Fifteen young people from the Lancaster and Morecambe area have begun preparations for the challenge of a lifetime – to canoe the entire length of the Caledonian Canal.
They are supported by Lancashire Youth Challenge (LYC), a Lancaster-based charity who work with young people across the county.
Some are young carers, others may have been facing difficulties in mainstream education, have family complexities or are affected by the low socio-economic status of their area.
A number of the young people joined LYC to make friends, challenge themselves and develop their confidence and life skills.
LYC works with more than 50 young people aged 13-25 annually through their year-round programme of physical, cultural and creative activities.
Fifteen young people then put themselves forward or are selected to take part in the Big Annual Challenge.
In preparation for taking on the Caledonian Canal Challenge in August, the group attended a residential weekend at Ormside Mill in Cumbria.
Among the activities they participated in were canoeing in Ullswater, ghyll scrambling, team building and problem solving.
One of LYC’s trustees, Rachael Holden said: “The residential at Ormside Mill went really well and all 15 of the young people came back having achieved personal goals and tried something new. Some of them overcame fears about being on and in the water while others faced their anxieties about being away from home or being around people who they didn’t know very well.”
One of the young women taking part had never been outside of the Lancaster and Morecambe area before the trip and others said how much they enjoyed being part of a team working towards a common goal.
“It was great,” said one of the young men involved. “LYC do an amazing amount of work and so much for all of us. We’re all grateful for this opportunity.”
The Caledonian Canal challenge takes place in Scotland from August 12-18. and will involve the young people spending six to nine hours a day on the water as they aim to complete the 60 mile stretch.