Meet the Rowers of Indian Ocean 2017

In June, just over two months away, 4 British rowers will attempt to row across the Indian Ocean (3,600 miles!) completely unsupported, to raise awareness of the difficulties people living with Parkinson’s face day to day and to raise money for charities that help them. The three charities they will be supporting are Clear Trust, Spotlight YOPD, and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.
One of the crew members was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s in 2015, and hopes to show exactly how Parkinson’s effects him, both good and bad, and is working with researches at Oxford Brooks to hopefully help others with Parkinson’s and similar disabilities.
The crew are also helping to raise more awareness by breaking records, the world speed record to be exact. To do this, they are using a Rannoch, developed by Charlie Pitcher, which has beat out other boats in past races.
We asked the rowers some more questions about their row, their experience, and charity.
1) Have any of you rowed any long distances before? What experience do you have?
Barry and I both rowed together in the Inaugural Great Pacific Race, rowing from California to Hawaii, which was about 2,800 miles, and the crew took two world records in the race. James currently holds the world speed record for rowing non stop around the UK 

2) How are you preparing for not only the rowing physical side of things, but being out at sea for so long?
We have a training programme developed by CHHP and professor Greg Whyte (he’s quite famous in his field, find him on Google). As mentioned, 3 of us have experience at sea already, and I have over 28,000 sea miles under my belt from sailing, including crossing the Indian Ocean twice. It’s mainly just about getting into the right mindset. You know that it is going to be tough, but you just have to adapt to whatever is thrown at you. James and Robin will be going to Hamble school of yachting to do coursed in First aid at sea and sea survival (Barry and I have already done them). We are also eating as much as possible to put on healthy weight before leaving, as we will loose a lot of weight while at sea. Then there is also fundraising and logistics to sort out, and PR too!!
3) Why have you chosen Spotlight Y.O.P.D as your chosen charity to raise money for?
Robin has Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD), and I am one of the founders of the charity. Public awareness of the condition is pretty much zero, unless people have a connection to someone living with the condition. It’s a terrible diagnosis to receive……
4) What will be the route you will be rowing?
Exmouth in Western Australia to Port St Louis in Mauritius. Route will be dependent on weather conditions.
5) Are you taking anything to entertain you on this ocean row?
A pillow!! We are rowing in 2 hour shifts, so row for 2 hours, rest for 2 hours. That’s 24/7 from the second that we set off. During the rest period you have to eat, navigate, make any repairs and sleep, so you don’t really get much time for entertainment. I took a book with me when we rowed the Pacific, and didn’t read one page of it. The best entertainment will come from each other. it’s a great crew, and humour will be a large part of what gets us across as a team.
To follow along with Indian Ocean Row 2017, visit their website where they will also be posting live streams, updates, and more information about their row and chosen charities.

An Expedition to Svalbard with Rob and Poldy

On 16th June 2018, Robert McArthur and Poldy van Lynden will set off from Marble Arch on a world first expedition. They will run, swim, cycle and row 5,000km to the Arctic island of Svalbard.

Their challenging route will include running three marathons from London to Dover, swimming 21 miles across the English Channel, cycling over 2,000 miles through seven countries from Calais to Tromso, in Norway, and finally rowing 700 miles across the Arctic Seas to Longyearbyen, on the island of Svalbard.

All of this is in aid of the Scouting, whom they are raising money for as it’s an organisation they believe helps so many young people not only enjoy adventure, but learn important life skills. As Rob says, ‘As a former Cub Scout myself, I know the amazing benefits that Scouting offers. It set me on a path to adventure and gave me skills and values I have to this day. It’s about giving every chance to every child. We want all young people, especially those in the most deprived parts of the UK to get the same great start in life and the chance to develop skills for life.’ 

We asked Rob and Poldy some questions to find out a little more about how they came to choose this challenge and why;

What made you want to take on such an extreme challenge?

We’ve always wanted to do some kind of expedition and a couple of years ago we made a decision to take action before life got too serious. So we started planning what we wanted to do and through a process of selection and elimination this challenge was chosen!


What are you doing to prepare for this challenge?

There is obviously the physical side of it – we’re dedicating as many hours a week as we can to swimming, running, cycling and rowing. We will be taking our ocean rowing boat out to practice and to get used to living on it. The more time spent on it the better. We have changed our diet to eat slow releasing energy foods to improve our endurance. You can also train your body to be more acclimatised to the cold through cold water immersions and turning off the central heating!

Why did you choose the scouts as your charity to raise money for?

We felt that through our expedition we could have a direct impact on Scouts. When they’re in the frame of mind of being outside, doing fun activities, making friends and generally enjoying themselves, we hope they can follow our progress and our social media pages to get an insight into what a seriously tough expedition could be like. Ultimately we’d like to inspire them, and to get the message across that any dream, with time, commitment and perseverance, however seemingly unobtainable, can be achieved. And it’s a really good cause to raise money for.


What is one thing you will both each miss having while you are completing your expedition?

That’s a good question. We’ll definitely both miss our respective other halfs, but aside from that Rob will miss keeping up with sport (of every variety!), and whenever I go away for awhile I always crave a decent roast and a full english.

Is there any leg of your trip you are most excited for? Which bit?

Both of us are really looking forward to swimming the Channel. There is an exclusive amount of people that have taken it on and it will be a privilege to be one of them. It is also one of the most daunting parts of the trip. On top of that, cycling up the west coast of Norway will be spectacular, and rowing north through the Arctic will be unimaginably special. We both feel that it’s during the row that the real adventure begins.

You can follow along with Rob and Poldy’s Arch2Artic adventure on their website, Facebook, or Twitter. Their donation page to help raise money for the scouts is here. Extreme Adventure Food will be helping them out with nutrition, ultra fuel endurance drinks and other supplements for their expedition.