While you’re lying back enjoying the sizzling spring sun take a moment to think about Elaine ‘Shooter’ Alexander.
The Co Fermanagh woman has just embarked on the biggest challenge of her life — to become the first woman from Northern Ireland to circumnavigate Ireland in a kayak.
The outdoor pursuits instructor began the 1,000-mile clockwise solo journey yesterday to raise £10,000 for the Share Holiday Village in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, where she works.
The centre is celebrating 30 years of providing outdoor activities which promote interaction between disabled and non-disabled people.
Elaine prepared for her latest adventure with a 26-day, 350-mile paddle around the Northern Ireland coastline.
Share director Robert Livingstone said all the staff and centre users are right behind Elaine.
The keen canoeist’s nickname is ‘Shooter’ because she used to be into field sports, though Mr Livingstone said she was now fixated on kayaking.
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.”
Elaine is expected back at her starting point on Belfast Lough in around two months.
Originally from Monaghan, Elaine ‘Shooter’ Alexander (36) lives in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh.
She’s a well-known personality within Irish canoeing circles and to prepare for her latest adventure she completed a 26-day, 350-mile paddle around the coastline of Ulster.
Over the last 20 years she has successfully combined a career as an outdoor pursuits instructor at Share with competing in local, national and international canoe events.