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Mother and daughter set to head to Inverness in homemade canoe

By Gregor White

Addi and Athina and pet dog Little MIss Shadow in their canoe called Icarus.
Addi and Athina and pet dog Little MIss Shadow in their canoe called Icarus.

Adventurous family will paddle their way from Fort William to Inverness and back again

It is just the latest adventure for Greek-born Addi Manolopoulos and 11-year-old daughter Athina, who are known as the Pirates of the Canals for their expeditions using unusual craft.

They are hoping it will take 10 days to complete the 120-mile round trip which will see them challenging elements such as the Scottish summer weather, headwinds, midges, as well as testing our own strength of character.

Addi said she had even tried to get a Nessie costume for their dog, Little Miss Shadow, to wear during but the journey but the best she could do was a dragon outfit. She added: “Everyone keeps asking me ‘what about the Loch Ness Monster and Nessie?’ but my real concern is the midges.”

She spent the winter constructing their canoe from scrap wood, which is of a Canadian design and named after Icarus from Greek myth, under the watchful eye of 70-year-old Doug Malpus from Southport.

She admitted she has yet to test whether or not it will float let alone keep out the water. She said: “My attitude has always been if it doesn’t work it will make a great story.”

During their trip they are planning to update their progress via social media to engage public interest and they will be carrying all of the provisions needed for the journey. They are also hoping to research Scotland’s wildlife during their journey.

Addi, who carries out management work in the school of history at the University of Leeds, said: “We want to meet interesting new people and characters. I am not that worried about breaking any records I am more interested in the journey.”

In 2016 Addi and Athina travelled 127 miles along the Leeds-Liverpool canal in a dinghy, the following year they were on board a heavy home-made raft, made from office desks and water pipes, going along the Lancaster Canal.

However, last year’s trip, with Addi paddling a coracle boat and Athina cycling along the Grand Union Canal, had to be abandoned at the start because their was not enough water due to the hot weather.

Addi said she was inspired to come to Scotland this year after cycling along the NC500by mountain bike in December where temperatures dropped to minus 10C. She said: “It was amazing, there wasn’t anyone else.”

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