After paddling the Mississippi River for 2,000 miles against all the odds, Kev Brady has been given the homecoming to Gloucester that he deserves.
Kev followed in the footsteps of his cousin Jamie McDonald, who recently completed a 5,000 mile run across Canada. Both were raising money for Gloucestershire Royal Hospital’s Pied Piper Appeal, with Kev’s fundraising efforts reaching £3,500 to date.
Last night Kev had a welcome home party at the Gloucester Irish Club after his five month adventure.
Speaking after his return, he said: “Now I’m back it looks like nothing has changed much. A roundabout has had a bit of a trim, but everything else looks about the same.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet because it has been my life for the last five months - waking up in the dark, paddling through the day and sleeping in a tent.
“It all started when I was planning a bike tour and then I had knee surgery so I had to refocus and this didn’t involve my knees.
“I borrowed my uncle’s canoe one weekend and did a couple of days of practice which I thought would be enough to prepare myself.”
But Kev soon realised the reality of battling through freezing cold temperatures.
He said: “If I had fallen into the water I would have had only 10 minutes before I would probably die from hyperthermia. I tried to keep it out of my mind that if I fell in I could die.”
He also had to be wary of larger boats that were unable to see him. He had a radio, which broke at one point, which he used to signal to them that he was approaching.
He said: “It was very dangerous, not to mention about half way through the trip I hadn’t got many cold weather clothes and there was a snow storm. I lost my compass. My fingers were numb and I broke all the eggs in my bag. I thought to myself ‘I just need to keep moving. Quitting isn’t an option.’
“I knew I had to complete the mission. It has not only tested me physically but also mentally with the loneliness. I met a lot of people but at the end of the day they are all strangers and I would all my days by myself paddling on a big river.”
Now his attentions are turning to what he should do next, admitting that he and Jamie are suffering from post-expedition blues. They already have some ideas but won’t say what just yet.