Elaine 'Shooter' Alexander is set for hero’s welcome this week as she becomes the first woman from Northern Ireland to circumnavigate the island of Ireland by kayak.
The solo paddler is expected to reach the finish line at County Antrim Yacht Club on Wednesday after her 70-plus-day test of endurance.
Shooter began her epic 1,000-mile voyage on 3 May, facing a tough challenge navigating a coastline of cliffs and headlands, strong tides and brutal weather. She has been storm-bound for a total of 21 days, often only with a small tent for shelter.
When asked what home comfort she was most looking forward to, she simply replied: "A proper toilet and some clean clothes."
Shooter embarked on the challenge to raise funds for SHARE, a charity providing outdoor activity programmes that promote the inclusion of disabled and non-disabled people.
“I expected and had trained for the physical challenge but I don’t think you can ever prepare mentally," she commented.
"It has been a real struggle coping with the repetition of paddling, getting changed into wet clothes and packing up a wet tent every day. Especially on the windy days it has been hard just to push on that extra few miles each day.”
But connecting with fans and supporters through social media made a big difference.
“The Facebook page has really been a lifeline," she said. "There is nothing more motivating than coming off the water after a tough day to read so many supportive and funny comments from well wishers."
See below for a map showing Shooter's live position as she edges closer to the finish line.