MCS Kayak Challenge off Cornwall

The Isles of Scilly archipelago lies 26 miles off the tip of Cornwall. It’s made up of over a hundred islands, only five of which are inhabited. Its sheltered crystal-clear water and white beaches have earned it a reputation among kayakers as one of the best places to paddle around the UK.

This is why, for the sixth year, the UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is again running its incredibly popular Kayak Challenge, from the 18th to the 22nd of May.

The Challenge gives up to 12 people the chance to experience this magical environment from a unique perspective – from a kayak. Paddlers will take in sheltered coves and little-visited beaches, steer under soaring cliffs and jutting headlands. Kayakers will get up close to wildlife – grey seals, and possibly visiting leatherback turtles, jellyfish, dolphins and porpoises. There’s the opportunity take part in a beach clean and get first-hand experience of the shocking rubbish that’s washed up, dropped or blown on to our beaches day after day. All the while you’ll be progressing sea kayaking skills and, most importantly, raising funds for MCS!

Leading the expedition is Nick Arding OBE who has worked with MCS since 2013 when he and wife Philippa sea kayaked the length of Britain for MCS, raising almost £4,000 and winning the charity’s Fundraiser of the Year award. The following year they ran the first Kayak Challenge around Cornwall and since 2015 have run the Scilly challenge.

Nick spent 23 years as an officer in the Royal Marines and led a Royal Navy expedition to climb the North Ridge of Mount Everest. He’s a highly experienced rock climber and mountaineer, having climbed and ski toured in many areas across the world during the past 30 years. Nick is a trainer and coach in Remote First Aid and a BCU 5-star leader and Level 2 coach and ISKGA guide.

Last year, Brad Olde, 24, took on and completed the Cornwall Kayak. Brad, who says he’s always enjoyed outdoor adventurous activities, took on the challenge after seeing it featured in a local newspaper: “The coastal environment is interesting, unpredictable (although you always felt safe with your leaders), beautiful and inspiring. Nick is always there to help you and give you accurate advice on paddling techniques and how to stay safe. I would highly recommend it but I’d say that it is worth putting in the training beforehand – then it couldn’t be any more worth it once you’re taking part in the challenge!”

Paddlers can either self-fund the expedition at £995 or agree a minimum sponsorship pledge of £745. Both require a deposit of £250 and the closing date for people wanting to take part is March 31st 2019.

To find out more about the expedition visit:

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