Bude to Exeter... The Long Way Round!

The paddlers of the South West Charity Kayak Challenge have made it to Exeter, the end point of their 300 mile trip around the southwest peninsula.

The four friends - Chris, Matt Retter, Chris and Steve - set off from Bude on Saturday 10th August and arrived in Exeter as planned at 2pm on Saturday 24th August, having paddled over 300 miles.

They were raising money for Cornall Air Ambulance Trust, Devon Air Ambulance Trust, Surf Lifesaving GB, and Alpha 1 Awareness UK.

A crowd of kayakers and well-wishers cheered the lads in when they reached Exeter Ship Canal, as part of a mass paddle event.

The challenge was first devised in 2009 after Chris Brown-Martin was diagnosed with Alpha1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a genetic condition potentially causing lung and liver conditions.

At the age of 26 Chris was faced with life changing news – he was almost certainly facing deteriorating lung and liver function, disability and, potentially, premature death. Chris chose life.

Taking on board the diagnosis, which cannot be cured, he now looks after his health, his lungs, his liver, and at the same time is still able to enjoy life to the full – and still fast and furious at times!

In 2012 Chris was selected as one of The European Respiratory Society Lung Champions  due to his positive outlook and fundraising venture.

Chris was joined on the challenge by friends Steve and Chris, as well as Chris Lake, who was left with muscle damage to his back after a serious car crash in 2002.

Their arrival in Exeter marks their success, not only did they complete the challenge, but they arrived with time and rest days to spare.

They experienced kind conditions, and managed to get round the major headlands - namely Lands End, The Lizard and Start Point - without major setbacks.

During the paddle the crew witnessed dolphins, sunfish, seals, fish and seabirds, and experienced sun, cloud, rain, fog, glassy smooth seas and plenty of choppy water.  

The team said they had had “an epic adventure” and Chris said he would encourage anyone feeling bored to "get out there and open your eyes." This team only started sea kayaking last year.