End of an epic challenge for Fife man Sam

Sam Brenkel from Aberdour
Sam Brenkel from Aberdour

An Aberdour man has completed a gruelling three-stage 5000km trek across Europe from John O’Groats to Romania.

Sam Brenkel finished his ‘JOG to the Black Sea’ challenge at the weekend but says there were a few hiccups along the way.

“It was quite an experience,” he said, “There were a lot of adventures and incidents.

“The cycling part from John O’Groats to Dover was relatively uneventful – until my bike was stolen in Dover!”

The next stage involved swimming the English Channel, which didn’t quite go as hoped.

“The weather had been perfect, but it turned really bad very suddenly.

“The waves got so big that it was not only dangerous for me, but for the boat also, so the captain took the decision to abandon the swim.”

Sam hasn’t given up just yet, though: “I’m going back in a couple of week’s time to finish it. I’m determined to do it.”

He then cycled south-east to the Black Forest in Germany, where he then took to the water in his kayak to row the 2,800km length of the Danube which proved to be the most eventful part of his journey.

“I got stopped in Croatia where they wouldn’t let me leave and stopped in Serbia where they wouldn’t let me stay.

“Going through all those places like Bulgaria and finishing in Romania was quite an adventure.

“There’s not really a feeling of euphoria at the end, it’s more just relief. It’s not really until a few days later that it starts to sink in what a real achievement it’s been.”

At the end of each day, no matter how tired he was, Sam would update his blog.

“You don’t really want to think about updating the website but once I got started I would enjoy it, particularly when I was kayaking because there was plenty to write about.”

The challenge also raised money for charities PEAS and Restless Development.

“People have been really generous so I need to thank them as well as Go Kayaking Scotland, who provided me with all my equipment for the kayaking section, including the kayak.”

Visit Sam’s website at www.jogtotheblacksea.com.