One of the Last Great British Adventures…….
They’ve done it! On Friday 13th June the Beeline Britain team completed the first ever straight-line journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
The Beeline Britain team, arrived at the UK mainland’s most northerly point after an epic voyage across the country. The team were delighted to receive a congratulatory phone call from His Royal Highness Prince Harry at John O’Groats.
The Beeline Britain team, which is supported by Prince Harry’s Endeavour Fund, have covered over 1,100kms from Land’s End since their departure on May 17th. They have kayaked, cycled, mountain biked and hiked their way across the UK, completing two record breaking sea crossings on route, including the longest open sea kayak crossing in UK waters; 34 hours of non-stop kayaking.
The record breaking team of four include Paralympian and double amputee Army veteran Nick Beighton; Tori James the first Welsh woman to summit Mount Everest; Ian O’Grady, RAF helicopter crewman and founder of the Beeline Britain Concept; and Adam Harmer, outdoor instructor and lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University.
All four have tackled the UK’s toughest terrain to raise money for BLESMA; the limbless veterans charity. To donate to BLESMA Text “Line 59” to 70070 or go to www.justgiving.com/beelinebritain.
The Chief Executive of BLESMA, Brigadier (retired) Barry J. Le Grys MBE, said of the team “The support for BLESMA from Adam, Ian, Nick and Tori is appreciated no end by all BLESMA members, it helps in so many ways, not least in inspiring others to be positive. BLESMA is about the realisation and celebration of potential, Team Beeline Britain have made a unique contribution to this, thank you so much.”
Ian O’Grady, who devised the Beeline Britain concept was hugely proud to cross the finish line. He said “Three years ago this was just a crazy idea I had to raise awareness of how inspirational our injured veterans are; to be arriving in John O’Groats after crossing the whole country is just brilliant. I am so delighted to be here and amazed by the effort of the whole Beeline team and all supporters.”
The Beeline Britain team started their ambitious challenge with a grueling first leg, setting a new UK sea kayaking record by paddling for over 34 hours and 200km from Lands End to Pembrokeshire. Beeline Britain then took them on a 150km kayak to Anglesey and then on to the Isle of Man where they had to contend with the TT motorbikes to cycle across the island before kayaking to Scotland.
The four adventurers then cycled across Scotland before mountain biking and hiking across the Cairngorm Mountains. Nick Beighton, Paralympian used specially designed mountain hand-bikes to tackle the rugged Scottish terrain before the four ditched their wheels to hike to the top of Ben MacDui, the UKs second highest peak.
Last week saw the team cycle to the edge of the Moray Firth before a final 10 hour kayak across the Scottish waters and a last cycle into John O’Groats.
Nick Beighton, Paralympian, double amputee and Afghanistan veteran said “This has been a tough challenge, my body has been blown up and bolted back together again and I know Beeline Britain would test it to its limits. For me I wanted to show how life changing injuries don’t limit your ability to tackle epic challenges and I wanted to raise funds for BLESMA who make a hugely positive impact on injured veterans; I feel we’ve achieved all of those aims.”
Along the way the Beeline Britain team have been proud to carry the Bastion Baton, the handle of a combat stretcher used in Afghanistan to evacuate wounded soldiers. The Baton is a symbol of the nation’s gratitude and respect for the sacrifices made by her armed forces.
The communities, schools and supporters that have engaged with Beeline Britain have been inspired by the determination of all four adventurers. Adam Harmer, a highly experienced kayaker and Outdoor Education senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University told us just how ambitious Beeline Britain is, “No one has ever attempted the distances that we have kayaked on this journey. At the beginning we weren’t even sure that it would be possible to kayak for such long distances, through some of the world’s highest tidal ranges. “It’s amazing. Such an iconic journey completed in such a simplistic but challenging way. Including some of the biggest open sea kayak crossings available in UK waters. It leaves me speechless.”
Tori James is the first Welsh woman, and was the youngest British female to summit Mount Everest, she has also raced to the North Pole and cycled the length of New Zealand but for her a UK journey was just too enticing. “I was privileged to be asked to join the Beeline Britain team” she told us at the finish “when I realised that a straight line passed through my home country of Pembrokeshire and that I would challenge me to take on a new sport, sea kayaking, I couldn’t say no. To add a UK first to the polar and Himalayan records and raise funds for an incredible charity is just brilliant.”