How do you prepare yourself for canoeing in a Canadian canoe without the fundamental basics of a canoe? You don’t need to.

Early in 2017, I embarked on fundraising with a few activities; set up a just giving page and put a signature on my emails with a link to my page. I sold home-made dog biscuits, baked cakes and spoke at my local Rotary Club. In between activities of daily living I concentrated on my core muscle fitness and swam in preparation.

I knew my greatest challenge would be the wild camping, so I equipped myself with plenty of wet wipes, waterproofs and layers. It was going to be cold when you’re as far north as the Shetland Islands!

We carried all of our kit in the canoes; food, tents, clothes. We filtered water from the river, made fires to boil it and cook food. We rose with the sun and paddled during the day. We had some challenging rapids, some hard paddling when the current was against us, the peace of the open countryside and the company of like minded people with our own inner challenge.

We all succeeded and what an achievement to canoe 90 km over 5 days and 5 nights. Would I recommend it? Yes, I would. It really was an all-round challenge, but not enough to break me! I learnt a huge amount about myself and surviving in the wild. What we all learnt was that we’re stronger than we think.

Between all of us we raised over £12k. Enough to run an Odyssey course. This is what means so much, giving the chance to someone else.

Sign up for the same challenge in 2019!