Falklands circumnavigation planned by Royal Marine veterans for PTSD awareness

Two Brighton based former Royal Marines will, on January 29th, officially launch their bid to kayak the 650 miles of unforgiving coastline of the Falkland Islands. Mick Dawson and Steve Grenham will undertake the circumnavigation in spring 2016, a challenge which is set to take about 30 days.

Before they embark on this endeavour, the pair will complete a number of steadily increasing challenges, including competing in The Devizes to Westminster Canoe/Kayak race in April 2015, The Yukon River Quest in June of 2015, a circumnavigation of The Isle of Mann and then a circumnavigation of Ireland.

The challenge, titled The Cockleshell Endeavour, is not just designed to test the pair physically, however. Mick and Steve will be using the next 18 months to highlight and explore the issues of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Steve Grenham has been fighting a long battle with the condition and has struggled to find an effective treatment. It is hoped that the Cockleshell Endeavour will create a structure and purpose that will help him on the road to recovery as he meets the incredible demands of this challenge, whilst also putting a spotlight on the hugely relevant subject of PTSD as a whole in the service community.

The Cockleshell Endeavour will also be raising funds for two charities associated with PTSD and Falkland's Veterans.

Mick Dawson has twice rowed the Atlantic Ocean and, five years ago, was one half of the only crew to have ever successfully rowed the Pacific Ocean.

"Although I have some experience in nautical challenges, neither Steve or I are experienced kayakers so The Cockleshell Endeavour will really push us to the limits, both physically and mentally. Over the next 18 months we will have to ensure our bodies are up to the challenge but also prepare for around four weeks in very unforgiving conditions.

"Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is something suffered by potentially thousands of forces veterans across the UK but there is very little knowledge or understanding of it. Through the Cockleshell Endeavour we hope to raise awareness of the illness and raise much needed funds for those charities already supporting the Armed Forces community affected by it."

Mick Dawson, 50, is a former Royal Marine. Professional Yacht Captain and film maker, Mick has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean twice and is in the Guinness book of records as the skipper of the first and only rowing boat to cross the North Pacific, from Japan to San Francisco. He completed this 7,000 mile row with his friend Chris Martin in November 2009.

The story of their epic six and a half month adventure was told in the Discovery Channel's production, 'Rowing the Pacific,' first broadcast in 2011. Mick has project managed and executed five ocean rowing projects and is vastly experienced in all aspects of planning, preparation and execution for Extreme Ocean based expeditions.

Steve Grenham, 51, is a former Royal Marine. Currently employed as a builder, Steve has finally come to terms with the fact that over a number of years he has increasingly been affected by the symptoms of PTSD, a situation he feels may be relate back to his experiences both in the Falkland war and tours of Northern Ireland. He is currently undergoing full diagnosis and treatment for this condition.

Mick and Steve have been friends since their time serving together in the Royal Marines. They returned to the Islands together for the first time since 1982 in November of last year 2013.

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