Refurbished Boathouse opens in Whitehead
03 May 2011
The newly refurbished boathouse at the County Antrim Yacht Club in Whitehead was officially opened today by Elaine Alexander.
Elaine Alexander who has represented Northern Ireland at the Surf Kayak World Championships in Costa Rica and France also started an epic journey. As she hopes to become the first woman from Northern Ireland to complete the 1,000-mile circuit paddle around Ireland. Elaine hopes to return to whitehead in two months time.
Before departing Elaine officially opened the newly refurbished boathouse at County Antrim Yacht Club, which was originally built in c.1870 to house the local lifeboat and was an integral part of the Coastguard station. The boathouse which is a listed building and a fine remnant of maritime history within the Whitehead Conservation Area has been extensively refurbished and will provide a storage facility for canoes and kayaks. It will not only be used by local members but will act as a top class facility for visiting canoeists and kayakers using the soon to be launched East Coast Canoe Trail, a key highlight of this trail is the nearby Gobbins cliffs residence to a puffin colony. The present Commodore of Commodore of County Antrim Yacht Club said "we are delighted Elaine has chosen CAYC for her starting point on what is a special day for us with the official opening of the refurbished boat house, Elaine stopped off with us on her last trip around Ulster and we are sure that she will be amazed at the transformation that has taken place since then. We look forward to welcoming Elaine back on the completion of her challenge and hopefully many other canoeist's and kayakers in the future."
The 38-year-old is undertaking the challenge in a bid to raise money for the Share Centre. She works as an instructor at the charity which has been offering outdoor pursuits to disabled and able-bodied children and adults for the last 30 years.
Elaine told the Belfast Telegraph "Last year I paddled around Ulster which took 26 days and prepared me for some of what to expect for this expedition," she said. "I am out training at least three times a week paddling short distances of about 10 miles with longer coastal trips at the weekend. I also spend three nights a week working on maps, planning the route, rest areas and calculating tides."
She intends to keep supporters in touch with her adventure through regular posts, updates and uploads on social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and Youtube and is fundraising through Just Giving with blogs and a map on her website which will pinpoint her location. All links are available from her website www.canoearoundireland.com.