Calum sticks his oar in for Atlantic challenge

AN adventurer is gearing up to set off on one of his most gruelling quests yet, as part of an attempt to row the Atlantic Ocean in under 30 days.

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Scots rower Calum McNicol hopes to set new world-record
Scots rower Calum McNicol hopes to set new world-record

Calum McNicol, who was born in West Kilbride but now lives in Brodick, on Arran, is hoping to smash the record for rowing across 3000 miles of open water and raise more than £15,000 for the Ayrshire Hospice.

The 38-year-old dad of three and his crew will set off from Puerto Mogan, in Gran Canaria on Sunday in a bid to get to Port St Charles, Barbados, in record time.

The seven-strong crew will row in shifts, in a bid to break the record, which stands at 32 days.

Calum has been training for more than two hours every day for the challenge, which is set to raise funds for Ayrshire Hospice, where his mum Zoe McNicol was cared for before she died from cancer in 1997.

The hospice, in Ayr, opened in 1989 to give end of life care to cancer sufferes and victims of other incurable illnesses.

Calum, who owns the Arran Adventure Company and is a professional kayaker, said: "I'm doing it for two reasons, to raise money for the hospice and try to break the world record.

"The key to doing it will be a fast boat, a determined crew and favourable weather. I can guarantee the first two things, but I can't control the weather.

"We're doing it in January to take advantage of the trade winds.

"The training has been pretty intense."

In February, Scots adventurer Mark Beaumont, 28, attempted same challenge, rowing from Morocco to the Caribbean.

However, the Glasgow University graduate and his five team-mates had to be rescued when their boat was swamped by giant waves.

His Atlantic Odyssey challenge came to an end 27 days into the crossing when the boat overturned about 520 miles from the destination port of St Charles, Barbados.

The crew spent several hours in a life raft as the rescue operation was mobilised, with Beaumont and captain Matthew Craughwell returning to the stricken vessel to recover vital equipment.

It was Beaumont's first thwarted challenge.

To donate to Calum's Atlantic Row fund, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ calummcnicolatlanticrow

rebecca.gray@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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