Friday 19th Jan 2024

Ambassador of CH Expeditionary Education Embarks on Solo Row Across the Atlantic




The ambassador of Expeditionary Education at Christ’s Hospital school, Linda Blakely, is putting her money where her mouth is and attempting to become the fastest woman in the world to cross the Atlantic Ocean on her own.

Linda is embarking on a solo row across the Atlantic in a 12-foot Rannoch 10 boat named Ulster Warrior in support of the charity Action Medical Research. Weather-permitting, she plans to set off from Gran Canaria on 20 January and row the 3,000 miles to Barbados in 40 days, breaking the previous world record for a woman of 40 days and 19 hours.

What makes this endeavour even more extraordinary, is that Linda, who will celebrate her 50th birthday in the middle of the challenge, has never rowed before until very recently. She has, however, competed in multiple iron man challenges and represented Team GB in long-distance triathlons, earning a silver medal at the European Championships, and in 2018 she became the first woman in the UK to summit both Everest and Lhotse within a day.

‘After the best part of two years preparation, it is now 24 hours to go – and it is all becoming very real’ said Linda on the eve of her departure. ‘I am feeling a mixture of excitement, mixed with a little bit of nerves, but pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is very good for personal growth and mental health. I can safely say it is the best feeling in the world and one that makes you feel alive. Prepare fully, train hard and then give it your all!’

Linda is an ambassador for the Christ’s Hospital’s Expeditionary Education programme, which was launched in June, and offers students at the school a variety of challenging and adventurous activities including canoeing, sailing, raft building, mountain biking, mountaineering, bushcraft, outdoor cooking, camping, and rock climbing. The programme is designed to develop key skills including teamwork and leadership, as well as to boost self-confidence and resilience. The school welcomed Sir Ranulph Fiennes, known as ‘the greatest living explorer’, to give an inspiring talk to students in November (Linda is pictured with Sir Ranulph above.)

No doubt Linda’s incredible feat will become a source of huge inspiration to Christ’s Hospital students, as she tests her physical and mental limits in this heroic attempt to break a world record.

‘I am under no illusion as to how difficult this will be, but as long as I reach Barbados knowing that I put 110% effort into it, I will be more than happy’ says Linda. ‘I look forward to sharing my experiences with Christ’s Hospital students soon.’