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Adventurers take on monster pedalo challenge

Four adventurers are preparing to take on a monster challenge - in a pedalo shaped like the Loch Ness monster.

Ed Foster, Nico Kirby, his sister Natasha Kirby and Sholto Morgan will take the vessel, which has been designed by students from the University of Southampton, out onto the open seas this weekend to pedal round the treacherous north coast of Scotland.

The 500-mile journey will be the first attempt to circumnavigate the northern tip of Scotland by pedalo and it encompasses some of the most dangerous waters in the UK.

The six-metre long pedalo has been purpose-built by six Ship Science MEng students from the University of Southampton, over a period of seven months, to withstand the conditions. A support boat will follow them in case of an emergency.

The hull is a modified Hurricane 5.9m sailing dinghy and is fitted with five reclining bike seats, four for the pedalling crew and one for a guest. A specially developed drive train, utilising three differential drive trains, allows the crew of four to pedal at different speeds.

Two bespoke propellers were designed and manufactured and are mounted on a carbon fibre skeg, which the students designed with the help of Caterham Group. Travelling at three knots (3.45miles/hour) requires approximately 400W of combined pedal power or 100W per person.

The adventurers aim to raise £250,000 for Cancer Research UK and Parkinson’s UK, so far Team Pedalo is already past £60,000.

The four friends: Ed, 30, a motoring journalist; Nico, 30, a lawyer; Tash, 28, a banker and Sholto, 30, an actor and producer, will set off at 9.30am from Inverness on Saturday 2 August 2014 and aim to return by Monday 25 August 2014.

Their route will take them down the Caledonian Canal, through Loch Ness and Loch Lochy and out into the Irish Sea. They will then head north, up to Cape Wrath, east to Thurso and round John O’Groats before pedalling south back to Inverness.

The inspiration for the trip came from family members.

Nico and Tash lost their mum, Antonia, to lung cancer last year. And Ed’s father, John, has been living with Parkinson’s for more than six years.

Sholto said: “We will be hugging the coast as much as possible and making the most of all the tides. If we get them wrong we will be going backwards. If we get them right, we have every chance of doing this.”

Tash said: “What we are doing is completely mad and has never been done before. But that’s part of the thrill of something like this. I think Mum would be very proud of us doing this, for her, and for other people.”

To sponsor the team, visit: www.the500milepedalo.com or on Twitter @500milepedalo or Facebook

You can also text ‘SOAK48 £5’ to 70070 to donate today.

Watch a preview video here.

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