13 May 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Elaine ‘Shooter’ Alexander who has taken up the challenge to become the first woman from Ireland to circumnavigate the island by kayak, left Cranfield Point yesterday morning after being storm bound for two full days.
Now one week since her departure from Whitehead Yacht Club on the County Antrim Coast, the small lass from Monaghan has had a tough time of it, paddling through head-on winds of up to 30 miles per hour.
However in the first five days she made some fantastic progress, covering 150 miles despite the growing swell and sea state, as she explains:
“It is important to make progress in the first few days of any expedition to keep the motivation levels up and although I have been forced to dig deep over the first few days, I have now had two days’ much needed rest. I think the winds are likely to stay the same for the foreseeable future, so I will stock up on energy drinks and make sure I eat my weetabix!
“It all seems to be uphill at the moment but I am confident that I can continue. Today I jumped another one of the major hurdles — crossing Carlingford Lough. Tidal waters rush though the mouth of Carlingford Lough at up to five knots with races, overfalls and rough water extending out beyond Cranfield and Ballagan Points on both the flood and ebb tides. This is a challenging stretch of water suitable for experienced canoeists only and in a wind against tide situation it kicks up a huge sea.”
Elaine’s challenge will involve a solo voyage of 1,000 miles battling tides, headlands, cliffs, not to mention unpredictable weather before returning to Whitehead in approximately two months time.
The motivation for the trip is not only the 1,000 mile challenge but also to raise much needed funds for the registered charity – SHARE. In 2011 SHARE based in County Fermanagh will celebrate 30 years of providing outdoor activity programmes which promote the inclusion of disabled & non-disabled people in a wide range of arts, land and water based recreational programmes.
Elaine, who comes from outside Monaghan town has been training and studying hard to ensure she is both mentally and physically prepared for the challenge that lies ahead, as she highlights.
Full report in The Northern Standard

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