Canoe trip sets brothers on a voyage of discovery

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Staff reporter

TWO brothers have rowed the length of the Severn as part of an intrepid 500-mile loop encompassing Shrewsbury.

Jamie and Alastair Drummond travelled the distance in 11 days and believe it may be the first time anyone has completed the route.

Jamie, 41, and Alastair, 39, set out in kayaks on July 25 from the weir in Shrewsbury, paddled down to the Severn estuary in Gloucestershire and then around the coast of South Wales to Aberystwyth, camping on the beach as they went.

They then transferred to bikes and cycled to Llangurnog, then ran over Plynlimon to the source of the Severn and into the Hafren forest, where they took up bikes again and pedalled to Buttington, near Welshpool.

Finally they got back in kayaks and completed the loop, arriving back at the weir on August 4.

Father Roger Drummond supported them along the way with his wife Sue, making sure bikes were waiting for them.

Jamie, Alastair and Roger are all canoeing coaches who run a canoeing school.

Roger said: “We live and work on the river, so it was a personal journey for them.

They went from the back door of our house to the back door of our house.”

Jamie added: “We left at dinner time on the Monday and returned Thursday for tea time.

“We were looking for a challenge to encompass what we do. Shrewsbury being in a loop, the idea came to loop Shrewsbury. I was originally thinking about it as a 40th birthday thing, but that was last year. My brother’s 40 this year, so I suppose you could say it was for that.

“It required ten and a half days of fairly solid graft, but it had its rewards – we saw porpoises off Swansea Bay and schools of dolphins in Cardigan Bay.

“Most of the time the weather was pretty kind to us.

“There was one bad day when we were setting out from the Milford Haven area.

“The sea was choppy and visibility low – we were paddling for three or four hours just following the compass bearing.”

Jamie said he was proud to have done it, but added: “The immediate aftermath was quite a jolt when we finished.

“It took a while to get used to not getting up at six in the morning and setting off again.”

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