Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 09:54 UK

Epic paddle sea kayakers rescued

RAF Nimrod
An RAF Nimrod aircraft on a training exercise assisted in the rescue

Two sea kayakers who were attempting to paddle more than 250 miles from the Butt of Lewis to the Faroe Islands have had to be rescued.

The Lochinver lifeboat was called out to pick up Patrick Winterton and Mick Berwick and their crafts after the pair reported they had fallen ill.

They had crossed the 44 miles to North Rona, but while there they think they may have drunk some contaminated water.

An RAF Nimrod aircraft guided the lifeboat crew to the pair's position.

The kayakers contacted Stornoway Coastguard using their satellite telephone on Monday morning.

'Very experienced'

They had set out from the Butt of Lewis on Friday, originally planning to kayak to the Faroe Islands, but because of the weather conditions decided to head for the island of North Rona, nearly 60 miles north of Stornoway.

From there they headed for the island of Sule Skerry, but again because of bad weather decided to travel to Durness instead.

The lifeboat crew were guided to the kayakers position by an RAF Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft that was on a training exercise in the area.

Martin Collins, Stornoway Coastguard watch manager, said the kayakers were "very experienced".

He said: "They have stayed in regular contact with the coastguard since departing from Stornoway and they made the correct decision to contact us and ask for help when they both became unwell.

"This incident shows that with the correct planning and equipment the coastguard can render prompt assistance, even in the most remote areas of the UK."


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