Firefighter Kristopher Elliot and his brother Blair from Dunblane have been re-united with their loved ones after completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000-mile endurance race across the Atlantic Ocean.
The duo battled 40ft waves, sleep deprivation and sweltering heat to complete the world’s toughest row in 55 days, one hour and 54 minutes. They also burned through around 8000 calories a day and lost around 20% of their body weight during the race.
Sailing as Team Noble, in memory of friend and colleague John Noble, the brothers narrowly beat a team of four Welsh rowers in the challenge of a lifetime, finishing 30 minutes ahead of Team Oarstruck.
Kris, a crew manager with the Scottish Fire and Rescue, lost his friend and colleague, John, after he was killed in a road traffic accident while responding to an emergency call in 2008. They took on this challenge in his memory and to raise awareness and funds for us.
Here the brothers give us one last update on their amazing achievement.
“That was some journey! The last few days have been full of mixed emotions and feelings, full of highs and lows. The lows were thinking we might miss Antigua due to the fact the North East wind was blowing us South. So much so we were looking at potential beaches on islands to land. This would have meant us getting the boat transported from whichever island we landed on. Not good as our family were in Antigua also a bit expensive to ship it back.
Dolphins join Team Noble for part of their journey
The highs, well, a few days we had a break and played a pub quiz…. Blairs team won. But the biggest high started last night. We saw the lights of Antigua shining, a great feeling but also a bit scary. We didn’t have to row much over the last eight hours, the wind and waves took us in. This morning we were in contact with Team Oarstruck via the VHF Radio having a chat about who’s going in first. We had a gentlemen’s agreement that we would go in. However, the conditions meant that changed and team Oarstruck would go in first. This must have caused the organisers a bit of a problem logistically with only one safety boat and only one camera. But it was fun.
The night before we came in Blair spent a few hours making bunting to put on the boat, a bit of decoration looks good. So we “dressed ship” and made our approach. To be honest we were scared, both of missing the harbour and of meeting people. It can affect you being away in the ocean like that. Talking about it now we can recall other situations we were in but never reported, mainly because we forgot about them. We can remember them now and will write them down, for example when Blair thought he could hear cows mooing. As we entered English Harbour it was amazing, a bit tricky as the wind picked up and we had to row two up to get in. We saw our sister in a boat as she was alongside us as we crossed the line, also Kris’s friend James. Great to see familiar faces at that point.
Team Oarstruck waited for us and we approached our final stopping point together, we made some good friends there. We have had a great time with those guys, whenever we came across them at sea. But those stories will have to wait.
Then we landed, what a feeling it was brilliant, Kris seeing his girls Fia and Mila and Blair his Wife Beth. It was surreal, amazing, happy and a whole range of other emotions. And then we had a can of coke and an orange juice, cold, tasty and refreshing. After a quick check up and a meal, sitting with Team Oarstruck, who else, we relaxed a bit. We are now in the villa, chilling talking, laughing and looking forward to a good sleep.
Thank you all for watching, supporting and helping us raise awareness for The Firefighters Charity.”
If you would like to support Team Noble you can donate here.