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Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:44 pm
by Skua
I don't know if this has been flagged up here but Heroes On the Water UK trustee Andy Swainston is paddling around Britain, solo, unsupported, as in no road crew, just getting small help along the way in the form of brews and the odd meal.

He left Whitby on 6th June and is now going round the coast of Norfolk, currently camped at Blakeney, ready to try and hit Cromer tomorrow. The biggest problem is accommodation, or a safe spot to kip for the night.

You can follow his progress on the facebook page ... 1/?fref=nf

Andy is a paramedic but suffers from severe PTSD- please go to the start of the facebook page to read his story. This expedition is to help his rehabilitation and get over his problems. In October Andy tried to take his own life, HOW has helped him and this trip is part of that.

ANY HELP HOWEVER SMALL MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE TO HIM. That could e as simple as providing local knowedge of safe landing and somewhere to stay until the next tide, or taking an end and helping him get the kayak up the beach.

I hope this community can provide some support. Please contact me: 07768 632560 - I am laid up in bed following a motorbike crash on M40 - driver on phone caused the multi vehicle incident. I only have one fingerto type, so can't do much practicle. I won't be on my feet for some months - which has left him on his own.


ps - tell as many as possible, any help with publicity very welcome.


Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:05 am
by Skua
No replies? I am astounded. I thought there may have been some interest.


Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:20 am
by rockhopper
i think there will be Simon, just give it a bit of time...I saw you topic last night but could not get on to the Facebook page! kept just going to my own so need to sort that out before i can see if i can assist.



Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:17 pm
by pathbrae
I suspect most of us are waiting until he gets into our local waters when we can be in a position to offer help / support / food / company etc. Good luck to him though.


Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:34 pm
by NatMad
I wish Andy good luck on his journey. It is challenging trip without any questions. But it has been said that he's doing this unsupported. Now in my book that means without prior help organised. Getting help from random people who happen to be there and then, accepting help from people who offer it (online or by other means) that's absolutely fine. The systematic organising of help and moaning if no one responds, to me, defies the purpose of "unsupported" circumnavigation.

I guess you are doing the best you can to help your friend, and that's unvaluable to him. But the danger I see here is that soon I won't be looking at his progress anymore as it all will turn into begging for help. I would rather read about his everyday success and how he deals with obstacles.



Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:45 am
by Skua
Natalie - he is \ PTSD sufferer recoveringh, he needs some feedback, and local knowledge! Meals and a lift with the kayak, paddling company on a leg or two for a few hundred yards also very valuable - read his story at start of facebook page - he tried to take his ife twice last year...paramedic wityh S Oxon ambulance. Heroes On the Water helped him through, this is part of his recovery - but being given hostile receptions when he has landed (he has been) is not helping. He was forced back out to sea by a landowner in rough seas he was trying to get out of....unbelievable behaviour from them. This is not someone like Ian Tordoff or John Willersley paddling. He is doing it in a sitontop too.


Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:03 am
by rockhopper
just a quick point, i believe, if conditions are dangerous for him at sea, he has every right to land where he wants/needs to and anyone preventing him from landing/forcing him back to sea could well face police action..



Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:49 am
by GrahamC
Skua wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:45 am
He was forced back out to sea by a landowner in rough seas he was trying to get out of...
What! that crazy and probably illegal. As far as I understand, the intertidal zone is owned by the Queen and she lets us use it whenever we want. As for the foreshore, then that is private but sending someone out into rough seas has to be verging on attempted manslaughter (if that is not a crime then it should be).

It doesn't look like Andy has any live tracking on board. I know that its expensive but a SPOT seems to work well for lots of folks and following his progress live may help build support. It could also be useful for anyone wanting to come out and meet him. It could be shown on a basic WordPress blog website for easy access (Facebook is not ideal for anything where you want to keep seeing an archive page. The Canoe Round Britain pair have this set up (google to find it).

Why is there no resounding ring of support here? Two reasons maybe, firstly, there is not a huge amount of traffic here; secondly most people here don't post until they have something to say (a very good trait) and that will probably be when Andy gets to their part of the coast. I guess that the east coast (especially the flat bits) is quite sparsely populated with sea kayakers and things will change when Andy makes it to the Thames Estuary and then round to the West coast. When he reaches North Wales he is likely to get an escort!


Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:03 am
by rockhopper
interested to know what his plans are from The Blackwater down to the Thames. Is he keeping to the coast (which can be tricky) or shortcutting across to Kent?



Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:46 am
by Skua
Rog - I don't know his plans for the Thames, but I will ask.

He got trashed in the big seas he was forced out into, kayak suffered bdamage from being pounded with the weight he is carrying.

Live tracking? Sorry, totally lost me. I can't even work a modern phone that gets internet. He has mobile phone and VHF. Contact with me through phone, as a shore 'coordinator' = basically someone to get in touch with. Flying by the seat ofhis pants, eating when he can. Carrying what he can.

Kayak now repaired, he managed to drag it ashore totally swamped, cracked through the surf pounding it - 6ft breakers he was battling with when forced out. I can't believe it either, but he isnot in a state of mind to argue with anyone and just left, he couldn't face being shouted at. Remember who we are dealing with here.

Reached Lowestoft now. Taking a day out. Total covered so far - Whitby - Lowestoft.


Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:44 am
by PSK
Hello Simon

The UK trip is far from easy, it's challenging and demanding with many unpleasant days, in fact it's quite hard. Unfortunately it's not all palm trees, sunshine, bikini's and cocktails on the beach - more wet, windy and Withernsea!

The trip teaches many things:

It's a great way to learn the geography of the UK - I think every school-kid should do it!

It also teaches you just how many nice people there are out there, friendly and helpful - it restores confidence in the Great British public.

You also learn how many absolute w***ers there are out there - it destroys faith in great british public at times. C'est la vie.

I've contacted Andy previously, but if I can be of help to you or Andy with advice, answering questions etc. then please feel free to get in touch: ... ntact.html

John Willacy

Oh yeah, and don't get too excited about 'local knowledge' - sometimes it's not all it's cracked up to be. Trust in yourself.


Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:38 pm
by triwavesport
Hi Simon,
What a great undertaking, and bring done in a truly adventurous spirit too by the sound of it.
Suffolk is my local coast and I'm up for a paddle if Andy would like some company. We have one of the best fish & chip shops accessible from the water at the mouth of the Deben, so I can offer Andy a brew and something to eat too if that works. I'll text you and we can see what we can do.

Sent from my Lenovo P2a42 using Tapatalk


Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:57 am
by nigelhatton
Best of luck to this fella, given his mental health issues he is going to need support. Paddling round Britain is easier thought about than done. I have supported two round Britain paddlers but unfortunately I can't help as I now live in the south of France.
Anyway, maintain social contact with your supporters at the very least! I'll try and follow on my Facebook page.


Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:02 pm
by john.ruston
A popular supermarket is getting criticism for selling cheap inflatable kayaks as beach toys. Kayaker critics have been quick to query the suitability of the kit and the skills deficits of likely buyers. Its been suggested that the shop is acting irresponsibly.

There's a degree of high expressed emotion in this thread which suggests a laudable degree of loyalty to the paddler but I wonder if paddling a SoT around the UK is the right thing for Mr. Swainston to be taking on.
Is there some group-think causing the usual critical facilities to be switched off ??
Of course as with any traveller, I wish him well. J.


Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:49 pm
Oh dear, just as I read this thread and followed the Facebook link, it seems to be over for him, the crap weather appears
to have done for him and he's packed it in this morning.
Rotten luck.