Kayaker begins mission to break world record

A man trying to set a new world record for kayaking around Britain in the quickest time has begun the gruelling journey in West Sussex on Saturday morning.

Mike Lambert is taking on the 1,881-mile (3,028km) challenge in the memory of his mother, who died in 2022 from a Type-A aortic dissesction, which is when the main blood vessel from the heart tears.

Mr Lambert, a physiotherapist from Walton-on-Thames, in Surrey, must travel an average of 51 miles (82km) each day in order to arrive back in East Wittering within 39 days.

The 32-year-old was joined by a small group of loved ones as he set off from East Wittering at about 05:00 BST and said he was feeling optimistic about his first day at sea.

A map showing the route Mike Lambert will follow as he attempts to break the world record time for travelling around Britain in a kayak
Mike Lambert is a former GB under-23 canoe sprinter - with races usually covering just 200m (656ft) [Mike Lambert/Geotracks]

“I’m hoping to reach Swanage by about 13:00 and if I’m feeling good [by the evening] then I will go from Swanage to Portland Bill,” Mr Lambert told the BBC.

He then aims to cover 80km (49.7 miles) on Sunday, which will put him a day ahead of the current world record pace, set last year by Dougal Glaisher, who made it around Britain in 40 days.

“My friends think I’m a bit mad for doing it,” said Mr Lambert.

“It brought a lot of uncertainty. Self-care doesn’t always look like spa days and baths. It can be about getting out in the dark and the cold, and breaking yourself down to build yourself back up again.

“I went out in stormy conditions to practise breath control mindfulness in big waves.”

Extreme conditions

He is expecting waves of up to 30ft (9.14m) in height during the journey.

Mr Lambert said resting will not be easy.

He will be carrying a tent on his kayak so he can sleep on beaches.

"I’ll need to find food and water every time I land. I can’t just turn up on an beach," he said.

“I have never doubted that I would be able to do it but this has added another level of difficulty."

Mr Lambert is raising money for Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust, Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland and the RNLI, after he was assisted in stormy conditions in 2019.

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