Dad completes a quarter of 900-mile paddle challenge

Dan Smith
Dan Smith

A Seahouses dad-of-two is paddling through Scotland as part of a gruelling challenge to kayak the length of Great Britain.

To mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, Dan Smith is completing a 60-day challenge by kayaking 900 miles.

The British Army veteran, 39, completed military tours of Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

Kayaking the full length of the country, he started his journey in the Scottish Highlands and has already travelled 223 miles.

He has been camping by night and kayaking through iconic landmarks including Kinlochleven, Loch Lomond and Rannoch Moor, where he faced upstream rivers and long stretches of marsh land.

He will eventually complete his challenge in Littlehampton, West Sussex.

This is the first time anyone has attempted to kayak inland the full length of Great Britain and Dan still has more than 650 miles to go. He aims to raise £25,000 through the challenge, which Dan has dubbed the Paddle of Britain, which will be donated to the Royal British Legion.

Dan said: “The Army helped me become the person I am today. The Paddle of Britain is one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced but it is important to remember those who fought for our country.”

To track Dan’s progress and to donate to the cause, visit www.paddleofbritain.com

Dan added: “It is going to be tough. I am obviously going to have to overcome obstacles on the way and I’m prepared to kayak through all weathers. I’ll find it difficult to be away from my wife and two children for so long, but military personnel are away from their families for months at a time and it’s one of the hardest parts of the job. I am lucky to have their support.

“The Royal British Legion does so much to support the Armed Forces and veterans, I hope this challenge will inspire people to think about how they can give back.

“To everyone who is currently serving or has previously served in the British Army – the country is behind you and we’re truly grateful for the sacrifices you make.”

Claire Rowcliffe, Director of Fundraising at The Royal British Legion, added: “We are delighted that Dan is completing this challenge to raise money for the Legion, which will help us to continue providing vital support to veterans, serving personnel and their families.

“It is poignant that Dan is taking on this challenge this year, as we remember the struggles of all those who lived through the First World War. We wish Dan the very best of luck with his Paddle of Britain.”