Jamie Hewitt along with three friends plan to spend three months kayaking China’s Yangtze River, fulfilling both a personal goal and raising money for several organizations.
Hewitt will be accompanied by his brother, Alec, and friends William Dixon-Hempsock and Jess Toombs. Hewitt and Dixon-Hempsock recently graduated from Durham University in England, while Toombs joined the adventure to film with hopes that the captured experiences will be turned into a documentary. The trip will entail traveling in two five-meter kayaks, paddling up to 10 hours a day, and camping along the route wherever they are welcomed by local farmers.
They are scheduled to launch their trip on September 25 and plan to arrive back home in the U.K. before Christmas. They will begin in Yibin, which is in southeast Sichuan, completing their journey in Shanghai where the river connects with the East China Sea.
“All the preparations are pretty much in place. We’ve got the sponsors and the kit. We’ve got the route all planned out, so we know what we’re doing,” Hewitt told The Northern Echo. “The physical challenge will be immense. And there are a lot of unknowns–it’s impossible to know every detail. We’re expecting surprises along the way.”
Hewitt is the former head coach of Durham University’s Trevelyan College Boat Club, so he has experience on the water. The initial idea for the trip came about two years ago after Hewitt learned about a trans-Atlantic rowing challenge.
“I didn’t like that you wouldn’t see anybody for so long. I thought it would be great to go down a spectacular river,” he said. “Gradually, I started to think I could do it.”
As part of the training process, Hewitt and the rest of the group have cycled 900 miles from London to Pisa and kayaked around Scotland as well.
“The Yangtze River, which means Long River, takes in some of China’s most spectacular scenery but is said to be relatively calm following extensive damning in recent years,” the article stated. “The weather is expected to be mild, turning colder as the expedition goes on.”
Currently, the group is raising money in support of their trip that will be split between the Dyslexia Action, the RAF Benevolent Fund, and the Teenager Cancer Trust. To donate, visit the group’s fundraising page.