Epic charity challenge confirmed to row across the Minch in a skiff

editorial image

Five fearless fundraisers are set to row the Minch from Stornoway to Ullapool in a 22ft St Ayles skiff to raise cash and awareness for the MS Society.

Lorraine Thomson is leading the group of pals making to make an energetic and massive splash for charity with the quintet setting a target of £22,683 for the MS Society coffers – which equates to £1 for every row across the Minch.

The epic row is expected to take 15-hours with the five planning to depart Stornoway in the dark of night around 3am and arrive home in Ullapool for dinner the following evening.

They have pencilled in August 10 as a provisional date for the challenge although weather challenges may impact that nearer the time.

Gary Lewis, John Grant, Kathryn Bennett, Lorraine Thomson, Anthony O’Flaherty are the fearless five taking on the might of the Minch but they are all experience rowers as Lorraine explains.

“If we had to get in boat tomorrow and do it we would but we are glad we still have a few months for training,” she laughed.

“The idea came up last summer and we are members of Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club. Together we have won a lot of medals, rowing and in formations in our group of people so we have a bit experience but our races are usually 12 minutes or 2K so this is a bit longer and we are leaping from a sprint to a marathon.”

The fundraisers will take turns rowing with four on the oars and one cox with each moving seats every 45-minutes to ensure everyone gets the chance of a rest in what promises to be long, gruelling shifts at sea – but Lorraine insists they can’t wait.

“We are all very keen to be rowing to be honest,” she said.

“We are allowing for 15-hours but hoping to cross in less. Our longest training session so far has only been three and a half hours and we had some creaks in the back at the end of that. We had planned a six-hour row but the weather has scuppered it recently. We are all training individually but getting the five of us together is the biggest challenge.

The rowers will hit the surf on the shore of Stornoway around 3am in the dark of night but they will set off into nautical twilight and enjoy rowing as the sun rises with the five then finishing in daylight with the five all home for dinner.

The MS Society was an easy choice as the chosen charity as the husband of one of the rowers struggles with Multiple Sclerosis and it is an illness which affects so many families.

“A lot of people in our community are affected by MS so we wanted to help those people and let them know we see them and we care. There has been a great response and I’d like to add we are doing a number of events in the community in the lead up as well including 500 for 5K which is a challenge to encourage 500 people to do a 5K either by running, walking, in a wheelchair or marshalling it.

“We want to flood the village with orange which is the colour for MS.”

To make a donation visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rowingtheminchforms