Press Release: Canoe around Ireland
Date: 24th May 2011
Title: Shooter’s Story
After 71 gruelling days at sea and possibly the stormiest summer in recent years, Elaine “Shooter” Alexander arrived back at Whitehead on 13th of July 2011 to a hero’s welcome, which put her in the record books as the first woman from Northern Ireland to complete the 1000 mile solo paddle around Ireland.
Elaine set off from Whitehead on 3rd May into force 5 winds which didn’t let up for over half the journey. Indeed the weather took a turn for the worse as she attempted to round Hook Head near Tramore forcing her to spend a total of 21 days stormbound on the South and West Coast.
Elaine overcame the physical challenge but found the mental challenge of paddling alone in such severe conditions more of a struggle. For the duration of the expedition Elaine got dressed into wet clothes each morning, paddled for up to 62kms and then set up camp, pitching her tent on unsheltered islands inhabited by nothing but rats. The monotony and repetition of packing and unpacking was not as challenging to Elaine as being stormbound for 21 days in a barren landscape with nothing to do. Towards the end of her trip the gruelling conditions were beginning to take their toll, but this resolute athlete powered on through.
Reflecting on her expedition, Elaine recounts paddling alongside Dolphins at Bray Head and again near Mayo, meeting some fantastic people who put her up, fed her and dried her equipment at various points en route, marvellous scenery at Downpatrick Head in Mayo, Slieve League cliffs and The Gobbins.
A well-known personality in Irish canoeing circles with recognised pedigree, Elaine has successfully combined a career as an outdoor pursuits instructor at SHARE along with competing in local, national and international canoeing events. This measure of competence is coupled with a competitive streak which reached its pinnacle in 2005 and 2007 when representing Northern Ireland at the Surf Kayak World Championships in Costa Rica and Mundaka respectively.
The motivation for the trip was not only the 1000 mile challenge but also to raise much needed funds for the registered charity – SHARE. In 2011 SHARE based in CountyFermanagh, will celebrate 30 years of providing outdoor activity programmes which promote the inclusion of disabled and non-disabled people in a wide range of arts, land and water based recreational programmes. Visit her expedition website www.canoearoundireland.com
I would like to say a big thank you to all those that have donated so far and encourage anyone who would like to support this worthy cause to gift-aid donations online through our justgiving page www.justgiving.com/canoe-around-ireland. We have raised close to 90% of the target of £10,000 for a new fully accessible bus.
Elaine’s trip has been made possible with generous support from Valley Sea Kayaks, Desperate Measures, Lendal Paddles, North South Marine, RiverLakeSea, Yak, Brookbanks Canoes and Kayaks, Signal Signs, Asda Enniskillen, Canoe Association for Northern Ireland and Blackthorn Design.
Elaine and her team at Canoe Around Ireland have organised an event to celebrate her achievement and thank those people that made the expedition viable. On Saturday, 22nd October, Elaine will give a lighthearted interactive presentation. Now you can hear her story, see and feel the equipment she used, ask her questions and see unique video footage and photos that made this trip so challenging and rewarding.
The event will be held at the Share Centre at 7.30 p.m.
£7 per adult
£4 per child / OAP / student / concession
£15 per family – 2 adults + 2 children (£3 for each additional child)
For anyone who wishes to make a night of it:
B&B Rates: £15 per adult and £10 per child
Booking enquiries to 028 6772 2122 email@example.com
For more Information Visit www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=259770347378798
For more information on the ‘Canoe Around Ireland’ please contact:
Rory Martin – Share Marketing Officer
+44 (0)28 6772 2122
+44(0)789 435 45 44
Notes to Editors
Share is a fully accessible charitable tourism facility.
Share is Northern Ireland and Ireland’s largest residential outdoor activity centre welcoming over 15,000 visitors each year.
Share is open seven days a week, more information is available from our website www.sharevillage.org or to make an enquiry or a booking please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Canoe Around Ireland is the name given to the fundraising expedition which Elaine undertook departing from Whitehead in May 2011. For more information, please visit www.canoearoundireland.com