Summit2Sea DIY for MND: 20th April 2024

Adrian Harkin has been the owner of Inish Adventures formerly known as Just Kayak based out of Moville in Co. Donegal and has been an integral part of the paddle sports community in the northwest of the country for the past 20 years. As well as introducing many current paddlers both young and old to the sport, Adrian also ran two very successful kayaking events for many years pre-covid, Cranafest in Buncrana, an event primarily focused around white water racing, slalom, and coaching and the Inishowen Sea Kayaking Symposium. Both of these events contributed greatly to the paddle sports community on this island bringing paddlers from the north and south together regularly for their annual pilgrimage to the northwest. Both events in their own unique way managed to foster a love for the river and sea and delivered on fun, education and support in a very safe environment.

Adrian was diagnosed with MND 2 years ago. As you can imagine to a committed outdoor enthusiast such as Adrian, where both his personal and work life revolved around sport and an innate love for the outdoors this came as a terrible blow. Adrian being the man that he is decided to take the illness head on and leave a legacy behind that left the research programme for a cure to Motor Neuron Disease in better shape than it was before he came to it.

Taking inspiration from the previously planned big paddle round a number of years ago that was planned by Donal O’Dowd. Adrian decided that this was the appropriate final event to end his participation in the outdoor community with. With the support of a close number of friends and family we planned to pull the kayaking community together one last time to complete a circumnavigation of the island of Ireland on April 20th 2024. As if this wasn’t enough he then came up with the idea to put someone on the top of each of the highest peak in all 32 counties on the same day which is a nod to his love for the mountains

The very nature of the outdoor environment that we love so much means that there is no guarantee that the weather will play ball with us on the 20th, so they have planned fall back days of April 21st, 27th and 28th to complete the challenge. The intention is to put to water everywhere that it’s safe to do so with the best chance of success on the 20th including at Adrian’s home town of Moville.

However the very nature of the event and the time of year it’s taking place meant that it was impossible for this to be a mass participation event. This needed to be a very controlled event leaning heavily on a close knit community of incredibly strong and experienced peer paddlers based all around the country. Each trip leader adopting a stretch of coastline in the order of 15 NM to paddle on the day in question.

The organisational team have had countless offers from paddlers wanting to get involved from right around the country. Frustratingly they have been unable to accommodate these generous offers due to the nature of the sea kayaking event. So with that in mind, Adrian, never having been someone that wanted to exclude anyone, came up with the plan for the DIY for MND part of the event.

So if you want to get involved in the event on April 20th you can take to the water with your friends, family, fellow club members and paddle for MND too. Plan your own paddle on your favourite bit of water that you normally paddle on, in your favourite canoe or kayak and try and help fundraise to support Adrian’s Legacy Seat to Summit for MND.

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