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MCS Fundraising Expedition Around the Isles of Scilly

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Kayak challenge participants preparing on the beach (Photo: MCSUK)

For the sixth year running, the UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is running its popular Kayak Challenge, from 18 to 22 May.

The Isles of Scilly lie 26 miles off the tip of Cornwall, made up of over a hundred islands, only five of which are inhabited. The sheltered, crystal-clear waters and white beaches of the islands have earned it a reputation as best places to kayak around the UK.

The Kayak Challenge gives up to 12 people the chance to raise funds for the MCS while taking in the sheltered coves, rarely-visited beaches, soaring cliffs and jutting headlands of the Isles of Scilly. Along the way, kayakers have a chance to meet some of the local wildlife - grey seals, dolphins and porpoises, jellyfish, and possibly leatherback turtles. The challenge includes the opportunity to take part in a beach clean and get first-hand experience of the shocking amount of rubbish that is present on the UK's beaches.

Leading the expedition is Nick Arding, OBE, who has worked with MCS since 2013 when he and wife Philippa sea kayaked the length of Britain for MCS, raising almost £4,000 and winning the charity’s Fundraiser of the Year award. The following year they ran the first Kayak Challenge around Cornwall and since 2015 have run the Scilly challenge.

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The Isles of Scilly beaches are some of the most pristine in the UK (Photo: MCSUK)

Nick spent 23 years as an officer in the Royal Marines and led a Royal Navy expedition to climb the North Ridge of Mount Everest. He’s a highly experienced rock climber and mountaineer, having climbed and ski toured in many areas across the world during the past 30 years. Nick is a trainer and coach in Remote First Aid and a BCU 5-star leader and Level 2 coach and ISKGA guide.

Last year, Brad Olde, 24, took on and completed the Cornwall Kayak. Brad, who says he’s always enjoyed outdoor adventurous activities, took on the challenge after seeing it featured in a local newspaper: 'The coastal environment is interesting, unpredictable (although you always felt safe with your leaders), beautiful and inspiring,' said Brad. 'Nick is always there to help you and give you accurate advice on paddling techniques and how to stay safe. I would highly recommend it but I’d say that it is worth putting in the training beforehand - then it couldn’t be any more worth it once you’re taking part in the challenge!'

Paddlers can either self-fund the expedition at a cost of £995, or agree a minimum sponsorship pledge of £745. Both require a deposit of £250 and the closing date for people wanting to take part is 31 March 2019.

'The whole week was an incredible experience,' said Robyn Shilland, a former kayak challenge participant. 'The guides were fantastic and adapted to everyone’s ability levels, and continuously helped us as a group and individually to improve. The challenge was well organised and perfectly suited to a group of mixed experience.'

To find out more about the expedition visit: www.mcsuk.org/fundraising-for-us/kayak-challenge

 

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