Many of us would struggle to row half a mile let alone 3,000 miles across the Atlantic but that’s what a team of five rowers from Portobello achieved.

Crossing the finish line in Antigua in late January having set off from the Canary Islands 39 days earlier, the Atlantic Body & Soul team are back and giving a “blisters and all” talk about their expedition.
The team – including Scottish actor Cal MacAninch, star of the submarine drama The Vigil and more recently Mayflies – will talk about what it was like to row two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day with five men crammed into a small boat.
Calmer shores back home in Porty after their epic 3,000 mile Atlantic rowing challenge

All hailing from Portobello, the rowers met through a local coastal rowing club, Eastern, usually meeting up several times a week  to row “skiffs” or small sea-going rowing boats.

To take on the Atlantic “Talisker Challenge” race, they had to commission a larger 26ft-long, ocean-going rowboat complete with two tiny sleeping compartments.

Atlantic Body & Soul succeeded in raising over £30,000 for two charities: The Junction – Young People: Health and Wellbeing, and Body & Soul who help people negotiate childhood trauma, a cause that’s close to the team members’ hearts.

In doing so, they lost loads of weight, grew substantial beards and learned that you need a good sense of humour to navigate bum rash, blisters and sleep deprivation, which definitely don’t contribute much to your sense of wonder.

The event takes place at Bellfield Brewery Taproom and Beer garden on 22 April from 7pm and tickets priced £15/13 can be booked via 

A special beer has been brewed for the team and Bellfield Brewery will donate £1 of every pint of Atlantic Body and Soul IPA sold on the night to The Junction.

Speaking about the event, Cal MacAninch said: “As a crew we’re really looking forward to sharing our stories with you and hearing what questions you might have for us. If we can inspire one person to fulfil their dreams no matter how hard it may be, it will have been worth it.”

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Stephen Rafferty is a former crime correspondent at The Scotsman and was a staff reporter for the Daily Record and Edinburgh Evening News. He has freelanced for many of the Scottish and UK national newspaper titles. Got a story? Get in touch -