Ross MillarConor McKinneyKelly Hargie
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Epic Solo Circumnavigation Begins

Posted on May 4, 2011 @ 1:31 PM in Canoeing

Elaine Alexander aka Shooter set off on Tuesday 3rd May on her challenge to become the first woman from Northern Ireland to circumnavigate Ireland by kayak.

The epic trip started with a bang as Elaine launched from County Antrim Yacht Club at Whitehead with the strong onshore wind generating powerful waves crashing off the rocky beach.

Shooter set off from Whitehead

A large crowd of well wishes and media roared, cheered and watched in amazement as Elaine battled her way through the swell often disappearing completely between the crest of the oncoming waves. 

The challenge will involve a solo voyage of 1000 miles battling tides, headlands, cliffs, not to mention unpredictable weather. 

The motivation for the trip is not only the 1000 mile challenge but also to raise much needed funds for the registered charity – SHARE. In 2011 SHARE based in County Fermanagh will celebrate 30 years of providing outdoor activity programmes which promote the inclusion of disabled & non-disabled people in a wide range of arts, land and water based recreational programmes. 

Elaine’s first day saw her battle against a strong headwind and oncoming waves until her first stop of point Donaghadee. She has continued to make good progress today on her clockwise route before returning to the same location in approximately two months time.

Amanda Poole interviewed Share's General Manager Robert Livingstone for an article in Wednesday 4th April's Belfast Telegraph 

He said: “Elaine is determined and fun to be around. She’s totally dedicated to what she sets her mind to and always gets the job done. It’s a brilliant challenge and completing the 1,000 miles will be a great achievement.

“She’s put so much work into preparation and training, sorting out maps, rest areas and equipment. Up from 6.30am each day, paddling before work and again for a few hours after.”

Robert was one of 80 guests at the newly-refurbished Co Antrim Yacht Club in Whitehead yesterday to wish Elaine well on her daunting challenge.

Robert said: “She’ll have it tight in her first week, as the wind will be in her face for the first four or five days. The money raised will make a huge difference to us. We have an old bus we would like to replace with one adapted for wheelchair access.”

UTV Live has some great footage of the launch available via the UTV Player

Elaine will keep in touch through regular posts, updates and uploads on social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and Youtube and is fundraising through Just Giving with regular blogs and a map on her website which will pinpoint her location on route. All links are available from her website  On departure Elaine said "I will blog when possible throughout the trip. I would like to a big say thank you to all those that have donated so far and encourage anyone who would like to support this worthy cause to gift-aid donations online through our justgiving page”

Elaine’s trip has been made possible with generous support from Valley Sea Kayaks, Desperate Measures, Lendal Paddles, North South Marine, River Lake Sea, Yak, Brookbanks Canoes and Kayaks, Signal Signs, Asda Enniskillen, Canoe Association for Northern Ireland and Blackthorn Design.

Chris Scott

Chris Scott
Chris Scott

When not boring everyone about his little kids’ latest antics, Chris enjoys sailing and cycling, if only to offset his love of eating out and Marlborough Cabernet Sauvignon..

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