This September I will be embarking on a 100-mile prone paddle through the Scottish Highlands. Over 4 consecutive days the aim is to paddle between Port Appin on the West coast, to Nairn on the East coast, through the Caledonian Canal. With support and sponsorship, the goal is to raise £6000 for 3 of the leading and most influential surf therapy charities in Scotland – SurfABLE, Wave Project Scotland, and Groundswell Scotland.
Surfing is a sport super special to me, and for years I have been lucky enough to experience the mental, physical, and social benefits of being in the ocean and outdoors. This is why these charities have been selected - to help them spread the joy, benefit, and stoke of surfing to people who really need it, or have not had the opportunity to try it. By selecting these charities, I also hope it can promote collaboration or integration of their different experience and specialties.
Here is a bit more about each charity, and what they do:
Based on the North East Coast of Scotland, they are proudly Scotland’s leading adaptive surf therapy organisation. They took to the waves for the first time in 2017 to provide full access to surf therapy and adventure for children and adults alike with disabilities or challenging conditions.
After establishing a robust surf therapy programme, they became fully inclusive in 2021 to cater for all with a programme that focusses on the individual and their ability offering assisted group lessons, non-assisted group lessons, or 1:1 lessons for surfers who require a higher ratio of assistance at all times.
They are also now training para-athletes and developing a pathway to national and international adaptive competitions, as well as recently submitting plans to Moray Council for Scotland’s first surf therapy centre at Lossiemouth East Beach!
Find out more: https://surfable.org.uk/
The Wave Project Scotland
The wave project is a UK wide surf therapy charity that has been active in Scotland since 2014 in Dunbar and recently expanded to its 2nd location in St Andrews last year. They offer their Surf Therapy and Surf Club programmes to young people aged between 8 and 21.
They support children and young people who experience a range of physical and mental health issues, social deprivation, or social isolation. Young people attending the courses are supported through surfing and community to build confidence and self-esteem, develop resilience, and make friends. They are supported 1:1 by a mentor, which opens up surfing to those who wouldn’t typically access it.
Currently, they offer these programmes to over 100 Scottish young people each year, with plans to continue to grow and increase capacity.
Find out more: https://www.waveproject.co.uk/
Groundswell Scotland are a non-profit, woman centred organisation based in East Lothian and the Scottish Borders. Their purpose is to provide a safe space for women to recover from trauma, gain confidence and unite in community.
They provide surf therapy courses, 1-day sessions, and events where activities such as yoga, journaling, and breath work are delivered alongside the art of surfing. The sessions are facilitated by trauma aware and qualified counsellors, community educators, beach lifeguards, surf coaches, and volunteers.
They provide sustainable support throughout the year and a platform for participants to step into and maintain healthy lifestyles.
Find out more: https://groundswell-scotland.org/
Why is Surf Therapy Important?
We all know that getting outside and experiencing nature is good for the mind, body, and soul! But surf therapy and blue therapy are now gaining significant attention and scientific acknowledgement as a highly effective method to treat physical, mental, behavioural, and social issues. Here are a collection of links / literature for anyone who would like to know more:
Ultimately, the aim of the chosen charity groups is to bring these benefits to as many people as possible – those who may not be able to afford it, those who would never usually have the opportunity to try surfing, and people from huge varieties of age, background, and circumstance. Hopefully, the money raised through this challenge can play a small part in helping spread the stoke of surfing, and contribute to each charity’s sessions, plans, or development!
A bit about myself and why I am doing this challenge:
My name is Caorann, a 27-year-old engineer and aspiring surfboard maker, born and raised in the Scottish Highlands. My reason for doing this challenge has many layers. It started with a desire to do something really physically challenging but also something new and a bit different - I had never prone paddled a board like this until a few months ago. I also wanted to spend more time in the ocean to overcome fears and feel more confident in its vast expanse. Along with that came the idea to raise money for charity as well as a desire to learn more about the amazing Scottish surf community, and it has snowballed from there.
On top of that, surfing has led me through challenging times in my own life, where I have battled with stress, anxiety, and emotions. I now feel I'm in a place where I want to channel more of my energy towards giving back to the surf community as best I can. Recently I have also been lucky enough to get to know the people behind these charities, do some volunteer training, and experience some sessions first hand! Hearing transformational stories and seeing the smile on someone’s face as they catch waves and grow in confidence is heart-warming and inspirational.
A few disclaimers and extra info regarding the challenge:
- The 90km Caledonian Canal section will be done as part of the Great Glen Challenge 2022, on 24th & 25th September
- The additional sea legs will be done on the days either side of this race
- I will be running the course down wind, and with the tides. This means that the sections may not be done in exact order
- If the weather calls off the Great Glen Challenge event, and/or one of the additional sections, I will endeavour to re-schedule as soon as a weather window allows
- In the worst case, the goal of achieving this in 4 consecutive days may not be possible due to the weather, but I will definitely cover the distance in as short a window as possible
How to Support
Please donate as much as you can afford, and here are some other ways to also support or get involved:
- Please share this page link as far as possible via your email, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp etc.
- Please follow & share any Instagram or Facebook posts from @caorann_fosbrooke / Caorann Fosbrooke, or any supporting partners
- Feel free to reach out to me about joining for a leg of the route, or even small sections. But please note you must be able to maintain around 6km/hr on a prone/SUP/canoe/kayak, and I will not be responsible for anyone’s safety and logistics!
- RAFFLE GIVE AWAY! See details below:
HOW TO ENTER:
- Step 1 - Make a donation and leave a comment saying "Raffle entry". Ticket prices are as follows:
- 1 x ticket = £5
- 5 x ticket = £20
- 12 x tickets = £40
- More than 12 = £3 per ticket
- Step 2 - Share on Instagram or Facebook and tag 3 friends in the comments of the original post for one extra FREE TICKET.
- Spread the word while waiting for the raffle draw. The raffle will be drawn on Saturday the 1st of October. Good luck!
To everyone who has donated so far, and to all the brands & businesses who have contributed to the raffle so far, THANK YOU!
If you would still like to donate a raffle prize please message via Instagram, Facebook, or email ([email protected]).