Sea and Summit Scotland
Natasha's 2016 Challenge
During the challenge we'll be posting periodic updates. The most recent will appear at the top of the page, so if you want to read through in chronological order or find out more about the challenge then start at the bottom of the page. Pop back for more updates as the challenge progresses or check out the Facebook Page and Twitter Feed.
Please also help Natasha in her effort to raise funds for the Miss Isle School of Sip and Puff Sailing.
Update: 5th August 2016
Mountain, Loch, Lock and Sea – all done…
Natasha has completed her latest challenge – Sea and Summit, Scotland. She arrived at Clyde Marina at 4.30 on Thursday, Fourth August after a lively sail from Largs, on the Firth of Clyde.
Natasha Lambert, 19, has climbed Cairngorm mountain, sailed through Lochs and Sounds in the Highlands and negotiated two famous Scottish canals, the Caledonian and the Crinan.
Such adventures would be taxing for any young person, but Natasha has athetoid cerebral palsy. She uses a wheel chair and has little control over her movements and speech.
The expedition began at Inverness marina on Monday 18 July after months of planning and training.
For the sailing part of the challenge she took to her adapted twenty-one-foot yacht Miss Isle Too, which she sails using only her breath.
To tackle the mountain Natasha used a Hart Walker. This device allows Natasha to stand upright which then means she can propel herself forward. The ascent and descent of the famous Cairngorm mountain, the sixth highest peak in Britain, took over five and a half hours. A support team, including her parents, sister and a safety adviser from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, were on hand to help Natasha up and down over the steep, rough terrain and to celebrate on the very windy peak. Footage of the climb gained tens of thousands of admiring views on social media.
Back on the water Natasha spent many hours sitting in the special canting seat in her yacht. Natasha’s condition means she needs to be in the seat every moment she is on board. This is especially challenging on the canals when she can spend hours waiting to go through locks. At no time did Natasha opt to get out of the boat, other than on the Crinan Canal when she took to her walker to learn how to operate the manual locks with the rest of her team.
Natasha undertakes her challenges for two reasons, to raise funds and to raise awareness. She has already received a British Empire Medal for her previous fund raising efforts. This time she is raising funds for her charity, the Miss Isle School of Sip Puff Sailing. The School gives young people like Natasha the chance to get out on the water and sail, using their breath to control the boat.
The raising of awareness is equally important to Natasha as she grows older. Her level of determination is becoming well known. It’s this that she hopes will inspire others with similar conditions. Rather than taking a traditional holiday Natasha and her family embark on the challenges to highlight just what can be achieved despite the pressures and needs arising from Natasha’s condition.
Update: 31st July 2016
The past few days have been busy ones for young sailor Natasha Lambert on her Sea and Summit Scotland challenge.
On Friday the team arrived at the sea lock adjacent to the start of the Crinan Canal, in Argyll and Bute, after a day’s sail from Oban. The weather was finally kind and Natasha was able to enjoy some excellent sailing down the Firth of Lorn and the Sound of Jura. This was followed by some tricky navigation decisions by Natasha to ensure that the yacht made it safely through the Sound of Luing.
Whilst for many sailors the relatively calm seas on the passage would have provided a chance to sit back and relax this is not possible for Natasha. She is strapped into an adapted seat which constricts her movement. So any passage is a real challenge. At the end of each sailing day it takes many hours for Natasha to stretch out and feel comfortable
On Saturday the challenge took a fascinating diversion along the Crinan Canal, allowing Natasha to add “working” a series of locks to her maritime CV.
Natasha was initially on board to supervise the passage through the nine mile man-made short cut across the Kintyre peninsula.
She then swapped her yacht for her walker, allowing her to join the team opening and closing the gates on a number of the fifteen locks on the canal. Sister Rachel also joined in the work.
Once through the canal the Miss Isle Team will be ready to enter Loch Fyne and the sail towards Clyde Marina where the challenge will end.
Update: 28th July 2016
Yesterday offered another milestone in Natasha Lambert’s Sea and Summit Scotland challenge – the conquering of Neptune’s Staircase, a flight of eight locks. These lie between the Caledonian Canal and Loch Linnie, and their descent allowed the young sailor to continue her passage towards the Clyde.
As Natasha’s Miss Isle Too yacht entered the first lock it was dwarfed by some large sailing cruisers and a 1945 Dutch barge. Her support RIB and team entered the lock behind her. Then the first of the nine enormous gates was closed behind them.
Whilst there was no sailing involved Natasha and her crew still had to keep a close watch. The water flooding out of the lock creates eddies in the loch which can clash the boats together. It has to be said there were a few anxious moments as the barge moored next to Miss Isle Too moved significantly as it descended.
At the last lock the crew were treated to the sight of a huge steam train crossing the lock. Its tracks and the road bridge had to be swung before Miss Isle Too and other boats could get underway. Natasha then moored up for the night in preparation for today’s exit into Loch Linnie.
Next stop Oban on the way to another scenic canal – the Crinan.
Natasha, and her team, are undertaking Sea and Summit Scotland to raise funds and the profile of her charity, the Miss Isle School of Sip Puff Sailing. Natasha is keen to ensure that others with similar physical conditions are inspired to face new challenges and, if they would like to, get on the water and start sailing. Please support Natasha's efforts by donating online - click here.
Update: 25 July 2016
Natasha Lambert has completed one element of her latest challenge, Sea and Summit Scotland. She reached the top of the Cairn Gorm Mountain, in the Scottish Highlands, just after three o’clock on Monday Twenty Fifth of July 2016. It took her just over five and half hours to reach the summit which is some 1245 metres above sea level, the sixth highest mountain in the UK.
Natasha has athetoid cerebral palsy and uses a wheel chair. However, for this part of her challenge, she used a special device called a Hart Walker. This pulls Natasha upright and enables her to propel herself forward. Natasha also wears a lycra corset to assist in keeping her straight as she walks. This can be extremely hot when the weather changes quickly.
Natasha was supported by her Dad, Gary, Mum Amanda, little sister Rachel (9) and a team of helpers including local Mountain Safety Advisor, Heather Morning. The whole team was needed to assist in guiding Natasha over the rough, steep terrain which, on numerous occasions, required the entire walking device to be lifted bodily over boulders. Weather varied from bright sunshine to hail and winds of over 25 miles an hour at the summit. Surprisingly one of Natasha’s most arduous parts of the day was the descent. Her position in the walker makes walking down feel extremely precarious. The team then have to play their part by preventing her from descending dangerously fast.
Natasha now returns to her yacht to continue the second part of her challenge, sailing to Glasgow. The young adventurer sails using only her breath to control her specially designed yacht, Miss Isle Too.
On completion of the challenge Dad Gary commented “What Tash has just achieved today is awesome. That’s a very big mountain, it’s one of the ‘Munros’ and she’s managed to climb to the top of it. I am in awe.”
Update: 20 July 2016
Sea and Summit Scotland is underway….
Natasha, and the team, left Inverness marina on Monday morning. Spirits were high, despite facing grey drizzle and missing out on the hot weather and blue skies further South.
The first challenge was the locks on the waterway running alongside the River Ness. These took time to navigate, but the team all pitched in and the first of the locks were soon behind them.
First stop on Monday was Dochgarroch. Natasha was delighted to find that the campsite was right next to her beloved yacht Miss Isle Too so she could keep an eye on her.
On Tuesday Natasha was joined by Loch Ness RNLI team who were on a training exercise. Having left the waterways behind it was a joy for Natasha to put the sails up and get sailing. Although the wind was fluky on Loch Ness the sailing was good, no monsters were seen and the team reached Fort Augustus.
Today (Wednesday) the weather has turned and Natasha and her sailing team are battling heavy rain as they make their way down the next flight of locks.
Natasha is joined on the first part of her Challenge by coach Phil, dad Gary, mum Amanda, sister Rachel, carer Cherrell, Rib driver Tony and support driver Andrew.
The Challenge is raising funds for the Miss Isle School of Sip Puff Sailing www.missisle.org.uk
About Sea & Summit Scotland
Click here for News Release on the challenge.
As Natasha has enjoyed previous challenges so much, loving all the different elements of the adventure; teamwork, challenging conditions, navigating new areas, meeting people, camping, mountain climbing and fundraising, this year she wanted to carry-on and set herself more goals.
Natasha is due to set sail from Inverness Monday 18th July. Heading down the Caledonian Canal to Fort William, then sailing the West coast of Scotland and eventually finishing in Greenock, nr Glasgow.
In between sailing, Natasha and the team will be breaking off to climb Mount Cairngorm, the Uk's 6 th highest mountain, Natasha will be using her walker to climb in. In preparation for this Natasha has just completed a 100 mile walk, taking 52 days, and will continue walking and training in between sailing!
During the Challenge we will be fundraising for the Miss Isle School of Sip Puff Sailing to help others with similar needs to Natasha, learn to sail and take on new challenges. You can support Natahsa by donating using the button on the right hand side of this page. Thanks for your support.