Highs and Lows

Champagne at the finish!

Champagne at the finish for Beeline Britain! www.beelinebritain.com


The Great Pacific Race claims to be the biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet, with ocean row boats crewed by one, two or four people competing against each other in the world’s first rowing race on the Pacific. It’s been an epic race so far for all classes with eight of the original thirteen boats still rowing, including just one solo boat being rowed by Britain’s own Elsa Hammond (http://www.elsahammond.com).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/rowing/10685181/Pacific-solo-rowing-challenge-Elsa-Hammond-in-record-attempt.html image by Jay Williams

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/rowing/10685181/Pacific-solo-rowing-challenge-Elsa-Hammond-in-record-attempt.html image by Jay Williams

Elsa is battling on, trying to get further west of mainland USA heading for Hawaii. Good luck Elsa! You can follow Elsa and the other crews via www.greatpacificrace.com


After 4 years of hard work, planning, preparing, saving, training and bringing a dream to reality, Niall set off from New York aboard his solo ocean rowing boat ‘Alliance Trust’. NI had faced a number of ups a and downs over the years and indeed prior to departing from New York, but finally he was off… NI was making good steady progress east on his solo historic row towards Stornoway when he suffered an injury to his head and back.

From https://www.facebook.com/NY2SY “At about 4.00pm on Friday afternoon, 9 days into my row, I had just finished stowing my oars and was getting ready to get into the cabin to get some sleep when I was hit by a wave on the starboard beam that caused me to lose my balance and fall. This wave just caught me unawares and the boat seemed to just drop down straight off the back of it, instead of sliding down, and this sudden jolt threw me into one of the oar storage stanchions, where I hit my head, and then I fell backwards into the footwell of the boat. It all happened very quickly and I knew instantly from the pain in my lower back that I was in trouble. The pain was such that it took me about 15 mins to actually get myself out of the footwell and sitting up on the side of the boat. I was in terrible pain and even the smallest movement was causing me to call out. It was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to continue rowing and that I may well have suffered a serious spinal injury. Given the circumstances, I felt that the only option was to call the Coastguard and ask for help.”

Niall Iain Macdonald www.ny2sy.co.uk

Niall Iain Macdonald www.ny2sy.co.uk

Having been recovered from an ocean myself, I know first hand how it feels to have put so much energy in to getting to the start point only to find that this time is not your time. Few words of comfort from others help, it’s a time to reflect and to wrangle with the feelings of disappointment. Personally, I felt I had let down everyone, my family, friends and my sponsors too. Time is a healer and that’s a fact. I have not forgotten the feelings, but I have come to terms with what happened. NI, I hope you too come to terms with the recent events, take stock and then decide what’s best for you. I wish you all the best my friend.


My previous life taught me to always end on a high so… Congratulations to Beeline Britain! The Beeline Britain Team of Ian O’Grady (RAF), Nick Beighton (RE), Adam Harmer and Tori James have completed the first ever ‘Land’s End to John O’Groat’s in a straight line’!

courtesy of www.beelinebritain.com

courtesy of www.beelinebritain.com

To learn more about Beeline Britain’s achievements www.beelinebritain.com and https://www.facebook.com/beelinebritain

Some pretty cool facts…

The Teams peak altitude was 1309m above sea level.

The fastest they travelled on their bikes was just over 50miles per hour.

They have covered a distance of around 1,300kilometres (if you include all the wiggles!)

Nick (double above knee amputee) has done over 1 million repetitions with his arms over the course of this trip.

Awesome effort Team, well done!

You can follow me, Charlie Martell on www.facebook.com and on Twitter – @charliemartell1

Water mainly…

Since completing the Devizes to Westminster race, I look upon other challenges people (mainly people I consider and am proud to call friends) are undertaking, pushing their limits and raising funds for charities in the process.

Flying For Freedom (FFF) now has four trained and qualified solo WIS* microlight pilots with one more in training. These pilots will spearhead FFF’s inaugural expedition, the British Antarctic Microlight Expedition. It’s not all about the exped though… military (serving or ex) WIS personnel can be part of the legacy programme and can learn to fly microlights thanks to sponsors and public financial support. Read more about what’s happening in the air www.flyingforfreedom.org
*Wounded, Injured, Sick


Niall Iain Macdonald is now in New York, along with his solo ocean rowing boat “Alliance Trust”. After several years of not only planning this challenge, but also having to put it on hold several times, NI is about to embark on his solo unsupported rowing challenge from the Big Apple to Stornoway – approximately 3,400 miles it may take NI 3 or more months to complete. This route is the less chosen route with only ten ever rowing it solo. NI will be the first person to row to Stornoway!
NI raising awareness and funds for the ‘Scottish Association for Mental Health’ and has set himself a fundraising target of £100,000.
If you would like to follow or even better, to donate, then please visit www.ny2sy.co.uk Good Luck NI!


Starting on 18 May 2014 a team of four will attempt to become the first people to complete a straight-line journey from one end of Britain to the other. This unique expedition has never been attempted before and is an audacious take on an iconic UK challenge. The route will travel through some of the most extreme coastal, mountain and urban environments that the UK has to offer. It guarantees to be incredibly challenging, both physically and mentally, but also hugely rewarding.
This strong team of four includes a serving RAF Aircrew, a serving Army Captain and Team GB Paralympian, a professional kayak coach and the youngest British woman to summit Mount Everest. All will bring their own expertises but each will also face their own challenges along the way (Nick has no legs and Tori is 5′ 1” tall!).
The journey will be completed by sea kayaking, hand bike/road bike and a section of mountaineering over the Cairngorms plateaux, one of the most exposed mountain ranges in the UK.
A lot of work has been devoted to ensure this route is feasible. There are several sections of water that have never been crossed as a single journey before…
When linked together the various stages create one of the most committing and bizarrely obvious journeys possible within the UK! The kayaking will be by far the most committing part of the journey and makes up the bulk of the trip distance.
The team are proud to be supported by The Endeavour Fund and will be raising funds for BLESMA, the Limbless Verterans Charity.
Follow the beeline here www.beelinebritain.com

From one rowing boat to many…
The Great Pacific Race is the biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet. Ocean row boats crewed by one, two or four compete against each other in the world’s first rowing race on the Pacific. On June 7th 2014 teams from around the world will set out on a 2,400 mile journey on the world’s largest ocean from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. This epic journey is expected to take between 30 and 90 days depending on the size of the crew and the weather. Each boat carries no sails or engines and is only moved by the muscle of the crew pulling on the oars.
For more information on the race, you can find more information when the website www.greatpacificrace.com goes live very soon. Watch this space!

You can follow me, Charlie Martell on www.facebook.com and/or Twitter – @charliemartell1