Kayaker ‘determined’ to break record by paddling around British coast

kayaker ‘determined’ to break record by paddling around british coast

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A kayaker has said he is “determined” as he hopes to break a Guinness World Record by paddling 2,000 miles around Britain in less than 40 days in memory of his late mother.

Mike Lambert, 32, told the PA news agency that his greatest challenge will be the weather creating rough sea conditions as he bids to average 51 miles a day.

The physiotherapist and former GB under-23 canoe sprinter said: “I’ve been tracking the forecast over the winter and you can see waves of 25, 30 foot – you sit on the floor outside and you look up at the roof of a two-storey house and that’s about the experience that you’d have sitting at a bottom of one of those waves.”

He is taking on the challenge as a means of coping after the death of his mother due to a rare heart disease and the end of a five-year relationship.

Mr Lambert said it will be “really nice” to feel detached from the General Election campaign as he will be returning from his challenge after July 4.

He is hoping to set off from West Wittering in Chichester in early June, kayaking along the South Coast towards Penzance, before crossing the Irish Sea, skirting along the coast of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

From there, Mr Lambert will travel around Scotland, and aims to finish back in West Wittering.

“I’m excited, I’m anxious, but I’m determined, and that’s probably my overriding feeling at the moment,” he said.

“I’ve lost about a fifth of my body weight since I started and it’s been so hard to get to this point where I could even consider going for this record attempt, so my biggest feeling that I have about this is that I just want to get it done.”

Mr Lambert, based in Walton-on-Thames, north-west Surrey, is expecting to encounter a variety of wildlife during his 39 days on the water and recounted seeing a minke whale while training in the Irish Sea.

“When you’re in a kayak, all of a sudden these marine creatures do seem absolutely huge and imposing,” he said.

“As you sit there, it’s only coming out of the water just a little bit but the hump of the whale, even though it’s not breaching or anything, is way, way higher than you are in your boat.”

He was preparing to have formal land support for his journey, with a truck carrying supplies and following his route, but this support has pulled out due to changes with a sponsor.

“I’ve gone from catered land support where I could sleep in the truck and have all my kit on the truck, to now I’m having to take everything on the kayak and camp on a beach,” he said.

As part of his world record attempt, he must film two minutes every hour and get two signatures at each landing.

He is using the challenge to raise money for Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust and Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland in memory of his mother.

The NHS district nurse collapsed at a gym from an acute Type A aortic dissection, which is when the main blood vessel from the heart tears.

“I want people to be aware that aortic dissections exist, and that there are clinical pathways that are there that can support them,” he said.

Mr Lambert is also raising funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), as he was assisted by the organisation when he was hit by a large wave during stormy conditions off the South Coast in 2019.

His relationship of five years broke down a week before his mother’s funeral and Mr Lambert is eager to champion men’s mental health, as preparing for the challenge helped him through a difficult period.

“My personal experience is that when you go through hard times, the advice people will give you is, you need to take care of yourself, sometimes you need to be selfish, put yourself first,” he said.

“For me, self care has been getting out early in the cold, in the dark, in the wet, and breaking myself down physically to help regain my mental health.”

Mr Lambert is registering to vote in the General Election by proxy as he will be on the water on polling day, July 4.

He said: “I think the world will look very different and I think I’m going to feel very different.

“Having the separation from the rigmarole of British politics, I think, will just be really quite refreshing.”

To donate to the fundraiser, visit www.givewheel.com/fundraising/1921/circumnavigation-of-mainland-uk-in-kayak/

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