HMS Oardacious Messages From Home

Fundraising, Sports
18 December 2019

Much like when our serving personnel are away on deployment there are families at home holding down the fort. It's no different when four submariners decide to take on the Talisker Atlantic Challenge in aid of the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and below two of those supportive and dedicated partners tell us how the HMS Oardacious challenge is for them.


How do you feel about loved ones taking part?

I am honestly so very happy that he made the decision to take part in the end. Initially he had said no, but then he sat on it, rang and spoke to family members and friends, and decided that he'd regret turning down this once in a lifetime opportunity. Obviously it was a tough one and it means more time away from loved ones for them, but it is a fantastic thing that they are doing and I couldn't be more proud of him. There is honestly no one I know that would have a better mindset for it than Dylan and this just makes me that bit more confident too.

Challenge mean to you?

In ways, this is a massive challenge for me. In the almost over 2 years we have been together, I have been so lucky that he hasn't been on a patrol. He'd been on many courses at the time, so timing was ideal to properly be with him and get to talk to him day in, day out. So we have had a week or two here and there, completely apart and without any contact, but this will be the longest length of time away from each other. Not having a definite date to expect them back will be tough, because obviously weather and sea conditions can't be known, but the worst part will be not knowing how they are doing physically as well as mentally and not being able to be there for them. It will be so hard to feel helpless, but all we can do is hope and pray really!!

What are you looking forward to most when they come home?

I think I'll enjoy the peace and quiet to myself for the first week or two, I'll be so productive and sort my life because I'll have no distractions (or so I'll say!!), but then it'll set in that he's actually out there in the middle of that wide ocean and I can only imagine what that will be like for them. From the start of this whole experience for them it hasn't really hit me that they are actually going to do it, it's been so surreal, but the minute I see them row away from La Gomera there will no doubt be tears and lots of them! The views out there in the night time will no doubt be spectacular but my only worry is that they don't lose hope and they never feel lonely out there. 

The RNRMC was such a fitting charity for them to support, with mental health probably being the most challenging part of this journey for them, but I honestly just cannot wait to spoil him with food and give him the biggest cuddle of his life when he gets home. I'll be a bit lonely without him too of course, but I think each time that they are away you only appreciate them more when they come back to you and it makes you much more grateful for everything.


How do you feel about loved ones taking part?

As soon as Callum mentioned the challenge I knew he was going to have to do it, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and neither of us would have forgiven ourselves if he’d turned it down.  It seems like an odd choice given that he’s spent so much time away from home over the last few years, but he knew that as much as he wanted the adventure it was an incredible opportunity to raise awareness and have conversations with people we might otherwise not have the opportunity to have.

Challenge mean to you?

I’ve been an advocate and campaigner for better understanding and support when it comes to mental health for a long time, and since Callum joined the submarine service five years ago I’ve found the hardest thing to be the lack of understanding around how tough it is for everyone involved.  People talk about how hard it must be to go without sunlight, but there’s so much more to it.  The lead up to a patrol is often the hardest bit emotionally, there’s so much uncertainty and anticipation.  Then we don’t just go back to normal when he comes back from a patrol, there’s the absolute elation to have him home safe, but hes exhausted, and then there’s guilt and resentment on both sides for what we’ve all missed out on while he’s been away.  

The nature of Callum’s job means we can’t talk about what he’s up to at the time, but this challenge has so many similarities to the experience of a patrol that it’s an opportunity to draw some parallels and hopefully give people some context on the pressure they’re under, any WhY providing mental health support for the submarine community is so vital.

What are you looking forward to most when they come home?

Having our weekends and evenings back!  The training, preparation and fundraising has left little time for anything else for a long time now, especially as we’ve both been working full time, and having a new baby in the middle of it!  We’re looking forward to a bit of normality, and not having to constantly apologise for Callums absence at family events!  I know there’ll be a temptation to find another challenge, but I’ve told Callum that if he even mentions Everest Base Camp I’m changing the locks! 

At the same time, the challenge has taken up so much space that I think there will be a bit of a post-challenge blues.  That said, we get to start working with RNRMC on how the money we raise gets spent, and what the legacy of this challenge is going to look like.

To find out more about HMS Oardacious and support them visit our dedicated HMS Oardacious webpage.