Smokie-free stay puts char­ity rower Andy in the dol­drums

AR­BROATH: Fundraiser in bid to row solo around Great Bri­tain forced into har­bour by weather and de­nied del­i­cacy due to rules

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - GRA­HAM BROWN gbrown@the­courier.co.uk

A solo round-Bri­tain rower stranded by high winds in Ar­broath har­bour has ad­mit­ted his frus­tra­tion over not be­ing able to en­joy a fa­mous Smokie is fu­elling his de­ter­mi­na­tion to get the epic chal­lenge back on course.

Andy Hodg­son set off from Lon­don Bridge in May on the Spirit of Ahab, a seven-me­tre off­shore row­ing boat whose tiny con­fines are his home for the un­sup­ported jour­ney of more than 2,000 miles.

Re­mark­ably, the Sur­rey 36-year-old is a row­ing novice, hav­ing never set foot on a boat be­fore de­cid­ing to take on one of the world’s tough­est en­durance row­ing feats to raise £10,000 for the RNLI and men­tal health char­ity Mind.

Af­ter al­most 120 days on the oars, high winds forced Andy to seek shel­ter in Ar­broath har­bour at the week­end, where he looks likely to re­main for an­other cou­ple of days. But the rules of his chal­lenge pre­vent his com­ing ashore or ac­cept­ing any out­side as­sis­tance, mean­ing the of­fer of an Ar­broath Smokie has had to be turned down.

De­spite his dis­ap­point­ment over the delay and hav­ing to pass up the chance to taste the fa­mous An­gus del­i­cacy, Andy has praised the “fan­tas­tic” wel­come he has re­ceived.

“Out of the 116 days so far I have maybe had 16 where the con­di­tions have been very dif­fi­cult but safety is the most im­por­tant thing and al­though the weather may seem nice, I just can’t take a chance with the winds.

“I have all my food in dried form on the boat and a de­sali­na­tion unit for wa­ter so the hard­est thing about be­ing in har­bour is pass­ing up on the gen­eros­ity of so many people be­cause of the rules of the chal­lenge.

“This is a wasted week, which is very frus­trat­ing, and it’s also my first visit to Ar­broath so I can’t be­lieve I’m not al­lowed a Smokie.”

He added: “This has been an amaz­ing experience – it’s the cul­mi­na­tion of two years’ work and has been thrilling and ter­ri­fy­ing at the same time.”

Ar­broath har­bour master Bruce Flem­ing said: “We’ve been pleased to be in­volved in his ad­ven­ture in some small way and to of­fer him shel­ter in these few days.”

Andy Hodg­son will be stay­ing in Ar­broath Har­bour for a few more days.

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