Dad and daugh­ter kayak his­toric route for char­ity

The Oban Times - - Outdoors - SIGI KOERNER ed­i­tor@oban­

LU­ING res­i­dents Douglas Hardie and his daugh­ter Ione Rus­sell pad­dled nearly non-stop for 24 hours in aid of a Ugan­dan char­ity DEWODE, set up by Douglas’s wife Pauline 20 years ago.

The kayak­ing duo fol­lowed the route of The Comet, the first pad­dle steamer to carry pas­sen­gers to the West Coast of Scot­land at the be­gin­ning of the 19th- cen­tury, from Port Glas­gow to Lu­ing.

Ione told The Oban Times: ‘We have been pad­dling around Lu­ing for years and had the idea to try an overnight non-stop pad­dle to sup­port the char­ity. This route seemed fit­ting.’

Pauline manned pit-stops along the way, aided by Ione’s hus­band, Gavin, and chil­dren Alex, nine, and five-year-old Is­abella.

Douglas and Ione set off from Royal West of Scot­land Am­a­teur Boat Club and pad­dled down the Clyde and across Loch Fyne to Ar­dr­ishaig. From there, they threaded their way through the Cri­nan Canal, and con­tin­ued by sea to Lu­ing.

The next morn­ing the whole fam­ily hosted an event in Tober­nochy to give peo­ple a chance to try kayak­ing, and some tra­di­tional cook­ies from Africa.

The high­light of their jour­ney was pass­ing out of the Kyles of Bute, where, on beau­ti­fully calm wa­ters, they star­tled a sleep­ing por­poise.

But the trip also of­fered chal­lenges. Douglas and Ione were forced to camp in the small hours of the night due to bad weather, and, in the fi­nal stretch through Dorus Mor, they strug­gled against a strong head­wind and a turn­ing tide.

The pair ar­rived home ex­hausted but filled with a great sense of achieve­ment.

Douglas said: ‘The kayak­ing was phys­i­cally chal­leng­ing, but our friends in Uganda face hard­ship ev­ery day. We came home to hot show­ers, hot food and com­fort­able beds, things that are not avail­able in Kob­u­lubulu [the vil­lage in which DEWODE op­er­ates].’

DEWODE, which stands for Ded­i­cated Women in De­vel­op­ment, was started by the women of Kob­u­lubulu in north eastern Uganda as a way to em­power them­selves af­ter years of po­lit­i­cal tur­moil.

In 1997, Pauline es­tab­lished con­tact with the project’s co- or­di­na­tor and to­gether they built a health centre, which was com­pleted in 2007.

Pauline ex­plained: ‘Pre­vi­ously, they had to walk or cy­cle 18 miles to the near­est centre for aid. The run­ning of the health centre is en­tirely de­pen­dent on the char­ity’s fundrais­ing, so we are proud of Ione and Doug’s achieve­ment and the sup­port of fam­ily, friends and the com­mu­nity of Lu­ing.’

To sup­port this project, visit­do­ com/fundrais­ers/ionerus­sell1

Douglas Hardie and Ione Rus­sell pad­dled non-stop for nearly 24 hours from Port Glas­gow to Lu­ing.

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