceeding southwards into the North Sea and beyond...