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Row 4 GB – Third week at sea

18 June 2015: posted by BigChange

Charlie Pitcher 4

Nineteen days ago, Charlie Pitcher set off from Burnham-on-Crouch to row around the UK unsupported and solo. Something that no one has ever done, or even attempted to do before.

Charlie is a 50-year-old adventurer from the UK. Amongst many other accolades, he currently holds the World Record for the fastest solo crossing of the Atlantic in a rowing boat. Charlie is rowing on behalf of Big Change and raising money for our Life Skills Fund. To support Charlie’s effort click here.

Our newest Big Changer, Emily, caught up with Charlie this week to get an update  on his first three weeks at sea.

So Charlie, tell us about what you are up to as we speak. 

“I am attempting to be the first person to row solo around Great Britain. No ones ever even attempted it before let alone completed it, and I feel I’m in a good position to give it a good crack”

You left from your hometown of Burnham-on-Crouch on the 31st May. How has it been so far? 

“Tough! I am currently sitting inside my boat, anchored in a force six. The weather has been far from ideal the whole way. We’ve had two or three good days where I’ve made good mileage, but otherwise I’ve had headwinds the whole way, which really, really breaks the body. I mean I’m tough enough to just get on with it, but the difficult thing is that it just steals time from the campaign – I only have a finite amount of food and time I can be away from my family.”

How long have you been set back by?

“I’m at least seven or eight days behind where I would have liked to be. But on adventures like this you are constantly battling against the elements and there is nothing you can do about it. It is at times like this that you need to draw on all your powers of patience and resilience. If you start to let yourself get frustrated you will find yourself in a downward spiral. You have to set yourself little goals – get around that next headland – row for half an hour – and take pleasure in the small achievements.”

Charlie Pitcher 1

At what point will you start worrying about food supplies? 

“I’m actually not eating as much as I should be, so I’ve actually got quite a lot of food on the boat. I reckon I’ve lost about a half a stone in two weeks. But I’m feeling good and I’m in great shape, except my backside! You prepare yourself for this, it is all part of the journey. A challenge like this is as much about being mentally prepared and strong than it is physically – although that obviously helps too!”

What’s been the hardest bit to date?

“The hardest part of the row is rowing into headwinds, you know it’s human power campaign, and we can’t fight the elements. I’ve had the elements against me for more than I wished.”

What drives or motivates you to undertake all of your crazy adventures?

“I love the sense of achievement, from pushing myself right to the very edge of what is possible. Getting to this place allows you to unlock things from within you, things you didn’t even know were there. I feel such a sense of calm and focus when I have a task at hand. I also love being in the position to give a bit back by raising money for charity but also by hopefully inspiring a few people, especially young people, to get out there and push themselves. I don’t think of myself as a role model, but if one person is able to think a bit differently after hearing about something I am doing, I can sleep a happy man.” 

What in your life do you feel has allowed you to have such a clear growth mindset? 

 “I was very lucky to be able to go to school in Scotland. I wasn’t wired up to be an academic to say the least, but the outdoors allowed me to express myself and realise that anything is possible if you apply yourself and if you want it enough. It is no good waiting for someone else to do it for you – you have to make things happen.”

You are supporting Big Change in doing this challenge – why? 

“I believe in what Big Change stands for. I believe in young people and I want to help them move forwards. I recognise the potential out there and have always wondered how we can help to unlock it. I love how Big Change focuses on the positives and encourages young people to believe in themselves. Having not flourished in the classroom, I know important it is to foster other skills in order to live a happy and fulfilling life.” 

If you had one piece of advice by young people who don’t think they “can” – have personal limitations – what would it be? 

It doesn’t really matter what you do in life, but if there is something that you find that you like, and you want to do it, go out and grab it. Do it. Give it everything, and you will succeed.

charlie pitcher 2

Visit Charlie’s website to learn more, and follow his journey around the UK.