Row across the Atlantic Ocean with one other person? I can barely stand five minutes in the car with some of my dearest friends – Susan Morrison

The two-woman crew of a mini Viking longship are training for an epic 3000-mile journey
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Sabrina Simpson and Leanne Maiden are two incredible young women who have come up with a rather epic way of ducking out of the annual Christmas pandemonium. In the coming December and most of January, they’re going to be heading for Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua and Barbuda, on a sort of all-inclusive cruise. They’ll leave from San Sebastian in the Canaries, which gives them a route of about 3000 miles. They will row every inch.

They are the She r-Oars team on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. They are raising money for charity, including the Women’s Fund for Scotland, an incredible donor organisation that supports charities working with women. Does what it says on the side of the tin, and now on the hull of the boat, the good ship ‘Reika’. The name means ‘the power of the wolf’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Basically what we have here is a two-woman mini Viking longship with a pair of extraordinary shield maidens at the oars. Now, I’m an old hand at the sponsored charity doolally. Why, I ran every Cancer Research UK Race for Life around Arthurs Seat for nine years, so I figure I earned my chemo. I also did a sponsored silence. Longest five minutes of my life. But this is on a whole different level.

Personally, I think they are mad, in the best possible way. They didn’t even know each other until they took up this spectacular challenge. They’ll be stuck in this tiny boat in the middle of a vast ocean together for about 60 days.

I have dear, dear friends I can barely manage a short car journey with, and we didn’t need to pee in a bucket, which is what our two intrepid mariners will have to do. And let's not even mention the very real discomfort that is chaffing.

So, why not give the gals a bit of a hand at the oars and bung ‘em a bit of cash? The money goes to outstanding Scottish charities, and you’ll feel a little bit gloriously good, too. Check out their website,, to follow their adventures. I’m going to sponsor the bucket.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.