AS ARDENT adventures and outdoors folk, we love to traverse the globe in order to take on board exciting new experiences. Mostly we do it for the love of travel. Some do it to break old records and set new ones, like Anna Blackwell, 24, and Kate Culverwell, 19, both from Oxford, who are finalising plans for a record-breaking, and world first, tandem kayak expedition from England to the Black Sea.

The 4000km adventure will start in April and is expected to take four months to complete. There is more to this journey, however, than to set a new record, for the girls will be helping raise vital funds and awareness for Pancreatic Cancer Action. In 2015, Kate sadly lost her father, David Culverwell, to the disease. She knew she wanted to take on a challenge that both raised funds for a pancreatic cancer charity and did justice to her dad.

Kate came up with the idea of kayaking from England to the Black Sea whilst thinking of something she could do to raise awareness of the disease. The problem was, she needed to find someone who was going to join her in her tandem kayak. An online search found the perfect candidate in keen adventurer Anna, who lived just a few miles away and had, in fact, attended the same school as Kate.

What makes this challenge even more incredible is that it is not only a route that has never been attempted by kayak before, but while paddling, Kate and Anna will also be contributing to the research of FreshWater Watch, an Earthwatch research project investigating the health of global freshwater ecosystems.

“When I first came up with the idea, everyone thought I was completely mad, but I stuck to it and it’s really nice to now see it all coming together,” Kate told Essential Journeys. “It’s going to be quite a powerful journey for me. I think that if you have a reason for doing something, then you can do anything you put your mind to.”

Pancreatic Cancer Action is committed to working towards earlier diagnosis of the disease so that surgery, currently the only cure, is made available to the sufferer. The charity fund research into early diagnosis, provide medical education programmes and launch awareness campaigns.

“We are delighted that Kate and Anna are giving their time to support Pancreatic Cancer Action in such an incredible challenge. It is lovely that they are completing this in memory of David and are helping to raise awareness and funds for this disease at the same time.” said Ali Stunt, Founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action. “We wish them the best of luck on their travels and we are incredibly excited to follow their journey.”

All at Essential Journeys wish them well in their journey. If you are interested in sponsoring the challenge, you can contact them by or to sponsor the adventurers, visit their fundraising page to help them reach their £50,000 target! For more information go to