Charity hero rows 100 miles across UK in home-made tin boat

Michael Stanley, 80, travelled along the Falkirk Wheel as part of his second charity challenge.

Falkirk Wheel: Praised by charity hero. Andrew Milligan via PA Media
Falkirk Wheel: Praised by charity hero.

A charity hero who is rowing 100 miles across the country in his home-made tin boat has hailed the latest landmark he has visited as “an absolutely wonderful bit of British engineering”.

“Major Mick” Michael Stanley rowed along the Falkirk Wheel in central Scotland as part of his second charity challenge in his boat the Tintanic II.

The 80-year-old completed 100 miles rowing at 2mph twice a week along the Chichester Canal last December in the first Tintanic, which he later sold for charity.

In his sequel challenge, he crossed rivers and open water across England and Wales before rowing along the canal near the University of Edinburgh earlier this week.

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On Friday, Mr Stanley, who served in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards for 35 years, took to the water at the Falkirk Wheel – the world’s only rotating boat lift which was opened by the Queen in 2002 and links the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.

He told the PA news agency: “(It’s) an absolutely wonderful bit of British engineering, good on us that’s what I say – the British design and entrepreneurial spirit lives on.

“My boat’s a bit of fun – I started off with two sheets of corrugated iron and started from there to make it float.

“We went up on the wheel and it was extremely good and wonderful… we were lucky with the weather, it wasn’t raining and a nice view from the top.

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“I’m very much enjoying my time in Scotland and looking forward to going up to Aberdeenshire… everybody seems very happy to see me and I’m having fun.”

Mr Stanley used his previous venture to raise £44,000 for the St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Bosham, West Sussex.

The latest challenge, for Alzheimer’s Research UK, began in Chichester on May 28 before moving on to Beaulieu in the New Forest – and he has already completed 83 miles.

On Monday he will begin rowing down Aberdeenshire’s River Devron to the Bridge of Alvah and then Banff; before going to Invershin and down the Kyle of Sutherland in the Highlands at the end of the week; then Inverness Rowing Club on August 30 and Loch Ness the following day.

After returning to Edinburgh on September 2, the challenge will then finish later that month back in Chichester – around the time Mr Stanley turns 81.

More than £6000 has already been raised on a JustGiving page for the challenge, with many praising his efforts and commenting that they had seen him rowing in the Scottish capital.

The retired Army major added: “I’m seeing a lot of my friends who I knew in the Army for the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards later in the week.

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“I love coming to Scotland, we try and come every year, we’ve got a lot of relations in Scotland.

“But also it’s a nationwide charity therefore it’s nice to go all over the country rather than doing it in one particular place.

“I started this at the beginning of lockdown when I didn’t have much to do… as I tell people there’s life in the old dog yet.

“I feel very fit and fortunate and while I feel fit I’ll keep pressing on.”


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