Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Canoeist comes full circle to raise cash for charity

Elaine Alexander is set to complete a 1,000-mile trip around Ireland for charity next week

A canoeist who will become the first local woman to kayak singlehandedly around the entire island will wrap up her bid in Whitehead next week.

It is expected to take Elaine Alexander another four days for her to reach the finish line at the Co Antrim Yacht Club on Wednesday, where she will receive a heroine’s welcome after her epic voyage.

Elaine left the club on May 3 to undertake the strenuous solo 1,000-mile circumnavigation of Ireland in a bid to raise money for charity.

The changing tides, headlands and cliffs and unpredictable weather have all been barriers to the attempt.

The courageous kayaker’s skills were tested to the limit on several occasions and over the past 71 days the journey has been a struggle.

A severe bout of sea sickness, brought on by large swell during a 12-mile crossing near Brandon Bay on the Dingle Peninsula, was also a difficult time.

She said: “I was fully committed with a cliff face on one side and a long paddle to America on the other, so I had to continue despite being severely ill – I had no choice.

Despite this Elaine is on track to paddle to the podium this coming Wednesday.

‘Shooter’ as she is affectionately known among her friends, is a well-known personality within Irish canoeing circles and has undertaken canoeing events on a global scale.

Elaine has represented Northern Ireland at the Surf Kayak World Championships in Costa Rica and Mundaka.

Money raised by Elaine will go towards a fully accessible bus for SHARE, an outdoor pursuits charity in Co Fermanagh.

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