Back in 2020 Cal-Major completed a journey to Paddleboard the length of the River Severn, source to sea. Her mission was to raise awareness of plastic pollution and its journey from land to sea.
I had seen Cals plans on her social media and decided to get in touch to support her on part of the journey as she passed through Shropshire.
All my plans were in place and I was being joined by Duncan, David and Duncan from Chelmarsh Sailing Club. Cal was due to set off from Atcham upstream from Ironbridge early morning and I had a tight timeline to make the launch spot to ensure we met Cal on time. Our usual parking location was sealed off by Police for an ongoing investigation and the clock was ticking, we went up and down river searching for a suitable launch point. Finally we found one and we went to work on pumping up our boards as we watched Cal on her Paddle Logger tracker.
Then, Duncan looked up at me as we were about to move to the water and I could see in his eyes that something was wrong. With a sad look on his face he said, "its over its all over" whats wrong I replied. "I've left my paddle in my car at the exit point" Noooooo, I said its not over yet and got straight on the phone to my nearby paddle friends. Thankfully one was at home isolating after returning form France. I jumped in my van and drove up to my friends house who had left a spare (sanitised) paddle outside.
As I got back to the launch spot I checked Cals tracker and she was just approaching Ironbridge. We shot down to the waters edge where we met James, Cals partner and photographer/filmaker.
We hit the water just as Cal appeared, phew.
James pulled a drone out of his bag and I asked if he'd like me to gather everyone. He said not to worry and that he was used to acting quickly to get the shots he requires. As he was talking he just through the drone into the air and WOW, the shots he got are amazing and can be seen in Cals short film on YouTube. https://youtu.be/-fX5TvB6TYM
Our journey was a magical one, Cal was an instant hit and we chatted all things plastic, mental wellbeing and how important our rivers are to the oceans health. We all chatted and laughed for hours as Kingfishers flew by and the water swirled below our boards.
This is where my passion really ignited for our rivers. My eyes were opened by Cal-Major who I am now pleased to call a friend. She showed me how we can do little things such as litter picking on the rivers and raising awareness to make a difference.
Cal-Major continues to raise awareness of the threats to our oceans but also the ability our blue spaces have to support our mental wellbeing. Please check out Cals Vitamin Sea pages for more information. https://www.calmajor.com/vitamin-sea
Photographs courtesy of James Appleton Photography.