A Royal Navy engineer, based on HMS Bristol, Portsmouth, will take on the epic challenge of circumnavigating the entirety of Cornwall’s 208-mile rugged coastline by kayak.

Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Thomas Gigg, 27, will paddle around the Cornish coast, setting off over the summer Bank Holiday weekend, starting Friday 26 August 2016 at midday from the Tamar Bridge, Plymouth.

The challenge – believed to be the first of its kind – will be completed on Sit-on-Top sea kayaks.

He is completing this challenge alongside Kevin Grey, 45, a retired soldier in the Army, to raise funds for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) as well as a local children and family’s charity Ellie’s Haven, based in Looe, Cornwall.

Kevin meanwhile will raise funds for Heroes on the Water, which provides physical and therapeutic rehabilitation to wounded military and members of the public who have suffered whilst carrying out a public duty.

Week-long endeavour

The challenge is set to take place over a period of seven to nine days (up to 40 miles per session, per day), in potentially challenging conditions.

ET(ME) Gigg is to make a series of overnight stops in major seaside towns along the south west coast where he is relying on the generosity of local people to help him raise his target of £1,000 for the charities. The fundraising duo will additionally use bicycles to commute another 35-miles between land stops. These include:

  • Fowey
  • Falmouth
  • Penzance
  • Ives
  • Newquay
  • Bude
  • Calstock
  • Plymouth

ET Gigg has said of the event: “It has always been a goal of mine to paddle around the Cornish coast. Having attended a watersports college in Falmouth, I believed it was best to do such an event for charity.

“I’ve chosen Ellie’s Haven because I believe all children with ill health or a physical challenge should be able to enjoy a family holiday together and the RNRMC because of the work it does supporting Royal Navy personnel and families throughout their lives.”

Hilary Jukes, RNRMC Regional Fundraising Coordinator, said: “We wish Thomas every success on his kayaking challenge and are extremely grateful for his support. He is a very inspiring young man and represents all the best qualities of a Royal Navy sailor today.”

Nigel Libby, co-founder of Ellie’s Haven added: “Ellie’s Haven are proud to be considered as one of the charities to benefit from this exciting challenge. We wish the guys the very best of luck and thank them for their support in helping promote the awareness for the work we do, in helping families with life threatening or limiting and prolonged illnesses.”

Challenge sponsors include Kayak UK, Nifty Six and advanced product technologies manufacturer Medacx.

Join the last leg of the challenge

Experienced paddlers who have their own equipment are encouraged to join ET Gigg on each leg of this journey, in exchange for a small donation to the cause.

Nigel Libby of Ellie’s Haven, local sailing club members and other likeminded seafarers, have already accepted the offer and will be seen sailing alongside the fundraisers on the final stretch back towards the Tamar Bridge in around a week’s time.

Public donations are welcomed via Tom’s Virgin Money Giving Page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/ChallengeYourself

To follow the challenge and training updates, search Facebook for “Challenge Yourself - Cornwall Kayak Challenge”.

[Update: 29 August - Due to an unforeseen incident the team plan on completing the mileage for each day by paddling inland waterways. Please follow the team's Facebook Page for the latest updates.]