Rowers prepare for monster trip

Five rowers will attempt to become the first team to row a surfboat 65 miles from Fort William to Inverness, via the chilly waters of Loch Ness.

The team will travel from their base in Cornwall to take on the challenge as they aim to raise £5,000 for Cornwall-based disaster relief charity ShelterBox.

The team from Perranporth Surf Lifesaving Club are more use to battling through the waves off the Atlantic coast than the waters of the Scottish Highlands.

The crew, consisting of four rowers and one sweep, a steersman, and clad only in their Speedo swimming trunks, will row their lightweight fibreglass boat, which is open to the elements, from coast to coast.

Peter Gaisford, crew member and president of Perranporth Surf Lifesaving Club, said: “We’re constantly looking for new ways to challenge ourselves and taking a surfboat to Scotland in April is not something that has been done before. Rumours that we’re planning to ask Nessie for a tow are completely unfounded.”

Peter will be joined by Nick Beringer, Cris Ballinger, Peter Postle, and Scott Bentley.

The boat will be launched on the Caledonian Canal at Fort William on the west coast of Scotland on April 19. The rowers will then make their way up the canal and through Loch Ness, and hope to arrive at Inverness on the east coast three days later.

A minibus, driven by ShelterBox’s Stephen Branfield, will act as a support vehicle.

He said: “This is a great example of how the people of Cornwall have taken ShelterBox to their hearts. We’re constantly amazed at the ways people here come up with to support our work.”

ShelterBox, based in Helston, helps communities rocked by disaster such as landslides, floods, and conflict. Specifically, it hands out its green ShelterBox, which includes a tent, cooking equipment, and water purification kits to help families which have been displaced.

It is currently deployed in the Philippines in the aftermath of a typhoon, and the Solomon Islands after an earthquake.

To sponsor the surfboat team, visit http://www.justgiving.com/missionnessie.