Lisburn lads canoe from the Scottish Highlands to North Sea

Four friends from Lisburn are taking on a massive challenge this summer by canoeing from the Scottish Highlands to the North Sea.

Steve Flynn, Ronan Morris, Noel Gourley and Kevin Fitzpatrick will be shooting the rapids over the 90km of River Sprey to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease Association Northern Ireland (MDNaNI).

The four men decided to push themselves be doing something they have never done before after losing a dear friend to the cruel disease last year.

“A friend of ours from school had MND and passed away just before Christmas last year,” explained SteVe.

Friends SteVe Flynn, Ronan Morris, Noel Gourley, together with Kevin Fitzpatrick (missing from photo) will canoe from the Scottish HIghlands to the North Sea to raise money for charity

“We wanted to do something to raise awareness and raise money funds for the charity MNDa as they are always really in need of funds.

“They support people and families whoa re suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. Unfortunately there is no cure for it so it is about supporting the individual.”

The four friends decided they wanted to take on a physical challenge and push themselves out of their comfort zone so they opted to spend four days canoeing from the Highlands of Scotland starting at Aviemore to the North Sea at the mouth of the River Sprey.

Over the course of four days during the first week in August, the Lisburn lads will be led down the river, together with all of their belongings and camping equipment, by a guide. They will camp in the wild each evening, before finishing their adventure at the North Sea,

Friends SteVe Flynn, Ronan Morris, Noel Gourley are raising money for MDNaNI

“From my own personal perspective I felt I hadn’t done anything for the charity and I wanted to challenge myself,” continued Steve “It will be physically challenging as none of us have experience of canoeing. We wanted to push ourselves a little bit. We are all at different levels of fitness but we have done a little bit of training.

“We are doing some training on the Lagan to get a heads up on the equipment so that we are not going in blind.

One of the biggest challenges the team face is keeping the canoe upright as, if they capsize, both themselves and all of their equipment will end up in the river.

“They are two men canoes and as well as the two people we have all of our equipment in between us. All of our food, bedding, and camping equipment travels with us so if we capsize in the river we are in trouble,” admitted Steve.

“There are a couple of rapids sections so that should be entertaining, We have a local mountain guide who takes us down the river and locates camping spots but it won’t be luxury by any means.”

Despite the challenges that lie ahead the four men are determined to complete the fundraising effort to help those living with Motor Neurone Disease.

“We wanted to do something fairly demanding that will make the fundraising worthwhile,” continued Steve. “People living with MND are having a much tougher time so we wanted to put a bit of effort into it.”

Before the first week in August when they set off on their Scottish fundraising adventure, the friends are trying to raise as much money as possible for the charity, They are also hoping Lisburn businesses might consider sponsoring a canoe. “Between now and when we leave we want to ask local companies to get on board and sponsor a canoe to help raise even more funds,” continued Steve. Maybe people with experience of MND will want to donate.

If you would like to make a donation to this worthy cause, log onto If any local businesses would be interested in sponsoring a canoe and helping to raise funds, contact Steve by emailing [email protected]

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