A campaigning North Devon paddleboarder is setting off on an epic stand up paddle today (Wednesday, September 9) along the length of the River Severn.
Northam veterinary surgeon and campaigner against plastic pollution Cal Major will spend a week paddling from the first navigable part of the river to highlight the course of plastic from source to sea.
The ambassador for outdoor change robe brand dryrobe aims to raise awareness of how 80 per cent of marine litter originates from land-based sources, often ending up in waterways that take it out to the ocean.
So even if people do not live by the coast, they all have the ability to reduce the amount of plastic discarded.
Cal is a double world record breaking paddleboarder, becoming the first person to paddleboard from Lands End to John O’ Groats in 2018 for her Paddle Against Plastic campaign.
Last year she completed an eight-day expedition stand-up paddleboarding around Baa Atoll in the Maldives, exploring the effects of plastic pollution, discarded ‘ghost’ fishing gear and climate change.
At 354km, the River Severn is the UK’s longest river. From its source high up in the Welsh hills, it flows through Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, and the cities of Shrewsbury, Worcester and Gloucester.
These three counties and cities are served by the Midcounties Co-operative, who have been tackling single-use plastic with its One Change campaign which launched in 2019, and are supporting this River Severn expedition.
Cal said: “I’m excited to demonstrate that no matter how far we live from the sea in the UK, we’re all connected to it through the network of inland waterways running like arteries and veins through our country.
“These waterways are here for all of us to enjoy, and the more connected we feel to these blue spaces which have been proven to be beneficial to our mental health, the more we’re going to want to protect them.
“We all have the ability to make positive change with our day to day actions and within our communities, and that’s what we’ll be talking about during the expedition.
“It’s going to be a tough week; I’ll be paddling 30 plus miles a day, but I’m really looking forward to experiencing the beautiful River Severn and its wildlife and people.”
A short film will be made of the expedition, which will be aired on September 24 at a special online webinar and Q and A with Cal Major and the Midcounties Co-op.