Man triumphs in Mississippi paddle

Salisbury Journal: Kevin Brady had only one weekend on the River Wye to prepare for his epic paddle Kevin Brady had only one weekend on the River Wye to prepare for his epic paddle

A British adventurer has finished a mammoth charity canoe after paddling more than 2,000 miles solo down the Mississippi River.

Kevin Brady paddled up to 14 hours a day in a 17ft aluminium two-man canoe called Orca to raise money for a children's charity.

The 30-year-old, who is a cousin of Jamie McDonald, who has just finished a 5,000-mile run across Canada, braved the dangerous waters for the 2,350-mile paddle, which is almost four times the length of mainland Britain.

What makes his feat even more remarkable is that he had only one weekend's preparation on the River Wye before setting off.

Brady, from Gloucester, started out from Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the source of the great river, in September and reached the Gulf of Mexico yesterday - after more than 140 days' paddling.

He hopes to raise £3,000 for the Pied Piper Appeal to help sick children at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Brady continued paddling despite injuries that threatened to end his journey prematurely and his adventure took him from the Canada/USA border in Northern Minnesota through 10 states to the southern tip of Louisiana.

He either camped on the riverbed or was taken in by strangers, meeting thousands of people along the way.

The Briton also endured one of the coldest winters on record, camping on snow and at one stage waking up to a nearby family of bears.

"I'm just so happy to have finished, because at so many points it looked unlikely," he said.

"At times, the weather was so gruelling and the wind so testing that the paddling was actually the easy bit - the wind really was the killer and one slip and I could have been just minutes from dying, the water is that cold.

"I'm so proud to have raised a good deal of money for our local children's charity and accomplished something very few people have and that's what I hope to show people - that life's too short to sit around waiting for adventure to find you.

"The Mississippi is unlike any river in Europe and just like the rest of the US, it's so varied along the way."

Brady said he decided to canoe the length of the Mississippi - the fourth longest river in the world - as he wanted a challenge.

"I wanted to test myself physically and mentally and this adventure really did that," he said.

"It was often a lonely existence for four months and I kept going to push my limits, but primarily, because I knew it could make a difference to children's lives.

"Dragging myself through sheets of ice is nothing compared to what some children have to go through."

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