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Portarlington duo 900km into charity kayak trip around Ireland

Story by Laura Ryder

Wednesday, 16th July, 2014 12:45pm

Portarlington duo 900km into charity kayak trip around Ireland

John and Diane in their kayak.

Portarlington kayak enthusiasts John Bolton (46) and Diane Cooper (30) decided earlier this year to kayak around Ireland to raise money for hospices in Offaly and Laois.

Now 25 days into their 40 day challenge, the two who run True Fitness in Tullamore, Portarlington and Portlaoise have covered some 900km of the journey that’s expected to be approximately 1,600km, or 1,000 miles.

“A typical day for us involves getting up at 5am and being on the water for 6.30am,” John explained.

“It takes us that time to eat, pack up the camp, load the boat and gear up for the day. We paddle for twelve to 14 hours per day, but this has reached 17 hours on some occasions. We often only get to take a couple of short food breaks in that time. We generally reach our evening camp sometime between 7pm and 9pm. The evening routine involves setting up camp, cooking dinner, planning a 50-60km route for the following day, and researching the tides, swell height and weather in the relevant locations.”

Challenges the duo have faced so far on their journey include huge open water crossings and unfavourable weather conditions.

“But we have also been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of people that meet along the way,” John added. “People have gone out of their way to give us food, showers and even beds for the night.”

The two are putting in the effort in order to raise money for Offaly Hospice and Laois Hospice. Anyone who would like to donate to the cause can do so by picking up a sponsorship card from True Fitness branches in Tullamore or Portarlington or by sending a cheque to True Fitness, Unit 10, Portarlington Business Park, Canal Road, Portarlington.

Updates on the journey can be found by visiting the True Fitness Facebook page.

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