LOSING a leg in an explosion in Afghanistan hasn't dulled the sense of adventure of Paddy Gallagher who's planning to row solo from Newfoundland to Dugort Pier in Achill Island.
Paddy is planning to become the first amputee to row an ocean solo and completely unsupported. His chosen route is the north Atlantic, some 2,000 nautical miles from St. Johns to Achill.
The expedition will start at the first suitable weather window in June 2017 and is expected to take between 60 and 90 days, during which Paddy will experience all the Atlantic has to offer, from freezing temperatures and ice to 45ft waves and hurricane force winds.
Paddy Gallagher is a former British Army Infantry soldier who served with the Irish Guards for eight years. Born in the UK, he moved with his family to Achill Island when he was two years old.
Moving back to the UK in 2005, Paddy joined the British Army in 2006, serving on operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. During a night patrol in Afghanistan in 2009 he was blown up by an improvised explosive device and lost his right leg below the knee.
Upon leaving the army, Paddy was looking for a new challenge and happened across Row2Recovery and the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.
After a rigorous selection process Paddy was selected for the final four and the team left La Gomera in the Canary Islands just before Christmas in 2015 and arrived in Antigua 46 days, six hours and 49 minutes later.
Rowing 3,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean and coming eighth out of the 26 teams competing, they became the first physically disabled team of four to row an ocean completely unsupported which earned them a Guinness World Record.
Paddy will now recreate a voyage across the Atlantic, west to east, a feat that has never been attempted by an amputee and a feat that will earn Paddy another world record upon completion.
The row will emulate famous ocean rower Don Allums’ epic trip - he was the first man to successfully cross the Atlantic solo in both directions in 1987.
During the last leg of his epic journey Don encountered a bad storm, which led him to come ashore on Achill. Paddy has memories of this momentous occasion and has boyhood photographs of him sitting in Don's boat, the QE3. Since this time, Paddy has dreamed of rowing oceans and this row for the 30th anniversary of Don's feat is a fitting tribute to the man and a dream come true for Paddy.
Some might say he is pushing the boundaries with his disability but for Paddy it’s about proving there are no boundaries, only the ones you set yourself.
Every expedition of this nature needs to raise sponsorship to fund it and there are opportunities for corporate sponsorship. Join the journey at rowpaddyrow.co.uk or use the hashtags #1Man1Leg1Ocean #RowPaddyRow #NoBoundaries.