Stoney skipper back on dry land

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A local man who set off from Stonehaven harbour to row to Denmark for charity last week has arrived home after a disappointing failure in his communication systems.

Mike Park set off last Tuesday to row single-handedly 430 miles and raise £100,000 for three charities. But two days into the journey the 53-year-old’s communication system failed leaving his family fearing the worst, as he had originally promised to be in touch twice daily. Mr Park could no longer make contact with the shore or any other vessels in his vicinity.

The alarm was raised with Aberdeen Coastguard on Friday who immediately put out a message to all ships and air traffic in the area before Mr Park was spotted by an offshore helicopter.

A helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth then rushed to the scene to make contact with the rower who said for his own safety he should be winched to safety. However as Mr Park was planning on reselling the boat to raise money for charity, he was determined to carry on with his challenge and sent the helicopter away.

The determined seaman, who has been a navy and fisherman all his life, then rowed a further two or three miles before realising that his intended course of action would not only put his family through extreme turmoil for a further three weeks, but he was also a threat to other shipping.

The father-of-three was 163km from Stonehaven when he decided to row home. By the time he reached dry land he had completed 300km in just six days.

Understandably Mr Park was disappointed because it wasn’t his fitness or determination that stopped his challenge. He said: “I am extremely disappointed, but having said that I feel I took the only sensible course of action. Many thanks for all your support, you were all fantastic and at the end of the day three very worthwhile charities benefit as a result. It was always about the charities. As they say: the only real failure in life is the failure to try.”