A BRAVE kayaker who risked life and limb and survived brushes with shipwrecks and rocks on a 2,600 mile journey round the UK coast is set to stop off in Skegness next week.
Rheumatology doctor Martin Lee has challenged himself to an epic endurance challenge by kayaking the equivalent of 100 marathons in as many days round the British coastline to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS).
He began his solo journey on April 1 at the Ahoy Centre in Deptford, South East London where he aims to return on July 6.
Weather permitting he will reach Skegness on Tuesday, June 26 where he will camp for the night.
A keen kayaker from a young age, Martin was inspired to take on this challenge by his aunt Maureen who has lived with the crippling disease for many years.
“She was the reason I started studying medicine, knowing that I wanted to specialise in rheumatology” said Martin.
The journey was never going to be without its dangers and his crossing of the Bristol Channel confirmed this.
Strong winds and high waves disorientated Martin’s navigation and ten hours into the crossing he began to feel lost and an increasing sense of alarm.
As he tried to muster the energy to continue, two dolphins surfaced either side and accompanied him for 15 minutes, providing the encouragement for him to keep going.
Disaster also nearly struck on the north east coast of Scotland.
A frothing sea and powerful waves capsized Martin several times before eventually forcing him on to the beach, narrowly avoiding a collision with rocks and a nearby shipwreck that emphasised the hazardous position he was in.
Fortunately he escaped with only minor injuries and the loss of some equipment.
“I hope the aches and pains I am encountering from this challenge are the closest I come to feeling the pain that those with RA endure on a daily basis throughout their lifetime,” added Martin.
To follow Martin’s progress and support his cause visit www.martinkayaking.co.uk.
To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis visit the website of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society at www.nras.org.uk.