Adventurer and Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion, Lizzie Carr is embarking on the challenge of a lifetime: to become the first person to successfully paddleboard the length of England via its connected waterways, using entirely human powered means. The challenge also has an important environmental purpose, as Lizzie will map out and scale the issue of plastic pollution, highlighting hotspots that require attention along the way. On Wednesday 11 May 2016 Lizzie will take the first strokes of this 650km (400 mile) journey that will see her paddle for more than three consecutive weeks to cover this distance. She will be carrying 40kg of equipment on her paddleboard, including a tent for wild camping as well as supplies.
Commencing from the most southern point of the connected network, the River Wey in Godalming, Lizzie will travel north through Oxford towards Coventry before entering the West Midlands and onwards to River Douglas before reaching the River Ribble where she’ll navigate the Ribble Link. This will be the first time a paddleboarder has been granted access through the Link and other areas of the waterways network, helping pave the way for the sport across the country and bringing it to the mainstream.
Lizzie, who has a TSK paddleboarding qualification from London based company Active 360, has experience on rivers and oceans across the globe. She will portage 193 locks throughout the journey and travel through more than 8km of tunnel and aqueducts standing over 25ft above the ground.
“You don’t need to travel to far-flung destinations to have an adventure – we have some incredibly challenging and beautiful terrain right here in the UK and it’s important that we take the time to explore it. Paddleboarding the length of the country is a great way to show its natural beauty from an altogether different perspective – the water. Our canals are iconic pieces of history that provide a presence of calm and tranquillity in urban settings. Almost everyone in the country has easy access to the waterways but they are currently under threat from plastic pollution and debris that, if we don’t address soon, will compromise the beauty and quality of our experiences along the canals. This challenge is a way to reclaim our waterways in the hope that people care, fall back in love, and to take action against the problems we’re facing with plastic pollution.”
Lizzie will be supporting two charities as part of this expedition, Watertrek and WaterAid, splitting all proceeds equally between them both.
Photo David Powell Photography.