Aug 04, 2011

Friends Plan UK Canoe Trip to Raise Money for Just a Drop

Pair will travel 350 through the country’s canal system

Two friends have decided to brave more than 350 miles of the United Kingdom’s canal system, navigating their way in a Canadian canoe.

Canoeists Sam McConnell and Mark Hakansson will row from Cumbria to London raise £4,000 to help water-aid charity Just a Drop, which provides clean water to communities around the world.

Their journey will begin in Tewitfield, Cumbria, on Aug.6 and will end three weeks later in London.

Neither Hakansson nor McConnell has ever canoed great distances before, so this challenge is a first for both and had them training extensively in the run-up to the journey. The trip will see the men negotiating and overcoming a variety of obstacles en-route, such as tidal estuaries, rivers flowing the wrong way, locks, 25-ton steel boats and exposure to the elements.

Along the way they will be camping out under the stars, but will bring a solar-powered iPhone so followers will be able to check their progress on an interactive map, as well as become a friend on Facebook or follower on Twitter.

McConnell and Hakansson are long-time friends who met while covering the Bosnian war as professional photographers in 1992. While Hakansson has continued with his passion of photography, McConnell has spent the last 15 years leading expeditions across the African deserts.

"Both of us have traveled extensively throughout Africa over the years and have seen firsthand the hardships people endure due to the lack of clean drinking water. Just a Drop helps resolve these issues and we are very pleased to be sponsoring such a worthwhile cause. Hopefully our canoe trip will raise the funds these children need to carry ¬on living normal lives," Hakansson said.