Cal Major, a dryrobe ambassador and veterinary surgeon from North Devon, will attempt to be the first person to Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) from Lands End to John O’Groats; the whole length of the UK. The journey will take in over 1000 miles of paddling and is estimated to take 4 months.
A surfer and ocean-lover, Cal wanted to do something about the problem of plastic pollution and the harm it causes the wildlife and the natural world. In 2016, she stand up paddle boarded 300 miles around the Cornish coast, encouraging people to ditch plastic water bottles in favour of a refillable alternative. In 2017, she became the first woman to SUP around the Isle of Skye, Scotland, highlighting that even remote and wild places are no less vulnerable to the issue. Seeing animals affected by marine litter cemented her need to reach people with her message.
She is now setting off on her biggest expedition yet, which will serve to highlight the plastic pollution the length of the UK. More importantly, Cal wants the adventure to bring positivity to the solutions and open up the discussion as to how we can all be a part of the efforts to tackle it.
“The immensity of plastic pollution can seem quite overwhelming. I want to help people see how it is relevant to them, and how really simply they can be part of the solution” says Cal.
As a Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Coastlines Ambassador, Cal will be linking up Plastic Free Coastlines communities along the way. These community campaigns are helping to bring people together and positively tackle plastic pollution at source.
The expedition will be mostly coastal paddling, which carries a high risk from wind, waves and tide. It will also incorporate some inland paddling of estuaries and canals.
“Since 80% of marine litter originates from land based sources, by paddling inland too I hope to demonstrate the connection between the plastic we use in land, and that out to sea. I want to connect those dots so that people living in land can relate to the issue too.” says Cal
“People are crying out for solutions. They want to know how they can help and I would like them to understand that small changes, such as giving up plastic water bottles, makes a big difference.”
The expedition is in honour of Cal’s closest friend who lost her battle with depression last year. Cal will be raising funds for VetLife and The Samaritans, two charities offering support to those in their darkest times. She also hopes to show how time spent in nature is valuable to physical and mental wellbeing.
“I feel that as a society we are disconnected from nature. I hope to encourage people to spend more time outdoors enjoying the incredible wild spaces we have in this country, and hope that through developing a love for the outdoors and its wildlife, we can nurture a desire to protect it.”