Air traffic controller to sail from Land’s End to John O’Groats – in a tiny dinghy!

Ken Fowler, who works at Nats in Swanwick, is going to sail a dinghy from Lands End to John OGroats solo PIC CREDIT: Dave Taylor
Ken Fowler, who works at Nats in Swanwick, is going to sail a dinghy from Lands End to John OGroats solo PIC CREDIT: Dave Taylor
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INSPIRATIONAL Ken Fowler is preparing to take on an epic 900-mile challenge – in a dinghy smaller than two bath tubs.

The 51-year-old is hoping to become only the second person to sail in a dinghy from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

He is undertaking the challenge in memory of his father, who died from prostate cancer 27 years ago.

Ken, pictured, is hoping to raise £50,000 for two charities; Cancer Research UK and The Oakhaven Trust.

He said: ‘My father died from cancer when I was only 24. He was one of six siblings, five of whom died from cancer.

‘My mother looked after him for months – a hard time for them both – before he was admitted to our local hospice. The care he received there was amazing and made my father’s last days as pain-free and comfortable as they could be.

‘After his death I discovered that when he was quite young he had come home to discover his mother dead.

‘She had been diagnosed with cancer, in an era when it was effectively a death sentence and she felt unable to deal with life with cancer. I cannot imagine the impact that must have had upon him.

‘The thing about cancer is that it touches us all in some way or another.’

This is not the first fundraiser that Ken has done for Cancer Research, as he previously cycled 4,000 miles in 51 days across America. In June, 2015 he also sailed around the Isle of Wight.

Ken, who works as an air traffic controller at Nats in Swanwick, said: ‘If I am successful, I’ll become only the second person to complete this epic journey in a single-handed dinghy and break the record for the smallest and fastest dinghy.

‘I’ll be sailing alone for over 900 miles, spending 10 hours a day in the boat.

‘The journey will take me up the west coast of Britain starting in Cornwall and then across the Bristol Channel to Wales.

‘From there the route will take me up to Anglesey and then across the Irish Sea to the Isle Of Man – a big crossing for such a small dinghy.

‘From the Isle of Man I’ll be setting sail for Scotland and then making my way past Mull, Skye and the other scenic islands of the west coast.

‘Along the route I’ll be facing strong tidal races, big waves, whirlpools and at the end of the day the challenge of finding a surf-battered beach to land on. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted.’

Ken will be sailing in a four-metre long dinghy – an RS Aero.

He said: ‘There are no home comforts on board and most of the time half my body will be hanging out of the boat to keep it upright.’

He will be setting off on May 7 and hopes to arrive in John O’Groats some 20 to 30 days later.

Ken has already raised nearly £5,000. To make a donation, go to http://bit.ly/2n6vGGC
To follow his progress search @RacetoScotland on Facebook or go to racetoscotland.co.uk/