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Jamie McDonald's cousin Kev Brady battles -10C 2,000 mile canoe paddle

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 04, 2014

  • Kev Brady is paddling down the Mississippi

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AS Jamie McDonald battles the Canadian cold in his charity 5,000 mile run, his cousin Kev Brady is facing equal hardship more than 2,000 miles away as he paddles the length of the Mississippi River.

Both Gloucester men are raising money for the Pied Piper Appeal to help sick children at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

On New Year’s Day, Kev arrived in Memphis, Tennessee - 1,600 miles into his 2,350 mile paddle.

He started out from Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the source of the great river in September, and aims to arrive in the Gulf of Mexico sometime next month.

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Kev is on his own, and paddling the dangerous waters in a 17-foot aluminium canoe called Orca.

He hopes to raise £2,000 for the charity.

Kev said: “During the past two weeks I have seen ice in the river and temperatures down to -10C.

“On leaving St. Louis in temperatures of -7C I was advised by the coastguard to get off the river as their rescue teams have shut for the winter.

“If I fall in the water, I will have no more than 10 minutes before I get hypothermia.

“I told them I'm wearing a wetsuit and have a fire starting kit readily accessible if that were to happen.

“But there's no question about it, if I fall in - I'm in a world of trouble.

“On Christmas Day I had a long day fighting a head wind and my food had frozen.

“My Christmas lunch was spent floating along eating a frozen carrot. I had a crazy moment of hysterical laughter when doing this, there's no question the loneliness is getting to me.

“During the day I am constantly on watch for huge barges.

“Some of them can be pushing as many as 60 massive containers, hundreds of metres long.

“Most nights are spent camping out on sandbars in subzero temperatures, sometimes covered in snow, but it's absolutely stunning and there's so much driftwood to burn I always have a cracking bonfire to keep warm.

“The river is at flood level now and is flowing very fast, I regularly see huge trees floating down with me.

“Despite the added danger, I'm loving the extra miles every day.

“And everyday brings me closer to the Gulf. It's tough getting up in the cold dark every morning, putting on the damp wetsuit and getting in the canoe, but the thought of raising money for the sick children of Gloucester drives me on.”

To follow Kev’s adventure, visit facebook.com/paddlingthemississippi and to donate, visit justgiving.com/paddlekevbrady

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