Paddleboarders to attempt to break record for British Isles voyage

Shay Bottomley

A pair of fundraisers are set to take on an expedition to become the first duo to paddleboard across the entirety of the British Isles.

Cookham-based Dave Chant and Sophie Witter, from Reading, will attempt to paddle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in the coming weeks, a journey of more than 1,600km.

This expedition will take them on a mixture of sea, rivers and canals across the country aiming to complete around 40km a day over the course of two to three months.

The pair plan to start from the south westerly point of mainland Britain and go up the Cornish and Devon coastlines before using the canal network of the Bristol Channel to the Irish Sea.

From there, they will paddle demanding waters to Scotland, and then take both the west and east coast of Scotland using the Caledonian canal to navigate between them before reaching the north easterly point of Scotland at John O’Groats.

Dave said that he had been paddleboarding for just over a year, having met Sophie on a friend’s expedition, and had ‘mixed emotions’ prior to the trip.

“On the one hand, it feels almost as if navigating the length of the country is completely normal. Then again, how often do you take two to three months off work to complete such an expedition?” said Dave.

“Quite often, when you hear about people doing this sort of thing, they’re larger than life characters with a lot of money behind them.

“We want to prove that everybody, not just the elite, can do it.”

Dave and Sophie will have a support team alongside them for safety, who will be accompanying them in a campervan, where the pair will be able to eat and sleep.

The reliance on good weather conditions means that no official start date has yet been given, although with a promising weather window on the way, Dave said that the expedition could begin as early as next week.

“An expedition such as this requires a lot of preparation, and so we’re waiting to see when we have a good weather window to set off from Cornwall,” he added.

“The area is popular with surfers, which doesn’t make it easy for paddleboarding. “There is three to four thousand miles of sea coming in from North America, so we have to take precautions.

He said that they had set a target of £24,000, with money going to the Wilderness Foundation, RNLI and Frontline Children.

To find out more about the expedition, visit:

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